Just checking out the TechSling – a holster-like harness that holds all your technology close at hand, with room for a 7″ or 10″ tablet, a phone, and a zip-up compartment that might be useful for battery packs and cables.
It looks like a useful way to carry gear, concealed under a jacket or coat for covert Ingressing; but because devices have to be pulled out to use, and the holsters will tend to move around a lot if you are actively running or cycling between portals, this isn’t something I’ll be ordering myself. If anyone else tries one of these out for Ingress, though, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the “Comments” section below.
As you become a more addicted experienced agent, and start carrying extra batteries, battery packs, spare cables, a torch for night operations, water for long operations, and perhaps even multiple devices in case one fails… carrying all this gear starts to become a bit of an issue, especially if you are Ingressing on foot, or carpooling as a group.
I’ve tried using backpacks and various other bags for Ingress, but all bags tend to have downsides. Backpacks have to be taken off and put back on getting in and out of cars; and shoulder bags flop around and get in the way when running between portals.
Rather than carry a cumbersome bag, I have instead turned to Scottevest‘s range of clothing, which allow you to store all of your bits and pieces in the clothing itself. There are a huge range of options for both men and women, ranging from simple t-shirts and polo shirts, with three of four hidden pockets in the seams, through to the $440 Limited Edition ALT-10M leather jacket with 22 pockets, or the Brad Thor Alpha Jacket (currently sold out, but more coming soon) with a crazy 36 pockets of all kinds distributed all over the jacket. There are also various pants on offer (the cargo pants or zip-off travel pants may be particularly appealing to Ingress agents), and even hats with hidden pockets.
Most of the Scottevest clothing range features an internal wiring system that allows you to wire cables through the clothing invisibly and internally. I’ve found that this is especially suited to Ingress for wiring power cables through the jacket to an external scanner, while keeping the battery pack to which they are attached safely zipped in an inside pocket.
My favourite Scottevest garment for Ingress is my Tropiformer Jacket. This jacket has sleeves that can be removed from and added back to the vest part, using magnetic clasps that allow the sleeves to be added and removed without removing the whole jacket.
It is fully waterproof, so is awesome for keeping all your gadgets dry in all kinds of weather; and even has a special transparent pocket which allows you to use your scanner without even taking it out of your pocket:
The Tropiformer Jacket is made of tropical-weight fabric, which makes it versatile and suitable for warm days (in vest mode) through to cooler spring or autumn days (with the sleeves attached). The roughly equivalent style for women, with detachable sleeves, is the Kelly Jacket.
I will add, however, that it might take a bit of getting used to thse transforming jackets: the first day I wore my Tropiformer out, I tried to hold it by the sleeves to place it over the back of my chair in an upmarket restaurant with my wife. The vest was loaded with tech gear, keys, and wallet, and the combined weight pulled the vest part away to fall with a loud thud on the floor; leaving me holding just a couple of sleeves in the air and feeling very sheepish indeed!
Actually, I’ve been using my Pebble as a rather trusty companion for Ingress, and it’s a pretty awesome add-on for a few reasons:
It allows me to receive notifications of portal attacks by buzzing as soon as I receive a notification email from Niantic
It allows me to screen emails before needing to whip out my scanner if I am not actively in the field, or if I am driving – as well as screening G+ threads or other social media for relevance
There are a few cool faction-themed watch faces circulating now (STOP: Resistance Time!)
I can check my scanner’s battery status on my wrist using the Glance app for Pebble
It’s certainly helpful that the Pebble is water-resistant for field operations in all climatic conditions; and by changing the standard rubber watch strap that came with the Pebble to a NATO military strap, it is better secured to my wrist (the way a NATO strap is attached means that if one of the pins securing it to the watch breaks, the watch will stay attached to one’s wrist). If other agents would like to attach a custom strap to their Pebble, the appropriate strap size is 22mm. There are numerous NATO straps in various shades of Resistance blue or Enlightened green for those who would like to show their team colours. I got mine on eBay for about $9, and I preferred a subtle all-black band rather than sporting an overtly military or brightly coloured watch band: http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/200877477841?var=500137539672&ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649.
The one I have is cheaper than some of the others on eBay, but isn’t very long, sized for wearing on the wrist. “Real” NATO straps are longer, allowing them to be put on over clothing (e.g. fatigues, wetsuits). The extra length is tucked back through the extra loops on the outside of the strap when worn on the wrist – just something to be aware of.
I’ve also been trying out a wrist-mounted bearing compass for navigating to new portals while driving – previously, a compass was also useful for resonator deploys, to quickly determine the direction of the most defensible resonator position when the deploy screen only had cardinal positions rather than a map overlay.
Those days are long gone, but now, in “Navigate to Portal” mode, ADA calls out the direction and distance to the portal targeted, and I can drive in that direction without needing to look at my scanner – just keeping an eye on my compass from time to time. For navigation on foot, I can even set a bearing on the compass (this one has degrees marked on a rotating bezel, and a bearing arrow on the base) and put away my scanner to save battery or improve my stealth in the presence of other agents.
Playing Ingress with large tablets can be a troublesome business. Because they don’t fit in the hand, they are prone to being dropped while an agent is active in the field; they are too large to be attached by a lanyard; a protective case makes a large tablet even larger and more bulky; and it is inconvenient to constantly pull a tablet out of a bag and put it away again.
The somewhat verbosely-named iBackFlip TabKeeper 360 is a tablet bag with features that overcomes all of these issues, making it an ideal addition for Ingress agents using tablets. Like other tablet cases, it provides padding and protection; but it is also designed to fit most tablets, varying in size from 7″-10.1″ in such a way as to make them accessible simply by flipping down the front of the case.
The strap can also be configured so that the case looks like a messenger bag or a briefcase; but for Ingress agents, its “sling” configuration will be most useful for pulling the bag to the front and flipping out the tablet for use; then closing it up and slipping the bag to the back for maneuvering while the tablet stays secure and safely packed.
The large back pocket looks large enough for carrying a spare battery or other accessories; and the flat pockets could be used to store, organise, or tidy cables so that the tablet can run off a battery pack within the case.
I’ve ordered one of these and I’ll do a full review when it arrives! But if you can’t wait for the review and want your own, you can grab one from iBackFlip, who offer international shipping as well as payment via Credit Card or PayPal: http://ibackflip.com/shop/ibackflip-tabkeeper-360/. You might also like to check out this promo video from iBackflip:
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