Twelve South BackPack setup

As part of a little work from home (WFH) miniseries, I am highlighting the Twelve South products that are keeping me organized while sheltering in place. With an iMac, external monitor, iPad Pro, external drives and several gadget stands, a desk lamp, desk fan, multiple keyboards and sundry items, adding my work laptop to the home desk started cramping my setup. Sitting in front of messy wires and disorganization began making me feel cluttered and unproductive while stuck WFH. The Twelve South BackPack helped me start getting organized and less distracted.

Twelve South BackPack

With a desktop full of gadgets, my home desk can become a bit of a nightmare during high trafficked times. Just looking at it now, I have two keyboards, two mice, one trackpad, four iOS device mounts, fan, lamp, iMac, mounted external  monitor, external hard drive, and a few extra cables laying around to ensure I can charge a USB-C device, Lightning device, or micro USB device.

When being forced to work from home, I needed to get things a littler tidier, because I’m now spending 50+ hours per week at my home desk, which was usually no more than about 5 hours per week. Being a little unkempt was fine when my home desk was not the place I was really getting serious work accomplished.

BackPack is simply a little aluminum shelf for the back of your iMac or Apple Cinema Display. It is one of Twelve South’s first products, dating back more than ten years. Perhaps a little overstated, but it is shocking how much cleaner my desk feels, just getting things off the surface and tucking away more cables.

I use a 4TB Seagate portable drive as my TimeMachine backup for the iMac. Because the drive requires two USB-A connections from a proprietary Seagate cable, I could not otherwise hide a longer third party cable. The best I could do was lay the drive beside the iMac stand or place it on the iMac stand. It’s not really in the way, but it isn’t ‘clean.’

Using BackPack, there is now a shelf right above the iMac stand’s circular cable management hole. Atop, the Seagate drive fits perfectly and I can easily hide and route the cable completely behind the iMac stand.

I am also using the Twelve South StayGo USB-C hub to keep my MacBook Pro connected properly while WFH. To keep all of the laptop cables hidden out of the way (see example below), but still easily accessible, the StayGo is stacked on top of the external HDD. I have all of those cables velcro tied to the BackPack’s cable management slots and then routed under my desk over to the MacBook Pro. This is a good time to mention my desk faces a wall and you can’t see anything behind the iMac.

Twelve South BackPack shows cable management

BackPack comes with four pegs that screw into the surface where necessary to keep all of your tech from accidentally slipping off. Additionally, the shelf comes with multiple plastic inserts to ensure it can be mounted higher, or lower, on a variety of iMac screen sizes. No, the clips do not damage your iMac.

One thing Twelve South does not advertise on their site is the ability to flip the shelf over and install it upside down on the front of your iMac stand. It will fit perfectly between the bottom of the stand and the bottom of the monitor. This gives you easy access to whatever you store on the shelf, right below the monitor. Honestly, I’d love to have one mounted on the back and a second mounted in the front facing position.

Conclusion

There is a little room for improvement. It is quite expensive for the fact it is just a tiny shelf for the back of your display. However, the all aluminum design and custom fit does help justify some of the cost. It is a little small. I’d love for it to have a larger or wider footprint to store more things. The shelf is .79″ heigh by 7″ wide by 3.9″ deep, giving you approximately 28 square inches of surface space… which is roughly good for a portable external HDD to lay flat. There is a weight limit recommendation of no more than 3.5 pounds. Check out the manual.

It seems overstated until you have it all setup, but the BackPack is doing wonders for hiding my gadgets and keeping wires tucked away and out of sight. Being able to simplify my working station has allowed me to focus more on my work and makes sitting here all the more productive.

I just can’t get real work done in a messy environment. I find it distracting, like someone talking too loudly in the background. Getting things tidied up, especially the wires, the hub and the external drive, make the desktop much more attractive, less cluttered, and therefore less distracting. I appreciate Twelve South sending it over for review!

Currently on sale for $34.99, it is a great addition to keep things in place.