In a few days time, I am heading off on whats sure to be the most challenging, exciting, rewarding and stressful time of my career. I will be traveling for 20 of the next 26 weeks, not consecutively thankfully. Consisting of 11 countries, 4 states in Australia and over 35 flights.
Two weeks ago I got back from the second round of the ARC in Western Australia. If you have been following me on here or on facebook, you will see what an amazing trip I had, visiting some of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen.
Lets get dusty.
My photography mates and Brenda (my partner) constantly hassle me for being the person who packs more than what they need (ref to my previous packing blog entry for ARC trip), then takes backups of everything, and backups of the backups. Just in case. The ‘just in case’ has never happened.
The big challenge for me on this trip is condensing everything into just a few bags and sticking to some sort of weight allowance. My biggest problem is this – my trip starts in Argentina, then Portugal, Spain, Italy, then back home. In amongst those 4 locations I have a total of 22 flights, connecting and internal, from big 747’s to single propeller flights (just kidding). I’m governed by the flight with the least baggage allowance, being my flight home from Rome, via Cathay Pacific. On my flight out of Australia I am flying Qantas and they allow 2 x 32kg bags for Qantas club members. Wow I was in heaven when I found this out! Hell, I could fit Brenda in one … she doesn’t weigh much more than that. Of course, the problem is, Cathay is my lowest weight allowance (20kg). So, bearing this in mind, clothing had to be kept to a minimal, lightweight Northface pants that also double as shorts, shirts made of lightweight material, instead of a long sleeve shirt, I have cycling sleeves, lightweight ankle socks, a Northface jumper, and a big Winter jacket that I can wear on the plane, then dump it in the overhead locker.
I found a great duffel bag by Osprey (Transporter 95L) for my checked bag, this thing weighs nothing, folds up into itself, and actually fits closer to 110-120L. This will mainly carry clothes, a second pair of shoes, a few misc items and generally anything I don’t need to take as carry-on. I opted for the duffel, over a traditional suitcase or roller bag, because the duffel is so lightweight, which means I already save 2-4kg just on the bag weight itself. I also picked up some Kathmandu gear and their line of packing cubes. These packing cubes are awesome, it means I can have all my little sections of clothes in different compartments and I don’t need to pull everything out of the bag to find something, not to mention they weigh next to nothing.
Here is what I have as seen above in the Osprey Transporter 95L.
Going clockwise from the Osprey Bag.
1. Osprey Transporter 95L
2. Kathmandu Large Packing cube which has my Rain jacket and wet weather gear
3. 3 x Medium Kathmandu packing cubes with shirts, pants, jeans, dress shirt, jumper
4. 1 x Kathmandu small packing cube with the ThinkTankPhoto Modular system Pro Speed belt and Pixel Racing Harness™ V2.0
5. Dakine Sequence backpack which is mainly a day pack
6. Kathmandu toiletries kit
7. 3 x ThinkTankPhoto Modular system pouches
8. 1 pair of runners
9. small Kathmandu soft pouch with Go Pro housings
10. LensPen cleaning kit with lens clothes, LensPen etc
11. Military Poncho
12. 1 pair of Merrell Mens Chameleon II Leather Kangaroo/Boa Grey (I love these shoes, this is my 5th pair)
13. 3 Legged Thing Brian Carbon Fibre Tripod
A few items missing from the picture.
– Leatherman OHT Multi-Tool
– Go Pole extendable Go Pro pole
– AA and Canon 1D Battery chargers
– Overseas power adapters
– Small roll of Gaffa tape
– Gloves, Balaclava and 2 beanies
Now for my carry-on camera bags. Whilst I have 3 ThinkTankPhoto rollers and love them, and use them the most out of all my bags, for this trip, I wanted to make sure the bags I did take I could also use in the field, this meant the rollers would be useless, so my Lowepro Pro Trekker 400 was the bag of choice for my main carry-on and most of my gear. I really like this bag, it has endless pockets where I can stuff anything, has quite a bit of padding, maybe a little to much, ergonomically feels great and being a big guy, means that when I carry the bag it actually doesn’t look that big, meaning less attention, meaning GOOD!!. I have managed to cram in a lot, even my underwear and socks in the side pockets. I chose the ThinkTank Urban Disguise 60 V2 for my laptop and a few other lenses. Big thanks to the awesome folk at ThinkTank who helped me out. They also set me up with the modular system, pro speed belt and harness. The UB60 is quite the bag and will fit sooooo much stuff without it looking oversized.
ThinkTank Urban Disguise 60 V2 and contents.
1. ThinkTank Urban Disguise 60v2
2. 1 x 1TB Western Digital Hard Drive for Time Machine backup
3. 4 x 2TB Western Digital Hard Drives
4. Garmin GPS & Powerbank Battery pack in the Incase soft pouch
5. Macbook Pro 15′ Retina
6. Click Elite Traveler
7. Ram Mount mounts for phone holder, GPS holder in the soft pouch
8. Canon 16-35mm 2.8 II L
9. ThinkTank Modular Pouch
10. ThinkTank Organiser with Cables, 2 x Lexar USB 3.0 Card Readers
11. Canon 35mm 1.4 L
12. Canon 70-200mm 2.8 IS II L
13. Apple Trackpad
14. Canon ST-E3
15. 1 x Manfrotto Table top tripod
16. Canon 300mm 2.8L IS
And I still have more room, I could probably fit another flash or even a Canon 1D MarkIV.
There is also a ThinkTank PixelPocket Rocket in there somewhere with 11 Sandisk Extreme Pro 16mb CF Cards.
I am also taking the Clik Elite Traveler (top right corner), its relatively small and will carry anything I need on the flight and movement around airports, with so many flights I need something small that can be by my side at all time, and if I need to I can easily attach it to the backpack or hide it under my jacket.
1. Olympus OMD EM-1
2. Olympus 12mm 2.0
3. Olympus 12-40mm 2.8
4. Olympus 75mm
5. iPad Mini
7. Documents etc
8. Attached to CLik Elite Traveler is my neck pillow
9. Misc items
Below is my Lowepro Pro Trekker with gear completely packed, opened to see contents then laid out showing everything.
The Bag completely packed. (above)
Unzipped and open to show its content. (above)
All unpacked. (above)
The following items are in the bag.
Left side of the Lowerpro Pro Trekker 400
1. (Top left) Dehydration satchels for my flights
2. Giotto Rocket Blower
3. 3 x Canon 1D spare batteries
4. 2 x Go Pro Suction Mounts
5. Kathmandu soft pouch with 1 x Go Pro Hero 3+ Black and 1 x Hero 3 Black, along with a few accessories
6. Mountain Bike sleeves
Right of the bag Lowepro Trekker 400
7. 2 x Kathmandu Packing cubes, 1 has all my socks and the other my underwear, they go in the side pockets of the back
8. Kathmandu large towel, again this goes in the side pocket
9. 2 x Canon 1 DX
10. 2 x Canon 600EX Speedlites
11. Canon 24-70mm 2.8 II L
12. Canon 14mm 2.8 L
13. Canon TC-80N3 intervalometer
14. 2 x Pocket Wizard Remote Cables
15.Lens Hoods for 24-70, 16-35 and 35mm which are both in my ThinkTankPhoto UB60v2
16. Manfrotto Magnesium Ball Head
17. 4 x Pocket Wizard Plus III triggers
18. Lee ND Filters and adapters
19. Mount for my GPS
20. Empty space is for my GPS which is updating maps at the moment 🙂
21. Toolkit with small screwdrivers, small flash light, allen keys
I also make sure in each bag I have my Asthma puffer so I don’t have remember it each time I go somewhere as I will always have one of the bags with me, a small satchel with Ibuprofen and Voltaren for any sort of pain relief and Zyrtec as I have developed hay fever.
And that’s it, that’s everything for 52 days abroad, I am surprised I managed to get everything I wanted to take packed away without to much hassle, lets see how I go lugging it all around ;).
Below is a shot of my office and how I was putting the gear shots together.