I’m headed to New Zealand tomorrow to teach a workshop with Photo Quest Adventures. As with every big trip the challenge of packing all that photo gear becomes an issue. If I am going on a backcountry assignment or in very remote areas, I bring more luggage to deal with packing and waterproofing my photo equipment (for a future post). But for hotel based trips, I have a pretty good system down.
I use two different sizes of the Lowepro Pro Rollers to pack my gear for the airplane. If I am carrying my Elinchrom Quadras for lighting, I use the Pro Roller x200. If I am using speedlights, then I use the x100. Both these bags fit into overheads on normal sized jets.
For New Zealand my flight begins with a small commuter jet with tiny overheads, so I know I will have to gate check my bag. I have gate checked my Pro Roller numerous time and never have had a problem. The hard sides keep gear protected, more so than if I gate checked my photo backpack. My laptop is in a separate shoulder bag, and my tripod is in my checked luggage.
Here is what I am bringing:
1 D3, 1 D300s, P7000, 14-24mm, 24-70mm, 45mm PC-E, 70-200mm, 1.4x converter, 1 SB900, 1 SU800, Singh-Ray polarizer, graduated ND, Vari-ND filters and 140 gigs of Sandisk flash cards. This all fits in my x100 Pro Roller. I also have a Lastolite Trigrip diffuser in my suitcase.
One great feature about the Pro Rollers is the softcase comes out of the hard shell, and carries like a backpack. This works great cruising around towns or on easy hikes. Since we are climbing on glaciers and on more rugged terrain, I put a Lowepro Flipside 400 backpack in my suitcase to use for hiking. I am bringing one suitcase around 45 pounds which has my clothes plus tripod, Flipside 400 and diffuser. To keep my suitcase weight down I wear mainly nylon clothes and lightweight synthetic jackets, similar to what I would wear on a backcountry trip. Keeping pack weight down in the backcountry applies to keeping suitcase weight down with normal travel.
Flash cards have come way down in price in the last year, so I carry more cards than ever. For this trip I will never reformat my cards since I think 140 gigs is plenty of space. They will be one source of my backed up images. I will also backup images on my laptop and use a portable viewer/drive like the Epson P7000. How many places to back up images is a personal choice, but I like to have my images in at least two different places.
Off to New Zealand!