Q&A – Travel with Photo Gear

September 23, 2010 19 Comments »

Travel with excessive photo gear!

This week a friend and I are actually traveling on a ‘hi-speed’ roadtrip through the National Parks of the Southwest. We are stopping at major photography sites such as Death Valley, Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, Hoover Dam, and Antelope Canyon to name a few. My friend is a photography enthusiast so as you can guess our rental car is full of photography gear!

Doing a simple one week road trip with camera gear is pretty easy compared to how I normally travel (remote countries on a tight budget). When traveling by rental car, I always have a place to lock away my equipment, I don’t have to carry it all with me and only take what I need at a particular site.

A couple of months ago I had a question from a reader of Ottsworld about how I travel with my photography gear. It was a great question and I’m guessing more of you out there may want to know the answer – so in honor of my National Parks photography road trip, I thought I’d feature it in Q&A this week!

Q: From Jason
I’m a newcomer to the career break world, I’ve wanted to do this for many years, but it wasn’t until now that it became a real possibility. I’m very excited about it. Like you, I have a passion for photography. I plan on taking advantage of the opportunity to enjoy this photo hobby of mine as much as possible, of course.

My question is: how do you transport your photo gear? I know you use a backpack for all else; but do you typically carry a separate day-pack/bag for your camera and lenses / tripod / whatever?

Basically, I’d hate the chance of being forced to check in my photo gear on a flight! But at the same time, I’m thinking it may be difficult to move around with a big back, plus another smaller backpack with photo gear.

As for transporting my gear – my gear consists of my DSLR, 3 lenses, cards, battery recharger, sometimes a flash, sometimes filters, and a point and shoot camera that does video. Plus my macbook, iphone, and a card reader and backup 500 G drive.
I NEVER check any of this stuff- I always carry it on – I’m way too paranoid!

Carrying everything and still a hand free for a cup of coffee

I have a couple of different methods depending on how long I’m traveling for. On an around the world trip for a year – I have a rolling suitcase for my clothes, a daypack for my laptop/books/etc, and my camera case that I sling across my chest. That way I can carry everything. I always carry-on the backpack and the camera case on the plane.

My backpack (daypack) is AWESOME – great for the techie gear – It’s a Brenthaven Expandable Trek Laptop Backpack

It actually will fit my laptop plus my camera and lenses (in their cases) if I want – it still has room for a couple of books and other small travel stuff though.  When I do fill it up and carry it on, it is most certainly over weight restrictions – but I’ve never been asked to weight it!

My camera case is very simple – like this one – Tamrac 515 Compact Zoom Pack (Black) Then I simply hang my lenses (or flash or filters) off the sides of this holster and remove then when I don’t want to take them with me. I love this holster concept and just add the pieces you want to the sides – it’s perfect for me when I don’t want to take everything, but at the same time it can easily accommodate a camera and 2 lenses off the sides.

No airline has ever stopped me for taking a backpack and the camera case as a carry on – not sure why – but it has worked for 4 years!

How do other people out there carry their photo equipment?

Camera Gear

Getting the shot at Horseshoe bend this week!

To view the shot of Horseshoe bend that I was risking my life for…check out my Photo of the Week!

Please send more questions that you want to ask me about my travels or living abroad – I’m always happy to answer them!

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