Bag Man

You can tell from my latest blogs, I've got travel photography on my mind.  With several trips coming up in the next few months, I am planning which equipment to bring.  You don't want to leave anything behind.  This is always a problem because I prefer to bring everything.  And everything gets heavy. You're going to want a laptop to do some initial editing in the hotel; portable hard drives for backing up your photographs; chargers for camera batteries; card readers; cleaning gear; and weather protection.  When you get all that packed, don't forget your camera, lenses, flash, and something to carry them in.

Rome, ItalyOver the years, I've collected a few ways to tote my gear.  This really means I have a half-dozen camera bags. So, how do you choose one?  Sometimes, the answer is more than one.

For longer trips, I usually bring a big roller bag from tamrac on the airplane and pack a smaller backpack bag in my suitcase (fill it with clothes to conserve space).  The roller bag is the size and has the appearance of a carry-on suitcase.  It fits in the overhead of most jets.  When I get to my destination hotel, I can choose the gear I want to take and fit it into the smaller bag for the day's trip, leaving the rest of the gear in the hotel room.  This is bag I took to Alaska.  It held the big, rented 200-400mm zoom, in addition to my personal gear.  It weighed about 40 pounds, so the roller wheels and handle really mattered.

camera bag, travelFor more local trips, I'll take either my big Tenba backpack or my medium Kata bag.  Both can hold a laptop and/or iPad, with my camera, main lenses, and various photographic paraphernalia.  I can put the long 70-200mm on the camera and put the other lenses in the pockets. The bags easily fit in the jet overheads or back seat of a vehicle.  Lately, I lean to the Kata because the Tenba teases me into carrying so much gear, it gets too heavy for comfort.

My current favorite camera bag is the KataFor a photowalk, I have a small tamrac bag that holds just a couple of lenses, with room left over for batteries and extra memory cards.  The camera with another lens is hanging over my shoulder.  This is the most comfortable, of course, and you'll usually know which lenses you'll want for the photowalk.

This all works for me in the US, but going overseas can require one additional storage device.  In many countries, they'll weigh your carry-on bag.  This is never a good thing for me since even the medium Kata can easily get to 25 pounds.  So, for my upcoming trip to Europe, I'll be sporting the highly-fashionable photo vest, designed by tamrac.

The photo vest can still come in handyBelieve it or not, what you are carrying on your person is acceptable weight.  If you find your bag is over the allowed weight, you can just shift gear from the bag to your vest.  They'll give you the hairy eyeball, but let you board.  Of course, once you get on the plane, you just shift the gear from your vest to your bag, and store it in the overhead, as usual.  I'll happily wear a goofy vest if it keeps my camera gear out of the checked baggage.

Traveling with your gear doesn't have to worry you, especially if you prepare for the trip.  Whatever you carry, make sure it fits you well and protects your gear for the whatever trip you're embarking on.  Have a fun trip!

Blubberhouses, UK, church