Travelling Photographers: More Packing Stuff

In GEAR, Travel by David8 Comments

I know, for a guy who’s always going on and on about the dangers of gear lust, I’m suspiciously inconsistent. But what’re you gonna do, right?

I leave for India in 12 days. So here’s some visual aids re. my packing for this coming trip. I put my Pocket Wizard on my G9 and fired a couple strobes off a wall into my office. The G9 continues to impress me. But this isn’t about that…

Here’s my total kit heading out for 7+ weeks.


Checked: Stormcase, Mountain Hardwear Expedition Duffle
Carry On: Think Tank Airport Security, Think Tank Urban Disguise 60

Here’s how my Airport Security is packed


All the gear below goes into the A.S. while my laptop, Canon G9, and personal items go into the Urban Disguise. I won’t bore you with breaking that one down. Non-essential photography gear is packed into the Stormcase. See below for a complete breakdown. I have removed all padded dividers from my main bag, except the ones separating my cameras. The padded Think Tank Modular bags pad my other gear. Dividers just weigh things down and make packing less flexible.


My Think Tank A.S. carries:

2 x Canon 5D bodies, 5 lenses: 70-200/2.8L, 80/1.2L, 50/1.4, 17-40/4.0L (not shown), 24-70/2.8L, hoods for all, 1 xEF-12 extension tube, 80GB CF Lexar CF cards in 2 x Think Tank Pixel Pocket Rockets, 250 GB Colorspace O, Polaroid POGO, Blackrapid RS-1 R-straps, 2 x 250 OWC Firewire drives in David Honl Gear wraps, Canon Remote trigger, 2 Think Tank Modular Pouches each with 1 Canon charger and 4 BP-511A batteries, 1 Hoodman Loupe, 2 Think Tank Cable Management 10 clear pouches with Lexar card readers, Apple AC cable, misc accessories, sensor brushes, etc. Back right are the Modular and Skins pouches for transporting the lenses. I work out of these on arrival.

And in each of the others:

In my hard case – Sierra Designs sleeping bag, Pocket Wizards, Canon 580EX strobe, Gitzo Basalt Tripod and Head, ziploc bags containing meal bars and granola bars, first aid and sterile sharps kit.

In my duffle bag – Personal Clothing, Down Jacket, rain gear, trekking boots, toiletries, 5-in-1 reflector (large), 1 Mountain Hardwear day pack, Think Tank Steroid Belt and 2 Digital Holsters, tool/repair kit, extra plug adaptors and power bar.

For a complete packing list, check in on Monday.

A word about carry on luggage. It is impossible for me to carry on my important gear and still be under the so-called legal limit. If it is demanded that I check my A.S. bag – which is legal for domestic but not international flights – I’d put everything important into my Urban Disguise, switching the personal gear and the shooting gear, and sling my camera over my shoulder. The rule is – if I need it to shoot or stay alive (insulin), it doesn’t leave me. Ever. But thus far I’ve never been so much as asked to weigh my carry-on. For more on packing and flying as a photographer be sure to check in with FlyingWithFish.


  1. Funny how much that looks like my gear. Hmm, must know some of the same sponsors 😉

    I have had my hand carried weighed twice. But only in Europe. Never flying through or in Asia. So, I think we are safe.

  2. Great post and a HUGE help. I too saw echoes of The Digital Trekker; it’s a very clever system you guys’ve got.

  3. Interesting. I have used the ThinkTank Urban Disguise 50 for my last 3 trips (including recently in Vancouver)

    It works great for travel and carries my laptop, camera, a couple lens and necessary accessories. I’ve been happy with it but I do find the bag much heavier (even when empty) then others. I also feel that it doesn’t take much stuff in the front pockets to make the bag feel really bulky. That said, still the best I’ve seen for a laptop/SLR combo.

    Heavy but durable and more comfortable wearing with the laptop on the outside. They can hold a fair amount.

    This trip I was asked to weight my carry on. The UD50 packed was 20.5 lbs (pretty close to the 22lbs limit).

  4. I have never been allowed more than one carry-on when exiting India. The last time even my carry-on was said to be overweight and I had to fill out a lot of paperwork and pay about 20.00 for it to be allowed as carry-on. This was out of Mumbai.

  5. Pingback: For The Curious: PDF Packing List Posted | PixelatedImage Blog

  6. Dave –
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful information. I’m curious to know, once you’ve settled down and have unpacked, do you use the Think Tank Urban Disguise 60 as your everyday, this is what I need for today, bag?
    Much appreciate your ideas on this topic.

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