“What the %#*! Electronics am I going to bring on this trip??”

This is usually the first thing out of my mouth when I start thinking of what we are going to pack for our latest adventure.

Deb is usually concerned over all of those non important things like Visa’s, Shots, Banking etc. But it is I who dares to ask this dreaded question that plagues every photographer before they jump on that plane and head to the next destination. Well maybe not everyone but me for sure. Technology changes so much I am always chomping at the bit for the latest greatest on the market. Unfortunately I am limited to a budget so it narrows down the choices. Like anyone I would love to spend 10,000 on the best gear as long as someone else is paying for it. But alas the funds must come from my coffers so money is an issue.

The theme for our electronics on this adventure is “Change it up”.


Panasonic GH1

First on the list was a new Digital camera. Most of you know that I take my photography very seriously so making the decision to leave my Canon kit at home was not made lightly. I have always found that having all that gear is great on a short trip, but on an adventure like we are undertaking I needed something more compact and lightweight.  After many hours of research and discussion I bit the bullet and bought the Panasonic GH1 with the 14-140mm lense. Now I have never used a micro four thirds camera before but what better way to dive into a new format and see how it performs than to put it through it’s paces in central Asia for a year or more. The GH1 is lightweight, small and got great reviews. It also can double as a video camera if I want. But video is another category all together.

I will be giving updates from my photography website www.picturetheplanet.com (still in the works) supported with images to let everyone know how this camera is performing on the road so stay tuned. Well on to the next piece of electronics the Video camera…

No matter what adventure we are taking on it has always been important to document it through video. We have experimented with many different types of camera’s ans formats ans still have not found the best one. So keeping with the theme of changing things up for this adventure we decided to try a new brand and format.

Sanyo Xacti HD 2000

Sanyo Xacti HD 2000

We went with the Sanyo Xacti HD2000. Now this video camera looks more like a Philishave Electric razor, but it has all the features we are looking for. It is small, compact, easy to use and full HD. It also takes 8mp still images so it can double as a snappy camera as well. The image quality is great with it’s CMOS sensor and it has simple yet effective in camera controls.

This will be the first time we are using a camera that records only on SDHC memory cards. We have used Mini DV tapes in the past so it is a little nerve racking knowing that it is all on a memory card and nothing tangible like a tape. We’ll see how that goes.

All of our electronics will be put through their paces like high altitude, cold temperatures, extreme heat, deserts etc. If any company wanted their products tested well this is the the adventure they should send them on(wink, wink).

With all of our digital media being recorded on memory cards the next consideration is storage. Where do you store a year or more worth of images and video?

For starters we are bringing 2 external hard drives that total 500gb in storage. These are also really small and compact(is there a theme here??). The 2 drives should look after the immediate need for storage as well I upgraded the drive in our Mac Book Pro to a 500gb giving us a grand total of 1TB to download all of our video and stills.

External HD

External HD

We are also looking into online storage for later down the road and of coarse I will be backing up all images on DVD and mailing them home as another form of backup.

Editing on the road is also an integral part of producing great quality images and video. For this we will be bringing 2 Laptops. The Powerbook G4 which Deb will be using for writing, and the Macbook Pro which we will use for all of our editing needs.

Macbook Pro

Macbook Pro

Now here is where we veer away from the theme a little bit. We are very familiar with our computers and have used them extesively for editing and everything else, so lets say these are our electronic security blankets.

As you can see we are Apple junkies so what Mac equipment list wouldn’t be complete without the IPhone. This truly is a step into new territory for both of us. We have used a phone overseas only very sparingly while in Africa last year, but found it indespensible when setting up meetings and interviews back home and abroad. So why not bring one that is more than just a phone it is a way of life :-) With translators, GPS, maps, Skype and a host of other apps we hope that it will help to make traveling and blogging a little more easier.

IPhone 3g 16gb

IPhone 3g 16gb

So in conclusion, are electronics a Burden or a Blessing? In my opinion they can be a bit of both. If you let them weigh you down and take over your travel experience, then yes they are a burden, but if you use them o compliment your experiences then they certainly can be a blessing.

Just remember: The joy of traveling is not defined  just by the experiences you have on the road, but also by sharing them with the world around you. By giving others an insight into the countries that you travel in you bring them closer to understanding different worlds and cultures. And in the end, isn’t that what traveling is all about??

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  1. Alan

    I have the same external HD! Whoo hoo!

    I bring a small Dell laptop (through work), a BlackBerry Pearl (also through work), and at the moment, a Canon Powershot to take photos. I’d like to bring a bigger camera, but since I have to run around so much during the day, I like the portability of a smaller camera. Hoping to test out a Flip HD soon!
    .-= Alan´s last blog ..Sunday’s Idea v1 =-.

    1. davendeb

      Awesome that you have the same hardrive. I guess we made the right decision! I agree about the smaller camera, that is why we downsized from the SLR to the Panasonic. We should see a huge difference not having to lug around the heavy body and extra lenses.

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  3. Trisha

    Great post – I have a Flip Mino but that Sanyo Xacti HD looks pretty cool (and tempting!) – I may have to get one……I think once you get used to the SD cards you’ll love them way more than the mini DV tapes….and of course I don’t go ANYWHERE without my MacBook Pro and iPhone :) :)
    .-= Trisha´s last blog ..Balancing Keywords and Content =-.

    1. davendeb

      Hi Trisha, Great to hear that we are going to love the SD cards thanks for the words of encouragement. Love to see other Mac users out there, I am just lost on PC’s (this is Deb speaking not Dave) We will keep you posted on how we like everything.

  4. davendeb

    @Robbin I think the best pack I have used is the Lowepro CompuTrekker AW. It is set up perfectly to handle all of your gear and if you need more room the Comutrekker plus is just as good.

    1. davendeb

      Hi Robbin, it is the regular pack. But for walking through the market, we normally just use something that will blend in. Keep a small case for the camera and then throw it in any bag. This time we are using our Saloman adventure racing backpacks. We are keeping our cameras in a soft case (since we have downsized) inside the packs. We have a hard case for the computers and our bags don’t look like the type of bags that carry electronics at all. So we won’t stand out (at least we hope) Good luck and let us know if you have any more questions.

    2. davendeb

      Hi Robbin, Dave had a great recommendation as well. I answered for him, so when he gets back in town, I will have him answer you. We however have downsized quite a bit and are not using a camera gear specific case this time. But I will have him get back to you tonight. Akila also had a great recommendation. Good luck!

  5. Shannon OD

    That little video camera looks really neat – I agree with Trisha, I just might have to look into that :-) I think that you guys have struck a nice balance of technology here :-) I can’t wait to see how the iPhone goes for you – is it a regular one or a cracked one?
    .-= Shannon OD´s last blog ..a little review…ah, saturday =-.

    1. davendeb

      Hey Shannon, We shall see if we struck a balance or not with our electronics and gadgets. At least everything is small so that is a plus. We will keep you posted. Our packing of clothes is lacking I must admit:)

    1. davendeb

      Hi Amy, We have unlocked our phone and we are going to by sim cards as we go. We know that in India, we can buy a data plan on the pay as you go cards. We will definitely be blogging extensively about how the iphone and electronics are working out.

  6. Audrey

    I’m with you on bringing two laptops and making sure you have the equipment you need to properly document your journey. Everyone tells us we’re crazy to carry two laptops with us on our trip, but we joke that it helps to save our marriage :) An added “benefit” of sending backup DVDs is the cultural experience of post offices around the world. They are not all as efficient as back home…but nothing has gotten lost yet. I look forward to seeing the output of all this equipment when you get started on your journey!
    .-= Audrey´s last blog ..7 Treks That Made Us Gasp =-.

    1. davendeb

      Hi Audrey. I love hearing that you carry two laptops. You two have been traveling so long and running an amazing blog so we know that it must work! Yes, it will be scary sending DVD’s home. We sent slides home from Thailand years ago and held our breath. But they made it luckily. We are definitely going to look into online storage too.

  7. Nora

    Nice list! I’ll be taking a closer look at your video camera (nice and small!)….and again with the iPhone…it keeps nagging me to own one….but I also find carrying too much technology to be stressful – I’m not comfortable leaving it in rooms etc most of the time, but sometimes I just want to go out touring without an entire backpack full of laptops/cameras/external HDs/cords/etc/etc/etc.

    I’d almost rather carry crappy phones and other “disposable” technological devices that won’t break my heart to see broken/stolen/damaged.

    How do you guys cope with carrying all your gadgets on the road?
    .-= Nora´s last blog ..A Week-In-The-Life of Corbett: Free Pursuits =-.

    1. davendeb

      Hi Nora, I agree with you. It can be daunting carrying all of those electronics around. for the first time, we bought a Pacsafe PacSafe Backpack
      . So if we stay in any dodgy places, we can lock our packs to the bedpost and leave our electronics behind. We aren’t going to use it regularly, because I think that it just screams “I have something valuable in my pack” but I think that it will give us piece of mind. I will let you know if and when we use it.
      We also think that the pacsafe will be good for trains. I have woken up in the middle of the night and caught people checking out my bags, so to lock them up might be a good idea sometimes.

  8. Akila

    This really gets me thinking that I need to post my electronics gear list soon. We use the Kata DR-467 digital rucksack to hold all our electronics gear. It’s a heavy pack but I really love it. We looked at the Computrekker bag too but didn’t feel like it would be as secure. If you haven’t purchased it yet, look into the Kata bag. It’s really a good one.

    As far as SD cards, we are madly in love the SanDisk SD cards. If you haven’t purchased them yet, consider buying one. They are way faster and better than any other SD card we’ve tried.
    .-= Akila´s last blog ..the whitsunday magic: semi-magical =-.

    1. davendeb

      Hi Akila, thanks for the info. We used to use the SanDisk SD as well and they were great. Now that we have switched formats, we are using the SDHC cards by PNY. SanDisk makes these as well, but PNY is much cheaper and just as fast. They are the same rate speed.
      Great to know about the Kata DR-467. Since we have downsized everything, we don’t need anything fancy anymore. Our day packs can hold everything and the hard case for our Macbook was excellent in Africa. It kept out desert sand and survived being thrown from the roofs of trucks with bags piled on top. Highly recommended and quite compact and form fitting. We are carrying our macs in them and then they can go anywhere with out looking too conspicuous.

  9. Anil

    I don’t travel without a laptop, period. I also have a range of gadgets on me at any given time although I don’t like to overdo it. One thing I always have are a number of cords and cables that come in handy – USB connectors, ethernet cables, and audio/video connections plus a few others. Ok, I’m a traveling nerd but think that technology on the whole can be a great enhancement for travelers.
    .-= Anil´s last blog ..Adventures On The Road, Imagine: A Vagabond Story =-.

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  11. The Travel Tart

    Hi Dave and Deb, I face the same dilemma when I go travelling. I must admit, I’ve upgraded to the SLR and I will never go back to a compact camera simply because of the speed and image quality offered by the SLR.

    With regards to other technology, there are sometimes limitations such as internet speed in 3rd world countries (most of the gadgets would be useless in some parts of Africa), but it’s all about compromise.

    I try to keep my backpack weight down to about 12-13 kilos, which means more room for gadgets and more recycling of clothes ;-)

    Some people can go overboard with gadgets as well, such as The ‘Gadget Geek’ Personality Type whcih appeared in my post about ‘Travel Personalities Explained’


    Anyway. happy travels!
    .-= The Travel Tart´s last blog ..The Top 10 Signs That You’re Caught in a Tourist Trap =-.

  12. Gourmantic

    After a hectic 5 week long trip, I cursed the electronics then we kissed and made up. The laptop was invaluable, and so was the external hard drive (same brand as yours) not just for back ups but for when I almost ran out of hard drive capacity on the laptop!

    You’re brave for leaving the Canon equipment behind. I took a long zoom lens as well as 2 other lenses but it only got used 3 times. While it was worth it, I may invest in an all in one zoom (shudder) for the next trip.

    I look forward to reading about the iPhone and how you can out it to use during your trip.

    Please accept my heartfelt thank you for all your visits, comments, tweets and recommendations while I was travelling. I was very touched! Internet time was very limited so I couldn’t reply or return the favours. Thanks again for your encouragement and support :)
    .-= Gourmantic´s last blog ..Tweeting the Trip =-.

    1. davendeb

      @gourmantic Thanks for stopping by. I understand that it is difficult to get to the Internet while traveling. That is our fear as well. That we are going to lose touch with a lot of people, but we are going to do our best to stay in contact!
      We will keep you posted on the electronics and camera’s and how everything is working out.

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