So what does a person blog about when they are about to leave on an extended travel? What to Pack of Course
Each time we go away, we always get a little better at packing, organizing and planning an itinerary. After over a decade of travel, you'd think we'd be experts, but we're always learning and evolving. Electronics is something that keep changing regularly as it's almost impossible to keep up to the list.
So, let's talk a little about what we used to carry and what we still carry.
If you have been following along for the past year and a half, you will know that last year we downsized our camera gear and bought a Panasonic GH1 with the 14-140mm lense. This micro four thirds camera is lightweight, small and got great reviews. It also can double as a video camera. We think it is an excellent camera for people to use for their travels and highly recommend it.
While we are keeping our GH1, Dave has gone back to his traditional photography gear. I now get to play with the Panasonic.
What did Dave Change to?
The Canon 5D Mark II – Having always been a Canon guy, he is happy to be back to the full digital SLR camera body. Looking forward to testing out the video and the full image sensor which is a big change from his previous crop sensors of the Panasonic and his old Canon DSLR.
Canon EOS Rebel T3i 18 MP – We are bringing a second body for the first time in our travels. This one has a crop sensor so it allows Dave's lenses to have a longer reach. Plus it is smart to have a second body in case the Canon 5D MK II fails for some reason.
Dave has had it for a while but never had the benefit of using the full 16 mm wide angle as he used it on a crop sensor. This is a super sharp lens that is excellent for vast landscape photography.
This is a heavy lens, but Canons most reliable and widely used lenses by professional photographers. Dave has wanted this lens for years and we finally bit the bullet to invest in a quality lens that will be a part of his kit for years to come.
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II
After the huge investment in Camera body and a new lens, we opted for the cheaper version of the 50 mm as opposed to the 50 m 1.4. The 1.8 is only $139 and it is ultra light. It is actually Canons lightest and shortest lens that they offer. Next year we will up grade to the 1.4, but for now, this 50 mm lens will do the trick.
We will still use our Sanyo Xacti HD 2000 video camera that we bought last year, but the GH1 and Canon have incredible video quality also. We are concerned because the GH1 shoots in a different format than both the Canon and Sanyo making editing more difficult.
Rode VideoMic Pro VMP Shotgun Microphone – We really want to invest in lapel mics down the road, but right now we are very happy with the Rode VIdeo Mic shotgun Microphone. When we bought this one, the guy behind the counter said that it is taking over the industry leader Sennheiser. Sound is very important when making videos and we have been extremely satisfied with the sound quality of this microphone. It's done well in the Canadian winter so we think it will do well in the Antarctica. What we like, it's suspension system separating the VideoMic Pro capsule and electronics from its mount, providing isolation from external physical factors causing rumble and vibrations in the microphone.
External Light – Our new Sanyo video camera doesn't have night vision. We attach an external light for night time shots and dim lighting.
Point and Shoot – We are still using our cheap Vivitar camera that we bought in Namibia. This thing is as cheap as it gets, but it is a workhorse. It has survived the Holi Festival in India, deserts on two continents, humidity and other abuse, but it keeps on ticking. We haven't had a need to buy another point and shoots and I guess we will keep on using this until it finally stops.
Tarmac Camera Bag – The aero speed pack 75 dual access photo pack is another new purchase. We sold our older cumbersome lowepro photo bag and moved to this more aerodynamic camera/computer bag. It has the option of being a backpack or an over the shoulder bag and everything fits perfectly into it. It even has a large compartment to carry anything from a jacket to a wallet and passport. Oh, yeah, the Tarmac was an excellent purchase.
Messanger Bag – I will be using an over the shoulder messenger bag with computer sleeve. I decided to go for a larger shoulder bag to carry my Panasonic GH1, my computer, journal and the rest of my travel gear.
Monopod – I wasn't thrilled with the camera shake that happened when using the Sanyo. It's grip wasn't suited to stablization and I found that a lot of our footage from India, Nepal and Sri Lanka was un-useable. So we are hoping to fix the problem by using a monopod more often. We are also looking to add some weight to the bottom of the camera by attaching a handle grip. This should help reduce the shake.
Compact Tripod – We used this last year and loved it. It can easily be carried on treks and fit easily in a backpack or camera bag. A tripod is a must for travel photography especially for low light and night time shooting.
The Rest of the List…
- A 1 Terrabite Lacie Rugged Drive– it is lightweight, small and durable.
- A couple of thumbnail drives – to share documents and bring to the Internet Cafe if needed.
- 1 WD Passport – This is another lightweight and compact hard drive . We store our videos on this one.
Belkin Mini Surge – This is a must for anyone travelling. The Belkin protects electronincs from power surges, it charges several electronics at a time and it also has two USB ports to charge iPhones and Ipod touches.
Adapter Kit – You can't travel to several countries without an adapter kit. Each destination is different and you need to have a good set because it is difficult to find them when you are in the country.
Power Bar – We use a power bar because many times the power outlets are in awkward locations on the wall. I don't know why, but many times they are high on the wall. So the powerbar gives some length and something stable for the Belkin to plug into. The two work well together.
iPhone – We love our iphone. Each country that we go to, we buy a sim card with data plan and we can text, skype and surf the Internet. We also have a world sim card to make emergency phone calls or use Google maps when we first land before we have time to get . Our favourite it GoSim. When we are at a cafe with free wifi, we can easily check email without having to lug along our computers.