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Advice on travel kit for trek/hike up to Machu Picchu

Discussion in 'Travel Tips and Discussion' started by everythingsablur, Apr 4, 2012.

  1. everythingsablur

    everythingsablur Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 4, 2010
    Toronto, ON
    Hi all,

    Been a long time since I've really frequented the forums regularly, but glad to see the community is still alive and bustling.

    My wife and I are going to hike up to Machu Picchu later this summer along the Inca Quarry Trail (out of classic Inca Trail permits for when we were able to be there). Need some advice on an appropriate travel kit to bring along.

    Current gear:
    • Panny GF1 with LVF1
    • 20mm f1.7
    • 14-140mm
    • 7-14mm f4
    • 3 batteries
    • FL-50 (got it cheap)
    • GorillaPod SLR Zoom tripod

    Just acquired:
    • Oly E-P3 with VF-2
    • 14-42mm II R
    • 2 batteries

    My wife and I learned over two weeks in Italy, Slovenia, and Croatia last year that we do not share a camera well and have very different tastes in lens choice (she likes the versatility of the superzoom), so I got the E-P3 (really quite cheap too) two have two bodies.

    Things I'm considering purchasing:
    • Hiking pole with camera mount (makeshift monopod)
    • Oly 45mm f1.8 (for portraits by camp light, and a second bright lens on the second body)
    • Another battery for the E-P3
    • FL-36R or FL-300R (trading/selling the FL-50, since I can trigger wireless flash now)
    • Probably something like a Crumpler Haven so I can carry gear inside a hiking backpack

    What do you guys think? Anything else I should add or drop? I am trying to be conscious of not carrying too much weight, so leaving things behind like a flash are totally viable.

    Any non-camera related advice for the trek up to MP and perhaps Huayna Picchu?
  2. Personally I'd bring it all, but probably minus the flash. Battery conservation is very important on micro 4/3 cameras when you are away from a charger for an extended period. Setting one of the function buttons to turn the screen off when you don't need it is a good idea.
  3. kinlau

    kinlau Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 29, 2012
    My wife and I learned a long time ago that we cannot share cameras and lenses. So basically, she's the photographer, and I'm the equipment manager :) 

    We're planning to do MP this September, and we've also done the Canadian Rockies. If you're not used to altitude, start going for some nice long walks _uphill_, you'll appreciate it in Peru. Make sure you make room for water.

    Right now, I'm thinking off bringing both a Canon 7d + 400/5.6, 11-16/2.8 in EOS mount, and then GH2, GF3, 100-300, 14-42z. There's lots of birding even at MP. normally I don't bother with UV filters, but Peru seems to need it. Definitely will need a cir PL.

    Edit: reading again, sounds like you're into hiking, so you'll have the hiking side down.
  4. songs2001

    songs2001 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 8, 2011
    I would get a chest pack, that attaches to the backpack straps in the front.

    Get a adapter for the gorilla pod to let you mount a flash. I would skip the 45 1.8 and go for some sort of macro, maybe a close up lens to keep the weight down.

    or maybe the 45 1.8 and a close up lens.
  5. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Definitely wouldn't bother with the flash, or tripod. A walking stick that can be used as a monopod is certainly a good idea.

    I'd sort of suggest going with 2 bodies that take the same batteries though. Simplifies things a fair bit. One of the advantages of the Pens is they all take the same batteries.

    Sounds like your wife will probably appreciate the 14-140. I'd certainly take the 7-14, 14-42 and 20 for UWA, walkaround and low-light respectively. The 45 depends more on what you like to shoot - the 40-150/45-200 are another option.

    Should be a fun trip. Enjoy!

  6. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    Sounds like it'll be an awesome trip! Congrats! Get ready for the high altitude. So make sure you get aclimated.

    Your gear looks good. I was going to suggest a superwide, but you already have that covered. Third battery is a good idea, specially if you or she uses the EVF a lot.

    Have fun!
  7. blaffendespin

    blaffendespin Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 28, 2012
    Rexburg, ID
    I'd bring it all - but ditch the flash and tripod. Sounds like a great trip! Enjoy!
  8. cmpatti

    cmpatti Mu-43 Veteran

    May 8, 2011
    Berkeley, CA
    I think you've already got it covered, except that I would buy several additional batteries. If recharging isn't an option, I'd have at least one per camera for each day. The rest depends on your shooting style. I use a lot of off-camera flash so my FL-36R is essential for me, but it might be just an anchor for someone else. I wouldn't go on any extended photography trip without some sort of tripod, but I hate monopods. Etc.
  9. tigermanrocks

    tigermanrocks New to Mu-43

    Aug 29, 2011
    OK dont listen to people saying take everthing. I did the inka trail itself and you get up to 13,800ft so light as it is I would keep it small unless you are one of those lightweights that only carries a water pack and gets the porters to take every ounce of other stuff!

    I took a compact as there was no such thing as M4/3 and an SLR was too big. The next comments relate to this as I cant comment on the views etc you will see. You only need max 4 days as its not in the back of beyond electric wise. so if you have two bodies then take them partly as a back up but also as you have extra batteries and can leave the chargers with whatever other stuff in Cusco. The lenses all inter change anyway :) 

    As to lenses, the scenery is stunning but you dont really need a massive zoom unless really into birding and I found it only one day without huge numbers. You do want to take it all in so a UWA is great. Fast glass is great in a camp, its up to you whether 45mm is too much but they do have lights so you will do OK with that F stop/ISO. Entering Macchu Pitchu itself if from the camp is in lower light, we had low cloud that cleared in a wonderful indiana jones style.

    If it was me (and Id love to go back) my choice based on weight would be:
    fast glass (I have 20mm but 45 might be OK)
    UWA (your panasonic if its not really prone to flare could be the daily walk around)
    sling style strap (I have blackrapid which allows it to hang out of the way, not putting weight on your neck)
    Kit zoom might also be a good lightweight idea but remember if you take it then that weight is carried at altitude and also in the more foiliage sections its a little humid so you dont want to be swapping lenses around.

    My take anyway but have a great time!!
  10. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I'd say travel light. When I go into the backcountry here (WA state) I like to travel as light as possible. I usually take a compact (so its no big loss if I lose it) but if I were to take my m43 I'd take a WA like the 14, and the 20. I'd take a lens hood (the 14 and the 20 can share) as the light at high latitude can pretty bright. extra batteries and extra SD cards. I'd also take a sling strap (I have a Black Rapid as well and its great for this kind of thing) an some ziploc bags if it's wet up there.
  11. everythingsablur

    everythingsablur Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 4, 2010
    Toronto, ON
    Thanks a lot everyone for the advice!

    We aren't really big hikers, but we aren't in terrible shape. We ran a half marathon in January, and while I haven't been training much since then, there's still plenty of time before we fly out in August to start hitting the gym again and rocking the stairmaster. :biggrin:

    I'm likely going to leave the flash at home unless I can sell/trade it for a FL-36R/300R and actually practice/find a use for off camera flash for the trip. I think I'd rather save that weight unless I know I'll make use of it (it also means more batteries!).

    If we do decide to take both bodies (i.e. wife agrees to carry her own camera :rofl: ), then most of the lenses will come as I can spread that "load" out between the both of us. The 14-140 would stay mated to one body, whereas I'd probably swap lenses every now and then (conditions permitting). The 7-14 is somewhat prone to flare seeing as it's got a really bulbous front element and not a very big fixed lens hood (which also precludes the use of any filters). I have an imitation R-strap (Q-strap) that works pretty well.

    I would have loved to have gone with a second body that shared the same battery, but the only thing that would have been was a used G2, which I wasn't crazy about. I've enjoyed my GF1 for years, but had always loved the look of Oly's, dating way back to my old C-3030 and E-10. I had an E-P2, but returned it at the wife's behest (too pricey compared to what I paid for the GF1, and she didn't like the grip).

    Do you think I would benefit for something longer than the 14-140?

    Any recommendations on hiking poles (with or without a camera screw mount)? How about good photography day packs? The LowePro Photo Sport 200 AW is mighty tempting, though I probably have more bags then I do cameras...
  12. SRHEdD

    SRHEdD Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 24, 2011
    Viera, Florida USA
    Get the widest screw-on lens you can if you can't buy the "real" lens of the OEM flavor. You won't be sorry. Take all the other good stuff you feel you want to carry, but drop the little cash it will cost to go VERY, VERY wide. That place is too big to gather in with a normal lens.

    ...and put the camera down after a bit. Enjoy where you are and who you're with.
  13. David

    David Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 22, 2011
    I recently went on trip to Taiwan. Traveling. Discover that the Panasonic 14mm 2.5 did most of the photos. May be different if you have a second body . But must say to bring few
    plastic bags in case of rain. I took over 1200 photos. One battery would last my EPM1 2 days.
  14. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Not really, no. The really long lenses aren't much good for anything besides wildlife watching. Generally not something one has time/energy for on a long trek.

  15. kinlau

    kinlau Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 29, 2012
    The thin air is what will get you. At 12,000ft in the Rockies, I got leg cramps every 1/2 hr or so,resting for a few mins helped.

    The 14-140 is likely the longest reasonable lens to shoot for a non-birder. I like it on my GH1 when traveling because of its flexibility. I usually turn the camera off between shots, as I find battery life to be a problem on m43 bodies.

    Leaving the flash at home would be my suggestion as well.

    You can always use your hat or an umbrella as a shade for your UWA.
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