Thoughts on Accessories for Travel

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by Repp, Feb 2, 2014.

  1. Repp

    Repp Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 27, 2011
    Seoul, South Korea
    A lot of time is spent considering what type of lenses and cameras to take with us while traveling, but what about the rest of the kit? I'm currently planning a 24 day trip to Vietnam, Cambodia, and China; and while I have my camera and lenses pretty much figured out (GX7, 12-35, 35-100, 20, and maybe an UWA) I'm a bit daunted on the other things to travel with. I'll be going to some absolutely beautiful places, so I plan to try and stretch myself creatively and will hopefully get some nice shots.

    Everything is normally carried around in a Saddleback Leather Satchel, with a notebook, pipe, tobacco, and a few other non photography odds and ends. The bag is a bit on the heavy side, but looks great, is hard to cut open, and can hold other things that I buy or pick up along the way.

    So far, this is what I'm thinking:
    - 3x 32g and 3x 8g SD cards. So I can leave everything on the cards as a 2nd backup.
    - 2 Batteries, I may consider a third though.
    - 128g ipad mini + sd card adapter - used for photo backup, sorting/tagging with photosmith, and maybe some light editing
    - Cleaning - probably 2 lenspens

    Here's where I could use some advice.
    - Support. Here's where I'm really torn. I have a great RRS Versa 1 tripod, and find that I leave it in my room when traveling b/c I don't want to have to lug it around. I also have a gorilapod, but will often get frustrated with not being able to get it in the place/hight that I want it. I've considered picking up a Sirui T-025x, but not sold on it yet.
    - Filters - Taking a 58mm CPL, but I'm torn on taking a set of screw in NDs or my Lee seven5 set w/ several grad and hard split NDs. The Lee kit takes up a bit of space, but offers far more control.
    - Something to store the SD cards in?
    - Is a 2nd body really needed?

    Any other thoughts or considerations on things that would round out a kit for traveling?
  2. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Photography is an important part of traveling for me, and I adjust my kit to the destination I'm heading to. On the filter side if things, I always take a CPL, and only sometimes take NDs, and only recently bought grads. If I take grads, I take a tripod. Because my travel buddies aren't as photo minded, and because it's not always feasible to use the tripod, I shoot handheld more often than not. My thoughts on your packing list:

    - number of cards should be fine
    - 3 batteries is the minimum for mirrorless cameras for me. 2 is fine for a DSLR.
    - iPad will work fine for backup. I personally just take a card reader and external hard drive - there's always an Internet cafe or computer that can be used to make backups every few days.
    - lens pen and a lens cloth for cleaning.
    - the body cap and lens cap make a nice small container for SD cards. Tip from DigitalRev.
    - second body is up to you and your shooting style. I almost always take my RX100 along as a pocketable backup (and the quality is great). Now that I have dual small systems I take both bodies along (MFT is quick, versatile, long glass; A7r for landscape, higher resolution).
  3. alex66

    alex66 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 23, 2010
    How many shots do you get from the GX7 on a battery? I think 3 is the minimum number to travel with, though I like to have 2 or more days worth. Think tank make nice card cases, I think the using of cards as a back up a sound Idea if you can swing for more depending on what you shoot (Raw?). Never travel with a tripod as it only gets left at hotel and do not use filters much so they get left behind.
  4. geoawelch

    geoawelch Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 18, 2011
    George Welch
    I prefer a second body whenever it's practical - I can't stand having a photo opportunity before me and having to fiddle around and possibly lose the shot because I need another lens.

    It's one of the great advantages of the diminutive size of mu43 gear.
    • Like Like x 2
  5. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    How about a flash? I don't do much flash work, but always have the little FL300R and a stand with me for ad-hoc off-camera lighting.
  6. alex66

    alex66 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 23, 2010
    I prefer to travel with a back up camera, just in case something goes kaput and its most likely too when you are in once in a lifetime territory. For that reason I am looking to get a second G3, I will then travel with 2 G3's and an EP-1 but leave the spare in a hotel.
  7. Repp

    Repp Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 27, 2011
    Seoul, South Korea
    I'll probably be only taking carry on luggage, as I prefer to travel as light as possible, so I don't think I'll be taking an off-camera lighting setup with me.

    I've considered getting a GM1 as a backup camera, but I'm just worried I wouldn't get enough use out of it to justify the cost. I don't mind changing lenses, and the GX7 is pocketable with a pancake lens, so it would only be used if something were to happen to my main camera... and $700 for only an if is a bit expensive. I might look into seeing if I can get body-only one here in asia for less, but it would still be a bit pricy for a what if kind of situation.
  8. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    Another way to ask this question is to say: "Am I willing to go without photography if my only camera is broken or stolen somewhere along the way? If the worst happens am I willing and is it possible to buy an acceptable camera in the places where I'm traveling?" Remember, when you buy equipment it is not like getting married. Buy (used) what you need for the trip and sell it when you get home. The net cost will be trivial, probably less than the cost of a tank of gas for your car.

    Agreed on three batteries for the GX7. One of the (few) design mistakes in that camera IMHO is the lack of a good grip and consequent lack of space for a decent-size battery. Those mouse batteries don't last very long; less than a day of shooting for me.

    Take at least two battery chargers unless you are willing to get up in the middle of the night to swap batteries on a charger. Use chargers that plug directly into the wall so you don't have to carry cords.

    I have found that even in first-world countries it is the rare hotel room with sufficient electrical outlets to feed all the hungry gadgets we carry. I have made for myself a sort of hydra-headed snake with a plug that goes into the wall, then six outlets on pigtails. Basically it's like a six-outlet plug strip except it is light, easy to pack, flexible, and arranged so the little ice-cube chargers don't interfere with each other like they would on an outlet strip. With only one plug into the wall, too, I only have to carry one electrical adapter from US to European, British, or whatever. My snake is kind of ugly and I would buy a similar professional product, but I have never seen such an item. Probably UL would not approve it without a circuit breaker, which becomes a packaging problem.

    Unrelated to photography, but we carry two motion-activated night lights. This makes it a lot easier when making a nocturnal trip to the loo in unfamiliar surroundings. This is the one we carry: but there are certainly others. The large and ugly base snaps off these lights and goes in the garbage. Battery life (2x AAA) on the units is exceptional. We tested one at home, leaving it on for a month, and have been using it on trips for a year or more on the same batteries. Apparently the motion-sensing circuitry is very low power and, of course, the LEDs are on for only very brief periods.. We also carry two of these: which make fine travel containers for the two motion lights!
    • Like Like x 1
  9. 0dBm

    0dBm Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 30, 2011
    Western United States
    Given the humidity of that part of the world, the Saddleback satchel WILL be a burden since it is made from leather. That natural material will absorb moisture greatly and dries slowly. Consider something made from cordura nylon and from Pacsafe.

    Carry a smaller, lighter-weight tripod.

    Bring plenty of 6mil or thicker transparent polymer bags for storing your SD cards. Place them in a smaller bag first, then wrap that bag in bubble wrap and place inside a larger bag. This setup lays flat and it very lightweight. Take the CPL.

    Add two 4ND and one 8ND filter for versatility. Wrap them similarly.

    Carry a capable point and shoot such as the Canon S120, Panasonic LF1, Sony RX100, etc. Wrap them similarly.

    Consider carrying a high-capacity backup battery such as this, this, or this.

    When you arrive at your room, unwrap all of your equipment especially if the room is air-conditioned in order to minimize the condensation.

    Consider using a pouch that you can tuck inside your garments to carry ID, large-denomination cash, and credit cards. Carry a separate wallet for smaller-denomiation cash. Leave your jewelry at home. Wear fast-drying, lightweight nylon or polyester clothing. Use sunscreen copiously; especially if you are fair-skinned.
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