Pheewww!!! I’m very late getting this post up because I’m still recovering from a great trip to New Orleans. I have also been fighting a cold that has kept me off of the streets for a couple of weeks and I am also already planning for an upcoming trip in August (more on that later).
I’m hoping this will help people who want to pack ultra-light for a trip. For this trip I tried a new approach and packed minimally. My plan was to take only two small carry on bags, a bag for clothes and a bag for gear. Of course I didn’t feel I had the proper bags for this minimal travel experiment, so that gave me the excuse to purchase two new bags.
Besides going light on camera equipment, I have also found, and continue to find, clothes that can be worn longer with less washing. I’ll get to the camera gear next but lets first talk about clothes. I have tried different types of material for fast drying, no stink, and wicking. I have tried synthetic material from REI, SAXX, and EXofficio in both underwear and T-shirts and I decided that I’m not a fan of synthetic material. The SAXX underwear was the best but what I have decided is that I am a fan of Merino Wool. Though it is not cheap, Merino Wool is supposed to last a lifetime and the material feels and fits the best. It does a great job of wicking, keeping odors out, keeping you cool in hot weather and warm in cold weather, and they dry quickly when you do a quick wash in the hotel room. If you can do a wash in the hotel room and wear an article of clothing for multiple days (they say two weeks without washing but I haven’t verified that) then that means less items to pack. Two pairs each of socks, underwear, and T-shirts for a whole week, yes it’s possible. The brands I have chosen are Darn Tough socks and Unbound Merino for underwear and T-shirts. Time will tell how long they will last, we’ll see.
Now for the fun part: what camera gear did I take? I have been to New Orleans many times so I have a pretty good idea of the photography that I want to do. My wife uses the Fuji X-T10 with the “kit” 18-55mm lens (this is a very good lens for a “kit” lens). I always have my Fuji X100F with me and when I travel I bring along my X-Pro2 with a few lenses. The lenses I brought to New Orleans were my newly acquired 10-24mm f/4 wide angle zoom lens (I’m loving this lens), 35mm f/2 WR (small and weather sealed in case it rains), 56mm f/1.2 (fast lens to use at night), and lastly I brought the 55-200mm zoom lens for one shot I wanted to take of the St. Charles trolly (below). Miscellaneous items I brought were: a small MeFoto tripod (which I never used), lens blower, 10 batteries and 2 chargers (same batteries work in all 3 cameras), lots of SD Cards.
For post processing I traveled without a computer for the first time. I know….. SCARY. I usually travel with my 13” MacBook Pro but I have been testing out another option for light travel. I purchased a WD My Wireless Passport Pro hard drive last year before my trips to Chicago in June and Boston in August but I was too scared to try out this new travel workflow. I tested it out first around here a few times and I decided to give it a whirl. The hard drive has an SD slot that you insert the card directly into the hard drive and it backs up the files automatically. I took along plenty of SD cards so I had a back-up in two places, three with pictures taken with my X-Pro2 (2 card slots) because I don’t delete my SD cards until I get home. Instead of my MacBook I will have my iPad Pro where I can wireless view all of the photos that are on the WD hard drive through a wifi connection and download them to my tablet and process them in Lightroom Mobile. I don’t do a lot of heavy processing to my photos so the iPad works for me for light editing. This works better then transferring all of the photos directly to the iPad because of the limited space and the wireless option straight from the camera doesn’t work because it is hard to see the small thumbnails. Also, the WD hard drive works with full RAW files. It worked great, I was able to view and process the photos I liked and post them to social media. The only downside is that I haven’t found a way for this to be part of my normal workflow, so when I get home I need to go through my regular workflow so I can tag and organize the files into folders. I will have to weigh out the pros and cons and decide what is more valuable, saving space and weight or saving time.
Lastly, my new bags. I bought two new bags from a company called Wotancraft, the Spacejumper Convertible Bag for my clothes and the Easy Rider Sling Bag with the camera insert. Wotancraft makes unique, well made, stylish bags and I have to say that I am a fan. The Spacejumper is pretty much just a duffle bag (a stylish one) and I used it for my clothes and gear accessories that I stuffed into a Crumpler Haven Bag. The “Convertible” aspect of the bag is that it folds down and can be used as a small day bag. It isn’t big enough to stash enough stuff for a long trip but it works for a week. The Easy Rider Sling is my new favorite bag. It is very stylish for street shooting and it is unstructured so it is small when not carrying much and expands with more gear. It expands into a well structured and well protected bag for your gear when you use the camera insert which I only use to get my gear from one place to another.