Specifically, Shanghai. The packing challenge is compounded by the fact that a hard case is better protection for your stuff that’s going to be checked in. Not to mention a bit more secure in terms of airport pilferage. The problem is once in China, I’ve a couple of trains to take. From maglevs to intercity fast trains. Packing a backpack in there solves the problem but not the capacity and weight issues. My empty hard case weights 4kg empty. My 65-liter backpack weights 2.5 kg empty.
I also have to pack in my Manfrotto tripod. Clothes for a week at least (I always do laundry on a trip) and enough rain gear considering that certain places are nicer with rain. You also don’t want to stop shooting when the weather turns bad — you’ll miss out the better photos of the trip! Target loaded weight – 18kg. Usually airlines won’t give a hoot if you exceed the weight by a kilo or two but I do have fond memories of three people with 105kg of checked baggage at Beijing Capital International Airport! On our return trip, we have five this time which should give us about a hundred kilos. More than enough unless someone was overzealous in their shopping!
Other problem is that my day pack will primarily consist of camera equipment but I’ll also have my Dell Mini 9, Sandisk card readers, two portable SATA drives, battery chargers, batteries, assorted cables, you know the drill. For longer excursions out of my Shanghai base, 65-liters is good. For overnight sojourns, it is unwieldy. Looks like I’ll have to bring along a little stuff sack so that I can cram a nights’ worth of clothes, etc into the stuff sack along with my day pack loaded with cameras.
Travel light. Depending on what you like to do, that’s going to be a serious challenge. Photographers have had this challenge for a while now. If you’re also going to do some serious hiking or outdoor activity and more, it’s also going to be even more difficult.
My camera equipment alone weights about 5kg, excluding some smaller non-accessories that I can check in. I don’t check in batteries, CF cards and chargers. Those are essential if the bags don’t arrive at the destination. Then I add my notebook (netbook this time round) and portable hard drives. I use Downloader Pro to copy from card to disk and with the backup plugin, it makes two identical copies to two physical hard drives. Two drives because single drive can fail plus me and my wife can carry one each in case a bag gets stolen.
Since I’m going for some serious canyon hiking, I also have my trusty Garmin 60CSx GPS along with me (Downloader Pro can also load a GPS tracklog and geo-stamp your images). Add a couple of little things you carry onboard and that gets heavy pretty fast. Not to mention my checked in baggage. I’ve never been on one of those tour packages so usually our trips are more photography and activity loaded and less hanging around shopping. With all the restrictions on baggage means my usual swiss army knife, leatherman wave tools all go into the cargo hold. Along with my tripods, monopods, leki trekking poles. My excel spreadsheet pack list has reached 145 items. Of course this includes little things like 2-stop neutral density filter, polarizer, 16 Maha Imedion AA batteries, ziploc bags, first-aid items like anti-diarrhea tablets, band-aids, etc and a lot more little things.
The only problem is trying to fit all that into the luggage, backpacks and more. Of course there are tricks to lighten my carry-on bag. Worse case scenario sees me hanging my 5D Mark II and 70-200 lens around my neck (whatever you wear on your body doesn’t count it seems). Never had to do that before but my aim is to have my Think Tank pixel rocket (CF wallet) and the Panasonic GF1 in my ThinkTank bum bag. My Mini 9 will be carried separately again with the hard drives and two 580EX flash units and RadioPoppers. That’s already 2.5kg out of my carry-on pack. If need be, since all my lenses sit in the Think Tank modular pouches, I’ll just belt my 70-200 and my pack will pass airline weight and size restrictions!
Well, here’s more to the list: Clothes (lots of Nike’s dri-fit) go into Deuter Packsacks, my PalmOne Zire 71, Eastgear BP-511 batteries for my 300D, Maha MH-C401FS fast charger for all my Sanyo AA batteries, masking tape, carabiner-style rings for attaching stuff to packs, Banana Boat sunblock, and more later…
With only ten days left… let’s see what I’ll be bringing to WA: Canon EOS 300D (Digital Rebel), Transcend 1Gb, 512Mb Compact Flash cards, Canon Powershot A70, Sleeping bags, Sleepsheets, Tealights from Ikea, Petzl Duobelt LED 5, Garmin eTrex Venture GPS, and more to come…
But everything needs to fit into my Deuter Voyager 70 and Deuter Trans-Alpine 30.