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!

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