Two and a half weeks with only cabin baggage sounds terrifying to most people. And it’s exactly what I’m doing tomorrow morning. I’m flying off to the States with only a small backpack and my camera satchel.
I’ve travelled with a small bag before, in a three week trip around Vietnam. It was a completely liberating experience. I loved it when concierges looked to help me with my bags and couldn’t find any. I kept my camera gear in a small satchel bag and my personal items in a 25L backpack. Getting around uneven streets was a breeze, and it was brilliant walking straight off the plane and into a taxi.
Fast-forward a few years, and I’d given up my light travelling ways for a clamshell suitcase and wheels. But last year when I visited New York, trying to drag a 20kg roller bag up the subway stairs, I vowed I was going to travel light next time.
But as an outrageous lover of wacky vintage clothing, funky t-shirts and Leona Edmiston dresses, I couldn’t bear to wear nylon quick drying shirts to New York. No, I wanted to do it in style.
It’s a tough challenge, especially when you’re a photographer and need to include camera gear. The trickiest part is planning for multiple outings. My plans range between three-course banquets to 10 mile cycles. Plus I have my camera gear to think about. But after stressing about my packing for a week, I think I’ve finally done it. Here’s what I’m taking.
It all fits into my trusty Tatonka 25l backpack, which I took on that original Vietnam trip all those years ago.
What I take to travel light as a photographer
- 3 casual dresses
- Cocktail dress (I have absolutely no shoes to wear with this, but I may just wear my riding boots and go for a classy combat look)
- 3 shirts
- 2 pants
- Leather jacket (goes with everything and makes me look cool)
- Star Wars pajamas (goes with sleeping and makes me look nerdy)
- Exercise gear
- Undies et al
- Belt that goes with everything
- Hair drying wrap (okay okay this is a luxury but I’m not bringing a hairdryer)
- Riding boots
- Copies of my book in a plastic container (don’t want them getting smoodged)
- Toiletries, make up, contact lenses, the usual
- Small umbrella
- Laundry detergent, sink plug and clothesline
- Bowl, spoon and fork for breakfasts (I eat cereal in the hotel for cheap, it makes a huge difference)
- Power chargers and converters
- Inflatable neck pillow
I have probably packed too much, but I really like these dresses and couldn’t decide which ones to take.
Now for the camera gear. I’m excited to try out my new Kata camera satchel. I used to use a backpack, but I found it was too big for the equipment I was carrying. I’ve also decided against taking my laptop, instead replacing this with a portable keyboard and tablet. Instead of my big tripod, I’m taking a tiny Gorillapod which fits perfectly into the satchel.
What’s in my camera bag?
- Nikon D7000
- Nikon 24-70 f/2.8
- Sigma 10-20 f/4.5-5.6
- Crumpler pull out camera protector
- Water bottle
- Tablet and portable keyboard
- Kikki K travel wallet (and all the stuff that goes inside)
I’m keen to see how this experiment goes, but one thing’s for sure, it won’t be as much pain as lugging a suitcase through the subway!