What to bring on a trip?

Reader George asks:

For leisure traveling which gear would you take with you Michael? I’m off to China for 3 weeks in September and still can’t decide what to take with me having 6 lenses /3 primes;28,50,85 and 3 zooms 16-35, 24-120, 70-300/ and one body d300. Looking to buy a used second body either d700 or d7000 since I believe I need a back up just in case. As for packing I have already few Think Tank bags to chose from.

Well. Here’s what I will bring to Europe when I travel to the Netherlands late August:

  1. A camera – Canon 1Ds Mk3 or 1D Mk4 (if I had an 1Dx I would bring that).
  2. A backup camera (quite so, George): a Canon 7D in my case.
  3. Two speedlights
  4. 16-35mm lens
  5. Probably also the 24-70mm lens, but this is not strictly necessary – after all, the 16-35, when used on the 7D crop body, is like a 24-50 lens.
  6. If I have space, the 70-200mm lens: but unless I travel to Africa to shoot lions, this will be my least used lens.
  7. A prime lens: probably the 35mm f/1.4.
  8. A light meter.
  9. Batteries, chargers, plug converters
  10. Memory cards
  11. Flash modifiers
  12. Ziplock bags, dental floss, pen, business cards, and so on.
  13. Laptop.

And indeed, a Think Tank air travel bag that everything fits into. so I can bring it on board rather than checking it. Packing this bag is an art and will take me many hours: the restrictions of airline policy is the greatest factor in limiting what one can bring on a trip.


4 thoughts on “What to bring on a trip?

  1. Hi Micheal; Im off to Cuba in October & this article on what to bring has really helped me out. Thank you. One question if you don’t mind. Why leave your 70 -200 at home. Enjoy your trip.
    Steve Masters

  2. Congrats on 3 years of reading. I have read almost everyday.

    I am debating between 17-40 vs 16-35 in terms of a landscape and environmental portrait zoom.

    How often do you shoot the 16-35 wide open at f/2.8?

    Thanks for your thoughts!

    • For having both 17-40 and 16-35 mkII
      there is no point (except your budget) to choose the 17-40 in my opinion.

      I have some hesitation about the 24-70 when preparing the bag for a trip because of it’s size and weight, i prefer to keep it in the studio and thake some prime lens instead (50 F/1.4), because I keep the bag on me at anytime and I walk a lot. The 70-200 is always part of the trek, however.

      The TinkTank is a nice bag, but unless you rent a Sherpa when you plan some long walk you have to cut in the weight budget (or choose a hCarrix like photo bag 😉 )

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