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30-March-2007 : Don't Want To Check Your Bags? Don't Do It!
Many photographers are under assumption they need to bring it all and need to pack it in five bags to get the job done. I have never understood this mentality, but it exists.
Do I ever over pack, of course I do for some jobs. Do I ever need three or four bags to get out the door? When it involves packing lenses like my 400f2.8 or a full set of location strobes, I do need more bags. When I am lazy I also end up with more bags, but for the most part I can pack two carry on bags, get on a plane, fly across the country, check into a hotel, shoot a wedding (or editorial shoot) and fly home without missing a thing.
Today I boarded the an Amtrak train at 10:55am and headed from New London, Connecticut (NLC) to Boston, Massachusetts (BOS). I hopped on the Silver Line at South Station to Boston's Logan International Airport (BOS). From BOS I boarded a United Airlines Airbus A320 and I was off to Denver International Airport (DEN) and from DEN onto San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Tomorrow morning I will meet my bride at 10:AM and stay with her until 10:PM then I am on a 6:27am flight the next morning from Oakland International Airport (OAK) to Chicago O'Hare Airport(ORD) and homeward bound to Hartford/Springfield (CT/MA) Bradley Airport (BDL).
My total luggage for this trip? A Think Tank Airport Addicted backpack and a North Face Offisite briefcase. These two bags qualify as a full size carry on and a "personal item," and haul all my camera gear, chargers, small waist pack and pouches, toiletries, clothes, GPS, portable DVD player, laptop, etc etc etc.
I will warn you my Think Tank Airport Addicted is extremely heavy, and I might suggest using a Think Tank Airport Security rolling bag instead (except it has no laptop slot, but the Offsite could fit a carefully packed laptop).
By traveling this way I am able to travel without any fear of a lost or delayed bag, and since my flight lands at SFO at 10:17pm (which is 1:17am for my body) I am able to skip the luggage carousel and head right for my hotel saving about 30-35 minutes. By being able to keep my piece of mind when traveling at certain hours of the night, ie: no later flight can delivery my delayed bag, get to bed sooner, etc, this makes traveling much easier at times.
My Think Tank Airport Addicted for this trip contains the following
2 - Canon 1D series bodies
1 - Canon 70-200f2.8L
1 - Canon 28-70f2.8L
1 - Canon 16-35f2.8L
1 - Canon 15f2.8 USM
1 - Sigma 20f1.8
1 - Canon 24f3.5 TS-E Tilt-Shift
1 - Canon 85f1.8 USM
2 - Canon 580ex Speedlights
1 - Canon off camera E-TTL cord
7 - spare Canon 1D batteries
4 - spare sets of AA batteries
1- Think Tank Pixel Pocket Rocket (CF Card Wallet)
1- Canon 1D battery charger
1 - Wagon Air/Car AC inverter
1 - Garmin GPS
1 - Domke small pouch (with cords, chargers, etc)
1 - Apple 15" PowerBook
2 - Newswear belt pouches (empty)
My North Face Offsite contains two buttom up shirts, two pairs of boxers, three pairs of socks, three under shirts, toiletries, Polaroid 7" DVD plater, Energizer external DVD player battery, Domke F5x waist bag (with belt) sleeve of DVD, small Newswear pouch (with iPod, head sets CF card reader, phone chargers, etc) , small surge bar, agenda, etc.
This set up lets me be on the road for three days, if need be, with out ever needing to check a bag.
Traveling this way takes planning, especially when going to work. You need to make sure you not only have everything, but that you can carry it (for international flights my back pack would get weighed due to it's shape and it is way over the weight limit).
If you are looking to make your travel smoother, try it some time.
**This packing method is for US Domestic travel and/or travel within the US & Canada**
Below is a photo of the two bags I am flying with in the gate area at Gate B45 at DEN and a photo of me in the gate area writing this entry
-Click On The Photos Below To Enlarge The Images-