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24/09/2008 – Simple Baggage Solutions : Make Your Own Modular System
There are dozens of modular bag systems on the market today that are used by photographers. These bags are for general packing solutions, photography specific solutions and a hybrid of both. As I have been trying to reduce the gear I travel with for 'general shooting' situations I had started to investigate a variety of bags possibilities for more than a dozen manufacturers.
While researching a variety of bags one night I started staring at a set of bags I have used, trusted, loved and preached about often on Flying With Fish, and almost everywhere else I discuss bags. These bags as you frequent readers may have already guessed are my Mountainsmith bags.
To make a simple carry on + roll-aboard that could carry everything I'd need for a 'simple kit,' I turned to the Mountainsmith Correspondent roll-aboard bag, The Day and The Tour. These three bags can be easily combined into two bags for short trips, around the corner or around The World.
When initially setting up this configuration I removed the top 'cube' from inside the Mountainsmith Correspondent and sized up the Mountainsmith Tour to see if it would easily fit inside. Once I determined that the Tour would fit into the open slot, normally filled by a 'cube,' I was off and running.
For my needs, this how I packed for travel:
-The Day : 4 magazines (Photo District News, Airliner World, National Geographic, The Economist); sleeve of 10 DVDs, Newswear pouch with my Sony PSP Survival Kit (swapping the Skullcandy headsets for the Sony MDR-NC22 headsets), Vector 100watt emPower inverter; 15" MacPowerBook, PowerBook AC power supply;
- The Tour: Domke 4-slot insert (the original non-padded chocolate brown insert, how many of you remember when the bags were only brown?); PSP power supply; Garmin GPS; GPS accessories; Think Tank Cable Management 10 pouch (for all my random photo & computer accessories, mobile phone chargers, CF card reader, thumb-drive, etc, etc), Energizer rapid "AA" battery charger
- The Correspondent
(In The 'Cube') : Canon 5D w/BG-E4 grip; Canon 20D w/BG-E2 grip; Canon 16-35f2.8L; Canon 70-200f2.8L; Canon 24f1.4L; Canon 50f1.4; Canon EF-12II extension tube; Canon 580ex; Think Tank PeeWee Pocket Rocket (CF Card Wallet) ; two spare "AA" packs of rechargeable batteries, two spare BP-511 batteries; Canon ETTL Cord; Ilford Anti-Stat cloth
(In The Pocket Intended For A Laptop & Magazines): two button down folded shirts (folded and inside the laptop sleeve), 2 pairs of a socks, 2 pairs of boxers, belt.
(In The Inside Flap Clear Pockets) Hefty 1-quart (TSA Approved) bag with toiletries, stick of deodorant , two Canon battery chargers for the BP-511 batteries.
(In The Main Compartment): one pair of folded pants (placed above 'The Cube' behind The Tour)
With all of my gear with me, set up in easy to access and configured in a way that is easy to both unpack and repack, I am able to get to work easily. Once I am ready to get to work I remove the gear I'll be shooting with and set up my Mountainsmith Tour pack. Generally I'll head out with a 16-35f2.8 attached to my 5D and a 50f1.4 on my 20D, leaving the 24f1.4 & 70-200f2.8 in The Tour, along with a Canon 580ex, spare batteries, a Think Tank PeeWee Pocket Rocket and an ETTL cord.
The items that were in The Tour get transferred to 'The Cube' and off I go.
I have now traveled with this kit of three transcontinental trips to shoot projects and weddings and the set up has been perfect. The size and weight are easy to handle, the design function of all three items are ideal for traveling fast and light, while allowing me to carry everything I need to make sure I arrive with everything I need to do my job.
Overall, as I have mentioned time-and-time again, I trust my Mountainsmith products (they even make my mobile phone belt holster for my Razr and iPhone, the Mountainsmith Amp). The products Mountainsmith makes are reliable and durable, the space is ample, the bright yellow interior of the waist packs are easy to work out of , the zippers are strong and at the end of the day I know their products will take anything I can throw at them (including being left at the stairs, loaded with my gear, when boarding a regional jet or turbo prop flight).
Next time you're looking for a complete carry-on solution think outside the box and make your own.........maybe also check out the Mountainsmith line of bags for your needs.
Below are two photos of my Mountainsmith kit
--Click Images To Enlarge--