air travel

Traveling by Plane and the Art of Packing


Photography is an art. So is packing your carry-on bags – because you want ALL your important camera gear with you in the cabin, if at all possible.

Here's a look at my usually carry-on stuff I take on my workshops. This gear changes for distant wildlife, as well as for macro shooting, portrait sessions, and other special shooting situations.

Above: My two carry-on bags, a Samsonite roller for my computer stuff and a Think Tank Airport Accelerator for my cameras gear. Click here to see the complete Think Tank line.

Yes, that camera bag is heavy. (Actually, the bag is fairly light. It's the gear that makes it heavy.) So you may ask, "Why not a roller?" Well, I have been on too many flights where I have seen too many roller bags taken away and check through baggage. Rollers are the first items to go when a plane is packed.


Above: All my camera gear fits in my Think Tank Airport Accelerator bag. Shown: Canon 70D (with 14mm lens mounted), Canon 5D Mark III (with Canon 24-105mm lens mounted), Canon 600EX RT Speedlite, Canon ST-E3 transmitter, Canon 100-400mm IS lens, Canon 70-200mm IS lens, Canon 17-40mm lens, Lexar memory cards, two head-mounted flashlights, ball head for my tripod. Always carry your ball head. You may be able to buy a new tripod on location, but good ball heads are sometimes hard to find.

All my gear is listed here.


Above: Unpacked, that gear, and the gear in the pockets of my bag, looks like this. I always pack my Tiffen 2-8 stop ND filter and my Canon Timer Remote Controller.


Above: Here's some of the gear that I pack in my roller bag: Mac laptop, Wacom Tablet, 500 GB portable hard drive, card reader, battery charger and battery. I also pack my toiletries in my roller.


Above: The only important camera gear I pack in my checked luggage is my tripod and reflector diffuser kit.

Here's an idea: After you pack up all your gear at home, take a photo of your bag with your smart phone so you know how to repack for the ride home. That photo is good for insurance purposes, too.

Safe travels,

This post sponsored by X-Rite - a leader in color management.