For me, 2013 has been a long-distance travel year.  A “short hop” this year has meant at least five or six hours in the air.  I’m really tired of the longer flights, but right now I’m in the midst of packing for another long flight.

Besides all the usual camera, clothes, and computer stuff, what do I take?  Here’s a list of some odds and ends, in no particular order:

  • A three-outlet electrical jack.  Even notice that most hotel rooms only have two outlets, one of which is generally located somewhere inaccessible under the bed?
  • If I’m traveling internationally, I carry a 120/220 volt power strip with a built–in surge protector and USB ports,   Added to this are several of the necessary electrical plug adapters.
  • A short roll of electrical tape.  I also have multiple strips of gaffers tape stuck on the inside flaps of my camera pack.
  • A tube of super glue.
  • Brightly colored elastic hair bands (not for my use, since I’m really shy of hair on top, a subject which we don’t need to discuss).  These are a cheap and easy way to wrap cables and cords, and the bright colors help me find those cables when I drop some in a dimly lit room.
  • A small tool kit: a selection of allen wrenches (hex keys), small screwdrivers, plus an extra rubber ring that goes around the eyepiece on my camera (anyone else ever lose one of these?).
  • A couple of large rubber bands, great for getting a grip on stuck filters.
  • A Leatherman “Micra” tool.
  • About 15 feet of lightweight parachute cord.
  • Several binder clips, used to clamp things together.
  • A couple of mini-carabiners.
  • Several trash compactor bags, much stronger that standard plastic garbage bags.

I keep PDF versions of my camera manuals on both my smartphone and my Kindle.  I also have a flash card wallet filled with older cards that are now too small capacity for my day-to-day use.  This lives in my wheeled duffel, along with an extra card reader.  Not that I’m paranoid, but I imagine being at some remote location and losing my flash cards, or having my card reader die.  I would be saying words that most people would not want to hear.



  1. Andrew McLachlan September 7, 2013 at 5:59 pm #

    Great tips. I have used the elastic band tip for a number of years, but I’ll have to raid my six year old daughter’s hair bands before my next excursion. Hope you have a great trip!

  2. Juan Carlos Vindas September 7, 2013 at 9:32 pm #

    And with every trip more images needs to be downloaded in the hard drive! very good to hear that you are taking all these trips and many thanks for the bit of wisdom on how to be better prepared for the next shoot.

  3. Satish Menon September 11, 2013 at 10:10 am #

    Using large rubber bands to get a grip of stuck filters, is a great tip. I remember my polarizer getting stuck on my 70-200mm f2.8 lens and I went through a few Yellowstone shoots, with an unnecessary polarizer. The polarizer only came out when the temperature warmed up. Thank you.

  4. Kuryan Thomas September 14, 2013 at 10:39 am #

    Question: why do you use a power strip that allows non-US plugs to be plugged in? I can understand a strip that has adapters so it can be plugged in to non-US outlets – but presumably all your equipment has US plugs, so why not a multi-voltage power strip that has only US-type outlets?