17 Days in Colorado — The Camera Gear I Packed

I've just returned from an awesome 17-day trip to Colorado, hanging with some great people, and taking (more than) a few pictures. As I began unpacking, I thought I'd keep track of what I removed and share with you what was in my backpacks for this trip.
While leading photography workshops was my primary purpose for being in Colorado, I can instruct best when I am shooting myself. Those, I needed gear appropriate for what we were photographing — wildlife and landscape. As this site is also a higher priority than my personal photography, I needed to do field testing of as much new gear as possible at the same time.
Flying meant my gear was limited to what would fit in my max-airline-dimensions checked bag, a carry-on, and a personal item. My photo trip packing strategy is to put the items with the most value (both financially and for the shoot) and the items most sensitive to damage in my carry-on and personal item camera backpacks that go with me onto the plane. Unless my checked bag is under the 50 lb weight limit (it seldom is and the bag I checked for this trip registered exactly 50.0 lbs on the scale), I'm also interested in putting the densest (think metal) items in my carry-on and personal item packs (I've not yet had these bags weighed for domestic USA flights).
The MindShift Gear FirstLight 40L and MindShift Gear BackLight 18L are my current favorite camera backpacks for travel. The larger pack goes on my back with the waist belt tightened enough for the weight to be supported on my waist — not my shoulders. The smaller pack goes on in reverse direction — a front pack — with the waist belt clipped around the front of the case (to get it out of the way). Here is the list of what is (or was) in the two backpacks along with some interspersed reasoning:

Camera gear in the checked bag included:

  • Really Right Stuff TVC-24L Mk2 Carbon Fiber Tripod. As already mentioned, the larger lenses were supported on a monopod most of the time, leaving the tripod needs to landscape purposes and this model was perfect for that use — light and solid.
  • Really Right Stuff MC-34 Carbon Fiber Monopod
  • 3 LensCoat camera rain covers
  • 4 battery chargers — 2 for each camera brand. These mission-critical items were in my carry-on on the flight out, but they had reduced value to me on the return flight (they could easily be replaced). Being relatively light, I put them in my checked bag and moved heavier items to the backpacks. I needed to remove enough weight from the checked bag for the Sony a7R IV box to be packed home. Yes, having the original box helps with resale value — it is psychologically important to some and therefore monetarily important to me.
  • BlackRapid Breathe Sport Camera Strap (I opt for the "Left" model for big lenses) with a Really Right Stuff B2-FABN Screw-Knob Clamp.

Note that all of the links in this post lead to reviews on this site or the product pages of our affiliate retailers. Hopefully you have found this information at least entertaining and watching me carry the gear through the airport is probably even more so.

Posted: 10/4/2019 9:46:31 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
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