I am heading out tomorrow to go to Kenya for 13 nights. It is my first time to Kenya but not my first trip to Africa. My co-leader Paul McKenzie has been going there for over 20 years so I feel like we will be in good hands. I am very excited to see Kenya and I know it will be a stellar trip. But, believe it or not, I struggle just like everyone else on what to bring, on trying to make weight, on making sure nothing is left behind. However, I do have a few packing tips that I want to share.
The first thing I do, long before I start to pack is make a gear list. I have a typed out a list of all my camera gear starting with my lenses from biggest to small, then my camera bodies and all of my accessories, including my Induro GIT304L Grand Series 3 Stealth Carbon Fiber Tripod and Mongoose 4th Generation M-3.6 Action Head w/the Integrated Low Mount Arm. Very similar to “My Gear” page list. I make a fresh copy for each trip–it only takes a second to print and I can check things off once they are chosen and cross them off once they are packed… you get the idea.
So for this trip I know that I will need my longest lens, I know that because Paul supplied me with a suggested gear list and I in turn sent it to our clients. I will start by packing my big gun, my EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens, then I start to go down in size. I will not bring my EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens because I will have that focal length covered with my next lens choice and it will not be my largest lens. If I were photographing Snow Monkeys in Japan I would want the 300mm lens with me, it’s tack sharp and the minimum focussing distance combined with the close magnification make it a winner for portraits and close-ups, so dragging around an extra lens for the monkeys makes sense.
My next lens will be my intermediate lens. I usually go for my EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens because it is an f/2.8, but for this trip I am sure that I will need more focal length and rather than put on one of my teleconverters like the Extender EF 1.4X III or my Extender EF 2X III; I’ll just cut to the chase and bring my EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens. That does not mean that the teleconverters get left home-they come with me, I’ll need them for the 600mm.
Now, I realize that not everyone has the lens lineup that I have but some of you do 🙂 In fact some of you have much more. I will also say that my gear bag took years to assemble –so be patient.
Next I need to pack my wide angle lenses. I first go for my old faithful, my EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens, then my EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Lens in case I want a unique shot or if I want to do some night stars, the f/2.8 will be needed. I won’t be bringing my macro lens as the 100-400mm will be good enough.
Once I am good on my lens choices I move to my camera bodies, for me this is now easy as I have sold off several bodies and now only have 2 Canon bodies, the EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR Camera and the Canon EOS-1D X DSLR Camera .
I will also bring extra memory cards, batteries, chargers, flashlight, Rocket Blaster Dust-Removal Tool (Large, Black), CF Memory Card Reader, laptop, plug adapter, camera straps, extra plate, allen wrench, Hoodman lens wipes–thanks to Beau Gill for turning me onto them! I’ll also put some rain sleeves in just incase.
I also won’t be bringing my flash or better beamer, I seldom use them anymore. I also won’t bringing my Olympus gear since the reason for getting it was to lighten the load not bring both systems!!
Now to pack it all up into my two bags of choice:
Think Tank Glass Limo Backpack (Black) and The Airport Advantage roller. I use lightweight buffs as separators for my gear-they double as face masks for wind, sun, sand, etc.. I also use their UK site (that is the one I linked to) as the prices are generally cheaper.
**PS- The top picture does not properly depict how I will store my lenses, it is a generic promo picture. I never travel with my lenses attached to my camera bodies or with my lens caps off.
**I should have mentioned that our interior flights are chartered so we don’t have the strict weight regulations that many folks have.