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Member Since 23 Sep 2012
Offline Last Active Jun 24 2015 04:52 PM

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In Topic: Traveling with underwater camera to international destination - packing tips...

20 July 2014 - 01:37 PM

One possibility for keeping the checked weight down is to switch from Pelicases to Zarges boxes. The K470 sized 23.6x15.7x13.4in weighs11 lbs. That is quite substantial 11lb savings! I'm not sure No wheels, though they do offer a small trolley. No velcro foam dividers like you can get for the Pelicases.



In Topic: Traveling with underwater camera to international destination - packing tips...

20 July 2014 - 01:25 PM

I have seen more and more people using a system like yours, Erik. Gee, it sounds pretty complex with gear in all sorts of different places. I don't know how well it would work on a live aboard, where you are leaving your equipment outside under the camera table all the time. I find that I am constantly working out of my Pelican case. When you're in a big rush to change ports or batteries between dives, it's nice to have a waterproof bin to work out of.


We never use Pelicases as carry-ons. But are you saying that they are a problem to check in on Intra-Europe flights?


I am going to use the Porter Case as a carry-on for the trip to Bali this time, as I will have an extra housing. The Porter is strong enough to be gate checked, if necessary. The beautiful thing about the Porter as a carry-on is that it serves to help you roll your stuff around airports during long layovers in places where they don't allow the airport carts. And when you arrive at your destination, you can move all your gear in one shot by piling everything on top of it.


We are flying Seattle -> Taipei -> Denpasar this time. I know the airline won't give us a hard time at Seattle. Never had a problem with cabin baggage at Taipei before. We'll see what happens and I'll report back in this thread in October.




If I would try to bring a Pelican on-board here in Europe the would just start laughing at me :-)


I check in my Strobes. I use a plastic "Lunch-box" for it.

The Camera and a Lense are fitted into the UW-housing and I carry it separetely.

I use a Duffel Backpack for the Lenses and the big Domeport. The lenses are protected by padded Lense bags.

The Domeport is protected by a Regulator back and some pastic on Sun-shade side.


I am of the opinion that you should avoid a roller-bags. They are more visible than Backpacks and looks heavier.

People with Rollerbags seems to be stopped a lot more often than not!


Well, this System works fine for me for some years now.



In Topic: Traveling with underwater camera to international destination - packing tips...

19 July 2014 - 10:54 PM

It's not just an American thing, Nautilus. Consider a pretty standard DSLR system: Nauticam NA-5D3 housing, a dome port for your fisheye, and a macro port, plus two Sea & Sea YS-D1 strobes, plus cables, arms, clamps, floats, plus strobe batteries, chargers, etc. That will just about fit perfectly into a Pelican 1610 and it will weigh right around 50lbs - right on the limit. From that basic kit, what could possibly be eliminated to make the box lighter? The box itself weighs around 22lbs, so you'd think that would be a great place to save some weight. But how do you keep the airlines and airports, who couldn't care less about your belongings from damaging your equipment?

When it comes to carry-ons, as I said earlier in this thread, just a pair of 5DMK3 bodies, a 8-15, 16-35 and 100mm macro plus chargers and batteries will be over the limit at the gate. And then there's your computer. Let's face it, if you're serious about underwater photography, it's madness not to bring a laptop, since otherwise you have no way of identifying problems with lenses, sensors, etc., unless you can closely inspect the photos in the field. So you have your 13" Macbook Pro, and a couple of 2TB Thunderbolt drives, plus chargers, etc. And once again, that bag alone is overweight.


I don't know how anyone doing serious underwater photography can reduce weight, regardless of their nationality. I approach this whole travel thing as a war. It's you against the airline and airport authority. No one cares about you or your things. You just have to get in there and push push push your way through. Use every tactic and strategy you can, because you are powerless against your airline. Honestly, it's you against them.




This may sound overly simplistic, but perhaps some careful thought as to what you really need to take on the trip may be the answer.


I travel a few times a year to various tropical  destinations taking dive gear and a 4/3 camera rig with strobes. (I know that's an immediate advantage over DSLR travellers)


Even so, after a while I realised I was repeatedly taking stuff I never used! I can now pack everything I need in a lightweight check-in roller bag (23kg), a carry-on backpack (7kg) and my one personal item (my camera and two lenses in a small camera shoulder bag) that I can carry on. Up to now I have resisted taking a laptop, using a smart phone instead, but I think that may change soon!


If it looks like I may be getting close to the baggage limit of 23kg (Australian airlines) I buy an extra couple of kg in advance of travel which is a lot less expensive than paying excess baggage at the airport.


Now without wishing to be too controversial maybe this baggage issue is an American thing! I am amazed how much stuff people think they need to take and this was driven home when I went camping with a couple of American friends a while ago. Wow! everything including the kitchen sink!


Perhaps having such generous domestic baggage allowances in the USA makes it more difficult to be a bit ruthless when packing for an overseas trip?

In Topic: Traveling with underwater camera to international destination - packing tips...

08 July 2014 - 02:12 PM

One word about the Porter Case as a carry-on. It's true that it will be over the line for some planes, but then again, so will pretty much any carry-on. The biggest risk with putting anything fragile (like housings and ports) in a soft-sided carry-on, is that you may be made to gate check it. If you use a soft-sided carry-on, be prepared to remove anything fragile like your housing. With a Porter Case, you can just check it in, since the Porter offers some structural rigidity.


Like tdpriest says, if you're flying from the USA, the rules are more liberal. You really have to check the rules for your particular airline to see what your limit will be. We try to fly on carriers where I have some status, so the luggage usually works out with no extra charges. But once you start flying in regional airlines in Europe or Asia, luggage limits get a lot stricter, so you should have a contingency plan. In the Philippines, the airlines get pretty strict about luggage and we usually get dinged for a little extra, but that's just part of the price of the trip. We are usually over the carry-on limit as well, so that means some arguing with the ticketing and/or gate agents. I often end up showing them my carry-on stuff. Put a pair of 5dMK3 bodies, a 8-15mm, 16-35mm, and 100mm macro plus chargers and batteries in a light Domke bag and you'll be overweight. A macbook pro with backup drives, your dive computer, Nautilus and regulator in your backpack are over the limit. So you argue with the agents. "How do you expect me to check in this stuff? This regulator costs $1800. This is $10k worth of camera gear, $6k of computer gear, etc., etc. Do you really expect me to check any of this stuff in? And when it goes missing, who will be responsible for it? You? What is your manager's name? I want to make sure I know who will be responsible." Eventually, they always relent and just wave you through. Sad, but that is the game nowadays.

In Topic: Traveling with underwater camera to international destination - packing tips...

08 July 2014 - 01:58 PM

I made a long post here, but here are the basics of what I do. This is the exact setup I used on my last trip to Wakatobi 2 years ago. In fact, we have used the same setup for years to Yap, Palau, Philippines, Caribbean, etc.


We are heading back to Bali in a couple of months and I will use this arrangement again, except that I will probably take the Porter Case as a carry-on, since I will be taking an extra housing (Nauticam NA-GH4 for video).


- Large Eagle Creek duffel: BCD, fins, wetsuits, booties, all clothes in 2 or 3 Eagle Creek packing cubes

- Pelican 1560 or 1620: Camera housing, strobes, ports, batteries, chargers, cables, tools, etc.

- Carry on: Backpack containing laptop, backup drives, cables, iDevices, dive computer, Nautilus Lifeline and regulator, . Nowadays, I'm using a Booq Boa Flow. This pack has a padded bottom compartment intended for a DSLR that I use to carry my regulator.

- Camera bag: We use Domke bags due to their light weight and capacity. Two camera bodies each in case we flood one. For lenses, we each carry a fisheye, a ~100 mm macro, an all-around lens for topside such as a 24-70 equivalent, and at least one high speed (f.95 - f1.4) prime in the 35-50mm range.