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Alex_Mustard

How to pack equipment and keep it light

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[EDIT - extracted by moderator into a new thread]

 

 

Back up, Paul. I'll bring it with me to the Red Sea in the summer.

 

The D2X is not heavy. I must be the lightest travelling uw photographer ever. In January I went to the Red Sea - with full dive kit - thick wetsuit (water was 21 degrees) - and full photo kit - including D2x & subtronic strobes (heavy) and luggage was less than 25kg. :blink:

 

Alex

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Back up, Paul. I'll bring it with me to the Red Sea in the summer.

 

The D2X is not heavy. I must be the lightest travelling uw photographer ever. In January I went to the Red Sea - with full dive kit - thick wetsuit (water was 21 degrees) - and full photo kit - including D2x & subtronic strobes (heavy) and luggage was less than 25kg. :blink:

 

Alex

How'd you manage that? What werent you bringing? :)

 

Cor

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I didn't take anything else really! Plus all my divekit is the lightest I can find.

 

Alex

Hi Alex, I believe you! :blink: I just am seriously interested what you do and dont bring. Julia and I have at least 9 KG more than you per trip. We have very light BCs (Scubapro T-Sport), fullfoot fins (no boots), 3mm wetsuits usually, hooded vest, scubapro first/second stages.

 

Cameragear we have D2x, subal, 2 x YS90DX, arms, focus lights, batteries for everything, chargers, 60/10.5 lens, TC, assorted other lens stuff, macro/dome ports...

 

But..we do have a tendency to bring some spares (strobe, camera body, sync cords), and we have an extensive medicine kit and quite an extensive toolkit with all kinds of repair stuff. More often than not we tend to be able to repair OTHER people's problems because they dont bring spares :)

 

Normally we bring very few clothes.

 

I have stopped caring about how much weight we have though. I just figure luggage charges are part of the overall costs..

 

Cor

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.

 

I have stopped caring about how much weight we have though. I just figure luggage charges are part of the overall costs..

 

Cor

Isn't that the truth. Getting where you are going usually seems easy and extra cost free. It is the smaller local airports where the extra costs always seem to apply. and don't bother trying to get a receipt-I don't think the money goes anywhere but into a pocket.

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Back up, Paul. I'll bring it with me to the Red Sea in the summer.

 

The D2X is not heavy. I must be the lightest travelling uw photographer ever. In January I went to the Red Sea - with full dive kit - thick wetsuit (water was 21 degrees) - and full photo kit - including D2x & subtronic strobes (heavy) and luggage was less than 25kg. :D

 

Alex

 

Alex, I need you to come and pack my bag for me :)

On my last trip, I took about 50kg with me. 20Kg for my divebag + clothing and 30kg in my housing/strobe/stormcase (not couting the camera, lenses and my laptop which I hand carried) :(

However xs baggage is always a good excuse for needing to fly business class :)

I think I need to find something lighter than my stormcase as I don't need something quite as big nor as heavy. I think the case itself is already 10kg.

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I am glad that this has been split into a separate thread. As it is a continually useful topic - and annoyingly an ever changing one.

 

My usual hold luggage is 29-31KG. That is what I took on my three week trip to Raja Ampat. I cut this down for the Red Sea week to 25kg - as it was only a week - by taking less clothes etc and fewer lenses (thus I could get ports in handluggage).

 

I used to travel with about 35KG. But recently the new security rules in Europe actually mean I carry more hand luggage. Also the airlines are encouraging us to do this too - one piece only - but more flexible on weight.

 

I am very obsessive about packing because I don't want to get stung for excess baggage. I work as an underwater photographer so can't afford to pay for upgrades or excess baggage on long haul flights if I want to make a profit from my photography.

 

A great deal of weight can be saved on divekit. But be warned lightweight divekit is usually not that hardwearing (my Seaquest Passport just developed a hole). You can save loads with lightweight regs, computer (not integrated) and a small gauge. Anyone who travels with their drysuit inflator hose still attached (to show they dive at home) really doesn't understand the art of lightweight packing.

 

The other area to save is in the cases themselves. Storm or Peli cases are very heavy. My delicates travel in a Samsonite hard suitcase - which is light, strong and inconspicuous. Wetsuits, clothes and bubble wrap provide cushoning.

 

Also the more you travel the more you realise what you need and what you don't. Modular ports can help - although since I have been using the new 105mm and the 10.5mm with tele I have been travelling with 5 ports! Grrr.

 

But in the end all that matters is you get it on without paying - take as much as you can without paying excess. Be early, be polite and friendly at check-in.

 

Alex

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I am very obsessive about packing because I don't want to get stung for excess baggage. I work as an underwater photographer so can't afford to pay for upgrades or excess baggage on long haul flights if I want to make a profit from my photography.

 

I was just re-reading that last post and this statement doesn't read as I wanted it to. What I wanted to say is that I fuss about this because I have to earn a living. Being an underwater photographer I am relatively time rich and cash poor.

 

Many underwater photographers are successful in their chosen career and do underwater photography in their spare time. Relative to me - they are cash rich and time poor. In those circumstances I would take what you need and backup and deal with excess luggage fees. Afterall if you only get a few weeks underwater each year then it makes sense to invest a few more $£$ to make sure they are the best possible.

 

Alex

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I was just re-reading that last post and this statement doesn't read as I wanted it to. What I wanted to say is that I fuss about this because I have to earn a living. Being an underwater photographer I am relatively time rich and cash poor.

 

Many underwater photographers are successful in their chosen career and do underwater photography in their spare time. Relative to me - they are cash rich and time poor. In those circumstances I would take what you need and backup and deal with excess luggage fees. Afterall if you only get a few weeks underwater each year then it makes sense to invest a few more $£$ to make sure they are the best possible.

 

Alex

 

As the luggage packer in our house I'd like specifics. :D

What are you packing in hold baggage and what are you packing in carry on? We have all of what you have mentioned, very light luggage, light gear, and yet packing down to 29kg would be tough and would also mean carrying on quite a bit and then risking that those carry on bags would be weighed and/or gate checked.

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We took (and always do) all the photo equipment in hand luggage as I have been pretty unfortunate with late or no arrivals of checked baggage. This includes:

 

D200, 10.5, 16, 17-70, 60, 105, 2x, 4T, (18-200 for topside)

Hugy housing, flat port, 35mm ext ring, dome port (this two ports cover all lenses above)

2xsubtronic nova

6 arms (12,8 and 5) + 6 clamps

2xflash cords

Small laptop

Chargers

Small stuff....

 

The laptop goes in its small shoulder bag with some chargers, small stuff, empty DVDs, toothbrush and a swimsuit. This does not count as a hand baggage. I also carry the camera with the 18-200 with me. Then I have a light trolley (generic brand name) where I put the housing full of clamps, both strobes and arms. I use three or four T-shirts around the housing/strobes as protection. On another trolley we put all the lenses and ports plus three regulators more tshirts etc... the trolleys´ weight was 14 and 10 kgs... but then our checked luggage was very light (15kg each) and that helps because they weigh the big ones first and make up their mind that you don´t have excess weight. The trolleys are small in size and they don´t even look at them.

We flew last month Canary Islands-Barcelona-Singapur-Cebu then Tagbilaran-Manila-Palau-Manila-Singapur-Barcelona-Canary Islands with no problem.

I think checking luggage is very risky in multistage trip (I was 15 days in a liveaboard in Indonesia with only a Tshirt and swimsuit....but at least I could take pictures!)

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...snip...

 

The laptop goes in its small shoulder bag with some chargers, small stuff, empty DVDs, toothbrush and a swimsuit. This does not count as a hand baggage.

...snip...

true except when flying in and out of the UK these days where you are limited to one piece of hand luggage. this is a UK wide restriction! don't know how long this will last but right now it is in effect.

 

on a side note, you need to start looking at limiting the weight of any one piece of hold luggage as the industry is starting to move away from the 32 kg max per piece to a 23kg max per piece. this is being implemented little by little by the airlines, BA being one of them as you may know from their new luggage policy coming in effect on 13FEB07.

 

hth/paul

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Same here Alex, managed the Red Sea in January with 24Kg in my main bag but the killer is the hand held. Could have saved 2Kg by not taking the spare reg - but we were planning to do some trimix so might have used it.

 

As someone else pointed out it is the regional airports - with us flying into Gatwick from Guernsey FlyBe can be a pain in the neck. They generally enforce the single item rule and often also enforce the 10Kg hand held max rule also - then things get very sticky, I have had all of my cameras taken away at this point and put in the hold.

 

The strobe batteries go in the main bag leaving the camera Lenses and strobe bodys in the hand held - Hand held still comes in at 11kg :D

 

Seemed a bit colder than last year for our January Red Sea trip - we saw as low as 19C which was borderline chilly even in a 5mm.

 

Paul C

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on a side note, you need to start looking at limiting the weight of any one piece of hold luggage as the industry is starting to move away from the 32 kg max per piece to a 23kg max per piece. this is being implemented little by little by the airlines, BA being one of them as you may know from their new luggage policy coming in effect on 13FEB07.

 

Also :-

 

We had quite a decent chat to a member of BA check in in January - she also said that from 13th Feb also the check in stations software will also automatically force billing for overweight check in - at present the staff have a degree of choice as to if they enforce a charge - in future they will not.

 

So be warned - even Alex's sweet talking and blowing kisses will not help !

 

Paul C

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As the luggage packer in our house I'd like specifics. :D

What are you packing in hold baggage and what are you packing in carry on? We have all of what you have mentioned, very light luggage, light gear, and yet packing down to 29kg would be tough and would also mean carrying on quite a bit and then risking that those carry on bags would be weighed and/or gate checked.

 

Hi Julie,

 

I have three bags and tend to expand and contract what I take depending on what I am allowed. I always try and take the maximum I can - the limit plus about 2-3KG.

 

Hand baggage - wheely trolley.

The one I use is slightly smaller than the max size - so as not to attract attention. I have only been using it for the last 6 months - but that means about 20 flights. No problems anywhere. All of Europe is one piece only (and no plastic shopping bags) - although once through security you can Fly with as much as you can buy in the UK. So I tend to add batteries, magazines etc at this point.

 

In here goes D2x + housing. Lenses. Laptop. Ext HDD. And a few small heavy items. For short trips - e.g. Mediterranean - I often take less lenses and get a port in here too. This is my case. Weight - about 10KG. I always put my tickets in my laptop neoprene bag for check in and take this out to get them - in case the bag is weighed at this point - so the actual weight at check in is 8KG (with the laptop on their desk!).

 

I then have two hold bags.

 

A mid-sized samsonite hard case. Strobes, ports, regs etc go in here. Protected by Wetsuit, hood, bubble wrap and clothes. This case is very strong, light and inconspicuous. Dome port in plastic cake box. Weight full 15-18KG

 

And a mid-sized sports bag. In here goes BC, fins, toiletries and strobe arms and other photo accessories in a small, light plastic box. I also save weight by streamlining chargers etc. This bag is usually less than 1/2 full on Eastward flights - but will be stacked full going West (because of different allowances). Weight 10-15KG (depending on destination).

 

I doubt this is that different to anyone else. I take the same stuff - I am just very careful to remove bit I don't need. I even don't take the integrated wieght pouches from my BC to save a bit!

 

Alex

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We had quite a decent chat to a member of BA check in in January - she also said that from 13th Feb also the check in stations software will also automatically force billing for overweight check in - at present the staff have a degree of choice as to if they enforce a charge - in future they will not.

 

Agreed on this.

I also want to know if you pre-pay (which BA say is cheaper) for excess and then have less - do you get a refund?

Plus their new policy says you may take an extra bag of Sports Equipment - and dive kit counts - but how do you identify this if you have dive kit and normal clothes etc in a standard bag.

 

Once the new policy has been in place for a few weeks I'll email them and ask.

 

Alex

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A 3rd option when travelling on liveaboards where they supply you with branded luggage tags is to find and befriend a fellow single traveller in the queue who doesn't have much equipment, then check in at the same time!

 

For those of you who have rebreathers and photo gear, it may be cheaper to get an extra ticket! I suggest asking the cute receptionist at work if she/he wants a free trip......

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...

The other area to save is in the cases themselves. Storm or Peli cases are very heavy. My delicates travel in a Samsonite hard suitcase - which is light, strong and inconspicuous. Wetsuits, clothes and bubble wrap provide cushoning.

...

 

That's part of my strategy for saving weight:

 

1) My dive kit (all light weight stuff) goes into a mesh bag (virtually weightless). The trick is to pack it well to avoid damage. I've used it on dozens if not hundreds of local and international flights without ever breaking a thing, and the bag alone saves about 5kgs compared with my old wheely bag. Total weight is just under 12kgs!

 

2) The camera gear goes into a lightweight Samsonite-like suitcase, with custom padding. 2 complete kits (housings, strobes, etc.) + spares weigh less than a single kit in a Pelican case!

 

3) My next step is to get rid of part of the foam, and use the hollowed portions to put my clothes.

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Very interesting thread. I've often thought that packing under the weight allowance for a dive/photo trip should be considered an olympic sport.

 

I have a question: does anyone pack his camera body inside the housing to save room in the carryon? I always heard this was a no-no, that vibrations might jar the electronics of the camera.

Thanks,

 

Fletcher

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I also want to know if you pre-pay (which BA say is cheaper)

 

Check what you are getting for your 'pre-pay' - you get to the 'budget' Airline end where you are now paying per piece with a combined weight limit.

 

At my last check in there were a number of upset passengers who had pre-paid for an extra piece of luggage but then found out ( at check in ) that they did not have any extra overall weight allowance - great spectator sport.......

 

Bottom line - it is getting tougher in Europe

 

Paul C

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Hmmm, the situation is a bit different here in Thailand and probably many parts of Asia as well. I never had any problem with 2 carry on so far so I have one backpack for all my camera/lenses/betteries/laptops and a small wheel case with my entertainment stuffs, iPod, books, tickets, passports, some clothing, toiletries, misc stuffs. There is a 7 kg limit per bag but luckily so far it never had been enforced.

 

Technically sporting equipments such as surfboard, golf bag are all automatically counted as 7 kg regardless of actual weight however it does not apply to divebag. One reason I was given was that you can pack whatever you want into dive gear bag beside diving equipments so they don't make exception fo divegears. At least this is true with Thai Airways.

Thai Airways tend to be quite lenient with overweight especially when departing from Bangkok but other airlines such as Silk Air to Manado is pretty strict about 20 kg weight limit.

 

What is going on in the US now? When I go to Palau in April, I will have to fly Continental from Manila to Palau and I believe they use the US rule so I imgine 2 pieces of check in at 23 or 25kg each? Hmmm. I need to rethink my usual way of packing.

Edited by ssra30

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I regularly go in & out of Cairns with a 32kg storm ( precisely 32kg ) a soft bag wetsuit etc about 10 kgs , my rollon ( leather targus business traveller slight undersize ) usually contains 2 x d2x housings fitted with bodies - handles removed , a selection of lenses & gears ( usually 4 ) and a audio one back pack ( designed by AVID to house a mobile studio ) that has note book , chargers , spare harddrives , satelite phone and other essentials. no problems .

 

I pick the airlines and the tickets according to the baggage allowance and then bolster it with the extra's from Qantas platinum F/F program. - No I don work for qantas - but it does pay to be confident of your exact entitlement before it develops into a scene at the counter.

 

If i ever have to pay I make sure that it for all the way through and that i get an official receipt n( ammunition for the return journey )

 

My2C

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That's part of my strategy for saving weight:

 

1) My dive kit (all light weight stuff) goes into a mesh bag (virtually weightless). The trick is to pack it well to avoid damage. I've used it on dozens if not hundreds of local and international flights without ever breaking a thing, and the bag alone saves about 5kgs compared with my old wheely bag. Total weight is just under 12kgs!

 

 

I'm very hesitant to pack either regs or primary photo gear (housing, ports, bodies, lenses) in anything but a hard sided case. Our cases are very lightweight samsonites which we switched to exclusively after I got a second stage which was well packed in my my wetsuit and bc crushed and another trip having the bayonet mount of a port cracked beyond usability.

 

Food for thought in any case! :D

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On a few of my dive trips and non-diving, my lowelpro backpack, fully loaded with 1DM2 + 17-40,fisheye, 100macro, 70-200 2.8 IS, 100-400L, IBM laptop, backup eSata drive, assorted goodies, all came out to around 25kg! This is on my back. So far, I've gone through every major airport without a glitch, except LHR. Because of some extra waist strap, they would not let me take it through security. All I did was strap the camera to my neck, lens went into each of my pocket(s) and jacket. Then I checked in the empty bag. This was back in July of 2006. So if you ever run into a situation like this. just wear everything.

 

Since I pack all the dive gear for my wife and I, we sometimes exceed the weight limit. I guess it pays off being a United 1K member.

 

 

Curtis

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When I go to Palau in April, I will have to fly Continental from Manila to Palau and I believe they use the US rule so I imgine 2 pieces of check in at 23 or 25kg each? Hmmm. I need to rethink my usual way of packing.

 

I did that continental flight last month and did not have a problem. They were really picky in the no-liquid subject but did not weigh our hand carry luggage (or anyones´ because we first looked at the counters to choose the nicest one...)

 

They should let you 18 kg as carry-on:

 

http://www.continental.com/web/en-US/conte...A2808EF09CE891A

 

"Carry-on Bag

Continental will permit one bag plus one personal item (see below) per passenger to be carried on the aircraft.

 

The maximum combined linear measurement (L + W + H) of the carry-on bag is 51 inches (130 cm). The maximum weight of the carry-on bag is 40 pounds (18 kg).

 

New Carry-on Restrictions for flights departing from non - U.S. locations

Continental Airlines advises passengers that one (1) item of carry on is permitted with maximum dimensions of 22in/17.75in/9.85in (56cm/45cm/25cm). See Travel Security Notice for details.

 

Personal items

In addition to the one carry-on item, you may bring free-of-charge the below items:

 

one small personal article such as a briefcase, purse, day planner, small laptop computer, camera case, compact disk player or similar sized personal entertainment item

personal aid devices such as wheelchairs, braces, canes, crutches, prosthetic devices and walking sticks, provided passenger is dependent on them.

one infant article such as a collapsible stroller, a diaper bag or a government approved child seat.

Note: Most knives are not allowed past the security checkpoint (including, but not limited to, pocket knives, folding or retractable blades regardless of blade length or composition, box cutters, X-Acto knives, scissors with a pointed tip, straight razors, Leatherman or Swiss Army Knives). Plastic and round-bladed (not serrated) knives are permitted in carry-on baggage.

 

Battery operated personal air-purifying devices are prohibited onboard all Continental flights.

 

Laptop computers must be removed from their cases and placed on the baggage belt at the security checkpoint.

 

Additional carry-on Baggage restrictions may apply on certain flights."

 

 

 

but they won´t let you ANY liquid, not even in a plastic bag etc....

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HI All,

when I go to the Med which is most years, I tend to buy extra luggage

allowance which is about £30GBP. I started doing this after getting caught

at Fuerteventura & costing me £60+ GBP. But as many have said getting out

of GB is getting harder with just one peice of hand luggage, mine normally

weighs in at about 8KGs & my hold luggage normally 24/25kgs.

Andy :D:)

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