May 042013

Those with their own gear know that packing for a dive/snorkel trip is no small feat.  Throw in the camera gear and you’ve got yourself a real challenge.

So how do you manage to safely haul all that gear halfway around the world to exotic underwater destinations often reached only by small prop planes?

I don’t profess to have all the answers.  But over the years I have worked out a system that works pretty well for me.

I’m going to show you exactly how I pack my camera and tech gear, but first, the inventory:

  • Canon 60D Camera Body
  • Canon G12 Camera (compact with manual controls)
  • Olympus TG-1 Camera
  • Computer
  • iPad
  • iPhone
  • Kindle
  • Canon 10-22 mm wide angle lens
  • Canon 50 mm 1:1.4 lens
  • Canon 75-300 mm zoom lens
  • Housing for Canon G12
  • Macro Lens for Canon G12
  • Wide Angle Lens for Olympus TG-1
  • Chargers and Batteries for all of the above
  • Note:  I shoot mostly with ambient light, but when I need a strobe I borrow one from Mr. Reeftraveler.

I currently use a Pelican Wheeled Upright Camera bag (dimensions 18 x 14 x 10 inches / 45.72 x 35.56 x 25.4 cm).  This particular bag is no longer available, but Think Tank, Tamrac and Lowepro also make some nice wheeled bags and cases.  For me, a wheeled bag is an absolute necessity for gear of this weight.  Another feature that I consider a necessity is customizable padded interior dividers (many camera bags have this feature).

Below is the interior of the camera case, packed and ready for a trip.

packed pelican 3

Here’s a closer look.  Notice that some of the lenses are “hidden” under other items.

Packed Pelican 2

The laptop and iPad slide into these cushioned dividers.

Pelican computer section

Here’s the front zippered section, which is perfect for travel documents, phone, pens, kindle, headphones and other smaller carry-on items.

Pelican organizer section

In typical anal-retentive type-A fashion, I group camera accessories into individual zip-loc bags (one bag per camera).

G12 zip loc

Olympus Zip Loc

I have a second set of travel chargers (which duplicate my home chargers) that live in their own bag.

Travel Chargers

This is what usually happens during the packing process.  “I see the luggage.  You’re going to abandon me again, aren’t you!”

Cat on Packed Bags

How do you handle the packing process?  What bag type or brand do you prefer?  Any tips?  Do you think I’m absolutely nuts for lugging three cameras on a trip?

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  2 Responses to “How I Pack for an Underwater Photo Trip”

  1. Do you check it? Or do you take it as carry-on?

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