As a professional photographer, packing for any trip is far more complicated than it appears. Camera bodies, lenses, drones, tripods and lighting equipment take up the vast majority of baggage allowance. (I’ve become the master of hand-washing clothes in hotel showers to minimize the amount of clothing I need to pack, leaving more room for photo gear.)
Things become more complicated when you add in the fact that I’m often working as a fly-fishing photographer, which means fly rods, reels, spare lines, fly boxes, waders, wading boots, other various gadgetry that often takes up the packing space not already claimed by the camera kit. Remote destinations often bring with them strict baggage limitations (small planes and helicopters can only carry so much) and with most of my luggage allowance taken up by a small drone plus the mentioned bevy of fly rods, it means getting creative with the “soft goods” side of the packing list.
Over the years I’ve sliced and diced down to the bare minimum, which means each piece must carry its weight, functioning in different environments and dependably working in harsh conditions. My most recent assignment—a 17-day job in Australia—took place in two climate extremes, which made packing more challenging, and meant every piece had to function on its own or be compatible to layer. From heli-fishing for barramundi with Kununurra-based HeliSpirit in brutal 111-degree temperatures, to bearing up against snow during pre-dawn fishing sessions near the Tasmanian Central Highlands’ Thousand Lakes Lodge (once used to serve as a training facility for Antarctic-bound personnel), this is the gear that made the grade.
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There are some “good oldies” mixed with new items sure to make future trip rotations. Each piece is durable, highly functional, and can be washed and managed quickly while on the go, equating to value in any traveler’s clothing arsenal—all while taking up minimal bag space. Quality, trustworthy basics make travel more comfortable, relaxed and fun—and ensure you’re equipped to make the most of random side-adventures. Don’t forget the rule of simplification: The less you pack, the more freedom you have.
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