Papa’s got a brand new bag!

April 13th, 2009

…Well, not really, but for all of the gear heads out there who are curious as to how I travel with my gear, this post is for you!  Being that I went to Maui on Saturday to cover the scrimmage, and the many who ask what I carry with me when traveling, I’ve photographed my bags as they are packed, and I’ll describe what’s inside.

1.  Carry-on bag, INSIDE Lowepro Vertex AW backpack:

1-Canon EOS 1D Mark IIN Body, battery attached

1-Canon EOS 1D Mark III Body, battery attached

1-EF 400 2.8 lens

1-EF 16-35 lens, hood detached (more on that later)

1-EF 70-200 lens, hood detached

1-1.4x II teleconverter

1-2x II teleconverter

1-580EX speedlite with omnibounce attached

1-ST-E2 wireless transmitter

1-Canon right-angle finder

1-each, spare battery for Mark IIN and Mark III

Think tank pixel pocket rocket CF card wallet with 16 gigs worth of cards/SD


Inside of my carry-on.

Inside of my carry-on.

2.  Carry-on bag, OUTSIDE:

-Mac Powerbook 15″

-Laptop security lock

-Power supply for laptop

-Think Tank Cable Management pouch containing the following:

2-CF card readers, firewire and USB2

2-SD card readers

1-Verizon EVDO aircard

1-telephone cable

2-iPod USB2 cords (for iPhone)

1-Calculator (for expensing in the field)

1-2 gigabyte thumb drive


Outside of my backpack.  Not shown:  iPod shuffle, Listerine mist spray (because I like to be charming to my seatmate on the plane!  Nothing worse than breathing fire, especially on long flights))

Outside of my backpack. Not shown: iPod shuffle, Listerine mist spray (because I like to be charming to my seatmate on the plane! Nothing worse than breathing fire, especially on long flights))

3.  Check-in bag, small roller:

2-Aquatech sports shield rain covers, for 400mm and 70-200mm

-All lens hoods, 400, 70-200, and 16-35

1- Gitzo carbon fiber monopod

1-Pacsafe security net

1-Extra set of clothes (just in case of stranding, which has happened to me)

1-Think Tank Changeup wastepack with Think Tank Whip it Out pouch attached

Optionally, I also pack the chargers for camera batteries, although on day trips, I don’t take it.


My philosophy on checked bags is taken from many of my colleagues.

My philosophy on checked bags is taken from many of my colleagues.

A few of my mentors and colleagues say it best when it comes to traveling.  Basically, you carry-on EVERYTHING you need to shoot the assignment/job.  Anything that can be replaced at your destination, small items such as monopods, etc. are checked.  Lens hoods are not essential, and take up room in the backpack so they are checked in also.

That’s it!

33 Responses to “Papa’s got a brand new bag!”

  1. MauiSlugbug:

    Wow, all this gear for a one day trip?

  2. tyg:

    wow … i am DEFINITELY NOT WORTHY!!!

  3. Muse:

    Love it!

    Do you put caps on the lenses, as well as on the camera bodies?
    Change of clothes is microfiber non-wrinkle stuff, or what? Looks like it compresses tightly in that small roller bag.

  4. jammaquino:

    I put the plastic body caps on the bodies and the lens mounts but no lens front caps–that’s what UV filters are for!:) Change of clothes can depend on the situation and place I’m going. When I go to Kauai, for example, I always include a Gore-tex jacket and perhaps rubber waterproof boots if I’m covering flood/weather related assignments. For Maui, it was just a simple t-shirt, cargo shorts, and EXTRA SOCKS!! A must, speaking from experience covering floods.

    Yeah, all that for one day! Isn’t much, actually! For New Orleans I took a few more lenses as well as a mini-lighting kit in case we needed to shoot a portrait.
    Thanks for stopping by everyone!

  5. kent:

    jamm. if i were to get longer glass…i was thinking of getting a thinktank roller. hehe.

  6. parv:

    “Lens hoods are not essential …” — Blasphemy!

  7. charles:

    i dont care what your gear is….i only care about the pics taken!!

  8. Gary:

    You might want to consider the 580EX II as the ETTL fill-in is much better than the 580 EX. Admittedly, fill-in is still a crap shoot, but you will get much better results after dialing in.

    I use it on my 5D.

  9. jammaquino:

    If you want to spend $500 on a roller bag, be my guest. Save your money and buy the lens first before thinking about the bag. It’s not absolutely a necessity unless you travel a lot, IMHO.
    You can take a photograph without a lens hood. I’ve fashioned hoods out of index cards and gaff tape before, and it’s not “essential” to getting my job done.
    good, then read the other posts! Some care, and this post is for them. If you’re familiar with the craze of photographers nowadays, gear and tech talk almost always takes over a conversation. Kudos to you for caring about the photograph and not the type of lens or camera I’m using :)
    I’ll use the 580 EXII if it’s ever issued to me:) I’m perfectly happy with the 580 I’m using, as I don’t normally shoot E-TTL anyway. I’ll only use a flash in very dark rooms or shooting against the sun. Dark rooms, I shoot manually for ambient and fire it second-curtain sync. Against the sun, I set the flash to manual, 1/4 power, f/8 at 10 feet and adjust accordingly. It’s a lot more consistent than dealing with the fickle-minded E-TTL.

  10. parv:

    I notice that I should have put the smiley when in my previous post, which was mock outrage.

  11. Gary:

    Thanks for the manual tip – I’ll try it against the E-TTL method and compare.

  12. jammaquino:

    I know it’s lighthearted:) on the subject of lens hoods, I’ve replaced my 70-200 plastic monstrosity with a rubber Mamiya–easily collapsible and you’re able to shoot thru glass by pressing up against the window. The petal hood is so cumbersome IMHO.

  13. Gary:

    In regard to manual shoot vs E-TTL, what ISO are you using and why second-curtain? I have never used it, so I don’t know much about the effects. Typically, I shoot dark(ened) rooms with manual flash off the ceiling at full power, ISO 400, f/11, 1/200 sec and about 7 feet. The dark eye shadows is the one thing I don’t like though.

    Also, the tip about the Mamiya rubber hood is also a good tip, don’t know why I never thought of it as I shoot through windows all the time. I alway have to remove the hood, then hold it and the camera and try to shoot. See:


  14. Cajun:

    Hand that bag over … and no one gets hurt.

  15. kent:

    i just think that the Vertex 300 is murder on the back.

    i have the 200…and with that bad boy fully packed, my back can get sore.

    what are you thoughts?

  16. kevin:

    how do you like the pacsafe? do you find yourself actually using it?
    i like the 24sf sticker! =)

  17. jammaquino:

    Wow, that was through a window? Nice frame there! Very rustic! With that rubber hood, you don’t need to detach it, just collapse it and voila!
    *hands up* :) How are you liking that 50 1.4? Sharp as a tack, eh?
    True, but part of being a pj is also being in shape:) Carrying around long heavy lenses and 5-pound cameras can take a toll on the body. The roller is good, but, as I mentioned before, is it really justifiable to spend $500 on a bag if you don’t have the long lens to put it in? In these economic times, especially you as a student, try to save as much money as you can.
    Love the pacsafe, use it in my trunk and for traveling! That and the laptop security cable are what gives me peace of mind when setting up a workstation in the field. Of course, I wouldn’t be tethering my gear in a high-crime or high-burglary area:) The two items came in handy when I covered the elections, as I was bouncing from place to place, and constantly shooting/filing. Check it out on my older post. I love Fifty24! Upper Playground rules!

    Thanks for stopping by everyone! A new post will be coming soon, I promise!

  18. Ron:

    What happens when the airlines start checking carry on luggage for the 25lb weight limit??

  19. james nachtwey:

    ditto ron’s comment

  20. kent:

    @ron – then you have something like this…

  21. Gary:

    Thanks jammaquino on the widow compliment – just an example.

    On the baggage situation I put anything breakable in my Lowepro 300 and it weighs in at 17 lbs and it comes with me – no matter what. Everything that can sustain a drop of ~8 feet is padded carefully and is placed in the suitcase.

    I am not a professional so I don’t have the really big glass to worry about.

    Good luck so far – Oh, watch out for the suit and tie BAA worker in terminal 3 at Heathrow.

  22. parv:

    Gary, if you don’t mind, which “Lowepro 300″ is it: Slingshot AW, Flipside, Vertex AW, Stealth Reporter AW?

  23. Gary:

    It is a sling 300 AW model. Got it on sale for $87.00 a couple of years ago.

    If it isn’t fully loaded (leave the non-essential junk in the car) you can easily run around with it on your shoulder (Camera and lens in hand) and be comfortable.

    The way it is supposed to be worn is the strap goes over your head and waist straps keep it secure. I have tried it this way, but I can never really “sling” it around to get lenses in and out easily.

    I always take it off to change lenses – it is way too easy to drop one IMO. That is why I sling it on one shoulder instead over the head. If you frequent buses, trams or other conveyances where you have to sit down, you will love the ease of which you can easily remove it and hold it in your lap.

  24. Gary:

    jammaquino, on the subject of fill-in flash. I tried your manual method and the results were O.K. and I will experiment more.

    However, I gave the 580II a real work out this last weekend with several hundred pics in a blazing bright cloudless sky using the “fickle” ettl mode (hisync on) and found that if I use -1 2/3 it works really great for just about every angle. You should ask the boss for one you will really like it.

    When it got dark then I changed over to manual.

  25. Schala:

    That’s a BACKPACK? How long were you able to carry that on your shoulders before falling over?? ;)

  26. richard says:

    i shoot only NIKON

  27. jammaquino:


    Good for you. Nikon doesn’t make your picture, your vision does…

  28. gman:

    Can someone tell me what is a good UV filter for my 70-200 2.8 is lens. Looking at the filters drive me nuts! HELP!

  29. jason brown:

    . . .

    Lens caps? Ha! A pro fotog friend of mine would celebrate the purchase of a pricey new lens by driving down to the local dump and doing his best frizbee with the cap from his new $3, $6 or $10 grand – weeeee!

    “That way,” he opined, “I worry about not marking the lens rather than worrying about losing the lens cap.”

    Go Deanis ! Works for me , )

  30. sunshine0675:

    I have this bag too. Bought it to go to Bryce/ Zion. Best investment yet! Love that it converts to a backpack. I looked high and low for a bag and this really came out on top. My only beef is that I wish it was waterproof. The zipper lining is water sealed, but that won’t stop water from seeping into the cloth bag in a heavy deluge. :)

  31. KealaLegacy:

    Awesome packing info! Im headed to Oregon in August and was just thinking about what gear I should pack in my carry-on… of course Im taking everything expensive, and I am not putting them at risk of getting lost or broken in transit!

    Great column… look forward to reading more!

  32. jammaquino:

    If any of you are interested in this very bag, I’m looking to get rid of it. Contact me directly if interested.

  33. Marc:


    i do have a questions:

    Is the bag a Vertex 200 AW?
    In this case, which PacSafe did you use with it, the 55 or 85?

    I don’t have any vendor around here, so i can’t try it out myself…

    Many thanks for your help,

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