Keith’s top ten travel tools (6-10)

6. Scott eVest

What’s this? Well it’s a whole range of clothing now but it started as a vest. It has over 20 pockets as well as routing conduits for wiring so you can hide your iPod’s earbud wires. I’m on my second eVest (this one has zip on sleeves and hood). This doesn’t look like the dorky photo vests that everyone seems to wear now. The pockets  hang on the inside for a sleeker, unconspicuous appearance. I use mine in the field quite a bit but  the real reason I don’t travel without one: those dreaded words travelers have come fear…”ladies and gentlemen we have a very full flight today and the overhead bin space is now full.” At this point I will have pulled the camera gear from my carry-on and loaded up the Scott eVest. I haven’t had to resort to this many times but it has saved me from having to check mission critical camera gear on those few occasions.

7. Gaffers tape is like duct tape on steroids and is the photographer’s best friend. I buy it in huge rolls but travel with it by taping ten-inch strips to the outside of my hard-side cases. It “uglys” up the case and is much more space efficient than taking the whole roll. Since I spend a lot of time on my feet I frequently develop blisters. I figured out several years ago that by gaffer taping up the hot spots I could completely avoid getting blisters. Sometimes the same tape will last up to a week. I also tape up all my camera bodies/lenses so no colors, logos or model numbers show. It makes them less attractive to theives (I think).  The list of gaffer tape uses is truly endless and you don’t have to remember to pack it.

8.  Samsonite’s hard-side, carry-on bag has become my benchmark in carry-on cases. It’s not as strong as a  Zero Halliburton case but looks nothing like a camera case (especially with tape all over it). I can go anywhere in the world with gear (including tripod) and clothes inside. It has a wide wheel base so it’s stable with my heavy computer bag. It’s counter intuitive but you can actually get more stuff in a hard case because of the compression effect. Also, the clothing packed tight (in the lid) serves as padding for the camera gear (in the main body). I can’t say enough good things about this case but oddly I don’t see many on the road. The ones I do see are with hard core road warriors or airline crew. How I can get all this stuff  in one carry-on will be in an upcoming, packing post: “Two Kinds of Luggage: Carry-on and Lost”.

9. Waterfield computer bags…another personal benchmark in travel gear. I have over a dozen Waterfield bags in different sizes. They’re bullet proof, not flashy and just get the job done better. Again, I rarely see anyone with these bags partly, I suspect,  because they are a small company. I believe they do all the manufacturing at Waterfield’s base in San Francisco.

10. An unlocked, GSM cell phone is an absolute necessity for internation travel, in my opinion.  I’m more than satisfied with CDMA technology at home but most people I talk to need a phone that uses GSM when traveling internationally. I use a Motorola Razr because I like the small size and it syncs via bluetooth with my Macbook Pro. Since the phone takes multiple SIM cards it’s possible to get great rates  in different countries. (VOIP  calling on services such as  Skype or Apple’s iChat could take the place of this in the future. )

Happy Trails



~ by keithphilpott on October 23, 2007.

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