What the big deal about packing your stuff anyway

Trip Start Jun 04, 2009
Trip End Jun 30, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Wednesday, June 3, 2009

For most ordinary people, and not that I'm saying I'm not ordinary, getting packed for a month long trip to a continent like Africa isn't really that big of a deal. Even the preparation and paperwork, isn't that bad. And even getting all the business type stuff sorted out on the home front isn't gong to make you loose sleep. But, all of these things combined, and then add into the mix that this is a work trip, and I "have" to take a ridiculous amount of video, photographic, and research gear with me, and file mountains of college paperwork, and it really is an arduous task. That is a total understatement really. Let me explain further.

I'm bringing literally boatloads of video and photography gear. Anyone who knows me or who has traveled with me knows exactly what I'm taking about. I can't just take a little point and shoot digital camera. I wish I could, but I can't. I think I need help, but I just can't take a little point and shoot. I think the video, camera, and computer equipment outweighs everything else I'll take twofold and putting that stuff together is a bit more involved than choosing which socks to take. Cloths and and your other bits and peices, what do you really need? Honestly, on previous trips,I've stuffed my cloths into my pockets, as my bags were full of camera gear. You can easily go with apair of chacos and hiking boots, a few pairs of undies, socks, shorts, cargo pants, a few shirts, a fleece, a jacket, toothbrush & toothpaste, a bar of soap, a few Band-Aids, the most brilliant crystal stick deodorant (optional), and a luxury item like a candle for ambiance, a journal, headlamp, travel docs and money. Done deal. You can pack the morning you leave, no problem.

Not me, and not on this trip. No way.

I won't go into all the video, camera, and computer gear I'mtaking, but to give you an idea. Batteries: I have 20 AA size rechargeable, 8 AA lithium ion back-ups,and 8 alkaline back-ups. I'm not eventaking a camera that uses AA batteries - what is wrong with me? But two flash units and 2 GPS units,and back-up power for a portable harddrive use these. One AA battery charger with 12V power inverter for carcharging and plug adaptor for USA to UK style plugs (that they use inNamibia). 5 lithium ion batteriesand charger for the digital SLR camera. 6 lithium ion batteries for the infra-red emitter and night visionscope. 2 lithium ion batteries forthe film camera body. 2rechargeable lithium ion batteries for the point and shoot digital camera andits own separate charger. 2lithium ion rechargeable batteries for the video camera and its owncharger. Each set of rechargeablebatteries can take 12hrs to fully charge so I started charging batteries a weekago. Madness!!! Why not just take a bunch of lithiumion AA batteries? Forenvironmental reasons I can't. Ihave a real ethical problem using non-rechargeable batteries.

If that sounds crazy, get this. I am taking 48 D size batteries. That's right 48 of this little bricks that collectively weigh in at 18lbs. This is to power the 9 motion activated trail cameras I'm taking to remotely monitor wildlife activity as part of the research project. Each trail camera uses a 2 GB SD card, so I need a card reader and a "digital wallet" (mobile harddrive with build-incard reader) to transfer the images in the field. The trail cameras themselves are quite hefty, especially when you have 9 of them. And of course you need 9 locks and cables to lock the cameras up to they stay where you put them.

Because just about everything is digital, it all needs to be back-up. Some people call me parenoid, I think I'm cautious. Cautious, me? Only when it comes to backing up my data when traveling. So I have a laptop, with external harddrive, and blank DVDs. How is that for redundancy?

Then I have accessories - flash cords, tripod, monopod, filters, mini and micro USB cables. Bags for each camera, memory cards for the cameras, cleaning gear, high-power LED light to assist with night focusing, laser pointer, and so the list goes on.

Just so I don't look like I have a target on my back yelling to every crook, hey look at me and all the stuff you can rip-off. I have one fairly large, really crappy and cheap looking duffle bag that I squeeze everything really valuable into and this never leaves my side. But NOT a backpack. Backpacks are what crooks at airports look for and find irresistible. So unless it's a slow backpack day, I think I fly under the radar. At least that's the recipe that seems to have worked for me in the past. Plus, I think you have to walk around like you either own the place, or are a regular.

Ok, so this wasn't the most exciting entry, but, it gives you a look at soe of the behind the scenes stuff. I'll some more interesting thing later with some nice pictures too. If you were really bored reading this, click on the squirrel video above. It should make up for it.

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Where I stayed
Casa Wilson


svh on

It seems as if I have to bring my 1 ton truck for all the stuff you are bringing with. See you Friday, Schalk

yfjle on

Bon Voyage!
Travel far, be well and remember its a big wide world....and send a postcard ;-) see if you can be more creative than the box of matches from la soda in Venezuela....

nancyb8 on

Paranoid? No! Never!
Never fear that some might consider you to be paranoid. You are nothing of the sort. Perhaps a bit obsessive/compulsive with a touch of artistic fanaticism but never paranoid. Have a good trip

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