Tenba Cooper Slim 13

Those who know me know I’ve always been a JIC packer, that is, a “just in case” I need it kind of traveler. And, to some extent, I still am. However, on recent trips I’ve gotten better. This is, in part, because of the bag I love to use, the Tenba Cooper Slim 13. It just doesn’t hold as much as my somewhat larger bag the Think Tank Retrospective 30 or my definitely larger Vanquest SKITCH-12.

However, I’m also now a bit more honest with myself about what I tend to end up using on trips. Plus, the fact that I’ve gotten more interested in making short videos using my iPhone 7 Plus means I’m often more occupied recording video clips than shooting stills with my Olympus Camera. The latter point also prompts me to opt to pack video making accessories over additional lenses for my main camera. Your decisions on what gear to take on a trip will also vary on the trip, how you’re traveling, where you’re going. 

We returned a few weeks ago from our most recent vacation trip. We were on a cruise for two weeks and spent almost a week visiting my sister-in-law in central Florida. One unique thing about this trip was that we decided to drive to Florida which meant we could take more things since we weren't restricted by plane limitations on luggage. I had configured a Pelican Case 1300 that I’ve had for some time and have never used to pack my DJI Spark drone, but did I use it? Yes, I did, but not during the cruise. Although it was very liberating to be able to take almost anything we wanted since we drove, I never planned to take the drone on the cruise. My plan was to have it with me for the week with my sister-in-law after the cruise. So it stayed in our parked car for the first two weeks. One note, though: I did put the Spark batteries in my luggage as I didn’t want them to be sitting in a closed and potentially hot car! I’m glad I brought the drone since I was able to fly it a few times due to nice weather which I knew we wouldn’t have once home in Virginia!

Zhiyun Smooth-Q Gimbal

I used almost all of the other gear I took with me except my Zhiyun Smooth-Q Gimbal. I thought I’d pull it out when on the ship but I didn’t. I really need to figure out when I should use that gimbal or sell it! When we go on cruises we don’t always get off at all the ports but when we did on this cruise, I always took my Olympus OM-D E-M5 II with the 12-40mm lens. I never, however, used the Panasonic 35-100mm, f/4-5.6 lens which is further evidence that I could travel with just the E-M5 II and my favorite lens, the 12-40mm. I used the E-M5 II with the Rokinon 7.5mm a few times on the ship but not much. It's a candidate for leaving at home.

Insta360 One 360° camera

When we got off at ports I also always took my Insta360 One camera along with my Accmor Tabletop Selfie Stick Monopod/Tripod. I got some seaside shots with the 360 as well as shots at a market in St. Maarten, so I'm glad I brought it along. I do want to experiment more using that camera to get unique shots - and videos - of locations and sights we visit.

However, by far the piece of gear I used the most was my iPhone 7 Plus! I took pictures with it and captured lots of short video clips both on the ship and when in ports. Check out the embedded video clip below from a short video I made of crew members repositioning a lifeboat after an exercise. The final piece of gear I took was my Olympus Tough TG-Tracker Camera. Though I used it only once to create a short timelapse while docked in Key West, Florida, I’m not sorry I brought it with me. I had also planned to use it when snorkeling but decided not to go on any snorkeling excursions and it didn’t seem appropriate to use it in the pool where my sister-in-law lives. It’s another piece of gear I have to decide whether I keep it or sell it.

It was a good trip and I’m happy with what I decided to take. Though I never used the Nissin i40 flash or the Panasonic 35-100mm lens, I believe I would still always take them with me when I go anywhere. They are both very small and take up very little space and I like to have them with me. Likewise, I didn’t use my audio gear, but I’d bring that with me too, “Just in case!” (Check out my Video Update, "Another Trip Completed - What Gear Did I Use?," episode on which this post is based!)

Raising a life boat for H-A Eurodam - shot with iPhone 7 Plus and edited on iPad Pro.