Last weekend I shared how I didn't use all of the equipment I took on our recent 10-day trip in Scotland. More importantly, I wrote that because of that experience I had decided to give traveling with just one, medium sized bag a go. Of course, doing that means being more selective and thoughtful about what camera and accessory gear I choose to take. On an upcoming trip to Kiawah Island, SC, I am going to do a dry run. I know that many of you already use only one camera bag, but when I travel by plane I have always taken one large bag and one small bag. My large bag, however, has never been a roller-type bag loaded to the gills, but rather, just a typical backpack or sling camera bag. That always went in the overhead storage bin. The small bag is one that would fit under the seat and remain easily assessable during the flight. The smaller bag, then, became my day bag when at my destination and out and about sightseeing. Well, by paring back on the amount of equipment I take with me in the future, I believe I can make do with just the "modified" Passport Sling. "Modified," because I've added two important things to my Sling. The Passport Sling (I have an older model) is a nice bag because it fits nicely at one’s hip and is held with one strap over one shoulder. Because of its odd shape, I like it better than the more traditional rectangular, “box-like” camera shoulder bags. In addition, it has an insert to cushion one’s camera with a short lens attached. The front interior of the bag is open so you can store additional things there, plus this area can be expanded by unzipping the expansion zipper. It is in this expanded mode that I see using the Sling to carry all the gear I might want to take on a trip. Once at my destination, I might remove several pieces of gear to leave in our rental apartment, house, or hotel room. I can then zipper up the expansion piece and carry fewer things in the bag when sightseeing.
So, what am I adding to my Sling? One thing is a homemade sleeve for my iPad Mini 3 tablet. I made this sleeve out of durable material and have Velcro strips sewn onto it to close the flap. If I tuck the flap into the sleeve, I can use the Velcro strips to attach the sleeve to the side of the bag where the camera insert fits. It is not secured on both sides as is a similar sleeve now included in the latest version of the Passport Sling, but it works just fine to protect my tablet. I described this in an article back in July. The second piece I am adding is the Ape Case Cubeze Interior Case insert (model ACQB35). This is the same small, yellow insert I have used in my Eagle Creek shoulder bag for some time. Turns out, it will fit in the Sling when the front is fully expanded! It does take up more space than if I simply stuffed my other little bags in the expansion area of the bag, but it is nicely padded and, more importantly, it can be removed and closed up (it has a drawstring top enclosure). This means I have a nice, padded container in which to store those items I decide not to take out with me on any given day.
Another plus is that the Sling has one large rear pocket into which I usually stick a water bottle, but I can put my stacked 35-100mm and 60mm lens wrapped in a Domke Wrap in that pocket instead. In addition, the Sling has side sleeve pockets in which I can store small items, such as lens filters and the like.
My E-M1 with the 12-40mm lens attached fits nicely in the built-in insert and I can even add a divider that protects the camera LCD and allows enough space in the insert for a very small case that holds my little Olympus WS-300M audio recorder (an old model), a lavalier microphone, and extra AAA batteries. I store the PlatyPod camera support kit (Amazon link) on the bottom of the insert under the camera and recorder. That may not be very practical as it may limit access though I am thinking that it is the E-M1 that I would want to attach to it, so it will be out of the bag anyway.
Now onto my accessory bags and other items I plan to carry in this one camera bag. In the fore compartment of the Ape Case, I can store my E-PL6 with the 20mm attached. I have a rain cover for the Passport Sling that rolls up into a small container and fits nicely on top of the 12-40mm lens. I also always carry my Patagonia Houdini rain jacket that rolls up into a very small pouch. I have small red and black Eagle Creek bags, plus a gray, elongated Eagle Creek bag to store miscellaneous cables and things. The black bag contains batteries and chargers for the E-M1 and E-PL6 cameras, pop-on flashes for each camera, E-M1 USB cable, and a micro USB cable that fits my Kindle, the Olympus Air A01, and my Anker power stick. The red bag contains bandaids, ointment, supplies for hearing aids, old film canister containing SD cards, small flashlight, mini tripod, body cap, 15mm body cap lens, business cards, tripod attachment that holds my iPhone, and extra Zip-Loc bags. The elongated bag contains a battery charge checker, ear buds in case, two sets of four AA batteries (for flash), HooToo TripMate with plug and cable, 8GB memory stick, microSD cards in containers (for Olympus Air A01), and another micro USB cable.
In one of the two small pockets on inside of the Sling I store a small headlamp. In outside side pockets of the Sling I have sunglasses, a 4-slot AA battery charger, a flash diffuser, and lens filters in a flat container. In the back pocket, I have a selfie stick I use to hold my flash (and sometimes my iPhone for selfies), a medium sized Joby GorillaPod (not pictured), and my 60mm and 35-100mm lenses wrapped in a Domke Wrap.
That’s it. As I now have things, my small Nissin i40 flash case will not fit inside the bag, so I may have to hang it off the shoulder strap using a clip. Though I wasn’t planning to take my Air camera with the 25mm lens attached, I may want to do that, but it, too, won’t fit. I may just have to bring a small bag along with me that will hold the flash and the Olympus Air A01. Oh, just remembered. I also don’t have my WD MyPassport Wi-Fi drive in the bag and that has to come with me! Yup! Perhaps I'm going to need a small “man purse” to hold some extra items items! Will swap out audio recorder for hard drive, though, so I do have it always with me. We’ll see in my “test” run of this setup. Naturally, I will report back on how this all works out! Stay tuned.
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