Traveling with da Gear

06.09 – While flying is anything but romantic, it’s still amazing how we can jet around the world with relative ease. Knock on wood, but I still have yet to have any horrible hassle or ghastly tale of travel. I did have a TSA checker drop my 200f2VR denting the shade and one TSA gal who was looking through the 200f2 with the caps off and said, “Too bad they don’t make these things so we can look through them.” But nothing truly major. I do seem to always find on one leg of my travels a TSA  “photo enthusiast” who wants to look at my gear and talk photography. I just smile, answer the questions and go on my way. We always arrive at the airport two hours early, usually flying right through spending a little extra time at the gate. It’s just the way travel is these days. With a good book, iPod 80GB video, Bose headphones, we arrive at the other end no worse for the wear.

I always have my carry-on two items – one carry-on & one personal item. I have either the MP-1 or MP-3 Photopack with the gear listed on Moose’s Camera Bag. I have my Dell notebooks (normally travel with 2 now, m4400 & m6400 both with 500GB drives), a couple of 500GBBuffalo External drives and other misc stuff in my other carry-on, in a Swiss Army WT Wheeled Briefcase EXP. This is a killer bag which has taken some real abuse (at the hands of others) and still works great!

My checked luggage is still the Eagle Creek Monster Trunk which they have discontinued now (ORV comes close). In the Monster Trunk goes the tripod and the rest of my personal gear. The other check-in is the Tamarac 695 Strong Box. This is the primary bag for my checked camera gear. The MP-5 would be packed in this case along with the tripod head. Both bags have TSA locks on them, Victorinox Swiss Army Accessories TSA Combo Locks. Whenever possible, I stay with my checked luggage until it has been scanned and been put on the belt to the plane.

Those items not packed in the Photopack are now FedEx to the location in a Pelican Case 1660. Typically this is the 200-400VR, 200VR, batteries and battery units, GPS units and the like. I no longer trust any gear to check-in when flying.

Has my luggage ever been lost? Not permanently, but I have been without it for 12-16 hours after I’ve landed. Has items gone missing from my checked luggage? Yeah, to much, mainly rechargeable batteries, I’ve gone through lots of them. A Gerber tool or two has disappeared as well. Has any, any of my gear ever been damaged or destroyed in either my carry-on or checked in? Never, knock on wood, never in all my years flying. Everything is carefully wrapped and packed so it has as much protection that can be afforded in these days of travels.

Getting through the airport isn’t fun, isn’t a hassle, it’s just life that we are very fortunate that even with all the inconveniences, we are able to take advantage of still to pursue our passions. I walk into the terminal expecting the worse with a smile on my face and patience in my heart and just persevere through the idiots to reach my destination so I can shoot. Since that’s really all I’m after, the rest seems to be trivial.

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