I am always looking for new ways to save space or weight in my baggage, or to ease the challenges I face with my camera gear. I am sure many of you are just like me, so I put together this list of “Gear Tips,” in hopes that some of these tips may prove helpful. None of the photos accompanying this post would have been possible without one or more of the items listed below.

Gear Tips

  1. I travel with camera battery chargers that are smaller and lighter than the chargers that came with my cameras. I bought my chargers on Amazon, and typically take three with me when I travel. My Fuji cameras go through batteries quickly.  (Check out my earlier post on packing extras when you travel.)
  2. I usually include a small international surge protector power strip in my suitcase. The power strip turns one electrical outlet into three, which is of particular importance when there is only one or two outlets available in a room I am sharing with a roommate, and we both have lots of batteries, cellphones and laptops or tablets to charge. (If you are traveling internationally, it may still be necessary to use an adapter to plug the power strip into an outlet, depending on the country you are in.) 
  3. Sometimes older hotels, or hotels overseas, have outlets only for two prong plugs. I always carry a three prong to two prong adapter plug just “in case.”
  4. I constantly have problems unscrewing filters from my lenses. I now carry a wide rubber band to wrap around a stuck filter, which gives me better leverage as I twist and turn the filter.
  5. Rain jackets made for cameras are handy if it rains. If I am saving space or forget to pack the rain jacket, and if I am using smaller lenses, I use a large shower cap as a rain jacket. Shower caps are usually available at my hotel or at a local drug store. I also always pack a small travel umbrella that easily fits in my camera backpack or purse. Umbrellas work great at shielding a camera lens from rain drops.
  6. There are lots of cloths and papers out there for cleaning camera lenses. The best lens cleaning cloth I have ever used is by 3M. It has worked miracles.
  7. If I bring a flash on my trip, I only use rechargeable batteries. I bring two sets of batteries–one set in the flash and one set recharged and ready to go. It is a good idea to do some research about batteries before you buy them, to be sure they will work okay with your flash, and that they will not lose their charge too quickly. I have used Eneloop rechargeable batteries, and they have performed well with my Nikon, Fuji, and Nissin flashes.
  8. If you live in the United States and are returning home from a trip, U.S. Customs recommends bringing receipts to show that you bought your camera equipment in the United States. I carry a thumb drive which has copies of my receipts as well as my trip documents.
  9. I keep a PDF of my camera and flash manuals on my cell phone, for reference, instead of carrying the bulky manuals with me. (I also keep a copy on my laptop and iPad.)
  10. I use portable solid state drives to back-up my images. They are lighter and smaller than a portable external hard drive. My two 250 GB Samsung drives have performed very well.

Care to Share?

Maybe you have some “tips” you’d like to share? I love to hear of new ways to lighten my load or to make things easier as I travel. I am sure many others are interested too. Email me with your ideas and suggestions at [email protected]. It would be fun to write another post in the future listing your ideas and recommendations!