I am leaving for Mongolia next week to lead a photo tour. Of course, I am looking forward it, but at the moment PACKING is the challenge. There will be a wide range of temperatures, challenges with lack of electricity, and small planes with severe weight limitation.

I do not skimp on my camera equipment; I take my full camera bag (a Lowepro Orion AW) hoisting a Canon 1Ds MarkIII with a 15mm, 28mm f/1.8, 24-105mm, 100-400, and my favorite a 16 -35mm f/2.8. (my full equipment list is listed on my website if you are interested), along with a 580 EX II flash, wireless transmitter, Gepe card case, a Singh-Ray polarizer and a Singh-Ray Vari-ND, a couple of Lumi-Quest flash diffuser and bounce accessories, and other sundry items. Yes, it all fits. Very dense at about 25lbs. I am also bringing a Canon 5D that I converted to InfraRed and a 1Ds Mark II as a back up.

Of course I have the battery chargers, extra camera batteries, extra cords, etc. I won’t list all the accessories here. But, I have seen almost everything go wrong in the field so I am prepared.

The next decision was how to back up my images in the field. I have decided not to take a laptop on the tour (I will leave it behind in Ulan Bator in a locked left luggage, well protected in a hard case.) Instead I am taking two Hyperdrive Colorspace O digital wallets — thanks to the advice of Jim Elferdink, author of a number of those Missing Manuals that are essential in my world

Jim suggested: “To save money I bought just the case from Hyperdrive and then bought a 320 GB drive from OWC for about $120. It’s not hard to install the drive and format it.”

He was right it was a cinch to plop the Hitachi drives in the Colorspace O cases (they even give you a screw driver). So now I have two 320GB digital wallets that cost A LOT less than an Epson.

The rest of the stuff is easy to pack .. it is always the camera gear that is thought provoking.

PS: I am not much of a tripod user but I am taking a Gitzo Traveler Tripod 6x Carbon G1550T. It is not the sturdies tripod, but I do not use large lenses and it is the perfect tripod for conserving space and weight.