Minimalist Travel Kit

Sitting on a plane, heading to Beijing for my day job, I’ve had an opportunity to think about my kit and what I’m hoping to accomplish in the (very) limited spare time available. I used to take a full 35mm kit with me on trips like this. A bag weighing in at 30lbs with 3 hefty 2.8 zooms, a prime, tripod, full frame body, laptop, ipad, backup batteries, filters, sundries….
There were trips where I never even took the camera out of the bag. I hauled it half way around the world for nothing! Work pressures meant I saw the airport, taxi, hotel, office, taxi, airport, with zero enthusiasm to get out and shoot.

Fuji x100s, TCL-x100

When the Fuji X system came out, I was intrigued by the idea that when traveling for the day job, i.e. not for pleasure, I could carry something small, but would have the flexibility to deliver the quality I was used to. I was disappointed in the Fuji X-10, it just couldn’t get there for me. The white orb problem was a killer and I just couldn’t get comfortable using the camera enough to trust the output.

I’ve been documenting my journey with the x100s on this blog for a while. I love the camera, but more importantly, I love the images I make with it. I started out with the camera, and I’ve been adding to the system in terms of “stuff” to add flexibility. In a previous post, I documented a tiny walkabout kit, based on the x100s and the Rapidstrap SnapR 35 bag. That solution is great, and I use it regularly, but I have expanded my system to include the WCL-x100 and TCL-x100 converters (more on those later).

So what does my minimalist intercontinental kit look like now?


Fuji x100s, with all the trimmings.

The bag is a Billingham Hadley Small. I love this little bag, just right for the body, converters, accessories and my iPad mini. The little ThinkTank case I got from the flashbus tour and holds my iPad camera connection kit, two spare batteries and a spare memory card. The tripod is the one mentioned in the previous post, and I did follow though on the promise to add the small Sunwayfoto pano clamp to the ReallyRightStuff head. The only thing missing from this picture is my iPod, which I used to take the picture. That’s my emergency storage / exposure calculator/backup camera.

This is a compact setup that fits inside my work computer backpack. On arrival in country, I pull this out complete and I’m ready to go. I will leave the iPad and the battery charger in the room, so I’m even lighter.

Temple of Heaven Fuji x100s, TCL-x100

One note on the battery charger. I hate the one that comes with the x100s. It has a long cord that is just unnecessary, plus it’s bigger than it needs to be. I found a replacement, seen her to the right of the lens hood, that is small, just a but bigger than the actual battery. It’s powered by a micro USB cable – the same one used for my blackberry or an assortment of other electronics plugged into a standard 5v USB charger. Sweet! The only place I could fine it was Photomadd in the UK, but they are very inexpensive, even with shipping. The only downside is it seems to take longer to charge from dead on an NP-95. I don’t know how much longer, but if you are needing to charge multiple batteries overnight, I suspect you will be disappointed.

Gateway, Fuji x100s, WCL-x100

The other thing of note is that I use the short strap from the SnapR 35. In areas where I feel more vulnerable to snatch thieves, I’ll loop this around the main bag strap so my camera is attached to the main bag. Might slow them down a bit.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating, as the old saying goes. All the images in this post – except the pic of the gear, were shot with the stuff while walking around the Temple of Heaven complex in Beijing, China. It is 90+ degrees Fahrenheit (very hot), and words cannot describe how grateful I am not to be dragging a huge bag of gear around. Editing on an iPad is a bit crap, the full treatment will have to wait until I get home, but I’m totally satisfied that this travel kit is the way to go for a minimalist approach.

Temple of Heaven, Fuji X100s, WCL-X100

More to come…….


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