BUBM Travel bags

BUBM Travel bags

I don’t travel as much as some photographers, but I am still constantly trying to improve on my packing process and systems. I have found packing to be faster when I keep all of my photographic items compartmentalized and self-contained. What does that mean? It means I have broken down specific items and equipment into individual bags that contain all of the necessary items for using the equipment included. It’s always nice being in the field and knowing that I have all of the necessary charging cords, batteries, and accessories for each piece of equipment right there in the bag. I purchased two sets of travel bags from Amazon and have divided equipment into the following photography kits:


In the first of the small bags, I carry two GoPro bodies along with charging cords and extra batteries. I have also fit the waterproof housings, attachments, bases, straps, and memory cards.


The second small bag contains all of the items I need when shooting video for recording quality audio. In this bag I keep my Rode VideoMic Pro, Rode Deadcat Wind Muff, Beachtek 2-channel audio adapter, an extra 9-volt battery for the microphone, along with all connection cords.

Audio Kit in Small Bag

Audio Kit in Small Bag

Video Monitor Kit in Medium Bag

Video Monitor Kit in Medium Bag


In the second medium size bag I store my Elvid 7” Video Monitor with connection cords, an LP-E6 battery, HDMI cable and the included hot shoe mount.


I’ve found the medium travel bag perfectly fits my backup solution. I’m able to store 2 1TB LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt drives along with two copies of USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt cables.


This bag is stuffed! The large bag contains all of the items I may need while using my laptop computer on the road. Included is an Apple wireless Mighty Mouse, 4-port power strip and surge protector, Google Chromecast, 16GB USB thumb drive, thunderbolt to HDMI adapter, headphones, USB expansion ports, along with each of every type of connection cable I may ever want or need.

Computer Connection Kit in Large Bag

Computer Connection Kit in Large Bag

Tool Kit in Original Case

Tool Kit in Original Case


The final bag I carry contains all of the chargers for each of the different battery types in my camera bag. This includes 4 chargers for my main body batteries along with a charger for my point and shoot Canon G15. I have also managed to fit my complete tool kit inside of this bag for on the road repairs.




Packing for a trip, especially one centered around photography, is generally a huge undertaking. It just so happens that I very much enjoy this undertaking. For lots of people, packing is a process full of questions and uncertainty. What do I pack? Should I bring this? Will I need two of these? How will I keep my gear protected? Will I be able to carry that on? What if something breaks? What are the essentials? Would that be nice to have? What will the weather be like? And on and on and on… Hopefully, I can help you answer some of these questions by sharing a little about my preparation process.

I used to leave notes all over the house of things to do and things not to forget and things to purchase before I go. Personally, I hate chaos so this was a nightmare!

I find I’m a pretty efficient packer and quite good at staying organized (thanks Dad). The following is a quick break down of what I do when preparing for a trip. And with two trips coming up, this will be a bit of a play by play as I really prepare. I hope it helps.


I have lots and lots and lots of lists that I keep in a dedicated notebook entitled“Lists” (revolutionary I know) that I store in Evernote. Here are a few of the lists that I have that I’ve found to be helpful:


This contains all of the equipment I currently own (including computers and software) as well as purchase price and serial number. Besides being a life saver when filing an insurance claim, it helps to print a copy as I review what I will need on my upcoming trip.


In addition to photography equipment, I have listed equipment used for climbing, canyoneering, car camping, backpacking, fly-fishing, and hunting. When a trip is approaching, I can take out all of the potential lists and review the equipment I might need. I generally use these to create a final master packing list that helps me see what I’m missing and what I need to do before I go.


I hang on to the lists I’ve made from past trips as a helpful place to start for an upcoming trip. This may just be obsessive-compulsive behavior on my part, but for some reason I think it helps.


If it’s a road trip, there a several items I like to take care of before I leave like oil changes, spare tire air pressure, insurance cards, emergency kits, and the like. A list of these things is a good reminder to review.


I generally make a list of important things to do before I leave. This usually includes backing up my computer, updating all of my software, color calibrating my laptop, charging or replacing batteries, formatting memory cards, updating personal information stored online, filing a trip plan with an emergency contact and sometimes search and rescue, as well as sharing my itinerary.


The final list I put together before I go is a shot list. I like to do some basic research around what I’ll be shooting and get some ideas together of what I’d like to capture to tell a complete story. Often, I’ll include images in an inspiration folder on my travel hard drive. Obviously, a shot list is open to interpretation once I’m on site and in the moment, but it’s nice going in with a plan.


The right bag can make or break a trip. I have several blog posts from earlier this year that discuss camera bags I own and use, so I’ll spare you the details. A few nice things to remember when purchasing a new bag include international flight regulations regarding size and weight, portability, protection, and accessibility to your equipment. That last one is a big one for me. I've sold many a camera bag due to inaccessibility.


I like my laptop cleaned up and backed up when I travel. Aside from wiping down the screen, exterior and keyboard, I take a 500GB hard drive that stores my necessities and some niceties.  This includes: software backups and license numbers should I need to restore my computer, all company documents including insurance, my portfolio of images, and folders of music, movies and audiobooks to make travel easier and more entertaining. I keep a second copy of company documents and images in Dropbox in the event my hardware gets stolen. I can access these via phone or internet café. I also keep secure copies of my driver’s license, passport, insurance cards and the like online (LastPass) in case they get lost or stolen. It’s also smart to make sure all memory cards and field hard drives are downloaded, emptied and backed up while you’re still at home. Nothing’s worse than being short on storage and not knowing what you can erase and what you should save!


I always send an updated equipment list to my insurance provider when I purchase or sell a piece of equipment. Knowing my stuff is covered lets me focus on being creative instead of worrying about equipment.


I started using TripIt to manage my itineraries and share information with friends and family involved. It auto-updates based on my inbox and reminds me to check in for my flight. It’s nice traveling with all of my confirmation numbers in one place and close at hand.

Side note: it’s a good idea to check your reservations for hotel, rental car, and other items by phone before you leave. Set a mental reminder to do this when you get your "It's time to check in for your flight..." email. Don’t be the idiot at the counter who thought he had a reservation but doesn’t.


I charge batteries, format cards, and clean lenses and sensors before I go. If I need to rent equipment, I reserve items in advance and make sure I have a time buffer for returning the item. As a final equipment prep, I lay everything I'm bringing out on the ping pong table and snap a shot. This helps remember what I took and people seem to love these on Instagram.

Pre-packed gear shot for a canyoneering trip to Zion National Park.

Pre-packed gear shot for a canyoneering trip to Zion National Park.


One of the last things I do is lay out what I'm going to wear on the plane and prep my carry-on bags. Having clothes laid out saves time in the morning for an early flight. My "outfit" usually includes no belt, flip flops, with my driver's license and credit card in my pocket (helps with security scan). My wallet, keys and other pocket items live in my carry-on bag to make security checks faster and easier. Lastly, I charge my iPad and remember my headphones for the plane.

Side note: Chase Jarvis recommends printing off the TSA and airline's baggage guidelines to bring with you (see 6:45 in the video link). This can get you out of a bind with a big bag or a heavy bag.

That’s it from me. What do you do to prepare for a trip? What tips have you found that save time or energy?

**Shoot me an email if you're interested in any of my packing lists. I'd be happy to share.**