Tackling the eternal packing dilemma

I should be packing for my flight, but I’m still trying to decide whether to carry everything on or check a bag. I know a lot of the pro travelers wouldn’t dream of checking a bag but I hate to lug my roll-on suitcase onto flights. I think it has something to do with my conflict-avoidance issues.

Considering that I’m on a direct flight to Dublin and I can check up to two bags free on United thanks to my girlfriend’s Global Services status (she booked my flight), this should be a no-brainer. Except, UPS also delivered my new F-Stop Satori EXP backpack today.

I’ve been lusting for one of these photography backpacks for awhile. I figured I’d buy one when I finally get around to doing my photo expedition around the world. Granted that might not be for one or two more years but with my new resolution to do more back-country hiking, I was able to justify (at least to myself) purchasing the bag now.

I can’t blame some glitzy marketing campaign, it’s F-Stop’s stable of professional photographers who blog about the bags and who make cool videos and post photos showing their bags atop some snowy mountain peak who made this sale. I’m a total sucker for social proof marketing. There’s also the fact that I have some sort of luggage/camera bag addiction. It’s not like I don’t already have a decent camera backpack. It’s much smaller, though, and is definitely not up to the overnight hikes I plan to take the Satori on.

But … at first inspection, the Satori looks like it’s everything it’s cracked up to be (I’ll do a review after I put it through the paces on this trip and an upcoming hike). If I pack light, the Satori and my Lowepro Passport Sling should get me through four days in Dublin and London.

But … if I check a bag, I could put my tripod into it, which would come in handy for sunrise and sunset photos. I know I could probably hand carry the tripod but I’ve read conflicting reports on whether you can get tripods through TSA and I don’t feel like risking it without a more definitive answer.

But … I could also slip my gorillapod into the Satori and call it a day.

Choices. Choices.

Updated 8:45 p.m.:

Well, I decided to bring the Satori and my roll-on bag, loaded with my tripod, my Lowepro sling (stuffed with my socks and underwear), a pair of shoes, a pair of jeans, some shirts and my gorillapod.

That was the plan, at least.

By the time I got to the airport, I decided I was ridiculously over-packed for only a four and half day trip.

So, I left the suitcase and tripod in the trunk. I also ditched a black hoodie and extra sweater that had been in my backpack. I stuffed my jeans and a couple undershirts into my sling and everything else into the Satori.

Don’t know if I’ll regret leaving the tripod behind but I think the trade-off was worth it.

The Satori EXP backpack pictured at the top is similar to mine, except mine is “foliage green.” Photo by Flickr user Iliyan Gochev.

Joe Newman

I'm Joe Newman, multi-media story teller, non-profit do-gooder, international street photographer, serious poker player, intrepid traveler. Bourbon drinker.

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