Gear check: Packing for two weeks in Asia

I’m not really sure why we find the contents of other people’s camera bags interesting. Is it gear lust? Are we trying to affirm our own gear choices? Does it give us ideas on how to pack? Or is it because it gives us interesting insight into the person who owns the bag?

I’m leaving Friday for a two-week trip to the Philippines (with three days in Japan). I was really torn on whether to pack light and make do with the bare essentials, or bring enough gear to handle most situations. If I was just going to be doing street photography, I’d probably get by with just a body and lens. But on this trip I’m also planning on shooting quite a bit of landscapes, portraits and architectural images. So I’ve decided to err on the side of over packing (though admittedly it’s still a pretty bare-bones pack compared to what a lot of pros take on working trips).

That means packing three lenses — two primes and a zoom, even though the zoom covers the range of the primes. While this might sound counter-intuitive, I’ll be switching to the less bulky primes for street photography. And I may yet change my mind on a couple of these items, such as the battery grip and the flash.

Leaving the flash at home would mean I could also remove the Pocket Wizards, extra AA batteries and charger from the bag. Oh, agonizing about what kind of photography gear you’re taking to the Third World is definitely a First World problem.


1. F-Stop Satori EXP backpack with internal camera storage unit
2. Filson Harvey messenger bag
3. Olympus OM-D E-M1 body
4. Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 lens
5. M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 lens
6. M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8 lens
7. Lumpro LP180 flash
8. Pocket Wizards
9. Apple iPad2
10. Giotto Rocket Blaster
11. Extra camera batteries and extra AA batteries
12 Memory cards and cases.
13. Lens cloth
14. Shutter release cable
15. Battery grip for the E-M1
16. Neutral density and polarizer filters
17. Business card case, moleskin notebooks, pen
18. DiCAPac waterproof camera case
19. Think Tank cable management bags
20. Assorted power cords, cables and battery chargers
21. Padded wraps
22. MeFOTO BackPacker Travel Tripod

Joe Newman

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

  • Mike (Nomadic Texan)

    July 11, 2014 at 12:21 am

    I am so jealous. I would love to get back to the Philippines and see how it has changed since I was there. Please make sure you try a fresh Mangosteen if they are available! I think you will find them very tasty! Also their lobsters are like 10 pounds each! Biggest lobsters I have ever seen! Eat one for me! Have fun.

  • Jess

    July 13, 2014 at 1:53 am

    Have fun on your trip!

    It’s amazing how quickly camera gear has started to take over my packing, even though I’m still fairly new to photography and don’t even have a ton of gear – it just seems like it when I’m trying to fit all my luggage into a carry on. But I think I regret not having something I need way more then I do lugging around an extra cord or two.

  • Joe Newman

    July 28, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    Hey Jess and Mike, thanks for the comments. We just got back into town last weekend and now begins the long slog of going through all my images.