My bags: a big one for diving equipment and clothes, a small one for photo equipment ...
My bags: a big one for diving equipment and clothes, a small one for photo equipment ...

What's in my blogger diver travel bag ?

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic Google translation from a post originally written in French. My apologies for the weird sentences and the funny mistakes that could have been generated during the process. If you can read French, the original and correct version can be found here:

  Between Two Journeys

My diving equipment and my equipment for underwater photography now occupy the bulk of my luggage. Impossible for me to travel light as before! But the basic principle remains valid: I must be able to lug all my luggage alone.

Warning : this is NOT a sponsored item, I am not affiliated with any of the brands I quote below in this article. I invested little by little, year after year, especially in computer equipment, photography and diving ...

Until 2009: my backpacker luggage

Big backpack (green) + diving bag (black) + small backpack "cabin".
Big backpack (green) + dive bag (black) + small "cabin" backpack.

That was my diver-pack before 2010. I was then a backpacker, a backpacker. I had not yet invested in a waterproof case to take underwater my SLR camera (Canon Eos 7D), which today represents all additional paraphernalia to carry. I was moving with the following three pieces of luggage:

  • 1. A big backpack (green stuff) for clothes and the rest (10-12 kg)
  • 2. A bag-pudding with shoulder strap for diving equipment (10-11 kg)
  • 3. A small backpack, my luggage "cabin", where I tidied my compact camera of the time and its small box, the laptop and small things fragile and / or precious (iPhone, papers, money) ...

All that came down roughly in the limitation usually practiced, at the time, in eco class for luggage: twenty kilos in the hold (my two big bags) + a few kilos in the cabin.

2010-2018: my first bag with wheels

This is the bag that faithfully accompanied me from 2010 to 2018, in all my diving trips: a trunk bag 90 liters, light and cheap, found in a large chain of sports shops (Decathlon), early 2010 (this Newfeel bag is still marketed today, with some evolutions).

Its design in two compartments is very practical. My full dive gear is on one side. The clothes and some of my underwater photographer bardas on the other. I completely reviewed my luggage logistics from 2010, when I started to carry a little more photo material to make images under water. I talk about it in these articles:

→ Finished the backpack, long live the bag with wheels!

→ Photo and diving: my equipment

My bags: a big one for diving equipment and clothes, a small one for photo equipment ...
My bags: a big one for diving equipment and clothes, a small one for photo equipment ...

I reluctantly gave up my "backpacker" status with all his belongings on his back / shoulder. It's a lot less exhausting to be a "rollpackeuse" ... 😂

This compact and unobtrusive wheeled bag draws much less attention than the bulky dive travel bags, all of which have a well-known brand name written on them. He held the road eight years, with 3 to 4 trips a year and was often roughed up! I was very happy, until he let me go in May 2018, returning from a trip to the Philippines.

The handle has finally come out of its rail and the two corners down at the front are quite worn. In contrast, the closures still hold and the entire canvas is still in good condition. Rather robust, so despite its very small price, a very good investment.

From July 2018 to today

Forcing me to renew my luggage, I have just invested in another bag with wheels, designed in the same way, in two compartments. A bag also discreet, a famous luggage brand (Eastpack) that guarantees its products thirty years. His name : Transver L.

It is less cheap than my previous bag, a little larger (121 liters). I hope it will last as well or longer!

Here are my current luggage: a big Eastpack wheel bag (right), a Ikea wheeled cabin bag with detachable backpack (left). (Charles-de-Gaulle airport, Roissy, July 2018)
Here are my current luggage: a big Eastpack wheel bag (right), a Ikea wheeled cabin bag with detachable backpack (left). (Charles-de-Gaulle airport, Roissy, July 2018)

Small underwater photo logistics

This change of logistics and the choice of the wheels were therefore imposed because of the material for the underwater photo, to transport in addition to the rest ... I had to completely review the organization of my luggage!

In addition to the camera and its waterproof case, it must convey the heavy equipment that goes with: the plate (support) with its two handles, flashes and their batteries, the arms of the flash, the charger for these flashes, cables etc. I put you some photos below, so that you give an idea of the bazaar ...

Yes, I do not really look like a mermaid with all my photographic bazaar under water! (Philippines, May 2018 - Photo by Steven Weinberg)
Yes, I don't exactly look like a mermaid with all my photographic stuff underwater! (Philippines, May 2018 - Photo by Steven Weinberg)
My paraphernalia for underwater photography.
The same paraphernalia, dismounted ...
There you go ! The device is ready to accompany me under the water! (Romblon, Philippines, March 2017)
My current configuration (since 2016), with two flashes.
The little bazaar that I steal on a trip to be able to take photos under water ... Right, my camera with its new lens 100mm macro. Only the most fragile elements, namely the camera and lenses, its box and portholes, remain in my cabin bag. I put everything else in the hold. (Romblon, Philippines, March 2017)
The small bazaar that I steal on a trip to be able to take photos under water ... And again, do not appear on the photo the dome and the lens for the wide angle shots. Right, my camera with its 100mm macro lens. Only the most fragile elements (camera, lenses, box and portholes) remain in my cabin bag. I put everything else in the hold. (Romblon, Philippines, March 2017)

For the plane: only one big bag in the hold

So I put in the hold only one big bag to roll. This luggage on wheels, divided into two compartments, contains:

  • on one side, my complete diving equipment;
  • on the other side, some clothes and various accessories a little heavy related to the underwater photography that I evoked above (the flashes and their batteries of a model authorized in the hold, the charger for these batteries, the arms of the flashes and the platinum of the box, among others).

Fortunately he rolls, this bag! The whole easily reaches 28-29 kg ... 😱

I therefore prefer to travel, for international flights to / from France, on airlines that allow no extra cost 30kg in the hold (Emirates Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines ...).

➡️ Attention on Emirates: during the stopover in Dubai, the company's policy is to re-check the weight of passengers' hand luggage on most flights. They are waiting for you with a scale, just before the access to the departure lounge. Better not to exceed 7kg allowedthey are very strict, the extra kilo is charged at a high price (and impossible to board without paying). For photographers: I advise you to wear your camera around your neck and slide your lenses in a multipockets jacket ...

For flights between Asian countries, I often borrow Air Asia to buy at the time of booking, beyond the 15kg base for checked luggage, extra pounds up to a total of 30kg ...

Finally, overweight fees on local companies that I often borrow (Indonesian, Malaysian, Filipino) are rarely a problem: they are very low compared to Europe. One can either pre-pay at the time of booking online, otherwise they are to be paid at the time of registration, and are often charged with a "discount" at the head of the customer (and especially the customer, when she makes a big smile at the check-in counter and says hello in the language of the country) ... 😉

The thorny issue of "cabin" luggage

In addition to my bag with wheels, I have with me a "small" cabin bag, now also on wheels, bulky and convertible backpack, unearthed in the store of a large Swedish furniture chain (Ikea)

The interest is that it divides into two pieces of luggage thanks to a zip: the rear part, which rolls and which is stacked in standard authorized cabin format; and the front part, which turns into a perfect little backpack for my MacBook Pro computer and my papers. All zips can be secured by small padlocks.

I spread in this cabin baggage "two in one" all that is fragile and / or precious and that I do not want to put in hold:

  • In the main part of the rolling bag: the Ikelite waterproof case for my 7D and its two portholes (wide-angle dome + macro porthole), the Canon Eos 7D and its lenses, the fragile electronic equipment (dive computer and backup hard drive), a fleece jacket for transport ( especially in Asia where the air conditioning is often pushed to the bottom) and a mini-change of urgency (in case the luggage in the hold containing the clothes would not have followed, precaution that I take since that happened to me in 2015 → Leaving on an island far from everything).
  • In the small detachable bag: my 15-inch MacBook Pro, my iPhone, money and papers, and my airplane survival kit (mask, ear plugs, compression socks, toothbrush). In general, I keep this detachable bag with me in the plane, slid under the seat in front of me, and I place the other in the luggage compartment in height.

➡️ NB. I have this clever convertible cabin bag since 2016 (before, I had a beast little backpack, which weighed a little heavy on my shoulders, with all this stuff, in the airport corridors) ... I am delighted with my find, this new little bag with wheels is perfectly suitable for air travel!

Clothes: the tropical minimum

And for the rest, what do you put in your luggage for a trip to Southeast Asia or tropical islands? As little as possible! 🌴 🌴 During my travels in Asia, I learned to take only the essentials. I have made a small checklist below.

➡️ My usual destinations enjoy the same climate: hot and humid. Long live summer clothes! No need to worry: if I miss something, I buy it on the spot (in addition, it is much cheaper than in France). No problem getting flip flops, t-shirts or sarongs in Asia!

Clothing: the tops

  • some tops with straps for "seaside" places
  • two t-shirts covering the shoulders and several fine tunics with long sleeves. Both to respect certain places and situations (cities, Muslim countries, temples) and as protection against mosquitoes at night. Preferably things easy to wash and match with any stocking.
  • a small fleece jacket for all air-conditioned places that are often in "fridge" mode (plane, bus, boat, shopping malls, etc.)

Clothing: the stockings

  • cropped trousers
  • long trousers (for travel by plane, and for places and circumstances where it is not better, as a woman, to be bare legs)
  • a skirt and / or a summer dress with braces
  • one or two shorts

Undergarments

  • panties and bras: simple and comfortable
  • in sufficient quantity for a week

At the feet

  • a pair of canvas sneakers that I wear on the plane, which is then used only when you have to walk a little
  • a pair of flip flops that do not weigh anything in the bag and that I almost always at the feet on the spot

➡️ I'm not a trekker, so I do not clutter heavy hiking shoes or socks ...

My indispensable accessories

  • 3 or 4 swimsuits (I am always in the water, I like to change)
  • 2 to 3 paréos or sarongs (a "clean", one or two others for the beach and sea trips, I often buy new ones on site)
  • a hammock (one of these light models as found everywhere in Asia)
  • Sun glasses

➡️ I do not take bath towel for a long time, it is now everywhere.

Toilet stuff

  • Shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, toothpaste, moisturizer, sunscreen, etc. Before, I took them in small quantities in small bottles for the arrival, because I often bought my toiletries on the spot to gain weight in luggage. From now on, I use biodegradable products to pollute the least possible and as it is not easy to find on a trip, I take the necessary quantity with me. I recently switched to shampoo as a solid soap, very convenient.
  • Toothbrush, hairbrush, hair elastics, tweezers, razor, etc.

➡️ Special girls: whether you are tampons, cup or towels, it is better to think about carrying your hygiene protection, we are not sure to find everywhere, especially tampons ...

Médoc: small pharmacy at bobos

My pharmacy kit has been steadily reduced during my travels, most often to Asia and the archipelagoes of the Indo-Pacific ... Do you say that in tourist areas and large cities, There is usually medical infrastructure in case of a real problem. Overall, the risk of contracting a serious illness is minimal for a healthy, well-nourished Western traveler who has his vaccines up to date. And if that happens, we will not treat ourselves: we will consult a doctor on site or we will call for assistance / insurance for travelers.

So I'm happy here to give common sense advice, for small problems on the trip, not for serious situations. These tips obviously can not replace a medical opinion. But given the exorbitant price of some drugs (which often will not be used), the best is to take with you only enough to treat small disorders and small sores.

The really useful stuff

The problems that are most likely to be faced: the famous tourist (traveler's diarrhea) and small wounds (bites, scrapes, cuts, blisters, which heal poorly in humid climate and can become infected).

So, what is really useful in a travel pharmacy kit is at a minimum an anti-diarrhea, as well as bandages sterile and a disinfectant type Betadine (be vigilant on all the small sores on the feet, since we walk around barefoot, in flip flops, it can be infected very easily). I now have with me also waterproof bandages adapted to protect a wound when I dive, the salt water only aggravating the situation otherwise ...

Possibly antibioticsif you know that you will spend time away from any city (where you can find doctor and / or pharmacy). For example, I already had to urgently find a pharmacy between two planes in Indonesia, to get me antibiotics for three days, just to stop the infection of a bulb of fins (sic!) That had degenerate.

For the small ordinary evils, I also take some pills ofanti-pain with paracetamol, Doliprane type, Dafalgan or equivalent.

Finally, very useful for the diver that I am: drops to treat otitis externa (caused by badly rinsed ears after immersion). The most effective for this type of infection, among those I tested: those named Ottopain in Indonesia or Panotile in France.

Mosquitoes and malaria

The malaria (also called malaria) is an infectious disease potentially deadly, caused by parasites of the genus Plasmodium, transmitted by mosquitoes when they bite us.

Malaria does not occur everywhere in the equatorial or tropical regions of the world, nor in the same country considered malarious area. I mean, there's no need to take preventive treatment when you go to Phuket, for example ... For malarious areas, it is obviously advisable to consult a doctor before leaving. He alone can properly inform you about the risks of contamination where you are going and how best to prevent them.

This is not a question to take lightly. As rightly remember many travelers on the internet, just a single bite of a mosquito carrying the parasite to be infected for life ...

My weapon against mosquitoes.For my part, it is rare that I take an antimalarial treatment. I am often asked the question and I am always a little annoyed to answer, knowing that this can influence the decision of other people. But it is a personal choice, of which I assume the risk for myself, knowingly.

My decision can not be a substitute for medical advice and is not a recommendation. Everyone to take responsibility with their health.

I usually settle for the simplest basic precautions, which have been proven: mosquito repellent, sleeves and long pants at dusk if needed, careful closure of the net around the bed if there is one and the room is not closed.

I invite you to read this excellent article published by François du blog Tourdumondiste, which explains everything very well, with serious information (sourced) and advice → Should we take malaria medication while traveling?

➡️ It is not only malaria to be feared: mosquitoes can also transmit the dengue. Protecting yourself with repellent and long clothing therefore remains a basic precaution in all cases.

Techno: an indispensable superfluity

There, I confess, I charge a little. I'm addicted to my toys! I have traveled a long time without a computer, when I was a real backpacker, but it's over. At that time, to connect to the web and keep this blog updated during my travels, I spent hours in the local internet cafes ...

1. Laptop

The first time I decided to leave with a laptop, I first opted for a netbook (a laptop) all light and not too expensive, the small Medion Akoya (read here → My technomade mini-computer). But from 2010, when I acquired my Canon 7D SLR camera who is doing HD video, I gave up: this little computer was not powerful enough ...

Instead, I took the next time my old 15-inch MacBook Pro. Only he scared me by falling in the road with a beautiful black screen: he did not like the humidity and the heat at all. It returned to life afterwards, but this machine was already beginning to be obsolete at the time. Technological toys are evolving at full speed! ! !

So, in January 2011, I fell for a 13 inch MacBook Air, one of those of the first generation, all light, really good. I loved it and traveled with many years. But similarly, he ended up no longer suffice me, with the stock of raw photos and videos that I accumulated ... His slowness, faced with new software and ever larger files, became infuriating.

My MacBook Air. At Ankermi, in Maumere. Flores, Indonesia, July 2011.
My MacBook Air 11 inches, at Ankermi Happy Dive, in Maumere. (Flores, Indonesia, July 2011)

So, in June 2016, I invested in a new machine, able to process without dragging a lot of big files and which should be able to last several years: a MacBook Pro 15-inch Retina Display from mid-2015 (photo below).

Nice, my blogger's office! (Lembeh, Sulawesi, July 2017)
Nice, my blogger travel diver! (Lembeh, Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2017)

I bought it reconditioned (they are computers that were used in presentation in store and which were rehabilitated for sale then, it allows a consequent saving, compared to a new model) on the Refurb Store from the brand to the apple.

I took care to choose a model well inflated in power (16GB RAM + 2.5GHz processor Intel Core i7) and storage (1TB of flash memory), in order to process without rowing heavy files photos and videos, and in the hope that it will not be too quickly obsolete ...

With the amount of underwater images I'm doing now, I can not imagine traveling without a computer. I can write my texts whenever I want, from my room or my terrace, sort my photos as I go on Lightroom, edit videos and connect to the internet, either using a wifi connection when there is one, or using the shared connection of my iPhone in which I put a local SIM card (not expensive at all in Asia, very convenient to connect via the mobile network).

2. Photo and video equipment

Since January 2010, I travel with a SLR camera that also makes video, the Canon Eos 7D (nothing to do with the small digital compact Canon Powershot A95 who accompanied me before). I am very happy, even if it is quite heavy and cumbersome.

He has never let me down, he is strong, he can withstand the wet conditions that I inflict on him regularly, and he is able to make beautiful pictures under water.

I have not yet renewed this material (it represents a budget, especially since it would buy a box for a new device, these things are not interchangeable, and a box, it costs roughly the same. same price as the case 😱).

Before, I also had a compact device in relief, for terrestrial photos, but the iPhone has now become my second camera. In just a few years, the quality of the smartphone sensor has become excellent.

In June 2019, however, I have just acquired a mini-SLR as a secondary camera for terrestrial photography, the Canon Eos 250D. Extremely lightweight, not expensive, it is considered a SLR of "beginners". But I seem to have the right technology to be a practical and versatile case on the road. I'll talk about it when I test it more in the field. It was getting complicated for me to take the 7D out of the box after every dive when I needed it for photos I did not want to make to the iPhone.

For the 7D, I carry several 32GB and 16GB memory cards, a spare battery and its charger. For the 250D, I have two SD memory cards, an 8GB inherited from an old device, a fast 32GB video-ready, as well as a spare battery and charger.

My goals (see here → Photo and diving: my equipment) are interchangeable on both housings.

Finally, I also have a portable hard drive 500GB SSD to make a backup of photos and videos (I unload and store the originals on my MacBook Pro).

For shooting underwater, as I explained above, I also carry the Ikelite case for my SLR (as well as its accessories: the flashes and their charger, the arms of the flashes, the cords, the plate, the portholes ...).

3. iPhone

I also spoke about it above. I currently have the iPhone X and it's really my second camera now. It allows to to make images without attracting attention, everyone leaves his smartphone to make pictures in Asia! It's always on hand, really practical.

For all that is communications (telephone, SMS, internet), I put a local SIM the time of the trip, it allows to have access to internet 3G and 4G when there is network and it avoids roaming charges. It serves as a "modem" to the computer via connection sharing, when there is no wifi available and I only have the local telephone network to connect to the internet.

NB. In this month of June 2019, just discovered with spite that the new iPhone XR and XS allow recently the use of e-SIM, but not the iPhone X I have ... Too bad for me, the e-SIM is virtual, allowing to keep his usual number associated with the iPhone without physical SIM. So we can slide a second physical SIM card in the device, for example a local SIM, without missing the first number ... The kind of thing perfect for me!

4. Cables

In modest accommodations, it is rare to have more than one electrical outlet. And sometimes it's set up in odd places, high up, or near the door, or in an inaccessible corner behind the bed ... So I take a strip, to connect all this little world more easily. I check before leaving the type of taking the country to take the adapter which is good (but if you forget it, it is on the spot).

I also have a USB key, a memory card reader to unload my photos and of course the cable and the plug for iPhone.

  Between Two Journeys

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