While going through some of my old posts, I came across one I wrote in 2010 entitled “My Mobile Blogging Kit”. I haven’t updated it since. It’s time.
Since I’ve been on a couple of large trips since I made that list, and I’ve moved, most of my gear has changed. This list isn’t designed to be something I brag about, rather, something to help people figure out what they need to do work remotely. I originally entitled this a Blogging Kit but it can be applied to all types of work (with some gear omissions/changes). In the next post, I’ll be tackling the various software I use. I’ll be referring to my original post a bunch- I recommend you read it first. Let me know if you have questions in the comments.
Timbuk2 Snoop Bag– Large
As you probably know, I’m a huge Timbuk2 fan. I still have my trusty yellow and black Timbuk2 bag that has been to several countries, under martial law, and stuffed under quite a few airplane seats. After my trip to Europe last year, Jules gave me a Snoop bag for my birthday and I immediately fell in love with it. It’s a dedicated camera bag with a nice removable padded insert (which at the time was only sold with the bag). It’s paired with a Timbuk2 Phoney Strap (pocket for a phone) and a Beereleer (for… a soda). It’s become my go-to kit bag when I’m packing my cameras- which is often (and more on that in a second).
Cr-48– 13”, 16GB, Verizon 3G
This is one of the new surprises to my kit. I bought it off my good friend Zach (along with the 1D Mkii) before I moved to California. I used it on the trip to blog and still use it quite a bit. Along with it’s astonishing battery life (routinely get 9+ hours a charge) it also has built-in Verizon 3G. I used to be a tethering fan (and still am to a smaller degree) but having a built-in wireless access point is awesome. It’s a small, lightweight laptop that works great when I need to mash out text remotely but I don’t want to bring my Macbook Pro. I find I take this to more places for the fact it outlasts my MBP by a few hours. However, I sacrifice graphic intensive work as it can’t handle it. The Cr-48 is showing it’s age and I plan to eventually replace it with a 11” Samsung Chromebook with 3G.
Apple iPad 4 with Smart Cover– 64GB, Verizon 4G
After some great times I finally passed my original iPad along to Jules. I was very lucky to receive a new one for Christmas from my parents. The iPad is still a great tool to blog/tweet/do some light photo-editing on the go. With the smart cover, I can forgo bringing my Twelve South Compass iPad Stand (which always gets flagged by airport security). I love the better screen, however, it takes it’s toll on the battery life. I’m not sure what the best option in terms of battery packs (more on that) is for this massive battery- suggestions welcome! Oh, the 4G in the Bay Area is faster than my WiFi at home/my phone so it’s a no brainer to use.
Galaxy Nexus GSM with Extended Battery– 16GB, AT&T
Wasn’t expecting that, were you? Right around the time I moved out to the Bay Area I won a Motorola Atrix (and a couple of other things). I was stoked to try out Android (for real) and decided to send my iPhone 4 to my future father in law (so he could FaceTime with Jules without borrowing someone else’s device). However, the Atrix was sluggish so I sold it on Swappa and bought an off contract Galaxy Nexus. There are parts I like about it (customization, screen, NFC) and parts I don’t (camera sensor, battery life). I can tether with it in a pinch and for the most part it’s blazing fast. I’m debating heading back to the iPhone 5 (camera sensor is a driving factor) but we will see. It’s a great device and probably will be a backup device if I go back to iPhone. One thing, get a second battery/extended battery if you decide to go with the GNex.
Canon T2i with Battery Grip
This was my first DSLR body (ever) and still my go-to workhorse of a camera. All the lenses I own work on it, it’s got decent low light sensitivity, and is plenty fast. It only takes SD memory so I can plug it in to my iPad/Cr-48/MBP with ease for on the go editing and uploading. I use a two battery grip and carry a spare set- I’ve never run out of juice (yet). The T2i is also the only body that shoots video. Both the T2i and the 1D (below) I carry on BlackRapid straps- a RS-1 Sport and R5 Cargo.
Canon 1D Mkii
This is a new addition to my camera setup. So new, I don’t have good glass for it yet. However, it works great with my 50mm f1.8 or 75-300mm f3.5-5.6 EF lenses for supplemental photos (i.e. I don’t have to switch out lenses). The low light sensitivity is pretty bad, but it makes up for that with an excellent colorspace and lots of customization options. I’m still learning how to use it the best. With a 24-70mm f2.8 it really shines but is heavier than the T2i with a similar lens. It’s often used for photowork or liveblogging events.
Canon 17-55mm f2.8 IS
This is my “walkabout” lens for the T2i. It’s on my camera 80-90% of the time and it’s a workhorse. It’s not a cheap lens but provides very crisp photos and the IS is fantastic. The wide aperture makes it great for handheld product shots or low light shooting (i.e liveblogging). However, it’s heavy and large.
Canon 60mm f2.8 Macro
This was my first “real” lens purchase. It’s also some of the best money I’ve spent on glass yet. It shines for product/detail shots and is even a great portrait lens! It’s not large/heavy and provides a wonderful 1:1 magnification when needed. Only bummer? No Image Stabilization so it requires a steady hand in low light/slow shutter speed situations.
Canon Speedlite 430EX
While this rarely comes out for liveblogging, it’s usually in my bag as a precaution. If it’s the only way I can get light, I use it. Powered by 4 rechargable AA batteries, it’s easy to use and fairly lightweight.
Monster DNA Headphones/V-MODA Earbuds
Depending on my space and what I’m covering, I always bring a set of headphones. Whether it’s listening to music while I travel or checking audio after I film something, they come in handy. Both types have inline mics with volume controls. The Monster DNA’s fold up nicely and are a great pair of on-ear headphones (much more lower profile/compact than my Sony MBR-XB500’s). The V-MODA’s are great little earbuds that can really thump and are easy to shove into a corner of a bag. They help keep my sanity when I’m writing in public.
Monoprice Battery Pack- 5000mAh
When I bought this, it was one of the few battery packs that offered both 1A (phone) and 2.1A (tablet) charging. The only problem? The capacity- charging both a phone and a tablet at the same thing will make this battery pack cry uncle quickly. Monoprice has since come out with a 9000mAh version (which will be the next purchase battery wise). However, it’s a great backup battery and I use it frequently during liveblog sessions. It’s USB based so almost any device can take advantage of it. (Eventually I might bite on a HyperJuice)
Belkin 3 Outlet Surge Protector with USB
This sucker is handy for all sorts of travel. Especially liveblogging, electricity is at a premium. This device makes it easier to share power with fellow bloggers and it’s very compact. One thing to note- it does not have 220V support (I learned that the hard way in Paris when I knocked out power to an entire floor by accident. It didn’t survive.)
Motorola Elite Sliver Headset
In the rare times I need to make calls, I usually use this. It comes with a nifty battery case that recharges it (it can outlast me talking, I’m sure). I’m not usually fan of Bluetooth headsets but this one swayed me with it’s size and battery life.
Misc: Lenspen, ThinkTankPhoto Pocket Rocket, iPad SD card reader, Square Card Reader, Kingston Card Reader, Stubby cables, MicroUSB cable, Pens, Sharpie, Business Cards
(Some stuff I’ve omitted- chargers for instance- on purpose. I rarely bring those with me to liveblog. If I’m traveling, they are usually in a separate bag. As for my aging MacBook Pro, it’s only brought out when I need heavy editing.)