I thought that I would take this opportunity to review and share some of the items that I specifically purchased and took along with me on my journeys this year. Most of the items have to do with photography and the ability to carry minimal and light weight gear.
My previous camera bag, although very useful and great for local trips and carrying all my gear was a little too bulky and screamed ‘camera bag’, which I didn’t really want while I was travelling. I researched a number of options and choose the Photo Sport 200AW from Lowpro. The main reason I chose this was because it had enough room for my camera and I was able to put my tablet in the back pouch as well as still have enough room to use as a carry on on the plane and to use as a day pack. I also found that I could place enough stuff in it to use while I was on a 4 day dive trip, where I would only need swim gear and shirts.
Kingston Wi-Drive: As part of my travels this past year I quickly realized that uploading my many photos to ‘the cloud’ was not practical and that I needed a way to back up my SD cards in case they were lost or damaged. I was travelling only with my Samsung Galaxy Tab3, I needed a way to transfer my files from that. It turns out the portable hard drive that I had was not able to connect to the tablet. I did some research and found the WI-Drive from Kingston. This storage device is a solid state hard drive that becomes a wi-fi hot spot. This allows you to transfer files wirelessly from any device to the drive, and also store music and videos on the drive to watch on your portable device. At the time, my options were limited. Since purchasing this and travelling, other companies have come out with similar devices. I was very pleased with this device. It is as small and light as a cell phone (smaller than some) and the battery life is great on it. I will continue to use this on future travels. I do see that Kingston has come out with a new device that also includes a charger.
Magic Rock I rely heavily on my phone when I am travelling and knew that I would be away from charging locations for extended periods of time. I picked up this portable charger and it allows for a full charge of my phone. I think though, I will be upgrading to a larger capacity charger soon.
I always shoot RAW with my DSLR. At home I use Lightroom to edit, touch up and post my photos. However, this past November I was travelling and using my Samsung Galaxy Tab3 to work with my photos. I needed an app that would allow me to convert the RAW images into jpg thus allowing me to post the photos where I wanted to and to be able to include them in my blog. A quick search on the Play Store and up came the demo version of this software. After trying it out on a few photos and exploring the features, I purchased the App on the spot. This does all I am looking for and more. Easy to use and easy to learn. I was really impressed with the support I received from the developers. I had a question/suggestion about how to do something and they replied right away and within a day or so the option that I was looking for was included in an update. I truly feel that the developers are listening. This is my go to photo app on my tablet. I highly recommend it to everyone. I am not sure if this is a feature that has been added or is included, but I would love the possibility to add a watermark to the photos as they are exported.
I knew that there would be situations on my trips that it would be nice to have a tripod for. My previous tripod was large, heavy and bulky; not exactly qualities for a travel tripod. Again after some research, I decided to go with the Mefoto Backpacker. It was everything I needed it to be: light weight, portable, and compact.