Ever heard of a capsule wardrobe? Well, this right here is our capsule carry-on. Every piece of travel gear deemed essential for a few weeks on the continent. We’re talking Europe, the big one.
It wasn’t all play though, we were in Europe to explore Arnie Schwarzenegger’s homeland (Austria, FYI) to shoot a travel film for the gang at the Austrian Tourism Office. We came, we saw, we ate a lot of schnitzel, drank a lot of gruner, learned ourselves some Baroque history, made this video for Smithsonian and then hit Barcelona for a little ‘us time’ (which basically involved very little Picasso sight-seeing and many glasses of vermouth).
We get a lot of questions about what gear we choose, what brands we like, how we pack (the answer is very lightly, by the way), so this is a little listicle dedicated to everything that goes into our 40L backpacks (or roller bag if you’re Ben). Because, carry-on for life.
Forget spare undies and your toothbrush, those things can be picked up at any airport, anywhere. What we can’t afford to leave behind is our camera gear. The average THT shoot is pretty run’n’ gun; we need to be able to stay on the move, unburdened by a tonne of equipment. So we carry two Sony bodies – the A7s and the A7RII – plus, I like to feel included by bringing along my Fuji XT100.
Then it’s Canon glass, all the way. The 24-70mm and the 70-200mm are our go-to’s. Depending on the shoot, we’ll also pack a bunch of Rode sound recording gear and a DJi drone. Oh, and don’t forget the tripod permanently attached the side of Ben’s pack. That tripod has seen the inside of more airport carousels than it cares to remember.
Lately, we’ve also been using the Topo Design camera cube. This little wonder is heaps good at turning any daypack into a safe and compact camera bag. A skill that comes in particularly handy when it’s 37 degrees in Vienna, you’re sweating through your dirndl and you don’t particularly want to carry extra camera luggage. Trust us.
Besides the socks, hydralyte and tiny bottle of lavender oil I am convinced helps me sleep on all flights, we also keep our passports, pens and boarding passes inside these Lorton & Horn beauties. We’re happy to sing these guys praises because they’ve thought of everything, and their travel wallets come in enough sizes to suit every organisational travel vibe.
There’s a spot for your credit cards, sunglasses, spare visa photos, headphones, and even a cheeky back pocket for a notebook. Which came in extremely handy when Ben decided to practise his written German on the aeroplane.
Let’s be honest, you can’t say you’ve been to Austria until you’ve embarrassed at least one hiking partner by loudly singing “the hills are alive” from the top of the alps. For this trip, we knew we were headed up into the Arlberg region for a little summertime climbing and so we were stoked when the crew at LA-based Ridgemont Outfitters fitted us out with some sweet, non-dorky hiking boots.
We love Ridgemont because they’ve miraculously managed to put some style back into adventure foot wear. Like, I want a boot that will take me on a proper scramble and then look good walking into the mountain hut that night. Right? Doesn’t everyone?
TO ROLL OR NOT TO ROLL
You’re either team backpack or team wheels, there are no two ways about it. Both modes of luggage have their merits, for example, you can’t jump on the back of a motorbike in the Philippines and cruise across Palawan when you’re lugging a two-wheel suitcase, but on the other hand carrying kilo’s of unnecessary ski gear on your shoulders as you hustle across the entirety of LAX isn’t fun neither.
On this particular issue, THT are divided. Ben is a firm believer in the perks of a rollie and I fall into the backpack section of travel society. But you know what, sometimes you’ve just got to accept people’s differences. EVEN WHEN YOU KKNOW THEY’RE WRONG. For this trip, Ben got around with ‘The Bigger Carry-On’ from the guy’s at Away and I carried a 38L Mountain Designs backpack.
IT’S WHAT’S INSIDE THAT COUNTS
We don’t mind washing our undies en route or stopping to do a little laundry mid-travels if it means less baggage. That said, I always leave a little space for new purchases because they make for shiny, happy, travel memories. Whether it’s a kimono in Japan or kente cloth in Ghana, I always try and bring back a piece of local tradition, and in Austria that was a dirndl. I was sized and fitted in one of the oldest clothing stores in Salzburg and walked out in a dress even Mozart would approve of.
Meanwhile Ben is content to carry one scarf, one hat, and one adam monster t-shirt. I tried to get him in a pair of lederhosen, but alas, to no avail.