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Carry-on Baggage Limitations

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We will be traveling to New Zealand & Australia in March, 2015. I understand that Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia are VERY strict when it comes to baggage limitations. I am bringing camera equipment and a laptop that I absolutely DO NOT want to check yet the 15 lbs. limit is very challenging. I would like some suggestions/input on techniques that others have used to offset this overly restrictive policy. One thought I have is to wear cargo pants and a vest to carry some items on my person rather than my carry-on. Does anyone have experience or suggestions? Thanks in advance ...

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