What is more important - - - cameras or underwear?

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Feb 10th, 2012, 08:40 AM
  #1
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What is more important - - - cameras or underwear?

Ever since I booked my ultimate bucket list trip – Smithsonian Journeys Safari to Zimbabwe, Botswana and Zambia – I’ve been lurking on this website, picking up lots of tips and ideas. But I have a problem I’d like to share with you. Because of some puddle jumper flights on small planes, I’m limited to 33 lbs of checked luggage. Not a problem; with a light duffle, I’m running about 23 lbs. But South Africa Airways limits me to 18 lbs / 45 “ for carryon. I’ll be flying from Dulles to Jo’burg with the standard stop in Senegal.

After reading many horror stories about late and pilfered luggage at Tambo, I’ve decided to pack my carryon with enough essentials for me to survive the trip if the rest of my luggage disappeared. I think I could do it except for one thing – I’m carrying four cameras with extra batteries, chargers, etc. (it is a bucket list trip after all and I’m bringing home pictures, not “stuff”). A test pack has me at almost 19 lbs, not including a totebag with meds, blanket, pillow, mask and Ipad, which I propose to pass off not as carryon, but flight essentials – so I don’t have to break into the overhead bin. I currently plan to wear a fanny pack and a light fleece jacket and stuff the pockets with whatever I can.

Can you tell me if SAA is strict with carryon weights or is it just the luck of the draw when I board? Do any of you use those jackets with lots of storage pockets? I’m a 66 year old female - too old to be concerned with looking like a dork if these jackets get the job done. Do you have any other ideas or suggestions to help me?

Thank you very much. I’ve already learned a lot from you all.
RoadieandSeamus is offline  
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Feb 10th, 2012, 09:44 AM
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You don't need to take a blanket and pillow, unless that's just a neck pillow. Those are provided on the flight. I think SAA is fairly strict on the carry-on weight limits. They will most likely look at your carry-on at the time you check in and not wait until you're at the gate. I haven't had the pilferage problem at JNB, but others have. I just use a cable tie on my case and check it. If your case is delayed, they are responsible for getting it to you, no matter where you are. Some airports have the shrinkwrap stands and that works fairly well. They also have those at JNB.
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Feb 10th, 2012, 11:17 AM
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I worry about pilferage especially on international flights. Our flight into JNB luggage was "lost" and when it arrived a day late the only thing missing was a camera. Every safari to JNB I hear first hand stories of camera or other electronic things being stolen from checked luggage. And of course SAA says they don't cover such items, your problem. But more importantly it's gone when you want it most.

Anyway, my camera carry-on bag weighs about 25 lbs but never had problem, although been few years since flying SAA into JNB.

regards - tom
ps - secret to traveling underwear - wear it a week then turn it inside-out and wear another week!!!
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Feb 10th, 2012, 11:27 AM
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This is probably a dumb question, but can you tell me just why you need four cameras?
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Feb 10th, 2012, 11:38 AM
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You talking to me??? I take four cameras.
I take a Nikon D200 and a D40x as back up. Last safari the D200 failed and happy I had D40. I also take two video cameras, same reason. Also, my companion(s) typically take only one camera so if theirs fail, they could borrow one of mine. Know I'm extreme about it but photography very much a part of my safari enjoyment. YMMV

regards - tom
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Feb 10th, 2012, 11:48 AM
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Clever title for a packing post was my 1st thought.

My 2nd thought was I wonder if Tom will respond, knowing his suggestion from past posts. True to form, he is advocating the week-and-switch approach again.

On that topic, consider the fast-drying undies available at many travel stores. I got mine from Tilley (hat people) over a decade ago and they still are intact. They really do dry in under 24 hours so you can wash and wear, thereby cutting down on the #s of pairs you bring.

I always take 2 cameras, sometimes a third that is very quick/simple. But I'm with Dogster, 4 does seem to be a lot. I also take 2 battery chargers just in case something happens to one of them.

I agree with ShayTay about no blanket or pillow. If you need a neck pillow, get the blowup kind. That's what I have.

I wear two pairs trousers which helps keep me warm on cold overnight flights and saves room.

I use the jacket with lots of pockets. I put heavy stuff in there. If needed my binocs are an accessory, worn around my neck. Good thing you're not concerned with looking like a dork because the above attire can be dorkish. Or it could be trendsetting.

Do take binocs! Though Tom will try to talk you out of it, I bet.

Have a wonderful ultimate bucket list trip!
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Feb 10th, 2012, 11:54 AM
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How about paper/disposable 'wears?'
Not sure if you're male or female, but there are those for female - 5/pack costs $5. Wear, dispose.

They're gotten better/stylish since first on market some 20/yrs ago.
If male and you can find these in black or blue, rather than pink... you're set to go.
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Feb 10th, 2012, 11:55 AM
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dogster - I thought that question might come up. If I were a man, I'd probably be the one with a belt and suspenders. I have a Nikon D40 and D90 - one with a 300 mm zoom and the other with a standard 18-55 mm lens. The theory is that if I had only one camera, the perfect shot would come along; I'd need to change lenses in the dust and by the time I was reorganized, the shot would be gone. Then I got a little point and shoot Coolpix as my backup. The rationale here is that I can just carry it around in my pocket. Also, I went on a trip to Churchill Manatoba a few years ago to see the polar bear. The Smithsonian "expert leader" had a huge spotting scope. The people with point and shoots could put their cameras up to the lens and get spectacular pictures - way better than my zoom got. So, if somebody on tour or in the lodges just might have a scope, I'll be all set. You never know. And then of course, there is the new camcorder. The D90 can take video, but a "real" camcorder will be better. I hope.

It's all about overkill.
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Feb 10th, 2012, 02:30 PM
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"wonder if Tom will respond, knowing his suggestion from past posts. True to form, he is advocating the week-and-switch approach again."
Yeah, something about - can't teach an old dog new tricks
Yeah, binocs? If you like them, take'm. Personally, I don't like them.
Batteries? For me three different designs, three different chargers, etc., what a pain.

Agree about having two bodies with two differnt lenses and not switching. But someone will ask - what more do you need than an 35x super-zoom lens (Canon SX40)? Well, maybe time to start another thread on safari cameras .

regards - tom
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Feb 10th, 2012, 08:17 PM
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You can wash underwear, so two pairs is plenty. Cameras can't be bought on safari, so take the cameras. You can check your luggage home - who cares if they lose your stuff on the way back. Pix are irreplaceable. We carried on a 40 lb wood hippo, so it's just the luck of the draw. I take a cart so we can drag our crap through the airport and to fake that our stuff is too heavy. Saves our backs and it's cheap enough that if we need to leave it behind i won't be po'd.

We take one of these for the airport and toss it into the carry-on duffel:

http://www.brookstone.com/compact-lu...cess|L1_Travel

Most airlines allow a carry-on, a "small" bag and a jacket. No need to ever check - you only need two changes of clothes on safari. No one gives two hoots if you wear the same clothes every day. Easy, even with four cameras to fit it all into the space allowed. At worst, you must buy toiletries at the airport. The small puddle jumpers claim to have an allowance but I've never had them enforce it, especially on the high end trip you are going on. I'd never leave the camera equipment, if that's what is important to you, at home. I'd leave clothes at home, but nothing I couldn't buy at the airport. If you buy stuff and don't want to check, donate it or just leave it at the last camp. Someone will find a use for it. (an extra, old crappy camera that we would just trash with a small memory card would be very appreciated - it's something that we take for granted and yet the people who work at the camps have no access to. Sad but true. I leave all of my clothes I don't need at my last camp.)
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Feb 11th, 2012, 04:28 AM
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>You can wash underwear, so two pairs is plenty.

Especially if you get the quick drying ones such as ExOfficio's products. Advertised dry in 5-6 hours; in practice, 12-16, still better than the cotton jobs.

And in a very dry environment, outside in a slight breeze I would even consider only one pair...
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Feb 11th, 2012, 05:43 AM
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Lordy, lordy - have we all gone mad? Four cameras and now only one pair of knickers? Could our priorities be just a tad warped?

Next it'll be an IMAX camera, a personal film crew and nude safaris.
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Feb 11th, 2012, 06:55 AM
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A natural progression, Dogster.
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Feb 11th, 2012, 07:21 AM
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This is why I love this forum.
Celia is offline  
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Feb 11th, 2012, 08:27 AM
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Feb 11th, 2012, 08:36 AM
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I don't travel to do laundry, why I now go the 'paper' route. Hey, I don't do laundry at home... send it out

That said, even on the few occasions I've washed out pure cotton wears, they dry in a few hours, so sure don't need any special so-called, 'quick dry' at an extra cost to purchase.
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Feb 11th, 2012, 09:19 AM
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Celia
You are right.
I too enjoyed reading this post. Especially from someone who lives in Africa.

I have no suggestions except maybe one. Get to Africa no matter what.

Yours on Safari
Mark
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Feb 11th, 2012, 03:04 PM
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Buy a Scottevest jacket. You can stuff a couple of camera bodies and other stuffs inside the jacket while wearing it. I don't advise wearing the jacket all day full of stuffs in it, but it'll get you through the luggage weight limit issue.
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Feb 11th, 2012, 04:11 PM
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"Lordy, lordy - have we all gone mad? Four cameras and now only one pair of knickers? Could our priorities be just a tad warped?

Next it'll be an IMAX camera, a personal film crew and nude safaris."

Too too funny!!!! Seriously tho, yes cameras are important, but so are clean knickers no matter what your age!!
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Feb 11th, 2012, 04:35 PM
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When we left from Cape Town last summer, we had to weigh our carryon with the SA attendant, but were allowed to take all our electronics out of the bag before weighing. That made a significant difference. In fact, most of the weight was in the camera equipment.
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