So – all packed up and ready to go! Bar sunglasses, phone and wallet this is the last of my kit for the summer. I also did some trial tent setting up in the kitchen (and stringing lines off door handles) and it’s actually really fast and easy to set up – so we’ll see how I get on in the lashing rain and wind on my hiking trip to Iceland.
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Backpack for a hiking trip to Iceland
So my Lowe Alpine AirZone 33:43 ltr was too small to fit all my gear and the sleeping bag and the tent, I borrowed a 85ltr pack that was bigger than me and just too uncomfortable and I was about to give up until Basecamp Dublin came to the rescue! I can’t stress how helpful the team there, especially John who after listening to what I wanted and didn’t want in a pack, recommended the Lowe Alpine Cholatse 65:75 – big enough to take all the gear but compact enough to fit me. It’s definitely worth getting a woman’s pack especially if you’re small as the shorter back makes it much easier to carry. This has the option of closing off the bottom compartment or not (here I haven’t so I can make more use of the space), I can fit my tripod on the side for easy assess, the tent can be strapped on, there’s tie grippers for my walking poles and the camera fits in the lid so I can get at it quickly. There isn’t an airzone like my smaller one (but this has the disadvantage of making the bag jellybean shaped and harder to pack) but there is a back panel and as John said it’s not going to be roasting anyway. There are two hip pockets which are handy for compasses and the like and a pouch in the back for my Platypus. I’m still experimenting with packing it. I was super annoying and brought in all my gear so I could pack it up in the shop and make sure it fitted (thank you for your patience Basecamp and for any customers who were wondering what the hell I was doing well…!). Basecamp members get 10% so it’s really worth signing up and getting a discount made a huge difference for me and I would really recommend checking them out.
Camera Kit and electronic gear
Canon EOS 70D and EF-S 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 IS STM lens – this is a 20.2 megapixel model and so far I have no complaints. The auto-focus can be a bit slow sometimes and the lens doesn’t have distance markings which is a drawback for photographing the aurora but you can work around it. The lens is a great all-in-one which covers most situations. One handy thing about this model is that you can Bluetooth images from the camera to your device and easily upload to the web. I have three batteries so I don’t have to worry about running out. I always have a skylight filter on this to protect the lens (which was the only thing that broke when I dropped it down the mountain at Cetatea Poienari in Romania!) and I just got two new 5 stop Cokin ND filters to cut down the light for taking slow shutter speed water shots.
Camera cleaning: cloth, blower and brush – I can’t remember where I got my particular one but these are cheap and easily got and pretty much essential for traveling in the far north or hot countries where dust is a big problem. Yes, you can retouch the images afterwards but speaking from bitter experience it’s far easier to keep your camera clean! As I’m travelling with just one lens I will thankfully have less problems than when I was in Canada and switching lenses.
Memory cards: I have lots! As I will be shooting in RAW format and everything costs a fortune in Iceland I’ve stocked up here. There is nothing worse than missing a shot because you’re out of memory. Try and have a system to know which have been used (I have some small round stickers) and ditch any that are faulty (see my post on data storage). These I keep in a waterproof case that I got as a present.
Tripod: This is a Manfrotto Befree I got in Con’s Camera’s in Dublin. I really like the service you get there and this was the cheapest, lightest, lowest, and most durable model I could get for my budget. While it is quite light (about 1.5kg) there are lighter but much more expensive options. It’s pretty easy to operate in the cold too when I brought it to Norway earlier this year.
Shutter Release: Finally this Hahnel Remote Control & Flash Release is a really handy bit of kit for remote shutter release. While you can use the camera self-timer this is press and go, and doesn’t use the battery too quickly either. This is great for when you don’t want to risk shake when pressing the shutter release or sometimes accidentally changing the composition.
Charger: I have an international adapter from Skross which includes USB so I don’t have to carry another plug. However my camera does have an external charger. I’m also bringing a Powermonkey Explorer Micro USB which cost about €70.It can be clipped to the outside of my backpack to charge as I walk so we’ll see how I get on. It’s supposed to be fine for charging phones but I can’t charge the camera as it’s a separate charger (and a US one at that). Hopefully I won’t be reduced to begging people for power!
Kindle: When I travelled through the Northwest Passage I had two boxes of books, about 35 in total. I can’t live without reading but unless I was going to bring a pony the Kindle makes much more sense. Even though it’s not a real book, or feels like one, or smells like one. I just have the basic model, there’ll be 24-hour daylight so it’ll be fine.
I have all of the electrics in a protective case (the one I have seems to be discontinued from Eagle Creek) and then in a waterproof stuff sack. I also have a large waterproof bag from Basecamp in case I need to cross rivers!
Update on the sailing situation is … there may not be any sailing! The Annabel J has had quite a few problems with the engine cutting out, fuel lines and the anchor so it’s possible they may not get to Iceland at all. So I’d better get used to my new home! Still, there are lots of places to see and I won’t be short of things to do.
Other than that I’m all good to go and will be landing in Reykjavik next Wednesday!