The Compact Traveller: 2014 version

By Brendan Moyle 05/12/2014

On Monday I’m flying out to Kenya, for a workshop on ivory economics.  This is to contribute to a study being supported by the World Bank on the dimensions and drivers of this traffic.  Hopefully I can elaborate more when I get back.

The constraint this time is that the last leg of the flight is on a small, safari shuttle plane. And we have an absolute weight limit on our bags of 15kg. To clarify, that’s all the bags.  Included the usual carry-on.  So, there are some major challenges ahead.

One big challenge is that I’m taking camera gear. Camera plus 3 lenses is 5kg before I get started. That’s one telephoto, one wide prime for landscapes, and one macro lens for the creepy crawlies.  Not needing to carry a lot of film is one boon of digital photography.

I have also benefited a lot from the miniaturization of gear.

Instead of a laptop with its heavy charger, I have an iPad. An iPad mini with keyboard.  The power cable is the a USB cable.  It’s become a portable, micro-office.  This was impossible 5 years ago.

Long flight entertainment comes form MP3 players or smart phone.  All can be powered via USB. All of these are much lighter and compact than say a CD walkman and a collection of AA batteries and discs.

Almost everything, bar the camera battery, can be recharged now via USB.  That’s a massive increase in convenience and reduction in weight.

It is also vital to travel with noise-cancelling headphones.  The quality of my traveling experienced massively with these.  If only I could figure out a way to keep them in position when sleeping.