One of the challenges of traveling as a photographer is managing the weight you have to carry. Having equipment that weighs several kilos, keeping other luggage to the minimum is essential. It takes quite some time and practice to get it right. During my first trips to Asia I packed all the things that "might be useful", "just in case". However, when you are walking with a heavy backpack all day, the definition of what is essential changes.

In this post I will give you tips on what and how to pack when you travel to warm and hot destinations - South-East Asia, Middle East, Central and South America etc.

Essential:

  • Short sleeve t-shirts (x3)
  • Long sleeve t-shirt (x1)
  • Shorts (x1)
  • Hiking trousers (x1)
  • Underwear (x3)
  • Light rain jacket (x1)
  • Walking sandals (x1)
  • Light day backpack (x1)
  • Money belt (x1)
  • Travel towel (x1)
  • Head tourch (x1)
  • Sleeping bag liner (x1)
  • Swimming shorts (x1)

If hiking then add:

  • Hiking boots (x1)
  • Hiking socks (x1)
  • Gloves & wooly hat if hiking in the cold (e.g. at altitude or during the night)

One thing you should be aware of when shopping is that every gram counts! If you are hesitating between different choices of e.g. towel, and you are inclined to choose the cheaper (and for that reason bigger and heavier) option, bear in mind that the equipment you buy usually lasts you many years, so it might not be worthing to try to save few pounds there.

Avoiding unnecessary baggage makes things accessible and easier to keep track of. Additionally, I recommend packing clothes in small dry sacks - this way you not only can find things quickly, but also avoid getting them wet and dirty in case of rain.

I choose clothes from light, quickly drying materials, this allows me to take only few t-shirts that can easily dry over night - Marino Wool clothes are unrivaled! Although colours are a personal choice, wearing more subtle colours helps you to blend in and not catch too much attention.

Last but not least, something that is important is taking into account the local customs. You should respect the country's culture and customs and pack appropriately. For example, if you're planning to photograph in some religious areas, such as in monasteries, you may not be allowed to wear shorts. Therefore researching the clothing habits of locals can help you avoid packing things that you won't be able to wear.

Packing only essentials will change the way you travel - with a light backpack you are one step closer to getting the perfect shot!