I’ve mentioned before that some advice I got as a young photographer starting out was not to get preoccupied with the latest model of equipment and feel pressure to keep up with the constantly changing advances in technology. Far better, I was told, to focus on improving your skills with the equipment you have. This advice has always stuck with me and I haven’t ever felt obliged to keep up with the latest model. I've only upgraded when I felt I’ve gone as far as I can go with my current equipment. This has allowed me to stay focused and, as the phrase goes, ‘never blame my tools’.
This advice has also extended to how I carry my equipment around. I once read an interview with a famous photographer (whose name, frustratingly, escapes me at present!) who said they used to carry their equipment around in a plastic bag. This reinforced the lesson I learned starting out, so I always thought, ‘if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me’. But I definitely found maintaining my 'earthy' methods of transporting my equipment more of a struggle than resisting the peer pressure to upgrade my kit. I’ve always wanted to look stylish going on shoots so for years I carried my equipment around in various different hand bags, usually carrying two or three at a time because one wouldn’t fit everything. The upshot of this was my back and shoulders were always sore, I arrived on set a sweaty mess (thus completely undermining my goal of looking chic) and most importantly, my camera equipment wasn’t properly protected.
About a year ago, my selfless mum lent me her very stylish carry-on case when I was taking a flight from Dublin to London and didn’t have enough room for everything. This case (which I still haven’t returned #terribledaughter) quickly became my camera equipment case. Undoubtedly a vast improvement on my situation but still not ideal. The equipment was easy to carry around and I arrived on set less sweaty. BUT the equipment still wasn’t protected - the case simply wasn’t designed for that purpose - and I could never find anything because the gear was thrown together, pell-mell, in one large compartment.
Imagine my DELIGHT when a company called Peli Products reached out and said they wanted to collaborate on the TrekPak divider system they stock. TrekPak have developed a customisable divider system for the Peli case range which protects and organises your photography equipment. I make no exaggeration when I say, it’s changed my life! Now the proud owner of a Peli 1510 Protector Case, I finally have appropriate and robust protection for my equipment. The case is virtually indestructible (plus all cases come with a lifetime guarantee) and the dimensions mean it can be taken as carry-on luggage with most airlines. SO handy.
Trekpak make inserts to fit a whole host of different Peli case sizes - here’s the one to fit the 1510 case. They all come with protective top foam and bottom foam (designed to fit around the wheels and handle of the case) as well as perimeter pieces of foam - also designed to fit the case perfectly. The really clever part though is the dividers, cutting tool and pins provided which allow the user to create as many compartments as they need to feel organised. I’ve made this short YouTube video to show you how I’ve organised my TrekPak and how quick n' easy the whole process is.
As you can see, I’ve created three compartments: one for my nano stand, one for my camera and flash unit, and one for sundries such as radio triggers, spare batteries, memory cards etc. This is perfect for organising and transporting shoot essentials and the beauty of the foam dividers provided is that if I want to reorganise my gear in a different way, I just need to cut a new piece and pin it in.
Before I started using TrekPak I hadn’t realised how much time I wasted on a shoot looking for smaller items like memory cards or batteries. Now that everything is organised, I can find it immediately. I can’t recommend the Peli case and TrekPak highly enough, the only downside is that I now have no excuse not to return my mum’s suitcase…