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|| News Item: Posted 2010-02-12

In The Bag: The Kitchen Sink?
Robert Hanashiro brought almost everything to Vancouver to photograph the Winter Olympic Games.

By Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY

Photo by

Robert Hanashiro brought a lot of stuff to Vancouver!
I was a good boy, I began packing for my 3-week trip to Vancouver for the Winter Olympics over a week before my departure. When I stacked up the two large cases of gear and my hockey bag with cold weather gear on my equipment cart, I e-mailed a snapshot to my buddy Matt Brown. He replied within a couple of minutes: "What DIDN’T you pack???!!!"

First off I have to admit that for several days I had an internal debate with myself: Backpack Bert was arm wrestling Roller Bert on what I should take as my primary case to carry gear during the 17 days of the Olympics.

Often when you give yourself too much time, you tend to over-think things. This certainly was the case.

At first I figured the backpack was the way to go. At Cypress Mountain (where snowboarding and aerials venues are) unusually warm temps had made the competition area a muddy mess, not to mentioned rain forecast for most days. With those conditions I figured it would be a pain to drag a roller through puddles of water, gravel and mud.

A few days after settling on using a Think Tank Airport Addicted backpack, aching knees and a balky back after covering the Grammy Awards had me rethinking everything and I switched to using my trusty Airport Security roller (still using the original prototype!).

After flip-flopping a couple of more time, the roller won out. If I had to chisel off layers off mud from the wheels and the bottom of the case in my hotel room each night so be it. My back would thank me later.

Next the Cart Debate started. My colleague Bob Deutsch decided that the usual Kart-A-Bag carts that we use for our gear wasn’t heavy-duty enough for everything he was taking to Vancouver (packed in the same cases). So he bought a Multi-Cart!

I went back and forth on which cart to use, but just couldn’t bring myself to accept looking like a UPS driver as I rolled though the Vancouver Airport and the hotel lobby. I settled on the Kart-A-Bag and damn it, I’d just have to get my bags to a weight that I and the Kart-A-Bag could handle.

Now back to what Matt said about my three bags that weighed in at a collective 172 pounds: Packing for a trip like this isn’t about what you ARE taking but but what you are NOT taking.

I did something out of character before I started packing, I made a list.

I laid out the gear and my list on the garage floor and starting thinking of what would fit where in my Lightware 1629 and rolling Versa-Flex cases. It was literally like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle.

The TTP roller would go in the Lightware case with the 400mm f/2.8, tele-coveters, two Nikon D300 bodies and a bag with my remote gear.

The Versa-Flex case (which empty weighed in at 24-pounds!) would take the 200-400mm f/4 zoom, Sony video camera kit (packed in a large Mountainsmith fanny pack), battery chargers, 2 two monopods, digital audio recorder, mikes and an assortment of odds & ends.

After weighing the cases packed this way, the real fun began.

I decided the weight was distributed wrong. I switched the 400mm with the 200-400 zoom. The remote gear went into the Versa-Flex and the Sony video gear went into the Lightware.

Next I took the wheels came off of the Versa-Flex saving about 5 pounds.

I took out the second Magic Arm and third Super Clamp I had packed in the remote bag.

But my biggest problem was my hockey bag, stuffed with clothes, cold weather gear, boots, you name it. Being from California, I am paranoid of cold weather, so I tend to take too much and often duplicates of things.

At one point the hockey bag was over 80-pounds …which was an estimate because my little digital travel scale only goes up to 80-pounds. So out came several items including the heavy USA TODAY sweater and the Steeptech North Face jacket. After reading that the temps shouldn’t drop below 10-degrees up at Cypress, out went the heavy Sorel boots meaning my recently purchased Columbia Bugaboots (rated to -20) would have to do.

And so it went…

At times like these, I think back to what Bob told me years ago when I called him before packing for one of my first Olympics… he was going down the list of gear and finally stopped after about 10 minutes and said: "Oh hell, just bring everything!"

Well, I started out bringing everything to Vancouver. But after putting together the jigsaw puzzle, the sink thankfully is still in my kitchen.

Photo by

Carrying everything to Vancouver: Think Tank Airport Acceleration backpack, Lightware Case, Versa-Flex Case and Bauer hockey bag.
Packing List:
Think Tank Airport Acceleration backpack (carry on)
• 2 Nikon D3 camera bodies
• 70-200 f/2.8 zoom
• 24-70 f/2.8 zoom
• SB800 Seedlight w/ SC-17 off-camera TTL cord
• Two CF card wallets (with 20 CF cards)
• MacBook Pro laptop
• Canon G10
• Pouch with computer accessories (4 firewire CF card readers, 6 firewire cord, firewire hub, MacBook Pro power adapter, security cable)
• Pouch with 2 OWC portable firewire hard drives
• Spare glasses
• Odds & ends (marker, pens, cleaning cloths)

Lightware Case
• Think Tank Photo Airport Security roller
• 200-400mm f/4 zoom
• Sony A1U video kit (packed in a Mountainsmith bag)
• Camera battery chargers, extra batteries

Versa-Flex Case
• 400mm f/2.8 packed in a TTP Glass Taxi
• Remote gear (2 Bogen Super Clamps, Variable Friction Arm, set of Pocket Wizard MultiMaxes, cords, floor plate, Manfratto ballhead)
• Small tool kit
• 2 rolls of gaffers tape

Bauer hockey bag
• North Face ski bibs
• Columbia Boogaboots
• Sports Shooter fleece jacket
• Fleece vest
• 4 sets of lightweight polypropene underwear
• 1 set of midweight polypropene underwear
• 1 set of expedition weight polypropene underwear
• 3 pair of gloves (including the new AquaTech shooters gloves)
• 3 hats
• Fleece scarf
• 12 pair of socks
• 12 assorted shirts
• 4 pair of jeans
• shaving kit
• First aid kit

Related Links:
Hanashiro's member page

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