Gear

So far, I haven’t purchased anything for the trip. This has been by design. Because I don’t know the exact day when I’m going to start, I’ve been holding off so I can wait for newest models of the stuff I want to come out. So far, this strategy has paid off in spades. New models of HD cameras are coming out every week as are new and better laptops.

Now I’m facing the serious problem what what to buy and I have to make some decisions soon. At a minimum, I’m looking at buying the following items:

  • Laptop Computer capable of doing simple video editing
  • HD Video Camera, preferably one with a built in hard drive
  • GPS
  • iPod Nano

My biggest concern before I purchase anything is power. In particular, how I have charge everything. I’d like to minimize the amount of transformer bricks I have to carry. Ideally, I’d like to be able to charge everything off of the USB port on the laptop. As this probably isn’t possible, I’d like to keep it down to no more than two transformers I have to carry. I also plan on bringing several NiMH AA batteries and a USB charger. I’m also toying with the idea of a solar powered charger for small stuff, but I doubt I’ll do it. What I’ve seen available is very cumbersome and not very powerful.

Laptop
I’m strongly leaning towards the Macbook Pro. It comes bundled with iMovie and I can now run Windows on it if I need to. There are two things which might persuade me to not get one. First, they are heavy. The 15″ Macbook Pro is 5.6 pounds and the 17″ is 6.8 pounds. That’s pretty heavy. Granted, most of the time I wont have to worry about carrying it around on my back, but its still a lot to carry. It’s a helluva lot more than my current laptop which is 2.87 pounds (my current laptop also doesn’t have a CD drive and only has a 10.4″ screen). In the end, I think I’ll just deal with the weight. I’m not climbing Mount Everest.

The second issue is a bigger problem: compatibility with camcorders. In particular, new hard drive camcorders. All the ones I’ve seen so far record in MPEG2, and iMovies works in MPEG4. Converting from MPEG2 to MPEG4 isn’t appealing, but using a Mac and a HDD camcorder is.

Video Camera
Unless there are some announcements really soon, I think I may end up going with a MiniDV camera. Carrying and buying the tapes would be a pain, but it might just be the best option available to me. The other thing I have to consider is the size and weight of the camera as well as the weight of extra batteries. There are some very small units that can fit in the palm of your hand, and some a bit bigger that have much better quality. How big I go and what quality I get is still up in the air. Ultimately I have to balance carrying around the media for the camera, carrying around the actual camera, and the quality of what I’ll be taking.

Digital SLR
I’ve put the least amount of thought into this. There are lots of good models out there, all of which are compatible with Mac, and they all use very standard formats. This is really my smallest worry for technology. My biggest concerns will be batteries and how I can charge them.

GPS
I have two options. 1) I can get a normal hand held GPS. 2) I can get a smaller USB GPS that plugs into my computer. There are pros and cons to each. The hand held unit I can take with my absent my laptop which would be very handy. However, its probably a tad bit heavier and requires batteries. The USB GPS is smaller, needs no batteries, but I have to have the laptop with me and on to function.

Other Stuff
I’m going to bring an iPod Nano rather than a full blown iPod for music. The Nano is smaller, with a longer battery life. I’ll bring my current iPod just for storage. I’ll just keep most music on my laptop. I’ll also bring my pocket camera (Sony DSC-T1), but I’m not thrilled about the fact that I need another power brick to recharge it. I wish I could charge it from USB. I’ll also need a very lightweight tripod.

Clothing
I’m trying to lose weight and get in better shape before I leave. For that reason I haven’t purchased any clothing. I do however have a good idea of what I’m going to bring. I wore a pair of Hardmountain covertable pants for most of this year. I wore them every day over 4 months this summer. They are amazingly comfortable, durable, easy to dry and can function as pants or shorts. Likewise, I want to get synthetic shirts that dry easily. I’m assuming that I’ll be doing laundry wherever and whenever I can, so having quick dry clothes will be handy.

Shoes are another area I’m up in the air about. I’m probably going to bring a good pair of sandals (Chacos or Tevas) and a pair of sneakers. I want to, and probably should bring, my hiking boots along. They are very bulky and heavy, however.

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About Gary Arndt

My name is Gary Arndt. In March 2007 I set out to travel around the world...
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