China Packing List: An Ultra-Light Approach

Starting this Friday, the Saw & Mitre workshop is going to be closed down for a couple weeks for a pretty special trip.  It's not a sightseeing trip I'll be going on, or one to take photographs - though there will certainly be some of that.  My wife and I are traveling to Xi'an, China to meet and bring home our adopted little boy.  This trip has been a long time in the making and the culmination of a lot of thought and prayer on our parts.  We cannot wait to meet our son and bring him to our home where he'll have three new older siblings waiting for him!  

It's another story for another time, but about 8 years ago I worked for a non-profit organization that did work with orphanages in various developing countries, which afforded me the opportunity to travel to many places, China included, on multiple occasions.  In fact my first trip to China was in 2002 when I taught English to high-school students at a summer camp.   All these experiences, along with starting my own family, have helped seed the roots of the trip we are about to embark on.  I've never been more anxious and excited about a trip in my life.  And this time, I don't really care if all I see is the inside of my hotel room, as long as we get our little boy :)

That being said, most of what I am packing will not be for an express purpose of taking photos.  However, being a dad who loves photography, I will certainly be documenting our experience, and I'm pretty excited about both the size and the quality of the kit I am bringing with me.  Here is a quick overview I put together while getting everything together at the office this morning.

China Travel Ultra-light photography gear packing list

1. Dana Design shoulder bag

2. Western Digital Hard Drive

3. Bose Noise canceling in-ear eadphones and notebook.  (These earphones are amazing...currently using them right now as I write)

4. Macbook Pro

5. Patagonia Petrolia Backpack

6. Assorted batteries for Fuji X-T1 (5 total, mix of Fuji batteries and aftermarket ones)

7. Aftermarket Fuji battery charger.  I also still use the original charger that came with the camera but this one takes up a little less room.  

8. Fuji X-T1 with Fuji 35mm 1.4 and Peak Design strap

9. Fuji 10-24mm 4.0

10. Assorted SanDisk memory cards and Pelican Case memory card holder

11. Joby flexible smartphone tripod with magnetic feet.  My wife gave me this little tripod for Christmas as a great and easy way to get videos of our kids without having to hold a phone in their faces all the time.   I've loved it so far.  

12. Crumpler Haven Camera Pouch.  I love this little bag.  What I'll end up doing in terms of packing is to fold the shoulder bag flat and pack it in my larger suitcase.  I'll then throw my camera and lenses, along with all the other camera accessories (#'s 6 - 10) in this little bag and carry it in my backpack on the flight over.  Once were in-country I'll put my camera gear in the shoulder bag and then use the backpack for other various needs. 

Now that I think about it, since I sold all my Nikon gear and made the little Fuji kit my main gear, if I was going on a trip to take photos, the only other items I would probably take are my filter kit and tripod.  Not too bad.  Especially compared to the days when I would travel with pretty much every lens I owned on my back.  

I'll try to post a couple photos during our trip, but no promises :).   More than likely I'll post more photos to my personal Instagram account @davidrathbone or to the @sawandmitre account.  

Also, stay tuned for a little sale we'll be running while I'm away!




1 comment


Have a great trip man! Envious of the trip and stoked to see what amazing new images you come back with!

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