US Road Trip - Route and Gear!

Almost a year in planning and the time is nearly here.

As I write this blog it’s only 5 days until we fly out for our epic 3000 mile US West Coast Road Trip extravaganza! We’ve finalised our route, Charlotte began packing about 5 weeks ago (I have yet to open my suitcase) and we feel about as ready as we’ll ever be.

Our route contains two big cities, the Pacific coast, wine country, snow and ice, a desert, and everything else in-between. Spread over 3 weeks we’re going to tackle Seattle, the Oregon coast, Crater Lake, Reno, Death Valley, Yosemite National Park, Napa Valley, and San Francisco – the full route is below if you want to check it out. To say we’re stoked is the understatement of the year!

Planning

We've been using the RoadTrippers app and website to plan our route as we wanted a space to be able to collaborate as well as guide us once we're out and on the road. If you're planning a trip I highly recommend using a routeplanner like this as we've discovered loads of cool looking places along the suggested route that we may have otherwise skipped had we just stuck to the main highways.

 

GEAR

With so many amazing opportunities for images on the table choosing which camera gear to take was of course a big decision. When travelling in Europe last year I got by really well with the Fuji X100S so was tempted to stick with this as it’s such a light, compact camera with great image quality, however in the end I decided to go the whole hog and pack the full frame Canon 6D. There were several reasons for this. First off, the X100S is fixed at 23mm, fine for cityscapes and some landscapes but you lose a lot of options when you can’t zoom at all – the 24-70mm reach will give me much more options in the field. Secondly, the battery life for the Fuji series is still iffy at best, given that we’ll be away for 3 weeks and at times a long way from civilisation, I wanted the certainty that the larger Canon batteries provide. Finally, with Death Valley being one of the largest (relatively) easily accessible dark sky parks in the world, the low light performance of the Canon for some potential starscapes was very important too!

I’m definitely compromising a little on weight. The camera, lenses, chargers and associated gear will likely top out at over 6kg, but I think it will be worth it in the end. The final kit list is likely to be:

  • Canon 6D
  • Tamron 24-70mm 2.8
  • Canon 50mm 1.8
  • GoPro Hero 3
  • Joby SLR GorillaPod
  • Beeway Waterproof Memory Card Case
  • 2x 64GB SD, 2x 32GB SD and 2x 32GB MicroSD Cards
  • FantaSeal GoPro 360 Timelapse Mount
  • GoPro Suction Cup Mount