A traveling photographer will give up every bit of real estate inside of luggage to pack an extra light or an extra modifier. Over the last couple of years, I’ve been in awe of my buddy Martin as he’s able to travel around the globe for weeks on end with just the smallest of suitcases. I made a resolution back in January that this would be the year that I would get onto technical clothing – and I used this Venice trip to do it.
I spent 10 days in Venice with 2 pairs of pants, 2 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of undies, and 2 shirts.
I LOVED it.
What is Technical Clothing?
The easiest way to explain Technical Clothing – think of fabrics that are functional first – easy to dry, moisture wicking, no wrinkle fabrics. Most of these types of fabrics have been relegated to outdoor/hiking duty. Think of those plastic feeling pants with the zippered legs from Columbia for fishing. However, you don’t want to look like that -all- of the time. You want that kind of material so that its easy to wash, and quick to dry, but you want it to look good.
Martin turned me onto Rohan Designs back when we were in Dubai last. There are a -ton- of Technical clothing companies out there (Ex-Oficio, Outlier to name a couple of good ones), but Martin swore by three things at Rohan that made me consider them in an instant. Martin said that their materials were top notch, the styling was great, and their customer service was legendary.
I had to try it out.
For workshops and speaking gigs, I wear pretty much the same thing all the time. Pair of smart jeans and a black shirt. Went onto the Rohan site and ordered their Newtown Jeans and their simple T-Shirt. I really wished they had a long sleeve/short sleeve solid black shirt – but this would do in a pinch. I got two pairs of these undies – but I’ll spare the picture. 🙂
A pair of black trousers for hiking could be useful, so I got their Bags trousers in black. To round out the black shirt, I bought a Field and Stream short sleeve black shirt and pulled off all of the Field and Stream logos from it.
Now, two pairs of clothes for ten days could be panic inducing for many, but this brought me to the next thing that would totally help – the Scrubba Wash Bag.
Here’s a simple wash solution that you can use – and the bag doubles as a dry bag should you get out to a water shoot and need to keep things dry!!
All I had to do here was make sure that at the end of the night, I invested 10 minutes to get all of my stuff washed, sorted, hung, and organized. Every morning, I woke up to nicely smelling, clean clothes that fit GREAT.
The one thing that had always kept me from wanting to get a kit of Technical clothes for travel was cost. I just thought it was a little expensive. When I sat down and looked at it though, it wasnt as expensive as paying for extra bag fees, or having to plan on how to carry your stuff around and have clean clothes. With airlines now getting more strict on what you can check in and how much it can weigh, it’s really making me prioritize that weight more towards gear. I tend to be generic in what I wear, so having a smaller set of choices totally felt good.
After wearing those Jeans through Venice, I am coming to think that they may be my most favorite pair of jeans – overall. They fit great!
Customer Service Was Awesome
When I first ordered the clothes, I was very worried about not being able to try them on and see if everything fit. Would my size in the US translate to how they cut the jeans in the UK? Would the Jeans run small? Or large? I frantically emailed to change the order, just to change the order a second time, just to cancel the changes.
Each of the time, the customer service people were wonderful. Whats more – Rohan offered a policy of returns and exchanges that I was very excited to see. If the pants didn’t fit, or I didn’t like them, I could just send them back and they would send me a new pair that did fit. Just great!
What would I change? My Jacket
If there was one thing that I was not happy with, it was my jacket. I had this super puffy down jacket from LL Bean. Living in Florida, I rarely take that jacket out. When I did, though, I felt like a black marshmallow – and didn’t like the range of movement. Not to mention, It looks like it started to lose some of its feathers. So – jacket was definitely not a win.
My buddy Latanya was using this packable jacked from Tumi that I thought was really smart. Thin, down, and the whole thing packed into a neck pillow! I would totally do something like that or a simple down vest for the next trip.
This gear isn’t meant to replace all of my wardrobe. I am literally on a plane now, flying back from NY for the holidays and all of my regular clothes came with me, Jenn, and Sabine. But, as I think about the fact that we checked in 6 suitcases in for this trip (OK, one of them just had pillows, and one was for bringing back Christmas presents), I just smile as to how quick i’ll be able to move around for my next Photo trip. Make sure you give those Rohan guys a look. You wont be disappointed!