Bodies, Bags, and Hand Warmers - if that doesn't interest you...

Here are a few things you will find in my bag as well as a collection of other recommendations. I am a bit of a gear snob, which is to say I am particular about my gear, but that doesn't mean I have a whole bunch of it. Contrary, I'm just picky and will shit-can crap that doesn't work pretty fast. I'm always working to reduce and find ways to lighten my load - that said, I do like to have several things with me others may choose to leave behind or not find as handy as I do. 

Parka vs. Down Jacket

These are completely different things, and that’s ok if that’s what you want and are looking for. This parka has an element of down to it, but is not a down jacket. If you’re keen on the parka design, I’m not, but again that’s ok. You’re right, it will NOT fit in a dry bag, but more importantly, isn’t as easily portable – which is part of the purpose of the models I’m sending you. On the city nights shoots in the cooler parts of the year for instance. I start with a long sleeve shirt and maybe an undershirt with that. I stuff my thin light down jacket in my camera bag or the use the dry bag attached to the outside camera bag. I stuff a beanie in with that and maybe a small scarf, and I will have the luxury of warmth without the hassle of lugging a huge, bulky parka around with me. Same goes for any star trail adventure. Throw a light weight fleece in that layer system and I’m warm at 10,500ft at Bristlecone – all night. Hand warmers and gloves help too.

The biggest difference is the benefit of layers and packing. You become more versatile as opposed to having what is seemingly a more versatile jacket. I personally believe layering is warmer that a single good, heavy, bulky parka. Here’s the other thing… the longer parka, I believe, creates a channel for cold air to come under and in the area you are trying to keep warm. The down jacket, by default, creates a better seal… at least for me. Parka’s don’t keep me as warm. 

Beanies keep you warm

When we go in adventure trips, I take two or three beanies. I do the same with bandanas, which, when tied at the neck, do a nice job of helping to hold in the heat, but for larger jobs at night, I have a lightweight Marino wool scarf. I have a couple of everything, and often bring enough for backup in case I cant find or I forget one, I have another… these are critical items to my comfort, so I diversify and never pack them in the same bag. Having no hair, I have to plan like this or I’m very uncomfortable.

With Beanies and bandanas, I prefer to try them on first to test comfort… also, the Paul’s Photo CPA grey beanie is actually pretty nice if you're one of my Paul's Photo friends. 

With these, I go light weight and redundant with spares often packed in different places:

  • Bandana
  • Gloves
  • Scarf
  • Beanie
  • Hand warmers (chem and zippo)
  • Hat