I wanted to share my experience during my 2 months traveling with my Mavic Pro in Colombia.
Before I left I was struggling with how to pack my Mavic Pro. I was looking at my beautiful DSLR camera backpack that came with my used Mavic Pro, debating whether to take it or not. The bag was capable, the problem was… it looked like an expensive bag meant to carry a lot of expensive tech equipment… not the attention I wanted in South America. After months in the country, I can say with confidence that I have a very discreet and effective way to travel with your precious drone.
For long backpacking treks you always want flexibility.
Another thing that held me up is whether I wanted one bag for my Computer and Mavic Pro separate. I decided to keep em’ separated so I can have the flexibility of lighter loads for day treks (instances where I just want to shoot and be light for a long trek, without bringing all the gear or big backpack designed only for tech devices.)
My requirements for my bag of choice was clear, I needed the bag with the smallest footprint. Luckily for most you reading this, you already have it. The DJI fly more combo bag is as compact as you’ll find. I can fit all 4 of my batteries in the bag along with RC, replacement propellers, cleaning cloth, iPhone, Nd filters, 4+ microSD cards, microSD to SD Adaptor, and battery-to-USB Adaptor!
To fit 4 batteries in this bag. You can put one in each side pouch, the pouches are deep and the elastic fits over the batteries snuggly (I know what you are thinking -Rain/Dirt-hang in there).
You have the third battery in the Mavic and then after you put the controller (with the guard, more on this in a moment) you have just enough room to lay one more down, flat, on top of the controller.
So we now have everything we need in the nice and tight fly more combo bag. However, that black leather bag is likely to get some looks. It looks like a DSLR camera bag and Camera’s are easy to resale.
The BEST TIP, I can give you when you travel to Colombia is to use one of the very popular handmade Colombian bags to act as a cover for your fly more combo.
While you are traveling around Colombia you will see a variety of bags with a similar round shape with an open drawstring top with long straps. You will most likely see many people walking around with them.
FUN FACT: The design of the handmade bags are unique to the city you are in. They are not mass produced so take a moment to acknowledge the differences. Despite their different designs, they are found everywhere in Colombia roughly the same 2-3 sets of dimensions, The ones I’m referring to is the most popular size.
These bags are the perfect size for the fly more combo bag to slip into. With enough room on the top of the charger and hub as well enough room to slip PolarPro ND filters Case between.
I have a foldable rainproof jacked that o rest on top of everything.I tighten the drawstring so that the flooded up jacket pouch is the only thing visible.
How to travel when concerned about rain
A nice touch to this set up is that I can completely be covered in rainy environments. If it begins to rain. I remove the foldable rainproof jacket on top, unfold, and put on. The jacket is long enough (and wide enough) that it covers the top of the bag, preventing water from getting inside. The bottom of the bag may peak out a bit but the bulge it creates irrigates water away from it on your jacket so it hasn’t been an issue despite some exposure.
How I travel on the plane:
Fly more combo bag is personal item,
My backpack (laptop, hard drives etc) is carry-on.
I have a fanny pack that I slip into my backpack during security.
Check the non-electronics.
How I travel on the bus
Similar to plane the Mavic Pro bag and my backpack containing my laptop, iPad, external drive, adaptors, cables, chargers… never leaves my sight. I have a large Fannypack that contains things I need handy (GoPro, passport, batteries, sunblock, etc) These three bags are always with me. I put the Mavic Pro bag and computer close to my feet always as I have nightmares of people throwing their bags on top of mine or a scenario where it shifts in an overhead cabin and comes crashing down when someone opens it. My large trekking bag goes underneath the bus.
Accessories I couldn’t trek without.
The most important thing to bring if you ask me is a multi-battery charge hub. I have a metallic blue one that charges batteries simultaneously. Unfortunately, the size of it was not meant for travel and I figured that I could compromise speed for size. So I opted to get a 4-battery hub that simply attaches to your single battery charger. This way you aren’t waiting around for a battery to finish charging to put the next one on.
Mavic RC joystick and screen protector
Worth its weight in gold if you ask me. This is a must if you plan on using fly more combo bag.
Buy an extra battery. 4 is the magic number, 3 is good, 4 is better. You can fit all 4 and charge all 4 believe me you will need all 4 when you start to travel.
Bring your top three, I recommend PolarPro.
Bring 3-4,16gb, preferably 32gb cards. Why not bigger? No need, until we get a battery that keeps our drone in the air for longer than 25 minutes we will have our hands on the drone to swap batteries often, not much more work to swap cards. This method also protects your data. As you will be distributing footage among many cards so if your drone gets lost you can at least have some footage to recover and it also incentivized you to perform attentive media management, meaning moving your data to external hard drives and “locking in the vault” so to speak. Number your SD cards so you know which ones have the footage you took and need off-loading. Remember, The data is only safe once it reaches your external and even then some would argue that is not enough. Also, bring MicroSD to SD card Adaptor. It’s feather light and may come in handy.
External Hard Drive (1 TB or higher especially for 4k footage)
You can’t rely on the cloud to back up your footage in South America. Few places have the upload bandwidth needed. Get yourself a nice terabyte hard drive (or larger). Better yet if you can swing the extra cash… If you asked me which you should get… I would suggest one with Wifi capability, and a slot so you can plug your MicroSD directly into the external drive and port over your files this way. Disclaimer: In my experience with an older model (older wifi WD Passport), it was inconsistent and slow but this would be the ideal drive to have. Especially if you do not intend on traveling with your computer.