Beyond The Amazon: Packing for Peru's Western Wilderness (part 7)

Jerry Filming at Uros Island, Titicaca Jerry Filming at Uros Island, Titicaca Photo by: Kathy Wills


The most complicated of items to plan and pack is the assortment of electronics equipment we take. We are, after all, going into a wild and remote wilderness to shoot video. This equipment needs to work along the way, and needs protection against the elements we encounter. It isn't unusual to spend the day in a downpour while makinmg our way up a rigged mountain slope. Rocks, mud, and water kill electronics equipment quickly, as does falling onto a (radio, camera, GPS unit, etc) into a granite ledge. This is a severe and unforgiving environment.

During the Tocache Expedition we plan to use 5 different video cameras. Our main camera, a Sony NX-70U, is waterproof and can handle being used during a downpour. We chose it specifically for this reason. It is also dust and shock proof. We can only hope the "shock proof" aspect is as good as they claim. We already know the waterproof is well within the scope of what we will encounter.

We are also taking 2 GoPro HD cameras (one silver H2 and one black H3) for POV shots (point of view). Using the GoPole, a point of view stick that attaches to these cameras, we can film ourselves while wandering through the jungle. If you haven't looked into thenew Hero 3 you will be amazed at the quality this small camera has. It really is amazing. By design these cameras are shock and waterproof.

Of course we always have our iPhones. Though they are not typically considered a "video camera" the iPhoene actually shoots amazingly good video! There is a file restriction of only a few hours in 1080p, but we think these will be perfect for our video diraries which will also be edited into the project.

Unlike our older cameras that depended on video tapes that were easily damaged our new cameras use built-in solid state hard drives and micro cards that can record 8 or more hours of video per chipset. These cameras weigh a few ounces to a few pounds at most and are tightly sealed against the dangers of the rainforest (rain and excessive humidity). The high definition image and sound quality is exceptional and light years ahead of what we had previously filmed with.

There are aslo the other items. Cameras are not the only consideration.

We also have Uniden two way radios (GMR4040-2CKHS), a SPOT Connect to send everyone following us messages via email, twitter, FaceBook. and an InMarSat Sat-Phone to connect with the outside world. Additionally, we are packing personal nightvision devices (Carson mini-aura), and various items you might expect to use while exploring.

Each requires extra batteries, a reliable charging system small enough to be brought along, and a dry enclosure for batteries, cables, and memory cards.  

Everything runs on rechargeable batteries, and that means we need a way to recharge each item. No recharge, no filming, no communications, no GPS... it's all dead weight.

We use the Goal Zero Expedition 150 to supply our camp with power and charging. A cleverly designed briefcase styled 30 watt solar panel array supplies power to the main module where the power is stored. This system will easily keep everything fully charged and ready for the next days adventure. Additionally, our Biolite campstove generates enough power while running to charge a few devices.

Of course, we also need the knowledge to effectively use these devices on a moments notice. No wonder we feel like our heads are about to explode at times : )



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