View Full Version : Packing film for travel and conserving space

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05-13-2010, 08:38 AM
I will be backpacking in NZ this year and plan to take along ~30 rolls of 35mm Tri-X carried between myself and a friend. I will be removing the rolls from their boxes to conserve space and would like to find a nice way to store them in my bag while taking up the least space.

Does anyone know of any good 35mm roll plastic holders for travel? Or a simple trick to get them together and stored away in a bag - perhaps take the rolls out of their canisters, tape the leader to the body and keep the film in a ziplock bag in a side pocket of the bag?

Also, I have posted this in the NZ forum just for any advice as to how to get through customs quick and easy with my film and any potential problems or situation advice. It will come with me on the plane on a carry on bag.

Thanks, Chris

05-13-2010, 08:43 AM
I would not take the films out from the canisters. Getting rid of boxes should be enough.

05-13-2010, 08:46 AM
I've found that I can pack them much tighter without the canisters. Plus they will become a problem of disposal when in intermediate locations. If the film is kept in a watertight ziplock bag then it should be fine...

However I could put the used film back into the canisters and have more room for labeling. Though I would be carrying empty canisters of air while film is loaded....

Ian Grant
05-13-2010, 08:49 AM
As Werra says keep the film in the canisters or a waterproof food container. Having had a camera written off in a backpack during a heavy rainstorm last year I'd also make sure you have ziplock bags or plastic containers for your cameras and lenses as well.


David A. Goldfarb
05-13-2010, 08:49 AM
I'd also leave the film in the canisters to keep everything clean and dry. I suppose you could take them out and put them in some kind of long tube, but I'm not sure that gets you much. Presumably you only have one roll per camera loaded at a time, so it's not a lot of empty air space, and they will protect your exposed film, so you don't need to dispose of them en route.

05-13-2010, 08:52 AM
I had success by packing lots of 20 films into black bags then putting inside a vacuum sealer. Works very well... You can get these vacuum sealers quite cheap from homewares type places.

I spent a month in NZ last year for work and i would certainly insist on visual inspection. They use older style X-ray machines at Auckland and Christchurch airports and have potentially much higher radiation levels.

If you are going through customs i'd say leave in canisters in zip lock bags. They are quite inquisitive.

05-13-2010, 09:02 AM
I'm thinking of those green containers designed for compacting film space. You find them in Japan and there is a post on John Sypals blog about them (Valerian).

I will look for it.

Thanks for the advice. The plan is to have 3 cameras loaded at all times.

05-13-2010, 09:09 AM

There we go. 35mm film cases.

05-13-2010, 09:45 AM
Only 30 rolls of 135 film!!! :rolleyes:

I took my Ebony (large format camera) to Spitsbergen last Summer and took 5 boxes of Fuji Quickload film (100 sheets of 5x4)...


05-13-2010, 09:53 AM
I shoot in a rational and conservative style :P However I might be doing a lot of bracketing in the snow..... oh dear

05-13-2010, 09:58 AM
"In the snow" I'd rather drop one film from the canister instead of 10. Or even 5.

05-13-2010, 10:08 AM
Onto the ground?

05-13-2010, 10:35 AM
Onto the ground, into the snow, whereever. Maybe I'm just overcautious :)

05-13-2010, 10:41 AM
If I can load an M2 one handed then I can do anything....

Tim Gray
05-13-2010, 10:45 AM
I'd keep them in the plastic cans. Keeps dust and moisture out for the most part. When you get done shooting, just pop them back in. They aren't that much larger than the roll of film.

If you want to keep some kind of structure to your load of film, you could tape a bunch of plastic cans together in a block. I'd put them all in a big ziploc freezer bag or some other kind of waterproof container.

05-13-2010, 10:48 AM
We were in New Zealand this past October -- it rained 8 out of 12 days. I was using 120 film and kept it in ziplock bags. The plastic canisters for 35mm is an added protection. An outfitting shop should have small bags probably waterproof that clip to a belt. Find one the size that will work for you. That would provide easy access without having to go into a backpack when you want to change rolls.

Tim Gray
05-13-2010, 10:52 AM
Thinking about this a bit further, those little cases you linked to look cool. Anyone know of something available in the US like that? Or what small Pelican case stores 5-10 rolls of 35mm film snuggly?

05-13-2010, 10:58 AM
jeffreyg, the belt is a great idea thanks! perhaps a fanny pack haha.

Tim Gray, from what I can see Japan Exposures is the only reliable source...Now if I can find out if they are waterproof and sealed tight...

Craig Swensson
05-16-2010, 03:47 AM
Customs? just like anywhere else in the world, Try not to sweat, don`t dart your eyes all over the place and keep your hands as still as possible and you will be through real quick.

05-16-2010, 03:59 AM
Hi Krys, If you get some plastic slide boxes the kind that slides come back from the processors in you can fit four cassettes in each of them, and put rubber bands round them to keep them closed, so with eight boxes you can carry all the film in a very small space and keep them clean and dry.