How To Travel Light With Paints & Equipment

by Armand Cabrera

Traveling Light

Part I


If you can afford it, I recommend having a couple of different setups to paint with. I like to paint from 4”x6” up to 36”x48” outdoors. There is no single system that is the perfect easel or Pochade box and that is why I have different equipment for traveling as light as possible. The recent popularity of outdoor painting has made buying equipment more affordable. Whatever your preferred medium—whether it is watercolor, pastels or oil painting—there are great solutions for your outdoor painting needs.
There are many fine Pochade systems on the market  to fit your budget.

Painting getaways are a great way to renew the spark of creativity. When I travel to a painting spot for a week to ten days, I streamline my painting setup. Flying can be hard on painters with all the restrictions.
I often ship my supplies and equipment ahead of me.
I prefer FedEx.  They are very reliable.

As an oil painter carrying solvents on a plane are out of the question. With the new security regulations paints are no longer allowed as part of your carry-on items. For checked luggage I switch to water based oils or watercolors for the trip. A collapsible brush holder works great for cleaning brushes.

I limit the size of my sketches to 12 x 16 or smaller. I cut a number of pieces of oil primed linen to size and only bring one board to clip or tape my paintings to saving on weight and space.

I place the blank panel in the Pochade box

My collapsible brush holder slides under the panel in my Pochade box.

I roll up my linen and place it in a clear mailing tube.
When paintings are finished and dry I roll them up and replace them in the tube.

All my brushes, clips and paints go into the tube also.
I do this to make it easy for inspection at the airport.

The mailing tube and Pochade go into a high impact plastic briefcase. A pistol case is perfect for this. You can buy thin rolls of foam rubber to line the inside with to cushion the equipment.


Below are the vendors I used to purchase the equipment for this article.

Water soluble oil paints

Water soluble oil paints are manufactured by the following companies:
Windsor Newton Artisan     
Holbein Duo

Holbein also makes the collapsible brushwasher


Golden Acrylics makes a line of slow drying acrylics called Open.
They are not quite the same as oils but might be a solution for some people.

Paints and Solvent

Paint, turpentine and other art supplies including the collapsible brushwasher can be purchased from an art store.

Stores offering art supplies nationally are:

Cheap Joes

Daniel Smith 1-800-426-7923

Jack Richeson
(800) 233-2404

Utretcht 1-800-223-9132

Art Supply Warehouse

I use Gamblin Oils and  Gamsol Odorless turpentine by Gamblin when I am painting with regular oil paints.

I buy my linen panels and panel blanks from SourceTek.  JoAnne will be happy to help you.

Pochade boxes

Pochade boxes come in many sizes and configurations.
These vendors make quality products.
Talk to them first to see if they will satisfy your specific painting needs and budget.

Open Box M

Artwork Essentials

Wet panel carriers

Wet panel carriers are as varied as Pochade boxes
The Pochade vendors and Sourcetek also offer wet panel carriers as part of their product line.
The lightweight panel carrier is made by Raymar

Extreme weather gear and clothing, backpacks and pistol cases can be purchased from a local sporting goods store or from an online store like Cabela’s

The plastic totes are available from stores like Home Depot, Sam’s Club, Walmart and Orchard Supply Hardware. The 35 gallon tote I purchased cost about 8 dollars.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.