Firstly a thank-you for all the replies to my last posts. I apologise for not replying individually to you all.
To recap, I have the iPad 2, a camera connection kit and a MacBook pro 17". Between my husband and me we are using DSLR's - both Canon and Nikon. We are also using point and shoot and prosumer cameras - both Olympus. The camera connection kit is working just great for SD cards. So far!
I discovered - yesterday - that using the Image Capture app in Snow Leopard is a quick way to transfer files from theipad 2 to the Macbook and vice versa. I thought it worthwhile to share this bit of information for others like me who are looking for quick file transfers between the iPad and the MacBook.
I still would like to know if there is any way around carrying the MacBook into the field. We are nature lovers and are amateur photographers. This means lots of dusty rides in the bush, lots of long distance travel, lots of baggage restrictions. If someone can tell us how to transfer data to an external HDD without using the MacBook, we would be really obliged. Of course, preferably without creating too big a hole in the wallet!