I’m always intrigued to see what fellow travelers and adventurers tote along in their camera bags. I travel by plane and see people with small bags stuffed to the brim. I’ve been in cities and seen people with huge bags weighing down their backs. While I travel quite a bit, I’m not a master packer and I still end up places without items at times, which can make or break a fun day. I’ve compiled a “master list” of what I always make sure I have in my bag, and this tends to help. The bag even tends to stay somewhat packed, so I don’t have to spend too much time searching and packing when adventure calls!
While I’ll share my list with you, I’d love to hear what you’ve learned to always carry along. Be sure to respond and let me know. We can always learn from each other!
- I typically have a DSLR (Nikon D750) and a couple of lenses (35mm, 50mm, 24-120mm, 28-300mm - I choose based on the destination, and rarely carry more than two), and along with that, I make sure I have batteries, chargers, and memory cards (always more than one). If I’m trying to pack light for a shorter trip, I have a great Fuji X100F that is a great lightweight camera. These items stay packed in a smaller bag, which provides some protection in my bigger bag. I don’t really use camera specific bags, as I like to try to keep a backpack looking like it isn’t full of expensive gear, especially when walking city streets. The more hiking themed bags also provide great support and comfort for travelling.
- I also carry along a film camera on most trips, and it comes with film and a spare battery.
- I use Peak Design straps, and they are interchangeable, so I can decide to take along one to share between cameras, or more, if I plan to shoot with both cameras at the same time.
This little Manfrotto tripod is a great travel system. It provides amazing support, but folds down small and is fairly lightweight. I looked at many options when trying to choose a travel tripod, and I know there are many great ones out there, but I have been very pleased with this one, and love the little bag to keep it protected outside of my bag.
I have a Lee Super Stopper set that goes to most places with me. If you have polarizers, color, or other filters - they can have a great effect on photos. I keep most of them in small cases that come with the filters, but if I’m taking along a few, I use a “filter wallet” to keep them safe and together. The Lee System has it’s one little pouch to keep it all together.
I keep at least two little cloths in each of my bags, so no matter which bag I grab, I don’t even have to look for the cloth. These are very handy if moisture hits my camera from the ocean or a waterfall. The reason I carry two is that I usually reserve on for cleaning glass and the other for all other external cleaning. I keep a LensPen on hand too, to deal with sand and dust.
I like the smaller paperback styles of notebooks, and use them for taking notes on things from travel directions, camera settings, or just important things I want to remember. I usually have notes in this little book that I make before the trip, with any important info (train numbers, addresses, where to eat, etc) easily available without having to pull out my phone.
A Book or E-Reader
I’m a big reader, so my bag always has a book or my e-reader in it. I love the e-reader because I can carry hundreds of pounds of books in a little tablet, but I also love a real book in my hands. Either way, I have one of the two with me, at all times.
A Battery Pack
Power packs are one of the greatest ideas we’ve seen lately. Packing so much power into a small brick is just smart. This thing keeps my phone and cameras charged, even days into a trip. For watching movies on a long-haul flight, or for charging batteries at a remote campsite with no power… this is an important piece of equipment in my pack!
The Other Stuff
My smaller items include lip balm, sunglasses, sunscreen, tissues, hair ties, ink pens, a reusable utensil set, small light, sanitizing wipes… sometimes a Sudoku book (okay, most of the time)... these are just those basic everyday items that make travel more comfortable. I also carry along an inhaler and an epipen, because asthma and allergies - and a small first aid kit, just in case. I keep most of the smaller stuff in small pockets on the bag, or in a small pouch inside to keep things organized. Oh, and a water bottle!
Last, But Not Least - Business Cards!
While I’m not a photographer for hire, I do sell prints and love to share my work and stories. I keep cards tucked in every place they’ll fit, so I can always pass them on and invite someone to follow along on my journey!
If you'd like to take a closer look at what gear is in my bag, check out KEH's new Shutterlife site! It's a great community to share gear, photos, and insights with like-minded photographers. You can create your own "Camera Bag" to track gear. It's a great place to see what other photographers are using, learn about gear, share photos, and to meet other photographers. Find me on Shutterlife here.
Now it’s your turn - what do you carry along?