BEST Backpacking Photography Gear [2019]


Hey what’s going on you guys, this is
iron here. I’m out here in the Olympics, on a backpacking trip and I figured I
would show you guys the photography gear that I personally take out into the
backcountry. I also want to give you guys some good tips on how to store your
camera gear while you’re out backpacking and just some other good tips in general
to help you mix backpacking & photography together. Tip number one buy lightweight
backpacking gear. If you’re trying to combine photography & backpacking,
you’re gonna be carrying more weight then the average backpacker. A camera,
tripod, one – two lenses. You know that can easily add 10 plus pounds to your
whole setup. Find out exactly what you need & don’t take anything that’s not
useful on your trips. That’s the number one easiest way to cut the weight
of your system down. Something I see that happens time and time again. A lot of
people will be able to do a two, three day trip with a lot of heavy gear, no problem. Naturally as you progress and start to
backpack more you’re gonna start hiking further, doing longer trips. Longer trips
means you’re gonna be carrying more food. You might be carrying lots of water so
if you can get get your weight just down to as minimal as you feel
comfortable, that’s really gonna help you. You know it’s nice, I get up to these
spots, I’m not totally tired, I still have energy. I can hike around and scout for
photos. When I started backpacking I’d always hike with my camera around
my neck and yeah I found that to really start to take away from the experience
of hiking itself so I don’t do that anymore. I find it best to just keep
all of my camera gear easily accessible so if I want to take a picture, I can throw my bag off and access it real quick. I’ll show you guys how I store my gear. Everything besides my tripod I store in
a small f-stop ICU. This is a super awesome case. It’s super durable. It’s got a nice shape so it fits into my backpack real nice. So that’s a bonus. Yeah as I
was saying before, if you enjoy hiking with a camera around your neck that’s
awesome, you know we’re all different. We all have different approaches so I’m gonna
show you guys what works best for me and you know what I’ve learned to be the
best. It’s probably been about nine
years now that I’ve been backpacking with a full camera setup. so yeah I’ve
learned a lot during that time. I store all of my gear in here. Another thing
that I like to do is put some of my extra layers in here to get some extra protection, just a little extra padding If my bag gets thrown
around or anything like that. So I’ve got my beanie here, pair of thermal leggings.
This eliminates some more dead space in your bag too. So it’s not taking space
in my backpack and it’s also protecting my gear. So that’s just a nice little
bonus there. I shoot with a Nikon d810 I’ve been shooting with this camera for
about two years now. It’s not the lightest camera and you know I was
actually using a mirrorless camera before this but I ended up going with
the Nikon because of its dependability. I had a lot of issues with my Sony a7r.
Yeah I missed out on a lot of shots. Had a lot of frustrating times and I switched
to this and I’ve absolutely been loving it. I would definitely prefer
the D850 over this but yeah there’s no such thing as the best camera. The best
camera you know is the camera you have. A piece of gear that I would highly
recommend is an L bracket. This is one of those pieces of photography gear that
you use for the first time… And think I can’t believe I haven’t been
shooting with this longer. what an L bracket does, you can shoot vertical
without having to have your camera to the side. So the L bracket is a good way
to switch vertical and horizontal very easily. Yeah just give you a lot
more stability for shooting vertical. I love my L bracket. Comes on every
trip. So I would say that the toughest thing for me and a lot of people that
backpack and do photography is just deciding which lenses you want to bring
with you. The least amount of lenses the better. You know lenses are heavy It kind of sucks always changing
lenses out in the field so depending on the style of photography you shoot this could change for you. I use 2 lenses and one of them is the Nikon
28 to 300 millimeter lens. I probably shoot 60 to 70 percent, maybe
even more of all of my photos with this lens. My other lens of choice
was a Nikon 14 to 24 millimeter lens. This is known as one of the best
landscape lenses ever wide-angle lenses ever produced. This lens is amazing.
2.8 aperture, it’s great for night photography. Super sharp, one of the
sharpest lenses I’ve ever shot with while I don’t shoot with this lens as
much as my 28 to 300. A lot of my all-time favorite photos I’ve
captured with this lens. Between these two lenses I’m able to shoot
from 14 millimeter to 300 millimeter. That covers a pretty wide
range. Yeah you know I would love to bring another zoom lens, maybe like a
400 millimeter lens, but it’s not worth it for me to carry the extra
weight. So it’s a balance game. You really have to figure out what’s most
important to you and probably not carry some stuff you would otherwise on
like a day hike or a spot where you’re just walking a couple hundred feet to
shoot. So yeah those are the two lenses that I use. I would highly recommend
two lenses max. Try to come up with a really minimal lens setup.
And then I carry a circular polarizer for my 28 to 300. I was carrying one for
my 14-24 mm lens but it was a giant wonderpana circular polarizer and it was
just a pain to put on and super heavy so that’s one of the things that
once in a while might really help me produce a better photo… I
never bring that on my trips anymore I always have a UV filter to
protect my lens I would definitely recommend that. All right, now
let’s talk about batteries. one of the worst things that could ever happen to
you when you’re out out on a backpacking trip. You go to take a photo and your
batteries are dead. It’s happened to me more than once. It’s been a long time
but it’s pretty much the worst thing ever so before you leave the house make
sure all of your batteries are charged. I carry five batteries on most of my trips
and I it’s very rare that I ever use more than three. I always bring
more than I need. Yeah you don’t want to let a dead battery or not having
having enough batteries stop you from capturing a shot so make sure you have
enough batteries and make sure they’re always fully charged before you leave
the house. All right now let’s talk about ways you can extend the life of your
batteries. There are quite a few little tips that can easily double the life
of the batteries on your trip. Don’t leave your battery in your camera when it’s
not in use. That’ll save you a little bit of energy there. When you’re composing
your photos do it with your camera off. You know, do it through the
view of a viewfinder. Only use live view when you absolutely need to.
Turning the brightness down on your screen will help as well. Doing those
little things will easily extend the life of your batteries. If it’s really
cold out I will keep my batteries insulated. If it’s really
cold sometimes I’ll even keep them in a breast pocket close to my body to keep
them warm. I like to carry two memory cards
on all of my trips and the reason for that is,
if one memory card fails I’d have a backup I carry two 32 gigabyte memory
cards. I’ve got some of my GoPro memory cards in here as well. So ya I carry two
32 gigabyte memory cards. Personally I barely ever fill up more
then one. I would say you’re way better off just splitting your memory in half so
instead of buying a 128 gig card buy two
sixty-four gigabyte cards and that just gives you an extra card in case one
fails. It’s good to have backups out here. I carry a remote shutter that I
can plug into my camera. I don’t use this too often but
once in a while it really comes in handy I really like these Zeiss lens cleaning wipes. I always try to carry a few of these in my bag I carry Allen wrenches for my
tripod just in case, and this little cleaning brush.
I’m filming this with a GoPro right now and this is the bag that I carry all of my GoPro stuff in. So yeah, this has been the
most minimal setup that I could personally come up with and still be
able to shoot the photos that I want to shoot. I’d also highly recommend
always having some microfiber cloths for cleaning your lenses. That’s an
essential piece of gear. Keeping your gear organized is huge. You
don’t want to be spending time looking around for stuff when you’re trying to take a photo. I always try to be as organized as
I possibly can. Oh and then one other thing that I always keep in my camera bag is a trash compactor sack. If it’s raining really bad, I will put my
f-stop bag in this or if I’m fording a river or I’m pack rafting.
I will put this inside this lightweight trash compactor sack to fully protect all
of my gear. It would suck to spend all this money on camera gear and have
it get ruined by water. You can see everything fits nice and easy in
here. My GoPro fits in here to I’ve been loving this setup. I’ve been
shooting with this camera and these lenses for about
two years and it’s been great. A couple other landscape photographers
use a very similar setup. My good friend Dave Morrow uses a
very similar setup. Same camera, same lenses. I think Max Rive or Reeve… I’m not
sure how you pronounce his name. I think he shoots with the same camera and
lenses as well. Those are two photographers that I look up to and really like their work. So that’s my gear and then my tripod. So
I would HIGHLY recommend taking a tripod on your trip if you want to
capture landscape photos. Sometimes you can get away with handheld
shots but I shoot over 90% of my photos on a tripod. This comes
on every trip. It can be a challenge to find a lightweight tripod. I’d also
recommend a carbon fiber tripod. it can be a challenge to find one
that doesn’t cost like $1,000. I found this Fiesol CT-3442
tripod and yeah I think it was only $400. It’s been awesome. I’ve been
shooting with it for over a year now. I’ve taken it out on over 130 days of backpacking. I have had no issues with it. What I really
like about this tripod… It has a very low base to the ground.
Some tripods you can invert the top center column. I just find that to be a
pain. It’s also got a flat base here. It’s not the the tallest tripod,
but it works. I’m 6 foot 5 and I have no problems using this. I have to crouch
down a little bit when it’s fully extended This was the the best lightweight tripod that I could find at a decent price. I’ve had this Benro B1ball head for a while now.
It’s been great, super sturdy. I think it was only about a hundred dollars. So yeah,
this is the gear that I use. I’m going to put together a video right after
this going over some really good tips for combining backpacking
& photography together. I wanted to go over my gear first because obviously
you’re gonna need gear to shoot photos out here. So
that’s the gear I use. And thats the way I store it. Oh yeah
one more thing, my umbrella LOVE this thing. If I’m expecting any rain I
bring my umbrella. Not only does this give me
me additional rain protection, I can shoot photos and shield my camera.
This is lightweight backpacking umbrella made by six moons designs and I
would HIGHLY recommend bringing an umbrella if you’re going to be in the rain. You can get a lot of really cool shots in dramatic weather.
While I find this gear to be the most ideal personally. Always remember
there is no such thing as the best gear. This is the best gear for me in my situation,
but the best gear is the gear that you have. You know you might not be able to
afford some of this more expensive gear and that’s okay. Almost
any camera that’s produced this day and age can take some pretty nice
pictures. Buy the best gear that you can afford that is in line
with your style of photography and the trips you want to do. If
you guys have any questions at all about any of my photography or
backpacking gear or anything in general I would be stoked to answer them. You guys
are awesome! Thanks for being here! I’ll catch you guys in my next
video. Peace!

13 Replies to “BEST Backpacking Photography Gear [2019]”

  1. this is awesome, i'm planing to do my first over night backpack and am going to be taking my camera with me. you are an inspiration mate.

  2. Great video, got some good ideas. Impressive portfolio. Interested in hearing what else you've got to say since you're actually going into the back country and making things happen. Thanks.

  3. Cool video, thanks. Also cool that you use a Sunwayfoto L-bracket. I used one of their standard camera plates on a Nikon D3S a few years ago, and was quite impressed by the quality of it for such a reasonable price. Way cheaper than Really Right Stuff!

  4. Hi,
    How do you access your camera in your backpack ? Do you store the insert at the top of your backpack ?

  5. just getting back into photography, picking up a Nikon Z50, my thoughts are being able to use full frame lens and then buying a full frame body later, what are your thoughts.

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