My camera packing list
On a hike you get to see the most beautiful places and have the best experiences. Experiences that you won’t forget easily and that will stay in your memory for a long time. But you would rather share all these moments with the people at home when you return from your trip or hike. Capturing everything you experience is done with good electronics and a kit that gives you a lot of flexibility. For me, there are 6 essential items that you should definitely have with you.
1. A good camera
With your mobile phone you can take very nice pictures nowadays, but when it really comes down to it, I prefer a good camera. Even if it is only because you need your phone in many other situations. Cameras of course come in many varieties and in all price ranges. So first decide on your budget before buying a camera. Then decide what you want to do with the camera. Do you only want to take selfies during your walks, do you go for wide-angle landscape photography, or are you more into marco shots of flowers? These are all things that influence the choice of a camera that suits you. Because of this, a camera with a fixed lens is sufficient for one walker, while the other would be better off buying one with interchangeable lenses.
My choice fell on a camera that allows me to take along a number of lenses and thus gives me the space to choose all kinds of different perspectives; the Fujifilm XT-3. My enthusiasm for this camera was triggered by its ‘oldskool’ look. This while the camera is equipped with all the latest capabilities. During my research for the best camera I also noticed that many photographers recommended this camera because of the quality of Fujifilm’s colours. Something the brand is very well known for. And finally, this camera performs very well in low light conditions, very nice for nature photographers, because taking extra light with you on a hike is a hopeless task ;).
2. A broad perspective
Do you choose a camera with interchangeable lenses? Then the next question is which lenses to take. There are generally two types of lenses: prime lenses and zoom lenses. With a prime lens, the focal length is fixed, which means that you cannot zoom in or out with it. So you will have to move yourself to change your composition. It could be that the bird flies away just because you want to make that perfect picture. What a shame! But a fixed focal point does ensure that you have better quality material because there are fewer moving parts in the lens. With a zoom lens you can, as the name suggests, zoom in and out. Very nice, because now you can just zoom in to make that fat shot of a deer. So you can adjust your composition without having to move from your spot.
I have chosen two zoom lenses that give me as wide a range as possible. I take a lens that I use for landscape photography, with which I can make a wide image and have a lot in my image. For this I use the Fujifilm XF 10-24mm F/4.0. With this lens I can get a lot in the frame, which is a great advantage when you want to shoot an entire landscape or want to show the grandeur of the landscape around yourself or other people. But there are also moments when I want to zoom in. When there is a beautiful flower at the edge of the path or I see a wild animal in the distance. For these situations I take the Fujifilm XF 50-140mm F/2.8 with me.
3. Drone or no drone?
A perspective is nice of course, but what if you could fly and take your photos from the air? That would provide even more unique images, especially in vast landscapes that you come to as a hiker. But am I going to bring a drone for that? This would be a fantastic solution. However, you also have to consider the weight in your backpack and the space such a device takes up. There are more important things to take along on an adventure.
Still, I chose to add a drone to my media kit, but the smallest one. Namely, the DJI Mavic mini. With its size of 14 x 8 x 6 cm, this drone easily fits in my pocket and is therefore ideal to take along on a hike. Its weight is also an advantage, as it weighs only 249 grams. This is of course a very specific weight, because from 250 grams onwards you will have to comply with stricter guidelines, so with this drone you will be able to avoid that!
I did choose the so-called ‘fly more combo’, in which you find several spare parts and very important three batteries and a battery charger. If you are going to use a drone during your hikes, this is highly recommended. This way you don’t have to charge as much and can film or take pictures more without worrying about empty batteries.
4. The tripod
When taking many of your photos and videos, you hold the camera yourself. But sometimes you are looking for a more stable shot. When you want to make a video in which you yourself are standing, for example. Or a photo with a slow shutter speed where you can capture beautiful movement in the image. At those moments, you need a tripod. But again, a tripod has a huge impact on the weight and space in your backpack. So consider carefully if you really need and will use the tripod often. It is a waste to drag along dead weight over the mountains while it is of no use to you.
Are you going to use a tripod? Then weight and size are really the most important properties for choosing a good tripod. At least for me, these were the properties on which the tripod had to score very well. That is why I chose the Peak Design travel tripod, an ultra narrow, lightweight tripod. The Peak Design tripod is almost half the size of other tripods and fits in a water bottle holder or in the side pocket of your bag. This is due to the special design of the legs in such a way that the empty space has been eliminated everywhere. In addition, this tripod weighs only 1.5 kilograms, which is not very heavy either. There is even a carbon version that weighs only 1.3 kilograms and thus makes your backpack even lighter.
5. Extra energy
Of course you can use enough extra energy during a long hike, so take enough water and snacks for the road. But also for your equipment, extra energy is no luxury. It would be a shame not to be able to take a picture of the magnificent view at the top of a mountain because your battery has just run out. That is why I always take extra batteries for my camera and other devices. But it is also ideal if you can recharge unused batteries during your hike. Or at least recharge them after the hike, even if there is not enough power at your accommodation. That’s why I always carry a powerbank with me with which I can recharge all my equipment in the meantime. I have chosen a power bank that can also provide itself with power during my walk, from the sun no less. The Xtorm solar charger is a powerbank with a built-in solar panel that can recharge itself while I am walking in the bright sunshine. A win-win situation!
6. Store everything well!
You have all your equipment and you are ready to go. But of course you are not going to carry all these expensive items around in your backpack. You want to store them neatly and safely and have quick access to them during your hike. That is why I use the F-stop UCI medium slope. ICU in this name stands for ‘Internal Camera Unit’, because these bags are specially made to be used as an inlay for your backpack or rucksack. They are composed with removable dividers which allow you to create your own compartments in the bag and thus create your ideal layout. This way you have space for all the above mentioned things but you can also use it partly for camera gear and partly for other private accessories.
I use the F-stop insert bag in combination with my Quechua MH500 from Decathlon. This is a backpack with a capacity of 40 litres and a zip at the top of the bag. This allows for enough room for clothes, water, snacks and other hike accessories in addition to my media kit. The zip on the top allows me too easily lay the bag on its back and quickly access all my camera gear during a hike. This is ideal for all those times when I want to use my drone or change lenses. I don’t have to turn my bag upside down to find a lens and I’m back on the road quicker.
If you have any questions about my or your own media setup for the road, please leave a question in the comments below.