To make sure you come back from your journey alive and healthy, and with a memory card full of gems, compile a well researched packing list before you go. Consider what you’ll bring from your camera gear to your normal gear.
Cameras and Accessories:
When starting your list of what to bring, start with the camera. If you haven’t already gotten your handy got-to camera, you can always borrow, rent or buy. Look for a lightweight body that’s supported by a full line of lenses and accessories. Look for high resolution, full frame sensors, nearly noiseless low-light performance and rugged build.
As for lenses (glass) avid nature lovers typically limit themselves to three fast, stabilized zooms in the wide, normal and telephoto ranges. For example, take a 16-35mm for wide vistas and tight spaces like canyons and caves. 24-70mm macro for standard landscape perspectives and close ups and for tightly framed shots use something like a 70-200mm. Longer f/4 zooms in the 100-400mm range are also popular.
Extra equipment can include circular polarizer, split natural density filter and tele converters. Your camera phone can act as test camera, and perfecting your shot before you get the big guns out. Also, in dark spaces a headlamp can come in handy. These can benefit your photography in big ways while taking up little room in your pack space. Another good thing to carry along is a tri-pod. Also, try to get your hands on a lightweight tripod that easily folds up and down.
Before heading out always make sure that your batteries are fully charged, your memory cards are emptied and that you have double checked your pack. Forgetting something or not being prepared is a major downfall to your trek and can turn a fruitful journey into a dud.
Gadgets that Help:
When scanning landscapes, try using a monocular. It slips easily into your pockets. Some photographers opt for the classic binoculars for that 3D view. If you’re working after dark, catching those shining stars or if you’re lucky enough to get the aurora borealis, you’ll need a bright small profile flashlight. Try 200+ lumen headlamp. Some are waterproof and have durable construction and on the fly brightness adjustments.
If you don’t want to get lost on your trek, take a GPS device with you. GPS will pinpoint your position and display a “bread crumb trail” showing how you got to that position.
To keep your gear clean from dust and debris, keep a small paintbrush or lens brush in your bag and a handy cloth to wipe away smudges, streaks or watermarks. Sometimes keeping a few packs of travel eyeglass moistened wipes will help if you happen to get something sticky on your gear like sap from trees or honey from the bees. These are safe for glass and easy to pack.
More things that you may consider bringing with you are maps, guide books and wildlife books. These will help guarantee that you are in the right areas for your shots, they will give you tips and tricks for the area, what to look for and what to stay away from and the wildlife handbooks will ensure you have the knowledge you need for the right shot.
How to Pack and What to Wear:
For toting all of these gear and more, try looking for bags specifically designed for long photography treks. They provide ample and proper storage for all of your camera gear and has room for hiking gear such as parkas, food and water. Some also come with water bladders, so you always have a water source. For shorter, quicker treks, try finding a camera vest. Plenty of pockets and storage and better ease of access than most backpacks and more lightweight.
When traveling, always research and keep close watch on weather. ALWAYS, dress in layers. The day may start out very bitter and cold, and could end in sweltering heat. Undergarments should be of high tech materials to let in air and keep out moisture. Use a down parka for your outer shell for its warmth, lightweight and collapsible packability. Don’t let a once in a lifetime trip get missed because you weren’t dressed properly. Hats, visors and bandanas come in handy to provide some relief from the sun and rain.
Rain gear is a must and you can find the best rain gear at hunting and fishing outfitters. For a jacket, look for a waterproof thigh length or for more rugged treks, get waders and chest bibs. For your feet, just below the knee boots for comfortability wading into shallow waters and hiking in the rain. A slip on rain jacket for your backpack is a good idea as well, for it will keep your gear from getting moisture/wet. Some backpacks come equipped with this already.
Staying Safe and Staying Fed:
When you’re out there finding priceless shots, you may be far from civilization. Keeping some energy bars and freeze dried foods on you will help keep your energy high and belly full. Most hunting, fishing and outdoor outfitters will have varieties of freeze dried foods from snacks to full on meals.
What happens when the bear your shooting notices you? There are products out there like sprays and tablets that repel bears and more than that they can surprise and deter mountain lion and rutting elk as well. It may be the handiest item in your pack next your camera.
You can find all of this gear online or in store at these following places.
- Amazon.com (camera, gear, lenses, backpacks etc.)
- Patagonia.com (jackets, boots, clothing)
- Northface.com (jackets, boots, clothing)
- BHPhotovideo.com (cameras, gadgets, gear, reviews etc.)
- Shotkit.com (gear, clothing, reviews)
- ExpeditionAlaska.com (best winter clothing and gear)
- Adorama.com (top trending places to take photos in 2019)