I am really fortunate that I have had the opportunity to travel to a lot of wonderful places over the past few years. I have been lucky enough to bring my camera and shoot photos at all of these interesting locales, places you’ve seen on this blog, like Iceland, Morocco, Ireland, Paris, India and Cambodia. I often get asked what’s in my travel bag, how much gear do I take and how do I pack it. Traveling with photo gear adds a bit of complication to your trip, so having a plan for your gear will make a big difference and today I’m sharing my thoughts and strategy below.
First off, I will be the first person to tell you I pack a little too much gear. I like to prepare myself for anything and there have been many times I’ve gone to a location planning to use one lens and ended up using an entirely different one. How do I handle all this gear? I use what I like to call the 2-Bag system. One bag is the kitchen sink full of gear and accessories and another much smaller bag with only the essentials for a day of shooting.
My main bag is full of all the gear for the trip, usually a backpack but sometimes I use a medium sized messenger bag. Everything goes in this bag: camera, laptop, lenses, accessories, etc… The main bag stays in the hotel or rental car and only comes out with me when I’m doing photo specific outings where the sole purpose is to take photos. When I’m not leaving the main bag at the hotel I lock it up to prevent people from walking away with it.
I have a small shoulder bag that I can fit a couple of lenses in and a few accessories. This is the bag I take out during a day of exploring. It only fits a few items that I will need during the day and no extras. Being that it’s light, it’s easy on my back, I can move through crowds easily and doesn’t look inconspicuous for pick pockets. This is great when we are shooting on the streets, exploring attractions like museums or out for an evening stroll.
Below are a couple examples of typical bags. I don’t want you to think that because I take this much gear you have too as well. My hope is you find something that I pack that might help you on your trips or that gives you an idea to pack your photo gear a little better.
3. Canon 5D Mark II. This is my workhorse camera that I use on most shoots.
Excellent post! I’ve pinned it for future reference!
Courtney @ Adelante says
A camera with wifi?!? Awesome!!
Nick Nieto says
Wi-Fi is the best. I won’t buy any new camera without it
Elena Drake-Knight says
Just got my first DSLR camera in April so definitely bookmarking this post for reference!
The 20-Something Project
To be honest my eyes are glazing at all your camera gear. 😉 But then again, I guess if I set all mine out maybe it would be just as mind boggling! I for sure need to get a new camera bag…mine is so unsightly and really weird to carry around. Hoping This Is Ground will come out with a sweet bag soon! Love their products!
Nick Nieto says
You should check Ona Bags. Similar style in their products.
Krystal R. says
WOW you have some awesome gear and I love the detail in this post, I have to pin this so I can refer to it as I buy my own gear. Can I ask what lens is best (or you use) for fast action shot or even movement shots like the Orca jumping out of the ocean?
Nick Nieto says
For action shots I tend to use the 70–200. It’s not so much for the speed but because I want to zoom in as far as I can to get right into the action. If I happened to be closer to the action I probably would use my 35mm
Melissa Williscroft says
Good call on the ziplock bags — there have been a few times when I wish I had them handy to protect my camera!
Totally! They come in handy actually for lots of reasons while traveling too!
Annabel Krantz says
Thanks for the tips! As a starter DSLR user, I found this really interesting 🙂
Excellent… glad it was useful!!!
Carmen Kaemingk says
Any suggestions on a good camera for a budget traveler? Headed to Europe in a few weeks on a travel grant. Going to use the pictures in my kindergarten classroom as well as for personal use. I have been doing a lot of research but with the point and shoot (with some manual controls) it’s so hard because you seem to be sacrificing something. I would love a view finder if possible because sometimes it’s hard to take pictures with just the screen. I am looking for something lightweight and preferably under $300 but may go a little over. Would love to spend more but it’s not possible! Thanks for your help!
I’m not sure of any in the $300 range, but if you want to spend a little more, I love my Lumix!