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Camera Carry Tips

Logging long trails and carrying camera gear is not always the easiest of tasks. I’m not sure if there is really a right way to do this or not? Everyone seems to have their own way of doing so and it’s just a matter of preference to what suits your needs with the trip at hand. I was recently asked by a friend what I use to carry my DSLRs into the backcountry and what I take with me. I have to admit I found my answer a little long and comical. To follow is my response with some pics from the trips of all sorts.

Sometimes less is more and this is very true with outdoor photography, especially if you are lugging around a ton of gear. My first advice would be to have the right tools to get the job done. Take the right lenses, but also realize what you won’t be using and consider leaving it at home to lighten your load. I know it’s not fun to leave lenses behind for a lot of us, because you never know what you are going to see, but if you take a lens with a good range to work with you’ll be ok. For example a 24-105mm is a great lens with a lot of range for getting close or zooming to fit the whole image in the frame.

Use the buddy system! Find a friend or two that shoot with the same family of cameras and lenses. When packing and prepping for trips, go over lenses with one another and everyone pick a different range of lenses to carry. If you are all inter changeable (Nikon, Canon, Sony, etc.) with your cameras then you can swap lenses along the trip.

If you’re aiming for long term exposures, have a tripod with you. If you don’t own a tripod, forget it, or don’t want to carry the extra weight you can always resort to balancing your camera on the ground or rocks. Just remember to support the weight of the lens as well. I’ve used this trick a time or two and it works in a pinch.

For safely and securely carrying cameras and your lenses there are a ton of systems to choose from. I strongly recommend trying out different packs and carrying systems (straps, clips, etc.) before committing to one. For a long, long time, I carefully wrapped my extra lenses in my water tight clothing drybags. I knew they were padded this way and secure. The downside was definitely the convenience of accessibility. There are a lot of great companies that make camera specific carrying bag with a range of sizes and carrying capacity. One of my favorite companies for this is Mountainsmith. They have a nice range of packs that suit to the needs of most adventures and they’re fairly priced to the competition.

I’ve been using the Borealis for awhile now and I like it a lot. It’s great for day hikes and trips that don’t require a ton of other gear away from the camera (tents, sleeping bags, clothing etc.). Remember here, this is a camera pack first with optional room for some other gear. The line from Mountainsmith is well padded, weather resistant, and extremely accessible. Now with that being said, if you’re going the other route and finding yourself needing to add your photography equipment to your existing load Mountainsmith also makes a great accessory for this as well. I carry their Kit Cube with me on pretty much every trip I go on now. It’s small, secure, convenient, customizable, and fits well inside pretty much any pack.

If you are traveling really light, beer koozies make great padding for extra lenses. We just so happen to have our own 😉 and they double great for well you know, beer! Now, it’s not the greatest protection ever offered, but it’s light weight and better than nothing.

I’m also a big fan of external carry and having my camera ready at hand for anything that my run out in front of me. For a long time I simply attached my camera to my pack’s sternum strap with a carabiner. To reduce the swing from the camera I replaced the neck strap with a hand strap. Once I ditched the neck strap I never looked back. For me I just really liked having less hanging from camera. This is great for warmer weather, but in the cold using a neck strap and keeping the camera tucked inside your jacket isn’t a bad idea either. Either way, upgrading away from the strap that came with the camera was a good move for me. My hands down top choice for carrying accessories is Peak Design. Peak Design makes an awesome line of carrying accessories as well as an interchangeable anchor system that can be life changing for a photographer.

Ok, that was a much lengthier and longer winded response to the question of camera carry than I had intended to leave, but I hope it’s helpful. Now be it you drive to a location or hike in hopefully these carrying tips help you to capture your adventure, and explore new places!



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