What’s in my backpack? 14 essential items for a photography hike

When I head out for a hike I always take my trusty camera backpack. It is jam packed with everything I need to enjoy a good hike and capture the best moments along the way. When I’m travelling to a new destination certain items are taken out, others are put in and it doubles up as my carry on luggage. Perfect!

Here is a complete list of my essential items for a photography hike. I’m not sponsored by any of any of the companies and all opinions are my own.

Essential items for a photography hike
  1. Lowepro Photo Sport backpack – A few years ago I splashed out on a backpack specific to the two things I needed it for – hiking and photography. The Lowepro photo sport has all the adjustable straps and comforts you’d expect from a hiking back pack, but it also has an easy access side pocket to store your camera. The camera pocket will fit a DSLR and extra lens, plus it has storage pockets for SD cards or lens filters. The back pocket will fit a 2L hydration reservoir (not pictured) and it comes with a with built in all weather cover. I love this bag and have never been without it since I bought it. The only downside is that it is a little on the small side, so would recommend getting the next size up (300 AW)
  2. Sony Nex 6 mirrorless camera – I bought this camera in 2013 and again have rarely been without it since. Mirrorless cameras were relatively new then but since I bought it with the intention of using it for traveling and hiking it seemed like the right way to go. It’s light and compact and takes great photographs so has been perfect for everything I need. The dials are starting to become a little unresponsive and/or slow and sometimes the camera refuses to take a charge, so it’s almost time for a new one but it’s had 6 years of being thrown around the world so I reckon that’s ok. August 2019 update: I now have the Sony A6400 and it’s awesome!
  3. Sony 55-210mm lens – Alongside the kit lens for my camera I also have this lens for shooting wildlife. A very affordable lens which has a decent zoom ideal for snapping far away wildlife.
  4. Circular polariser filter and Gobe variable ND filter – I always have one of these filters on my camera depending on the situation. I bought the variable filter so I wouldn’t have to carry around lots of different levels of ND filters. Great theory and for the most part it’s ok but at the extreme end of the range the filter produces dark patches in the corner of the photo which is pretty annoying!
  5. Zendure power bank – small and relatively light, providing about 3 charges for my iphone. 
  6. Spare SD cards – for camera, drone and gopro.
  7. GoPro Hero 4 – It’s a little dated now. Footage from the hero 7 looks much more stable, even without a gimbal, so if you’re wanting to get a GoPro I’d go for the latest and greatest. Not pictured above are the accessorises I have for the GoPro which I use for snowboarding, biking, diving etc. I have this bundle which is much cheaper than the official GoPro version. 
  8. DJi Spark Drone and remote – ahh my latest toy! I got this late last year to take on a trip to Japan and have loved using it. Yes there are better drones available for professional drone pilots, but for my first drone and for ease of travelling this little gem is a winner! Even though the drone can work via your smartphone I highly recommend investing in the remote as it makes flying so much easier and less frustrating.
  9. Neewer camera tripod – This is a really great tripod that I use for most of my landscape photography but at 4kgs it is on the heavy side for big hikes. If I’m heading out on a big hike I’ll take my smaller and lighter Eloki tripod (not pictured) which will also fit my GoPro and Iphone.
  10. Iphone 6S – Yup, I’m an Apple fan so this is my Smart phone of choice. Again, waiting on that lottery win for an upgrade to the Iphone XS!
  11. Compact first aid kit – just in case…
  12. Petzl head torch – There’s been a few head torches over the years but I do like Petzl ones. This one has different brightnesses and the red light option to avoid blinding everyone around you. Not really sure if that option keeps the insects from flying into your face though?!
  13. Spare leads – for charging Iphone and drone from the power bank.
  14. Ear buds – I must go through about 3-4 pairs of ear buds every year so I never invest in expensive pairs. I do usually check that the sound quality is decent but other than that, any brand will do!

The last two items I don’t take hiking with me! When I switch to travelling mode I take the big tripod out and replace it with my laptop and external hard drive. I have a few external hard drives so not all come travelling with me, but I do like the Transcend ones  because they’re really tough and really fast. Thats’ pretty much all I want in an external hard drive.

You might be interested in my hiking adventure with these essential items in the Grand Canyon

I spent a few weeks exploring different parts of Wales equipped with all the essential items for a photography hike mentioned above. I really enjoy the creative element of making little videos as much as I love playing with gadgets like the drone. Have a look at the video and let me know what you think! 🙂 

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An honest review of the essential items I use for a photography hike and for a day pack whilst travelling.


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