Hiking photography gear: 14 essential items for a photography hike

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In this post I outline the equipment I use for a photography hike.

Good hiking photography gear needs to combine high performance with low weight. In this post I provide information on all the equipment needed for a successful photography hike. 

For me photography and the outdoors go hand in hand. When I head out for a hike, I always take my trusty camera backpack. It’s jam packed with everything I need to enjoy a good hike and capture the best moments along the way.

When I switch hiking for travelling, 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.

A picture of my hiking photography gear - all the essential items for a photography hike

You might also like this ultimate car camping checklist post for use with your next big outdoor adventure!

Hiking photography gear

Hiking camera 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)

CamelBak New Arrivals

Lightweight camera

I bought my Sony Nex-6 mirrorless camera in 2013 and it barely left my side, as it was so light and compact. 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.

After 6 years of solid use I upgraded to the Sony A6400. This is only slightly heavier than the Nex-6 but produces much better images, as you would expect from a newer camera. It also shoots video in 4k. For hiking, mirrorless cameras are surly the way to go.

Take a look at my photos taken with this camera.

Camera lenses

Alongside the kit lens for my camera, I also have the Sony 55-210mm lens  for shooting wildlife. A very affordable lens which has a decent zoom and beautiful bokeh.

My most recent purchase is the Sigma 16mm 1.4 prime lens. As a landscape photographer this wide angle lens is perfect for capturing those big scenes and with a f1.4 is also great for astro-photography.

Filters

Circular polariser filter and Gobe variable ND filter. I usually 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!

Power bank

I have a Zendure power bank which is really small but not so light. However, it provides about 3 charges for my Iphone and can also recharge my drone if I needs be. 

SD cards

I have spare SD cards for my camera, drone and GoPro.

GoPro

The GoPro Hero 4 is pretty dated now so doesn’t always make the cut but it’s a great hands free option. Footage from the latest models look much more stable, even without a gimbal.

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. 

Drone

Ahh my latest toy! I got this DJI Spark 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.

Tripod

This Neewer camera tripod 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.

Smartphone

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!

Discover the top apps I use on my smartphone to help plan my photography hikes!

First Aid Kit

Compact first aid kit – just in case…

Head torch

I’ve had several head torches over the years but I do like Petzl ones. This Petzl Actik 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?!

Cables/leads

Spare leads for charging Iphone and drone from the power bank.

Clothing

Not pictured are the clothing items I take which usually include a puffy jacket, a rain jacket, a buff and a pair of gloves. 

Travel gear

The last few 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.

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. That’s pretty much all I want in an external hard drive.

Laptop

I have the Macbook Air which is light, compact and perfect for travel.

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!

That concludes my hiking photography gear list. Is there anything you would add to this list? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

 

The footage I’ve captured with my DJI Spark has really blown me away and being so lightweight means I don’t have to compromise on comfort. Take a look at some of the videos I’ve created during my wanderings in Wales!

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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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