How to Hike With Camera Gear
If you’re like me one of your favorite things to do is explore the great outdoors. Also, if you’re anything like me, you want to photograph the heck out of it while you’re at it.
It’s not always easy to figure out which camera gear to bring along, especially since so much of it can be pretty heavy and bulky. These are a few hacks that I’ve learned over time to help make it possible to tote along my camera gear on one-day, multi-day, or multi-week treks without killing my back from the weight in the process:
Ditch the tripod and get creative
When I’m hiking I definitely like to get those awesome long exposure shots of the night sky, waterfalls, and of course sunrises and sunsets. A tripod certainly makes this a heck of a lot easier but it’s also one of the bulkiest pieces of camera equipment that you can bring along on a hike.
I find in these cases that one of two options works pretty well: taking a long smaller gorilla pod or just ditching the tripod altogether and balancing the camera on various things I find along the way. There is always a rock or something around that I have been able to balance my camera on, and I’ve taken many awesome shots simply by using the natural world as my tripod.
Get rid of what weighs you down
Thankfully, a lot of the things that make nature photography easier are not that heavy. I always bring extra batteries that are fully charged, and my filters, but usually leave attachments like a flash or microphone behind unless I know I will need them.
The other bulkiest thing is my camera bag. When I’m hiking, I use a Ziploc bag instead to keep everything protected from water and wrap that in clothing to keep it protected. That way it is safe and sound, more compact, and dry!
Bring the right backpack along
I find that it helps on day hikes to have a bag with me that is specifically made for carrying a camera. What I love about the Camsafe V9 anti-theft camera sling pack is that it wraps around my body and distributes the weight in a way that doesn’t put it all on my shoulders. Plus, the bag doesn’t dangle and won’t easily get caught on rocks or branches if I’m having to climb hand and foot or am dealing with really windy weather that would blow a normal bag right off my back.
I also love the stylish look of it and the nice green color that blends in so well with the scenery if I ever put myself in my photos, which I love to do!
Clip it to your shoulder strap to help alleviate the weight
A lot of digital cameras are pretty heavy, so wearing it around one’s neck can get pretty painful, but it’s also annoying to have to constantly put it in your bag and take it back out again in order to save your neck the ache.
Thankfully you can actually clip the camera to one of your shoulder straps in order to help distribute the weight and take it off of your neck. That way, you can have your camera handy but don’t have to carry the whole weight of it in one spot.
Bring a polarizing filter
Most hikes need to take place during the early morning hours or during the daytime while it’s light outside. Unless you dedicate the whole hiking trip specifically to photography, there will be times when you reach a certain place by midday that is beautiful to photograph but could be washed out from the light.
I find that having a polarizing filter along really helps to make things look at least a little bit less washed out and to remove some of the glare. You can’t always be exactly where you want to be when the light is perfect, but you can try to make it work for you by bringing along the right light little pieces of equipment.
Those are some of my best tips, but I’d love to hear yours! Do you hike often with camera gear? What are some of your favorite hacks in order to make it lighter and easier to take along with you? Let us know in the comments!
Kristin Addis is the solo female traveler behind BeMyTravelMuse.com, a website for off the beaten path adventures! She is also the author of solo female traveler guidebook, Conquering Mountains and How to Solo Travel the World Fearlessly.