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What type of travel photographer are you? Do you pack your iPhone and charger into your purse and call it good, or are you on the other end of the spectrum, with a heavy bag full of lenses and tripods for those just-in-case photo opportunities that always seem to present themselves when you’re not prepared with all the essential travel photography gear. Our travel photography gear list is for every type of traveler and includes our top camera accessory picks from the past year.
Below you’ll find stylish camera bags, rugged portable hard drives, and an awesome hands-free camera clip that is perfect for hiking. All of our favorite travel photography gear items make fabulous gifts for travel photographers, bloggers, and camera-wielding adventurers. We’re not including cameras or lenses in this post because that’s a whole different ball game that we’re not quite ready to tackle.
The perfect travel photography gear set-up is an illusion. I think I have it down, and then I embark on a road trip, and realize that I need to keep tweaking my system to make things easier to find, easier to use, and my photos easier to edit. It's always a work in progress, but after five years of traveling with my camera gear, I think I've got a pretty decent system in place.
Best Camera Bags for Travelers
We’ve come across some awesome camera bags this year. A few we have been lucky enough to add to our travel photography kit, and others we’ve added to our wish list. Here are our top picks for the best camera bags for travelers.
If you’re looking for a compact camera bag for travel, especially urban travel, we recommend the Evecase Urban Life PU Messenger Camera Bag.
The bag is small and lightweight, but big enough to hold your DSLR, two lenses, plus your phone and wallet. It's water-resistant, comes with adjustable inserts, and a luggage slot for attaching to the handle of your suitcase.
The Evecase bag is small enough to be considered a personal item on an airplane and will easily fit under your seat. It's like a big purse and is not conspicuously a camera bag, which is nice when you're carrying expensive equipment.
We love the vintage look - it's made of synthetic leather and water-resistant fabric, and the price is affordable.
If you’re planning a trip that revolves around photography - one where you’re packing several camera bodies, lenses, filters, chargers, and a tripod, we definitely recommend the Lowepro Flipside Trek Backpack - BP 450 AW.
This camera bag has enough room for a full-size DSLR with an attached lens, plus two or three extra lenses, a Speedlight, an iPad or tablet, and accessories (chargers, memory cards, filters, etc.)There are exterior buckles so you can secure a tripod and an exterior pocket for your water bottle.
We love the Flipside technology, which allows you to swivel the backpack to the front of your body and quickly access your gear. Straps are fully padded and this camera backpack comes with a waterproof cover to protect your gear from the elements.
This is a big bag, but still suitable for carry-on travel. We’ve lugged ours through the airport, on hiking trips, and through the streets of Philadelphia, and we love it.
I can’t remember anyone ever accusing me of being stylish, but a girl can dream, right? I am currently in love with all ONA bags and am obsessively coveting the ONA Bowery Waxed Canvas Camera Bag. The leather one is nice too.
This beautiful bag has room for your DSLR, a few lenses, and some extra accessories. It comes with a removable strap and is made with beautiful leather accents and antique brass hardware. The padded camera insert is removable, so the Bowery bag can also be used as a stylish travel purse.
Best Camera Accessories for Travel
Now, onto the little things. We like to keep it fairly simple when we travel, but there are a few things we never leave home without. Here are some of our favorite camera accessories for travel, hiking, and road trips.
We bought a new tripod last year after our ancient, heavy beast rolled down a mountain. A friend recommended the MeFOTO Classic Aluminum Globetrotter Tripod, and after tons of research, we decided to go with it.
The MeFOTO tripod comes with a quick-release plate, twist-lock legs with spiked feet, and a height range of 16”-64”. We love that it comes with a detachable monopod and only weighs 4.6 lbs. This is a very heavy-duty tripod that packs up small for easy transport. We’ve really loved using it so far.
We thought we would be able to use the meFOTO tripod mentioned above for hiking trips, but the truth is that our camera equipment is so heavy without the tripod, that we were rarely packing it, and our photography was suffering.
We decided to get a cheaper, lightweight tripod for hiking, and settled on the Sirui T-005KX 52" Aluminum Alloy Tripod. The Sirui tripod is 1.9 lbs. and can hold up to 8.8 lbs.
It’s pretty rugged for its weight, but I would definitely suggest stabilizing it in the field with a backpack or something. It folds down to 12’’, which fits pretty easily into a daypack. Now if we could lighten up the rest of our camera gear, we’d be all set.
The innovative Peak Design Capture Camera Clip has been around for a few years now, and it’s definitely one of our favorite little camera accessories. I've tried other methods of securing my camera to my backpack, and none of them worked well for various reasons.
The Capture Camera Clip enables you to securely clip your camera to the front strap of your backpack so that it is instantly accessible when you’re ready to take a photo. So much better than having to dig it out of your bag or having it swing from your neck while hiking.
The Peak Design Capture Camera Clip may seem pricey for such a small accessory, but after using it for a year, I can definitely say that it is sturdy and secure - totally worth the money.
I’m in the market for a new camera strap, as the one I’m using has definitely seen better days. How do camera straps get so worn and dirty, anyway?
The strap that I’m eying, the TETHER Camera Strap, is a 30” polyester strap with genuine leather ends. Generally, I’m not a fan of polyester, but my current strap is cotton and it just isn’t durable, plus it’s impossible to clean. TETHER has a bunch of different styles and colors to choose from, but the one above is my favorite.
I have a love/hate relationship with the selfie, but I do a lot of solo travel, so I’ve managed to get over it, and have been practicing my best poses. I still don’t do many true selfies. Instead, I set up my tripod, and use the Pluto Trigger on time lapse to take a photo every second for 30 seconds.
The Pluto Trigger works via blue tooth with your smartphone or tablet once you install the app. It has an amazing array of features, including voice activation, a motion sensor, a light sensor, and a laser sensor.
I still haven’t explored all of the cool features, but I’m really happy with the ones I’ve used. The only downside to the Pluto Trigger is that it's one more thing you have to charge before leaving the house. A small price to pay I guess.
Yeah, tripods and triggers are great for serious photography when using a DSLR, but phone photography has its place, especially when you're traveling.
Unless you have no intention of appearing in any of your photos, add a selfie sticks in your travel photography gear kit. The Yoozon Selfie Stick weighs just four ounces, connects to your phone with a blue tooth trigger, and extends to 26.6”.
The best part is that this tiny, portable stick has folding legs to go from selfie stick to tripod in about two seconds. Very handy for backpackers, vloggers, and of course, selfies.
We’ve just started experimenting with phone lenses that either clip on or attach to a custom case. We've had mixed results so far. On the one hand, we love the versatility of an added lens for smartphone photography, but on the other hand, you definitely get what you pay for.
If we want something expensive and professional, we might as well shoot with our DSLR or upgrade to the newest iPhone model. The one exception we've had is with the Moment lens series, which takes beautiful photos if you're already using a high-quality smartphone for your photography needs. Moment lenses are made of the highest quality glass, and nothing else comes even close.
For years and years, I avoided bringing my camera out in rain and snow, and I missed out on so many beautiful opportunities. Last year, I decided to get serious about protecting my camera in nasty weather so I could capture snow and rainstorms. I still need lots of practice, but things are easier now, thanks to the Peak Design Black Form-Fitting Rain and Dust Cover. T
his stretchy cover allows you to access your viewfinder and controls without removing it. It cinches completely closed when you’re not using your camera, and it works with the hands-free camera clip mentioned above. I use both the camera cover and the clip for cross-country ski or snowshoe days, and my winter photography is finally improving!
Portable chargers aren’t strictly necessary for travel photography. I always carry two extra batteries for my camera, and so far, I have never gone through all three during a photoshoot. The only exception has been during a day of shooting that involved lots of long exposure shots and video, and when we’re camping.
On camping trips, I always bring the MyCharge HubPlus portable charger, which comes with built-in lightning and micro USB cables, a folding wall-prong, and 6,700 mAh for 4 times more battery power. I charge it up before a weekend trip and can use it to charge my camera batteries 4 times, and my phone at least twice.
If you’re anything like me, you take photo storage seriously. In addition to storage on my laptop, I use cloud storage and two external hard drives to back everything up. I keep one external hard drive at home, and the other comes with me on trips.
My travel hard drive is the ADATA HD710 Pro 4TB Ruggedized External Hard Drive. It gives me plenty of space for all my photos and videos, transfers data super quickly, and is shockproof, waterproof, and dustproof for all of our outdoor adventures.
These are available in 1 TB - 4 TB capacities and they come in different colors. This hard drive has been awesome so far, but I still do a second back up when I get home, just in case.
While I wouldn’t consider myself much of a shopper in my everyday life, I love finding the perfect travel photography gear for my outdoor adventures. Having the right equipment makes it much easier to get outside with my camera, and when it comes down to it, that’s what really matters.
Looking for more ideas for travel and photography gear? Check out these posts!
Back Road Ramblers shares travel tips, road-trip destinations, and outdoor adventures for the wanderer in everyone. We help people connect with the world and each other by stepping out their front door and embarking on journeys big and small.