The number one question I get: “You bring the camera out in stuff like this?”

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Well, yes! If you want to get the shot, you’re not going to get it with the camera sitting at home. I’ve had my camera smack off rocks, in a pack that fell 30 feet and have been caught in down pours where even I was surprised the camera survived. Here’s a look at whats in my pack every time I go out to shoot. Whether it’s rock climbing, hiking or traveling, I always have these items. Of course, camera and activity-specific gear is dependent on what you’re doing. But bring the camera.

#1 It’s all in the pack

For me anyway… The backpack is the key for easy access. There is nothing worse then trying to get your camera out of a bag that’s inside a pack and under jackets and food. I use the F-stop Loka. The design of F-stop gear is meant for photographers in a host of outdoor activities. Inside the durable pack is the ICU (internal camera unit). It’s a semi-hard box that you arrange to store your camera and glass. This design allows you to store your camera without the worry of having other gear smacking into it while you’re on the move. The ICU has a flap to close over it and is accessible via the back of the pack which un-zips.

#2 Bring Power

For power, I always take the Goal Zero Sherpa 100. It’s a little pricey, but worth it to get the shot. If you plan on being out for multi-day hikes or in the backcountry, this piece of gear will keep your camera, phone and laptop charged. Coupled with the Nomad 20 solar panels, this combo is sure to fill your lightweight power charging needs.

#3 Lens Pen and Cloth

This is a no brainer, always keep these with you. Water, dust and crud always get on your camera. Over time they can ruin your gear. Keep it clean and be ready at any time. Don’t wipe your lens with a dirty shirt!

#4 Cordelette

This one may have slipped by, a simple 20-foot piece of 5 or 6mm cord can change a lot. I use this mostly for rock climbing to help rig ropes. However, I started to keep it in my pack on most shoots. With a tripod you can often rig your camera in a tree or on a high object to help get a different perspective on your subject. You can also put the camera on a timer or multi-shot setting to capture multiple shots over a period of time while it is stung up somewhere.   

#5 iPhone

Yes, an iPhone, I always have this with me on shoots. I can sync it with my GoPro, get close shots, and if your batteries or camera decides to quit on you… you can still capture high quality moments.

#6 GoPro

I always have this and use it no matter what. You can get amazing close-up perspectives in photo or video format. You can stick them on anything, even underwater or on your car. Keep them close to what you’re shooting and don’t forget their purpose is to show an angle most people can’t see. So stick them in cracks, under stuff and get those awesome shots!

#7 Tripod

Buy one! Use it! And keep it with you. You never know when you may want a long exposure or to get that starlit night shot. I’ve used logs and rocks before to set up a camera, and it’s not fun. You may not use it, but it’s there if you need it. Do your research on them too. If you want to go light, there are options out there, but you sacrifice stability more often than not.


-Close Ups

Get up next to your subject. If it’s a person, get up next to them even if you don’t know them. It takes some time to get comfortable with this, but the detail and personality you capture will tell a lot about your subject.

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-Size Perception

Often showing how small a human is in a natural setting will set the photo apart from the rest. I love distance shots where the subject is barely visible, but you can the idea of just how big this world is.

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-Tell A Story

A person sitting next to a pair of skis doesn’t say much, a person getting those skies ready for a backcountry ski tour, that gives some insight into what is going on and tells a story of what probably will happen next.

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-Don’t Be Afraid

After a steep approach and a few close calls with avalanches, I was a little to jumpy to get out of here, but I stopped and caught this shot of my climbing partner in Iceland.

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