It’s that time of year again. The snow is melting. The temperatures are rising. The waterfalls and rivers are flowing. Hikers and backpackers are starting to hit the trails, and the outdoor magazines are publishing their gear lists of recommended items to bring along.
When I head out on an overnight backpacking trip, I leave with the priority of photos in mind. The heavy photography equipment means that I have to live by the light is right mantra. What I take on my journey can be just as important as what I end up not taking. Here is my list of gear that I just can’t live without:
- Pack – F-Stop Gear Satori (5lb 8oz)
- Tent – Black Diamond Bipod Bivy (1lb 13oz)
This is easily the best backpack for adventure/nature photography. A bold statement, but I challenge anyone to find a better system. At 58 liters, this is the largest expedition backpack that F-Stop makes.
Their packs are designed with an internal camera unit (ICU) that makes customizing the room that I wish to commit to my gear very simple. I use the medium size ICU which holds my gear perfectly. I could probably downgrade to the smallest size, but if I do find myself with extra room in the ICU, I use it for storing food. The pack is back-loading, meaning that when laying it down in the mud, none of that gets transfered back onto me after I’m done shooting.
At first, I was hesitant of going with a bivy as my main shelter. The major flaw being that if it rains or snows, I have little to no space to store my photo equipment. I solved this by carrying a simple emergency blanket in my pack. If it’s dry, the blanket provides an extra barrier between my bivy, my sleeping pad, and the ground. In case of rain or snow, I store my photography gear with me in the bivy , and cover my pack with the blanket outside, holding it down with rocks.
The bivy is a bit cramped for space, making sleeping on my side a bit difficult, but the bug net provides me a full view of the night sky, and the small amount of space and weight it takes up easily outweighs any cons.