Travel Photography Gear Guide – What’s in My Bag?

I’ve been traveling and capturing my adventures for the last nine years. So, it’s safe to say, I have quite a bit of experience in travel photography. I’ve made a lot of common beginner photography mistakes and learned from them.  I continue to grow and improve upon my skills so that I transport my readers to the places I travel.

Since traveling and photography are my two passions, I wanted to share my photography gear list. So, here is a list of all the travel photography gear I use.

My Travel Photography Gear
My Travel Photography Gear

Table of Contents

My Photography Gear

Before deciding on a camera, I prioritize four criteria: 1) Quality 2) Durability 3) Price 4) Weight.

In the beginning, I focused on durability, since I spend the majority of my time outdoors. But, once I started carrying photography equipment, my bag just got too heavy.

It took me a long time to find the right combination of these four criteria. I wanted a camera that would survive the outdoors and take great pictures without breaking my back. Below is what I settled on. Please keep in mind this is an advanced setup. I’ve included options at the end for beginner/budget and intermediate options.

Main Camera Body – Nikon Z7 II

My Current Camera is the Nikon Z7II
My Current Camera and Lens

Nikon Z7 II Specifications:

  • Sensor: 45.7 MP
  • Native ISO Sensitivity: 64-25,600
  • Processor: Dual EXPEED 6
  • In-Body Image Stabilization: Yes
  • Weather Sealing/Protection: Yes
  • Storage: 1x CF Express and 1x SD slot
  • Autofocus System: Hybrid on-sensor phase detect with 493 autofocus points
  • Weight: 705g

After extensive research, I settled on the Nikon Z7 II – a full-frame mirrorless camera. I was a DLSR advocate for many years. And I still believe it’s an excellent system, but the full-frame cameras are too heavy. I do a lot of hiking and traveling, so anything I can do to reduce the weight helps. The new Nikon mirrorless cameras and are weatherproof, lightweight, and produce spectacular photos! Not only that, but they have in-body stabilization. This means that I don’t need to worry about finding lenses that have this feature. (This was a huge problem with DLSR my camera. I always had to buy a lens with stabilization, which was expensive and resulted in a heavier lens.)

Useful Tip: Mirrorless cameras have a reputation for short battery life. However, if you put the camera in airplane mode, the battery will last, at least, 3x longer. Make sure to verify if the mirrorless camera you are purchasing has this option!

Camera Lenses

Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8S – Main Lens

Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8S Specifications:

  • Max/Min Aperture: 1.8/16
  • Autofocus: Yes
  • Nano Crystal Coating: Yes
  • Super Integrated Coating: Yes
  • Focus Motor: STM Stepping Motor
  • Rear Focusing: Yes
  • Weather/Dust Sealing: Yes
  • Weight: 450g

All Nikon’s Z line lenses are superb. The 24mm f/1.8S lens is a professional lens. It’s weathered sealed and constructed with the highest quality glass. For me, I need a lens that is durable because I spend the majority of my time outdoors, and this lens has passed the test. The focal length is also perfect for landscape and travel photography!

Since Nikon mirrorless cameras are relatively new, finding used lenses takes longer. As more used lenses become available, I will be adding them to this list.

Action Camera – GoPro Hero 8

GoPro Hero 8 Action Camera Photography Gear
GoPro Hero 8

I’ve only been using a GoPro for the past three years, but I wish I would have started earlier. Currently, I travel with the GoPro Hero 8.

GoPro cameras are great at capturing hands-free action and you can attach them to almost anything. Plus, they are waterproof and shockproof! This is really ideal for anyone who is big into outdoor adventures.

I use my GoPro for collecting footage when I’m mountain biking, hiking, paragliding, ATV, and more.

Need help deciding if the latest GoPro is right for you? Check out this awesome comparison guide, here.

GoPro Accessories

GoPro Accessories Photography Gear
GoPro Accessories

Just owning a GoPro is not enough to get great images and videos. The magic of these cameras is in the plethora of accessories that are available!

From handheld sticks, to head straps and mouth mounts — there is an accessory for every adventure.

Granted it’s not possible to own or carry them all, but there are a few that I find very useful and use on every trip.

  • Dual Battery Charger + Spare Battery
  • 3-Way (includes selfie stick with adjustable arm length, tripod, and tripod mount)
  • Curved + Flat Adhesive Mounts (there are several that come with any GoPro)

My Camera Accessories

Jens Peak Design Tripod Being Used To Take A Sunrise Photo
I Use My Peak Design Tripod For Sunrise Photos!

Camera Lens Filters

Lens filters help you achieve certain photography effects that aren’t possible with software. Simply put, they act as sunglasses for your camera.

I carry a Hoya Pro-1 Polarizing Filter to help reduce glare and reflections on water or glass. It’s also great for darkening the blues and clouds in the sky.

Spare Batteries

One of my biggest fears is running out of battery power during an unforgettable moment! Luckily, the battery for my Nikon Z7 II lasts for a long time, if it’s set to airplane mode. But nothing is ever guaranteed, so I always carry 2 extra batteries.

I own 2 batteries for my Nikon Z7 II and 2 batteries for my GoPro

Tripod

Since I focus on landscape photography, a solid, lightweight tripod is a key piece of camera equipment. And, after a lot of research, I decided to get the Peak Design Travel Tripod. While there are cheaper tripods available, they are either too heavy, not sturdy, or both.

The Peak Design Travel Tripod is ideal for travel and landscape photographers alike.

Peak Design Capture Clip

This is a lifesaver! The Peak Design Capture Clip allows you to “clip” your camera onto your belt or on the shoulder straps of a backpack, for easy access. It keeps your hands free and eliminates the need to use a camera strap, which can strain your neck and shoulders.

It is a great tool for day hiking, walking around cities, and anywhere I know I’ll want quick access to my camera.

I also have the Peak Design Pro Pad. This makes carrying photography equipment on my hips more comfortable.

Memory Cards and External Hard Drives

I shoot in RAW with a 47 MP camera, which generates large camera files. That means I need fast memory cards. I found SanDisk Extreme Pro to be the most effective and reliable. I use 128 GB for both my Nikon Z7 II and my GoPro. This way I am sure to have enough space for all my pictures during a trip.

For external hard drives, anything over 500 GB is ideal. It’s better to have one large hard drive than lots of hard drives with limited space.

I use SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable External SSD drives. They are durable, lightweight, and fast.

Micro Fiber Lens Cloth

There’s nothing worse than a dirty camera lens. So, to keep my lens clean, I pack no less than 2 microfiber lens clothes on every trip.

Useful Tip: Don’t just use any piece of fabric to clean your lens. Make sure it’s a microfiber cloth designed for cleaning lenses. You don’t want to accidentally scratch your lens.

Air Blower

The problem with changing your lens is that dust can fall on the sensor if you are not careful. Dust on your sensor leaves “dust spots” on your photos or worse your video. A few quick bursts of air with a camera air blower on your sensor can help remove the dust. I use Rollei Tornado Camera Air Blower.

Since my camera is dust resistant I’ve never had any major issues. But, as always when traveling, unexpected things can happen. As an example, when I was visiting the Wadi Rum in Jordan, a sandstorm engulfed my car, and dust got all over my sensor. I didn’t have my air blower and regretted it when I had to process my photos.

Before attempting to clean your camera, please use this how to clean your sensor and keep your camera gear clean guide. If you damage your sensor it will be very expensive to fix, so please double-check before attempting any type of cleaning.

My Camera Backpacks

Jen Wearing Her LowePro 450 Camera Bag
My LowePro 450 Camera Bag

Wandrd Prvke 21L

The Wandrd Prvke 21L is my go-to backpack. I take it everywhere. Not only that but it can also be used as a carry-on. It’s comfortable, lightweight, durable, waterproof, all the characteristics of a good backpack. To give you an idea, I stood in a torrential downpour while I was hiking to Mount Pisgah. I had both my laptop and camera inside my bag, and everything remained completely dry! To say this bag is impressive is an understatement.

LowePro Whistler 450

If I need extra space, I turn to my LowePro Whistler 450. This bag holds everything I need it to, sits comfortably on my back, and has the perfect amount of weatherproofing. It comes with a rain cover, but you really don’t need it because the bag itself is so water-resistant.

There’s a dedicated laptop pocket, room for a jacket, snacks, and a water bottle. Plus, it opens from the back, which provides both easy access and extra security for my photography gear.

Beginner Travel Photography Kit

Sony RX100 VII – This is a compact point-and-shoot camera that’s capable of shooting in RAW. It’s the perfect camera to get started.

PEDCO Ultrapod 3– A lightweight yet inexpensive tripod. It’s great for traveling and will help you get in the habit of using a tripod.

Intermediate Travel Photography Kit

Nikon Z6 II – An excellent full-frame camera that will take your photography to the next level. It’s also great for shooting videos.

Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4S – This lens has the perfect range for travel and landscape photography. Not only that but it’s weather sealed. It’s also less expensive than its f/2.8 counterpart and produces beautiful photos. If you’re looking to up your game, this lens combined with the Nikon Z6 II is a good place to start.

Peak Design Travel Tripod (Aluminium) – Peak Design has two travel tripods, one made out of aluminum and one made out of carbon fiber. If you’re looking for a great travel tripod and don’t want to pay a fortune, check out the aluminum version. It’s only slightly heavier than the carbon fiber version and still offers some great features.

How To Save Money When Buying Camera Gear

Purchasing travel photography equipment can be an investment. But there are a few tips and tricks that I have learned over the years that have helped me save a lot of money.

Much of the equipment I have is used. There are several sites that sell high-quality used camera equipment at a reasonable price.

I used MPB to buy my camera body, lenses, GoPro, and LowePro backpack. It’s great if you are new to photography and don’t want to invest a ton of money yet or you want to upgrade your gear. Check out my complete guide on how to buy and sell used camera gear with MPB.

Other websites that are great for buying/trading used camera equipment are B&H, Adorama, KEH, and Crutchfield.

In the beginning, I traveled with a point-and-shoot camera and over time I upgraded my gear. I could not have purchased everything at once or even in the same year. In general, I stay current with trends and watch prices to make sure I can always get the best deal. Take your time to find what will work with your needs and style of photography.

Useful Tip: When companies like Nikon and Canon come out with new cameras or lenses, photographers sell their old gear on the sites I mentioned above. Keep this in mind if you plan on using my strategy.

How To Improve Your Travel Photography

While I have and continue to build an extensive amount of photography equipment. Remember, buying a bunch of expensive gear won’t improve your photography skills.

The best way to improve your travel photography is to practice as much as possible and learn new skills. In the next section, I put together some travel photography resources to help you get started.

Travel Photography Resources

Travel Photography Tutorials

Photography Life – Best free online tutorial.

Landscape Photography in Depth by Daniel Kordon – This is the most comprehensive professional post-processing tutorial I have done.

Post-Processing Software

Adobe Creative Cloud – The best editing software (Photoshop & Lightroom) used by most travel photographers.

Raya Pro – The best plugin for Photoshop. A powerful luminosity mask software that simplifies your workflow.

The Nik Collection – A series of plugins for polishing your final images.


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Travel Photography Gear Guide

Check Out My Recent Travel Photos

Hope you enjoyed my post about my travel photography gear and found it useful. Here are some of my recent posts that highlight my travel photography.


Have questions about travel photography equipment or travel photography, in general? Send me a message in the comments below!

Interested in more travel photography tips? Check out my other posts for more travel photography tips.


2 Comments

  1. I am currently looking for a new camera backpack that can double as my carryon for travel. I am picky with my need for pockets on the exterior. Great post.

    • Cool! 🙂 I, actually, just tried an excellent carry-on camera backpack. It’s called the wandrd prvke 21L. I haven’t added it here on the blog yet because I wanted to test it out in a few scenarios (hiking, walking around the city, travel, carrying it in the airport). It’s very comfortable, waterproof, and perfect as a carry-on (it fit fine underneath the seat). There’s also the peak design backpack, which I have not tried, but I’ve heard good things about it. I choose the wandrd prvke 21L over the peak design because it looked a little more secure and there was access to the main compartment from the back. Hope that helps if you need me to give more details on anything just let me know. Always happy to help. 🙂

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