Another of the regular questions I am asked is what goes in my camera bag and why so here goes.
Above you will see an image of one of my camera bags full of what I will be taking on my next safari. All of the contents are listed below.
1. 2 x Canon R5 camera bodies
- 400mm prime
- 50mm prime
3. Spare camera batteries
4. 1.4x and 2x extenders
5. Camera strap
6. Polarizing filter plus 2 x ND filters
7. Spare memory cards
8. One set of clothes will be added from the clothing detailed in the previous blog just in case my hold luggage doesn’t arrive.
If you are going on safari or another trip and you dont have as much gear as I do then I would consider the list below the bare minimum
1. Camera Body
2. Long lens (100-400mm is a good zoom lens for most trips or a 70-300mm on a crop sensor body)
3. A wide angle lens so this might be your camera kit lens of 18-55mm or something like a 24-105mm
Please bear in mind that if you are going on one trip and you need a long lens for that but wont use it for anything else then its worth looking at hiring a lens, either at your destination or before you leave. I often travel with Wild Eye SA and if you hire kit from them then it is presented to you when you arrive so you don’t have to worry about transporting it. If you want to hire in the UK I can highly recommend Lenses for Hire their website is at the link below.
If you want the next level up from minimum then add a second camera body as then you can have two bodies each with a lens attached and just pick up the one that you need for any given situation.
When I get to my destination then one of my camera bodies goes on the 400mm prime and the second body either has the 100-500mm or the 70-200mm depeding mainly on the lighting conditions at the time. I then swap in the wide angle if needed. The little nifty 50mm is in there as its an f1.8 so if there is anything in really low light then it goes on. It isn’t used very often but its tiny so it easy to have in the bag. The 1.4 x converter makes my 400mm f2.8 a 500mm f4 and the 2 x makes it an 800mm f5.6 which gives me all sorts of options. Yes I do end up faffing about putting them on and off and likely miss a few shots as a result but I find I like the images that I do get better!
Then I have a polarising filter and 2 neutral density filters that fit on my wide angle and the 70-200mm and the 100-500mm just in case I want to do something arty with shutter speed or am lucky enough to get a gorgeous sky again these aren’t used often but take up very little space and so they just lurk in the bag until needed.
I definitely recommend adding a spare set of clothes in your carry on luggage I have in the past had my hold luggage not turn up or missed a connecting flight due to a delay and been diverted to an airport hotel and if either of those happen having another set of clothes makes everything easier. Once it happens to you once you plan accordingly on future trips.
Other bits that will go in my bag.
Some sort of rain cover for my lenses so if I am going somewhere warm with the possible chance of a rain then I will have a couple of the Op Tech rain covers which are simply plastic bags shaped for cameras and lenses. I reuse them over and over and they are very small and easy to pack.
If I am going somewhere where its likely to be wet regularly then we move up a notch in the wet weather protection for my gear and go for the lens coat covers that you will also find at the link above. They take up more space but are much more resilient for regular use.
Lastly what bag does this all go in well that depends on the trip I have three that I use.
The first of these is an Think Tank Airport take off V2 and this is my favourite as it has wheels! Fully loaded my camera bag weighs in at roughly 14kg so when I can use this bag I do. It also has rucksack straps that appear from a pocket at the back so if I absolutely need to put it on my back I can. If I am going on any trip where I just need to get my gear to a location and I then don’t need a bag to move it around then this is the bag I take.
The second is a Think Tank Airport commuter and it was my go to bag for most trips until I got effectively the same bag on wheels above. It is brilliant for getting a huge amount of gear somewhere in a bag that doesn’t weigh much. However it is designed for that rather than comfort on your back.
The third bag is the F stop Ajna bag that took 18 months from ordering to it arriving. It is much more weather resistant than the other two and much more comfortable on my back but as the zip opening for the camera compartment isn’t right at the edge of the bag as it is in the other two its a pain getting stuff in and out of it. If I am on a trip where its likely to be wet and I have to move my gear around in a bag then this is the one I take for that.
One of these days I will find one bag that works for everything!