Hunting for the best travel camera gear for your next adventure? From action cameras to drones and editing – here’s what’s in my kit bag for photos & video
Trying to figure out the best travel camera for your next adventure? Or looking to piece together an epic travel camera kit bag to capture all the fun?
After 10 years on the road, using and testing numerous cameras, gadgets and accessories this is what travel camera gear has made the cut for my personal kit bag…
The Best Travel Camera Gear – What’s In My Kit Bag? (2020 Update)
What makes the best travel camera gear?
So what makes the best travel camera gear? Well picking the best setup for you will come down to 4 key things – size, weight, price and your personal adventures/subject matters/
Unless you’re only heading off on short trips and can afford to lug around other items, size is going to be a huge deciding factor. Sure things like a full Digital SLR setup will capture epic footage, but they’re also pretty bulky and will limit the other gear you can squeeze in! In fact this has been one of the biggest factors in streamline my kit bag.
It does come with some compromises, but compact gear usually means your more inclined to actually take it with you and use it!
Along with size is weight! If you’re travelling around a heap you wont want a huge and more importantly heavy kit bag.
It’ll make everything a huge pain in the ass and you’ll find you leave gear behind simply because its too heavy to lug up to the top of that mountain or take on that day trip – meaning you miss the shots!
Travelling is expensive, so you don’t want your gear to eat into your travel funds too much! Now good gear is going to be an investment and creating a well rounded travel kit isn’t going to be a cheap investment – but your personal budget is going to be a large factor in what you end up buying.
Finally you need to be thinking about what you’re going to be doing and therefore capturing. You can have the best travel camera money can buy, but if it not waterproof then you sure as hell aren’t going to take it into the ocean to shoot surf photos or take it diving are you?
Balance all the above with what you’re doing along the way – you’ll find you might need a few pieces of gear to get the job done, but it’ll mean no adventure goes undocumented!
Nomatic Camera Bag
Now when it comes to carrying your travel camera gear around a solid bag is a must. Personally I’m now using the 30L Nomatic Backpack.
Now this isn’t primarily designed as a camera bag (although they’ve now launched an epic collaboration pack with Peter McKinnon which is a great one to look into) and because of this the bag itself doesn’t look like a camera bag.
Now not only does this make it less attractive to thieves, but it also draws less attention to itself in airports too – so you’re more likely to get away with it as a carry on bag without getting weighed! In fact fully packed my bag comes in at around 12kg, WAY above the 7kg carry on limit…so not getting clocked at check in has saved me heaps!
The bag itself is built really well and most importantly there are plenty of pockets to store lenses, chargers etc etc. I’ve also invested in the Nomatic packing cubes too, which instead of holding clothes are now divided up to hold all my accessories.
Sony A6300, 75-210mm lens and 16-55mm lens
Having ditched my Canon 7D a few years back due to the size and weight I’ve finally reinvested in a “proper camera” once again – in the form of the mirrorless Sony A6300.
The reasons were simple – I needed a camera which would shoot high frame rates (for surf and action photography), be compact and relatively light weight, shoot 4K video and that I could buy a decent zoom lens (min 200mm).
Oh and that I could get for under £1,000.
After a whole heap of research I ended up buying the Sony A6300, 16-55m kit lens and 75-210mm lens.
Total cost = £1,013
However Sony were also running a cash back offer and I got £250 back – so in the end I got the whole setup for £763!
Why didn’t I go for the newer models in the A6000 series? Well it was a combination of cost (the latest model is nearly double the price) and in terms of features they really didn’t add enough to justify the jump in the price.
Sure the Sony A6400 has the flip up screen (great for vlogging) but given the other kit in my bag for vlogging it wasn’t worth the price jump (RRP is currently £949), especially when you consider the fact that my whole setup still cost less than that camera body alone!
I’m stoked to have the A6300 in my kit bag and it’s now my go to for shooting in water pictures too (more on that in a bit). Oh and you can also charge it using a USB cable and a portable power pack too, which is an epic bonus!
My Sony Mirrorless Setup (Click for more info and to buy)
- Sony A6300 + kit lens
- Sony 75-210mm lens
- Polarising filter (zoom lens)
- UV filter (main lens)
- 2 spare batteries + charger
LiquidEye Surf Housing
I got back into surf photography last year by complete accident!
Having dabbled in the past with a full Digital SLR setup with SPL Housing (geez that cost me a heap!) I was chatting to a photographer in Sri Lanka and it turned out he was selling his second hand Liquid Eye Housing which was made for the Sony A6300!
They usually retail at around £700, but I picked mine up for just under £400 with a spare port.
I know for most people this piece of kit wont be of interest, but for those looking for the best travel camera gear this is certainly something I’d recommend if you’re looking to do any in water shooting with a mirrorless camera.
The surf housing itself is pretty lightweight too – weighing in at only 685g – which is pretty impressive when you look into alternative options.
My Surf Housing Setup (Click for more info and to buy)
- Liquideye Surf Housing
- Standard Port
- Pistol grip trigger
- Full control backplate
Mavic Air 2 Drone
When it comes to the best travel camera gear having a drone is a must these days. The epic aerial photos and videos really boost what you can create and add a whole new dimension to your travel filming and photography – especially if you’re looking to monetise or work with brands.
For me the ultimate travel drone is the DJI Mavic Air 2 – which I’ve been using since it launched. The compact size, paired with intelligent flights modes and impressive specs makes it ideal for life on the road.
I did have the Mavic Pro, but swapped over to the original Mavic Air as it was simply much more suited for travel and a condensed kit bag.
The Mavic Air 2 builds on this and adds in heaps of amazing features and upgrades – including 4K @ 60FPS (for those lovely slow mo clips), OcuSync 2.0 (for better signal strength) and nearly doubled the battery life to a 34 min flight time!
I also opted for the “Fly More Combo” too – which meant the Mavic Air 2 came with 3 batteries, charger and a nifty little carry case.
There are heaps of drone options out there but honestly I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Mavic Air – it’s a small package with a big punch and has allowed me to create some epic content all over the world.
GoPro Hero 8 Vlog Setup
My GoPro vlog setup is at the core of my kit bag and for me it’s arguable the single best travel camera I have with me.
I’ve travelled with GoPros for years now and they’ve just got better and better – but the real jump was with the Hero 7 and the Hero 8, which have super stabilised, HyperSmooth footage.
Ligthweight, compact, easy to use and super robust – I’ve put GoPros through their paces doing everything from surfing to skydiving and I’m always stoked with the epic footage they can capture!
To create the ultimate GoPro travel vlog setup I teamed it up with the Media Mod (which includes a shotgun mic, 2 cold shoe adapters and most importantly a 3.5mm jack for external mic), the Shorty Mount (which doubles up as a mini tripod) and rounded it off with the Rode Wireless Go and Rode Lavalier Go for my audio.
This full setup costs around £780 – but the Rode Wireless Go and Lavalier Go are a big chunk of that and you can make do with just the Media Mod or a cheaper shotgun mic.
As you might have guessed I now use it more for video work than still images – but it does have the capability to create some pretty awesome pics too.
The Setup I Use – (Click for more info and to buy)
Alongside my Hero 8 I also ended up buying the GoPro MAX as well – although I still have some mixed feelings about it.
At £479 it’s not a small investment but the 360 video does have some great creative uses, so I guess it comes down more to your budget and needs than anything else.
That being said the SuperView mode and forward facing camera are pretty good for vlogging (even if the inbuilt audio isn’t as crisp as I’d want it) and it has allowed me to add in some more unusual clips to my travel videos.
Again for travel photography the 360 options are really handy for creative angles and being able to capture some epic scenes – just be careful not to overdo it with the zoom out function and tiny planets!
Assorted GoPro Mounts & Accessories
One of the best things about shooting with a GoPro is the huge range of accessories available – both by GoPro and this party options – that open up a whole heap of creative shooting options.
I’ve already smashed together a full post on the best GoPro travel accessories but for me the main mounts I use are the Shorty (mini selfie stick and tripod combo), Floaty Mount (for snorkelling and in water shooting), SP Gadgets POV Pole (for diving and selfies) and also a Mouth Mount for some awesome first person angles, especially when surfing!
My Main Mounts (Click for more info and to buy)
When it comes to shooting travel videos I have to admit the Osmo Pocket is my go to for videography.
Why the Osmo Pocket as well as the GoPro? Well as much as I love shooting with the GoPro, I find the Osmo Pocket a lot easier to work with for anything outside of action videography.
The inbuilt gimbal of the Osmo Pocket makes for incredible footage and connecting it to your smartphone gives you heaps of control over all the modes and settings – allowing you to get the perfect shot.
It’s small, compact, super simply to use and also surprisingly affordable too – so it really does tick all the boxes!
For those looking at getting into vlogging it’s also. solid option as well – with forward facing LCD scree, gimbal smoothness and even facial tracking so you’re always the focus of your shot.
Personally I think the Osmo Pocket is massively under rated in terms of travel videography so go check it out.
iPhone 11 Pro
They say the best camera is the one you have with you – and I never go too far without my iPhone!
As well as being super useful for life on the road in general (I don’t know what I’d do without Google Maps!) the camera on the iPhone 11 is insanely good!
With 3 lenses to choose from – standard, zoom and wide angle – it’s really versatile and the fact you can shoot 4K video with it makes it ideal for B roll footage and also capturing those spontaneous travel photos too.
Bottom line is don’t underestimate your smartphone and how much it bring to the table as an essential part of your travel camera gear.
Macbook Pro, Lightroom, Photoshop + Final Cut Pro
When it comes to editing I’ve kept things pretty simple – MacBook Pro 15” with subscription to Adobes Creative Cloud (Lightroom and Photoshop option) with Final Cut Pro installed for video editing.
The MacBook Pro is a great work horse for editing both videos and photos, so that’s a no brainer.
Lightroom is my primary photo editing software, with Photoshop being used a few extra edits, exporting in different formats and creating things like YouTube thumbnails etc. It costs £9.98 per month but that gives you all the latest updates and is well worth it in my opinion.
Then on top of that I splashed out the £300 on Final Cut Pro for video editing. I had originally been using the free iMovie install that comes with every MacBook, but progressed to Final Cut as things got more serious.
My Laptop Setup (Click for more info and to buy)
Sandisk SSD – 1TB + 500GB
When it comes to underrated but essential things on this best travel camera gear list external storage is the unsung hero!
If you’re out there creating amazing photos and videos you’ll quickly max out the capacity of your laptop and also you’ll want to be backing everything up too.
After a lot of deliberation I FINALLY made the move over to using SSD hard drives and I haven’t looked back.
Incase you didn’t know SSD stands for “solid state drive” and essentially it means that unlike traditional hard drives they have no moving parts.
Not only does this make them heaps more robust (a must for travelling remember), it also makes them REALLY small and really fast too.
Like insanely small! In fact I could probably fit 4 SSD drives into the same space as a single standard hard drive like the WD Passport!
These advantages do come at a price though and the 500GB option from Sandisk will set you back around £70
My SSD Drives (Click for more info and to buy)