Camera gear for overseas travel

 

Welcome!

In this post I just want to highlight the camera gear for overseas travel that I use in 2023.

Now, this stuff won’t be cheap, some of it is budget and some of it is very high end so there’s a bit of a mixture. Budget does not mean poor quality though.

I will briefly describe the thinking behind each choice and offer alternative camera gear for overseas travel when I feel I know enough about it to share some information.

However, like a lot of people my camera gear for overseas travel will often be of a particular brand, because this way everything works together, therefore my recommendations won’t be extensively covering all options.

I don’t want to give recommendations to products I have not tried, except in some instances in which I know them to be good through countless reviews online.

So come see what I use as camera gear for overseas travel (like when doing the Ha Giang loop), with weight being a major consideration in pairing things together. Alternatively you can see the other things I travel with when I am travelling in Australia out of my car.

I did a similar post in 2019 which can be viewed here, you can compare the two lists to see how things have changed over the past 4 years.

At the bottom of this post I will explain why I don’t travel with some of the items that I used to.

 

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Things to consider about this camera gear for overseas travel

 

I want to clarify a few things here;

  1. This list is an example of someone travelling the world and living out of bags long term. If you are going on a dedicated holiday for one week to some location strictly to film, then obviously you can take a lot more gear! You could take faster and heavier lenses, prime lenses, bigger gimbals, bigger drones, the list goes on. This list isn’t really about that.
  2. In no way shape or form do you need any of this stuff. Although some items are budget there’s also a lot that is considered very premium.
  3. This gear is a mixture of stuff that works for me, it is just a guide so that you can see what might work together and what you might not have thought of yet.
  4. These items add up, when going through airports on budget airlines you will need to wear a lot of these items otherwise you will quickly go over the 7kg limit. I try to save weight where possible but even so all of this gear adds up to about 11kg (bag included).

With all of that said let’s get underway. This post will be detailed so feel free to skip to the section you like using the table of contents at the top of the page 🙂

Main camera gear for overseas travel

 

I will break this down into the main items and then further down the accessories. In here are the core items, the things you use to get the job done and the bags that you carry them in.

They tend to be expensive and bulky, most travel insurance won’t cover these items if they are lost as checked in baggage which means you’re better to carry them on the plane with you to avoid losing them.

Cameras

 

You can travel with one good camera and have your phone as a second camera.

I tend to travel with 1 full-frame mirrorless, 1 action camera and 1 drone.

The main camera that I have is ridiculously expensive and I’d never expect anyone else to bother travelling with it, but I had the money and wanted the flexibility it offers in video and photo applications.

Main Camera

Sony A1

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Pros

  • Brilliant all in one camera.
  • 50MP photos with incredible autofocus and burst speed.
  • 24MP photos in Super 35 mode.
  • 8K recordings up to 30fps.
  • 4k 120.
  • 4k 60 full frame or crop.
  • 10 bit recording as well as all-intra recording.
  • Dual SD / CFexpress type A slots.
  • S-log 3 with 15 stops dynamic range.
  • S-Cinetone.
  • Fast readout to minimise or eliminate rolling shutter.
  • Great button customisation.
  • 9.44 million dot viewfinder.

Cons

  • Very disappointing LCD display for the price point. Doesn’t do much of anything. Poor tilt design and low resolution.
  • Over-priced compared to arguably better camera offerings from Nikon that are now available.
  • Sony failed to make this a good long term proposition by neglecting to give it firmware updates for features that have come out on lesser cameras (animal eye auto-focus in video, focus breathing compensation etc.)
  • No GPS for geo-tagging photos.

 

My thoughts: The cost is massive, I got it for 15% off which saved me about $2,000. The price has come down since then but I’d still recommend waiting for a discount.

Why I Chose It

The camera is worth it if you just want one camera that does it all, but is unrealistic for most people to be looking at this camera to travel with.

It is still relatively small in comparison to older DSLRs and cameras on offer from some other brands, making it ideal for walking around with it in the backpack. It weighs about 720 grams with the battery.

The ability to go into APS-C mode and still have 4K at 24, 25, 50 and 60 frames per second gives you so much more variety.

As well as the ability to have a 26MP photo in the same mode, it makes lenses almost dual focal length and means you can travel with less glass.

As far as hybrids go it is up there with the best, although the new offerings from Nikon are arguably better cameras.

My Recommendations To You - (Alternate Options)

For most people who want a Sony camera, the Sony a7 IV (Amazon) would be the best bet.

It’s less than half the cost, shoots 4K60 (with a crop) and has a new and improved design, the screen design from the a7S III and would even weigh a tiny bit less as well.

It shoots good photos with 33MP sensor size and APS-C crop mode will still get you about 12MP.

I also own this camera and travel around Australia with both this and the A1, but when I go overseas the A1 gets the spot in the bag.

There are plenty of offerings from Nikon and Canon to consider as well, with the Z8 being the best of the lot, albeit quite pricey. However I have no experience with these cameras personally.

If you want to save money then the a7 III (Amazon) can often be found on heavily discounted.

I used to travel with the Sony a7R III (Amazon) which has an incredible 42MP sensor and I personally preferred that over the a7 III because of its photo taking abilities.

Action Camera

GoPro Hero 10 Black

Pros

  • Improved processor over previous designs.
  • 5.3k footage.
  • 4k120 recording.
  • Front LCD screen for composing shots.
  • Awesome stabilisation and mounting options.
  • Waterproof up to 10 metres.

Cons

  • Randomly freezes after I have charged it and won’t respond, have to remove battery and put it back in.
  • When using the phone app you can see what the GoPro sees, but the screen goes black as soon as you record. That’s the main time you want to see the feed on your phone!!
  • Battery life could be better.

Why I Chose It

I bought this because it came with the new processor, I upgraded from the Hero 7.

I haven’t seen the need to upgrade since, GoPro releases yearly but the releases are always underwhelming, it usually takes 3 or 4 years before it’s worth upgrading again.

I went with GoPro because I have used them for years and have had good results with their products and mounting system.

My Recommendations To You - (Alternate Options)

The GoPro Hero 10 is a good choice as you will find it cheaper than the latest offerings and there haven’t been that many worthwhile upgrades.

At the time of writing though the DJI Osmo Action 4 (Amazon) has been released. However don’t fall for the marketing of the larger sensor size, this is still an action camera and the benefits won’t be big in high action bright day scenarios.

It is however a very good option. Some say better than the GoPro but it seems to be a 50/50 split on this.

There is also the GoPro Hero 11 Black (Amazon), which should drop in price soon as the Hero 12 is not far from being released.

Lenses

 

For lenses when travelling overseas I take 2 zoom lenses that cover a wide range of focal lengths, but I avoid massive bits of glass for weight reasons but also the cost and difficulty insuring expensive items.

You can take primes if you prefer, they’re much lighter and physically smaller but obviously the draw back is the fixed focal length. I travel with primes in Australia out of the car but just use zooms as my camera gear for overseas travel.

These lenses are considered more budget lenses, but I like the Tamron lenses, good quality at a good price. If you go for Sony lenses, which I have a few of, you will pay a premium for them.

Wide Angle Zoom

Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8

Pros

  • Affordable.
  • Lightweight.
  • Compact in your bag.
  • f/2.8 aperture for better light and background blur.
  • Barely any change to weight throughout zoom range, good for gimbals.

Cons

  • Does not go to 16mm width.
  • Does not go to 35mm width.
  • Zoom and focus controls are the opposite to the Sony lenses which can be confusing when swapping lenses.
  • Ready for a refresh, with a G2 lens needed to improve it.
  • No optical image stabilisation in the lens.

Why I Chose It

Cost is a big one but the weight was too hard to pass up.

I previously had the Sony 16-35mm f/4 zeiss lens (Amazon), the original f4. However I found myself never really going past 24mm for photos and rarely for videos as well, although it was handy because 35mm at Super 35 is about a 50mm equivalent.

By changing to the Tamron lens I saved 100 grams in weight, gained access to f/2.8 and physically saved space in the bag as well (slightly).

I purchased the lens second hand as well, saving $300.

My Recommendations To You - (Alternate Options)

In a perfect world I would have the Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM II, but it does weight a bit more and the cost is more than 3 times as much.

One day that is the lens I will get.

 

For those who want a cheap f/2.8

For most people, if you don’t want the Tamron but want a cheap zoom with f/2.8 the other option is the Sigma 16-28mm f/2.8 FE (Amazon).

By all accounts an incredible lens, see it in this comparison video here by Dustin Abbott.

 

For those who want the lightest setup

The Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 PZ (Amazon) is the successor to the lens I used to travel with and weighs an incredible 353 grams!

It has full internal zoom and is great for packing on long hikes due to the light weight design.

 

For those who want a GM lens

The original Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM (Amazon) will now be cheaper due to the GM II being released, I have seen it discounted up to $1,000 in some stores and there will likely be some appearing on the open market as people look to upgrade.

Not my choice for putting in a backpack due to the weight but an incredible lens optically and if you only travel with the one lens, then the weight won’t matter so much.

 

Is there anything wider?

There are other zoom lenses available at the super wide end such as the following (links to Amazon).

However these lenses are quite heavy (the 2.8 lenses are about 800g each) and they also have a bulbous front element meaning they require different filters. They’re quite specialist and not the best for general purpose.

 

What about prime lenses?

Wide prime lenses are fantastic, I personally own the Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM lens (Amazon) but I don’t take it internationally. It’s a great lens but not quite wide enough.

This just opens up a whole new discussion point, with so many lenses to choose from that I won’t be covering them here.

Telephoto Zoom

Tamron 28-200 f/2.8-5.6

Pros

  • Good focal range that covers a wide base.
  • f/2.8 at the wide end.
  • Great price for performance.
  • Very light weight for a telephoto zoom.
  • Packs away very small for the focal range.

Cons

  • Focus and zoom rings opposite to Sony lenses.
  • Not a constant aperture.
  • No internal zoom.
  • No optical image stabilisation.

Why I Chose It

I have changed from the Sony 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G lens (Amazon) mostly for weight and size reasons.

The 70-300 was 854 grams, whereas the Tamron was only 575 grams. It is also shorter by about 30mm which means it takes up less room in my bag because I can store it vertically.

The other consideration is the cost, this thing is nice and cheap, so I need to worry about it less when travelling and it’s easier to insure.

My Recommendations To You - (Alternate Options)

The Tamron lens I have chosen here is in rare company as it goes quire wide at 28mm, the majority of the telephoto lenses will start around 70mm.

Sony’s competitor lens would be the Sony 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 which also comes in quite cheap but weighs ~200 grams more. However, it goes 4mm wider on one end and gets an extra 40mm reach at the telephoto lens.

I still recommend the Sony 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G OSS lens (Amazon) mentioned above because it is a great lens with OSS (stabilisation) and going to 300mm is cool to have in some scenarios.

There is also another 70-300mm from Tamron (Amazon) available that only weighs in at 544 grams and comes in very cheap, although it’s not as nice as the Sony offering.

If your prefer the 70-200mm range my recommendation would be the Sony 70-200 f/4 G OSS II (Amazon) over either of the GM lenses and also over the original f/4 due to the size reduction physically, the macro abilities and the slightly reduced weight.

However the original Sony 70-200 f/4 (Amazon) will be heavily discounted now.

The original Sony 70-200 f/2.8 GM weighs 1.4 kg and is no good for packing regularly, if you have money to spend on GM lenses then I would go for the Sony 70-200 f/2.8 GM II (Amazon).

But that is only for very extreme cases. Its weight is reduced to 1kg, but it’s still quite niche for general travel.

Drone

DJI Mini 4 Pro Flymore plus

Pros

  • 1/1.3″ sensor.
  • Only 249 grams (normal battery).
  • Can purchase plus sized batteries for longer flight time.
  • Latest tracking.
  • 10-bit recordings available.
  • Tiny physical size great for packing.
  • Forwards, sideways and backwards collision detection.

Cons

  • Easily affected by winds.
  • No waypoints.
  • No d-log profile (has D-log M).
  • Doesn’t work with the DJI RC Pro.

Why I Chose It

I owned the Mavic Pro, then the Mavic 2 Pro and I currently also own the Mavic 3 (Amazon) with the DJI RC Pro controller (Amazon).

All of which are great drones, the Mavic 3 is far superior, but it’s also 900 grams with the battery and about double the physical size.

The Mini 4 Pro is not the best drone available, it’s just easier to travel with, easier to pack into backpacks, easier to hike with due to the weight reduction and gets the job done most of the time.

When I am in Australia I never use it, the Mavic 3 offers so much better footage, way better controls and also has a variable aperture, but the Mini 4 Pro is way easier to pack for overseas travel.

My Recommendations To You - (Alternate Options)

I can only recommend DJI drones here as I have no experience with other drones. For most people I would recommend the Mini 3 Pro instead of the Mini 4 Pro.

If you do decide to go for the Mini 3 Pro then buy it with the Plus Flymore Kit (Amazon), it has bigger batteries for better flight time.

The changes from the 3 to 4 are not that major and you can pick up the 3 for a lot cheaper now that the 4 is out.

I did used to travel with the Mavic 2 Pro, which is the same weight as the Mavic 3 range, so it is entirely possible to do. It is just awkward going on planes with 7kg carry-0n and you have a jacket full of drone batteries, laptops, lenses etc.

The performance can’t be argued with though, the Mavic 3 Pro (Amazon) would therefore be my ultimate recommendation if you don’t care about the weight differences.

It has 3 cameras, variable aperture, massive battery life and is fully featured with waypoints

Otherwise the DJI Air 3 (Amazon) is slightly lighter and smaller at 720 grams, although I feel they’ve missed the mark here by not having a bigger weight discrepancy between the Air and Mavic lines.

However with 2x cameras and a more stable flight ability it is a great middle ground between the two options. It is also cheaper than the Mavic 3 Pro by a long way.

Tripod

3 Legged Thing Brian

Pros

  • 1.5 kg.
  • Extends to 180cm.
  • 41cm when folded up.
  • Detachable monopod.

Cons

  • Would prefer lever locks
  • Will blow in the wind a bit as it is a lighter weight tripod

Why I Chose It

I wanted good quality with a good working height but didn’t want to pay massive amounts of money either and I landed on this tripod.

It weighs in at 1.45kg which is decent given the extendable size is more than most people will ever use. This isn’t a necessity, some people could do without the weight and size constraints.

Only consider packing a tripod for the chance to to long exposure or bracketed exposure shooting, or maybe for a stand for filming yourself, ask yourself if it’s worth the weight and size.

Don’t buy something cheap but also don’t get the bees knees of tripods for taking around the world in case something happens to it!

This version that I have is the version 1, there is a new updated version but I personally prefer the simpler version 1 which is lighter weight and has less features that I don’t need added to it.

My Recommendations To You - (Alternate Options)

I can’t offer much of an opinion here as I have only used 3 legged thing tripods.

The reason is that I have not had any reason to switch, it has never let me down, has always been sturdy and they have a wide range of tripods for different uses.

For travel a lot of people like the Peak Design tripod, I love Peak Design in general but this tripod to me is too pricey. One day I might switch but not unless my current tripod breaks.

Gimbal

DJI RS3 Mini

Pros

  • Super light weight (measured at 980 grams for my setup).
  • Strong enough for Sony mirrorless cameras with f/2.8 GM zooms.
  • Wireless control of cameras, no need to run cables.
  • Great stabilisation algorithms of DJI.
  • Very good app and on screen controls.

Cons

  • Does not work with DJI image transmission module (Amazon).
  • Will not fold away in its balanced state.
  • Battery cannot be removed.

Why I Chose It

My first gimbal was the Zhiyun Weebill, then soon after the Weebill-S came out and I bought that.

That gimbal served me well for 3.5 years, but the Zhiyun app is a disgrace and they never fix it, on top of that I had the Zhiyun image transmission module (Amazon) which didn’t work with my new Sony cameras.

That’s part of the reason I wanted to change.

The other reason was to save weight.

My Zhiyun Weebill-S (Amazon) with mounting plates to accommodate the Peak Design Capture (Amazon) setup and with 2x quick releases attached weighed in at 1.40 kg.

The RS3 mini with the SmallRig 4195 plate (Amazon) to hold the Peak Design Capture weighs in at only 985 grams (including tripod).

My Recommendations To You - (Alternate Options)

I would have no hesitations in recommending the Zhiyun Weebill S (Amazon) gimbal as a cheaper option, it is what I used for 3.5 years and I did love its design if you add quick release plates. But it might be worth going for the more recent Zhiyun Weebill 3 or the Weebill 3S (Amazon links) if you like the Zhiyun gimbals.

They both come in at roughly 1.1 kg which is manageable and the Weebill 3 also has incredible battery life, rated at ~21 hours! For the Weebill 3S this is 11 hours.

I dislike all the gimmicks like microphone ports and LEDs but some people might enjoy that.

However just beware the app, it is poor in comparison to DJI in my opinion, but has massively improved from the days when I was using the Weebill Lab.

I also could not get the image transmission to work with the Sony a7 IV or the Sony A1 cameras. I am not sure if they intend to solve this issue as they haven’t responded to emails.

 

For those wanting  the ultimate in lightweight

If you want to have the smallest possible gimbal for travel that can still hold a full-frame mirrorless camera then check out the Zhiyun Crane-M 3S which is about 700 grams!

This lens can take a Sony full-frame mirrorless with most prime lenses (no 135mm f/1.4s, be realistic) and most smaller zoom lenses. It can hold larger lenses but may not have the clearance or be able to balance properly depending on the size and weight distribution.

It is an incredibly lightweight and compotent gimbal though and for travel would be quite hard to beat.

 

What about the DJI Rs3?

I own the DJI RS3 and use this gimbal when traelling Australia in the 4WD because weight is not an option, however this does weigh 1.4 kg when all setup so I’d recommend saving the weight if travelling long term and going with one of the other offerings above.

This is the gimbal I use with the DJI image transmission modules (Amazon), because the RS3 mini does not work with image transmission.

It does have a removable battery so it can pack up small and it is incredibly strong, at the end of the day the choice is yours but travelling with a 700 or 900 gram gimbal compared to a 1.4 kg gimbal does make a world of difference.

Laptop

14″ Macbook Pro, M2 Max, 64GB RAM, 4TB SSD

Pros

  • Incredible battery life.
  • Lightning fast performance.
  • About 500 grams lighter than the 16 inch. 
  • Great speakers for a 14″ laptop.
  • Edit with Final Cut Pro.
  • Very good screen.
  • Personally I like MacOs.
  • Super fast SSD.
  • Portability is a major plus.

Cons

  • The 16 inch has a bigger screen.
  • 16 inch has better battery life due to the increased battery size.
  • 16 inch has better cooling, bigger fans and more space to move air.
  • 16 inch in extreme workloads is faster due to the above.
  • Expensive.

Why I Chose It

I used to own a 15 inch Macbook pro (2018 model) and I couldn’t wait to upgrade. That thing was a massive mistake by Apple.

They stuffed up the keyboard, they tried to make it “look nice” at the cost of performance and practicality and it was just slow.

Now with the M2 Max I can edit videos in native resolution (no need for proxy media), I can apply LUTs and colour corrections on the spot to assess footage as I edit, I can add Titles without playback suffering and the export speeds are insane thanks to the encoder/decoder setup on the Max range of chips.

This thing does everything with such speed all the while using far less battery than other laptops.

It is the single biggest change I have ever made performance wise.

My Recommendations To You - (Alternate Options)

I can’t really talk about other laptops here as I don’t have experience with them hands on, however the Dell XPS range seems to be the most popular competitor to the Macbook Pro range.

If you’re buying the Macbook Pros then I would recommend people consider the 14 inch for overseas travel. The 14 inch weighs 500 grams less which is a very noticeable difference and has the same performance for 95% of user tasks.

You will get worse speakers, less battery life and a smaller screen to edit on but the weight savings to me would be worth it for long term travel out of a backpack.

I used to own the M1 Max 10c CPU, 32c GPU with 64GB RAM and 2TB SSD (Amazon link) and I miss it to be honest, so I can definitely recommend that laptop as well. I loved the big screen, the speakers and the battery size being as big as possible.

But you will need to decide whether you want to carry around the extra weight and larger sized device or not. For me right now I am happy, but one day I might pick up a 16″ again when I am catching less flights.

Headphones

Sony WH1000 XM3

Pros

  • Great noise cancelling.
  • Swipe gestures to change song, pause, change volume or mute ANC to talk.
  • Extremely good battery life.
  • Comes with the adapter for aeroplanes.
  • Customisability for music as well as ANC levels.

Cons

  • There are newer models out now.

Why I Chose It

Almost universally regarded as the best noise cancelling over ear headphones on the market and that’s my experience as well.

I came from Bose headphones which were the most comfortable but the Sony has more customisability, longer battery life and is plenty comfortable for long haul flights. It comes with the splitter required for use on airplanes, has the cord if you want to save the bluetooth and is a nice compact design when packed away.

If you’re ever editing video and want to be sure the sound mix is right but are in a hostel or on a plane then headphones are essential and these are the best I’ve tried but you also can’t go wrong with Bose who I’ve also used frequently.

My Recommendations To You - (Alternate Options)

There are newer models released since I purchased these but I don’t see the point in upgrading things until I need to.

These still give me great comfort, noise cancelling and battery life after 4 years.

The latest from Sony is now the Sony WH-1000XM5 (Amazon) for those who are interested.

Bags / Cases / Accessory Pouches

 

I feel like a large part of the fun of this all is figuring out what you can fit in the bag, how to organise everything in a way that makes it easy for overseas travel, doesn’t get too heavy and is easy to find when you need it.

I have tried a lot of bags and cases, it’s an ever evolving part of carrying around camera gear for overseas travel but at the moment I think the following is as good as I’ve ever had it.

Main Camera Bag

Shimoda Explore v2 35L

Pros

  • Almost waterproof.
  • Large rear access to gear.
  • 2kg when empty.
  • Routing for water bladder.
  • Best harness of any camera bag.
  • Beautiful zippers, big, beefy, smooth and weather sealed.
  • Side pocket mesh for tripods or large waterbottles that is easy to clean and stow away on both sides.
  • Tough as nails.
  • Straps on the outside for camping gear.
  • Filter pockets, hidden passport pockets.
  • Fits a 16 inch laptop in two different spots.
  • Adjustable torso height fit.
  • Lockable zips.

Cons

  • Personally I don’t use or want side access and it adds an entry point for thieves.
  • I’d like it if the front zippers went a little bit lower.
  • Not really anywhere comfortable to mount the Peak Design Capture clip.

Why I Chose It

I had the original Explore bag, then I upgraded to the Shimoda Action X50 (Amazon) which I still have, but it is too big for most airlines carry on limits.

The Explore v2 was tailored more to travelling and landscape photography than the Action series, which is tailored to mountain exploration more than anything.

The Explore v2 has a heap of features making it better for airplane travel, check out this video here for a better run down.

My Recommendations To You - (Alternate Options)

I can’t recommend the Shimoda range of bags enough, I have yet to have an issue with them.

There are two ranges now, both in their respective “version 2”, the Explore and the Action.

For most people Explore is a good way to go, the Action series does have roll-top access which was brilliant for stuffing in shoes, jackets or whatever on bus rides where the size of the bag didn’t matter.

I currently have the Shimoda Explore v2 35, but may change to the Shimoda Action v2 x40 when this one runs its course.

I also have the Peak Design Travel 45L Backpack (Amazon) and love it!

However, it’s a different target audience, not the best for hiking, more for travelling around in a car perhaps, or going from hotel to hotel. It has more features than I have seen in any bag but is heavier and not as comfortable as the Shimoda by quite a way.

There are so many bags out there now it’s impossible to cover them all, because there will never be a perfect bag, everyone’s desires are so minutely different that the smallest changes can have a big impact on a pack’s enjoyability to each person.

Tech Pouch

Peak Design Tech Pouch

Pros

  • Solves all your problems.
  • Holds a bunch of cables without them ever getting tangled.
  • Holds a whole lot of spare batteries.
  • Holds a massive 27,000 mAh powerbank.
  • Holds SD and MicroSD cards if you don’t have a separate case.
  • Would keep your gear dry for a long time before water got in if something leaked in your bag.
  • Stands upright when open, showing you all the contents.
  • Honestly it’s just incredible and is Peak Design’s best product!

Cons

  • It is a little bulky, but it is so tough and protects your stuff so well that it is worth it.

Why I Chose It

Incredible. Incredible. Incredible.

I don’t like Peak Designs day bags much, or their tripod, but this is honestly the best organisational tech pouch I’ve ever come across!

I have had mine since I backed the project way back on Kickstarter and it’s in as good a condition as it’s ever been. It is tough, useful, cleverly designed and I love it.

It keeps me so organised knowing all of my charging cables, batteries, chargers, power banks and SD cards are all in one easy to find place that stands upright when opened revealing everything for easy access.

It will last you for life if you manage not to lose it. The zippers will outlast you.

My Recommendations To You - (Alternate Options)

Go see one in person and judge for yourself.

When this came out for Kickstarter there was nothing even close to it in quality and practicality, I have not checked the past 4 years if anyone has released anything to compete because I’ve not had the need to look elsewhere.

Accessory Case

Shimoda Designs Medium Accessory Case

Pros

  • See through window to see what’s inside.
  • Almost a waterproof design, close to it.
  • Has internal organisational zippers and compartments.
  • Has a large area for bulky accessories.

Cons

  • None, as far as accessory pouches go this does everything.

Why I Chose It

This just is a well built but simple accessory case that fits well with the Shimoda bags that I use.

This holds all of my GoPro accessories in the one place. The colour reminds me personally of water and the build quality is such that I would use the case around the water without any stress.

Therefore it made sense for me to pair this with my GoPro gear which is the camera that comes out for water sports.

#coolstorysteve

My Recommendations To You - (Alternate Options)

No recommendations here guys, this is up to you, any old case will get the job done for this purpose and it really comes down to what you want it to do.

Accessory cases are a dime a dozen so just grab whatever works for you.

Filter Case

Mindshift Gear Nest

Pros

  • Holds 8 circular filters.
  • Has a slim profile for travel.
  • Very good quality build.
  • Offers good protection for your filters.

Cons

  • I don’t have 8 filters so there’s a bit of dead space.

Why I Chose It

It’s just a brilliant bit of kit from a trusted manufacturer.

A lot of filter cases are so thick but this one is nice and compact!

I get it, because filters need protecting, but this filter case actually has two different layers of protection, I just take out the middle section which is a nice 8-way filter case that doesn’t take up too much room in my bag.

I don’t even use the outer case.

My Recommendations To You - (Alternate Options)

It depends on how many filters you have, this will hold 8 filters and I doubt most people are travelling with more than that.

Then it depends on what sort of protection level you require, this for me is more than enough but you be the judge for your own filter set.

Camera Bag Core Unit

Shimoda Medium Core Unit

Pros

  • Sturdy.
  • Slim.
  • Lightweight.
  • Comes with a cover/bag for storage, or for using the core unit as check in.

Cons

  • The dividers aren’t as creative as Peak Designs.
  • Not a fan of side access personally but most core units have this now days.

Why I Chose It

This core unit is nice and sturdy without being too bulky, it has its own cover that you can zip up over it for storage and the dividers are solid and lightweight.

I do have a mixture of the Shimoda dividers and the Peak Design dividers that fold into shelves, because those Peak Design dividers are super helpful for customsing the setup inside the bag.

My Recommendations To You - (Alternate Options)

This depends on your bag really as all the brands have their own stuff.

If you plan on using a hiking backpack and throwing a camera core unit inside that, then check out the Peak Design Camera Cube as an alternative to the Shimoda ones.

Peak Design also have the best dividers with their foldable shelving system that I think exist right now. The downside is it is heavier than the Shimoda core unit, but it has a zippered lid so it will be protected from all angles.

I use the Shimode one because I use their bags and the PD one is too wide, but I still use PD dividers.

Camera Bag Liner

Sea To Summit 35L Dry Bag

Pros

  • Almost waterproof.
  • Gives you peace of mind if your gear is exposed to heavy rain for extended periods, it won’t penetrate the bag and then the dry sack inside.

Cons

  • Can be annoying if you need to access your camera gear.

Why I Chose It

This is only necessary if you think your bag will be exposed to extreme rain or that it might fall into the water (eg: bag is tied to kayak for some reason).

A camera bag that is wax treated such as the Shimoda bag will generally be fine in all conditions, especially with the rain cover on top, but it is not submersible.

If you plan on doing water sports and taking expensive gear, it might be worth having the gear inside the bag also inside a dry bag such as this.

My Recommendations To You - (Alternate Options)

Not necessary for everyone but handy in Southeast Asia or Central America where it is tropical and can rain bullets.

It would only be necessary for extended journeys where your bag is exposed to the weather more than you would be comfortable with.

Memory Card Case

Pelican 0915 SD Case

Pros

  • Protect your memory cards from extreme impact.
  • Weather resistant.
  • Holds MicroSD as well.
  • Good price.
  • Holds all your cards in one place to make finding them easier.

Cons

  • Tiniest amount bulkier than a wallet type holder.

Why I Chose It

I tried to convince myself that this was an unnecessary item until I finally bought one. After having tried sorting my cards in a different manner before I can happily admit I was wrong.

Not only is it tough but it speeds up my work flow a great deal. Don’t lose it though or all your memory will be gone.

It holds 12 SD and 6 microSD cards, it is a hard shell design for impact protection and has a secure closing mechanism that allows weather resistance.

My Recommendations To You - (Alternate Options)

I recommend this Pelican case. There are a lot of copy cat designs out there now which might also be good quality but I haven’t tested them, Pelican is a known brand.

An SD card wallet might be less bulky but it would not offer the same weather or impact protection and sometimes don’t offer microSD card slots.

Then there’s things on Amazon that look very similar to the Pelican 0915 case, so if you want to try them you can go down that path.

I really like the look of SmallRig’s memory card holder, although there appears to be two different designs only one shows up on their website.

There is the 2832 model (Amazon), nice and slim but it only holds 3 SD cards and 2 microSD cards. 

Then there is on some Amazon sites what appears to be a 2832B model (Amazon) that holds 3x SD cards and 6x microSD cards.

Audio Gear

 

This bit might not apply to you, if you are just going around taking photos or making videos to add a soundtrack to later then you won’t need to think about this as much.

If you want to do pieces to camera then it is worth considering some wireless transmitters or at the very least a good shotgun mic. With a good shotgun mic as a minimum you can pick up ambient sounds during the recordings as well as vocals.

 

Wireless Transmitters & Recorders

Rode Wireless Go II

Pros

  • Small.
  • Internal backup recording.
  • Good battery life.
  • Redundancy recording.
  • Good quality audio.
  • Never have to sync audio with camera again.
  • Lightweight to travel with.

Cons

  • DJI has a later released product with improvements.
  • Having to use Rode app to make changes to transmitter settings etc.

Why I Chose It

At the time this was the best thing available, I think the DJI mic (Amazon) is a better system these days but it came out over a year later and improved upon Rode’s design.

Super lightweight, battery will last a day if you remember to switch off when not in use, no longer needing to sync audio and the backup recording is always there if your audio drops out.

Brilliant design at the time, in need of an update now.

 

UPDATE

I have since found out that the Rode Wireless Go II did receive an update, it just wasn’t showing up due to Rode Central being faulty.

You can now drag WAV files directly off the Rode Wireless Go II making this a brilliant buy still, the fact that Rode keep updating this so late in its life cycle is a credit to them.

My Recommendations To You - (Alternate Options)

Go for the DJI Mic system (Amazon) if you want a charging case and some better design choices.

See this comparison for a better idea, but just note that the Rode is still a good option if you want to save some money as the DJI system will cost ~$150 more.

These things should last you 5 years no matter which one you choose to use.

 

UPDATE

Rode now sell a charging case (eBay) for the Wireless Go II as well as releasing firmware updates which allow you to directly pull .WAV files onto the computer.

This makes this very close again and you’ll have to view them both in store of base the decision off price to make it easier. The fact that Rode keep releasing these updates makes the system very valuable.

Shotgun Mic

Sony ECM-B1M

Pros

  • Fully digital design.
  • No cables.
  • No battery or charging needed.
  • Lightweight and compact.
  • Change the direction of the pick-up on the fly.
  • Clean audio.
  • Can choose automatic levels for changing environment.

Cons

  • Has to be used in hot shoe mount of the camera, can’t be used with laptop for example.
  • Specific to a select few Sony cameras.

Why I Chose It

When I upgraded my cameras to the Sony A1 and the Sony a7 IV it made sense to improve the form factor of the microphones for overseas travel.

This thing is fully featured but a lot smaller than some of the other shotgun microphones I have, plus I didn’t need to remember to charge it or anything like that.

My Recommendations To You - (Alternate Options)

Another shotgun microphone that I own and use frequently is the Rode Videomic NTG (Amazon).

This is an amazing shotgun mic that charges via usb, is automatically powered on and off as you connect and disconnect from the camera, can feed audio direct to your laptop via USB and has all the gain control, lo-cut filters and safety channel features that Rode are so good at providing.

It is also a very light weight option, although physically bigger than the Sony ECM-B1M it works with any camera setup offering more flexibility.

Lavalier Mic

Rode Lavalier Go

Pros

  • Tiny form factor.
  • Cheap to buy.
  • Looks neater than having the DJI mic or Wireless Go II clipped to your shirt.
  • Good audio.

Cons

  • Cord is quite weak, if it gets caught on something it might snap.

Why I Chose It

It takes up bugger all space, looks neater on your shirt than wearing the wireless transmitter on your shirt and provides nice audio.

Worst case scenario if this breaks you can always just record straight into the wireless transmitter until you find a replacement.

My Recommendations To You - (Alternate Options)

There are so many lavalier microphones out there, stick with a reputable brand and you can’t go wrong.

Camera Gear For Overseas Travel – The Accessories

 

Once you have the main items and the different cases and bags then here are some smaller things worth checking out.

Chances are you’ll need some filters for those lenses, whether that’s variable ND for video or just normal ND for long exposure, it’s worth having something on hand.

You’ll definitely need either SD or microSD cards depending on your camera selection. If you have limited laptop SSD storage then consider getting some portable SSDs to give you more flexibility for a lower cost.

Powerbank

Cygnett Chargeup Pro 25K

Pros

  • Can charge on flights, in airports, at restaurants or wherever when you’re travelling.
  • 25,000 mah enough to do smaller laptops (1 charge).
  • Still has a USB-A port for backwards compatibility.
  • USB-C outputs.
  • Lighter weight then my previous power bank.

Cons

  • The larger capacity you go, the more weight you carry around all the time.
  • Most people will be fine with a 10-20k power bank to reduce cost and weight.
  • Could use an extra port.

Why I Chose It

I still sometimes use an Alster Plus 27,000mAh power bank but this Cygnett option is lighter weight and slighlty smaller physically.

The Alster Plus is 650 grams, has multiple outputs, ridiculous fast charge and isn’t too big considering its capacity but I have heard of the units failing and they are no longer in production.

So for me the Cygnett was a better choice, to save weight but also to get a newer item to travel with and keep the older bank at home where if it fails it doesn’t matter.

My Recommendations To You - (Alternate Options)

Generally speaking: Anker, Belkin and Cygnett are good.

The closest thing to the Alster Plus I have is the HyperJuice 265W power bank but this thing weighs 765 grams!

Amazing, but heavy for backpacking and the limited use you’ll get out of it.

There are heaps of options out there that appear to be country specific, just make sure if you get one that it has the required outputs to charge what you want.

Just because a power bank has 20,000 mah capacity does not mean that it can charge a laptop, it needs to be able to output enough power (generally speaking you want 60W output or higher).

The same would apply for drone batteries, it’s not all about capacity but also the output. Try find something with both USB-C and USB-A ports that can also charge up fast.

Remember that  you carry this weight around all the time, for most people a 10K power bank like this Belkin 10K with USB-C (Amazon) will be ideal as you’ll never be that far between hostels or hotels and it only weighs ~210 grams.

Colour Checker

Calibrite Colour Checker Passport Video (formerly x-rite)

Pros

  • Has an 18% grey card for setting white balance.
  • A row of the primary and secondary colours helps get colours perfet every time.
  • Small form factor.
  • High quality manufacturing.
  • Skin tone chips.
  • White, 40% IRE grey and black chips.

Cons

  • Cheap plastic build is pathetic for this price point.
  • Overpriced for the build quality, it really should be about $100.

Why I Chose It

This is small enough to fit in my pocket so I always have it. The main reason I have it is to either set the cameras white balance, or shoot the grey card to balance the colour in post.

There is also skin tone chips and the different colour chips for fine tuning any colour shifts in your footage.

When I am shooting on Sony cameras in S-log 3, DJI drones in some form of D-log and GoPro cameras in a flat profile it is easier to make them look close to matching with a tool like this.

My Recommendations To You - (Alternate Options)

Buy this as it’s small and compact if you think you need it, otherwise just shoot in profiles that don’t need correcting as often (although you’d still want to nail white balance).

I am unaware of the alternatives, but there are some cheap 3 cards sets you can buy that won’t break the bank, they won’t be as fully featured or accurate though.

Travel Universal Adaptor

Zendure Passport Pro

Pros

  • USB-C outlet.
  • Interchangeable for every single country (except Japan I think where you can buy adapters for it as needed).
  • Resettable fuse so you don’t need to worry about replacing it.
  • Charge everything at once from one wall socket.

Cons

  • Some might not want the earth pin.
  • 3x USB-A ports which is outdated.

Why I Chose It

I chose it because it is necessary for anyone travelling with multiple devices.

I chose this specific item because it has a resettable fuse, so if the fuse blows you don’t need to go and find another 10 amp fuse at the shop to get your devices charging again.

This is good for unreliable power supplies that may have a surge.

My Recommendations To You - (Alternate Options)

If you want to see the full range then check their website.

They have many more modern designs now with more USB-C ports, faster charging and PD outputs etc.

Alternatively you can pick up one of dozens of offerings on Amazon such as this one with great reviews from Lencent.

Just note that it has less power delivery and the fuse is not resettable. However with 2x USB-C and 3x USB-A it covers all bases for people.

Filters

 

I mostly shoot with a variable ND kit these days for video and I just use it when necessary for photos, which is not very often.

There are cheaper entry points to filters then those listed here, I have slowly been building up my filter collection over the past 4 years to make it as streamlined and easy to use as possible.

 

Circular Filters

Freewell Magnetic Variable ND

Pros

  • One system provides 20 different functions!
  • Quick swap filters.
  • Variable ND.
  • CPL.
  • Mist variable ND.
  • Backwards compatible with Freewell magnetic quick swap filters.
  • Hard stops on variable ND.
  • Minimal to no colour cast.
  • Cheapest option of its kind for amazing quality!
  • Full range of step-up rings available.
  • Every filter size is provided (unlike Peter Mckinnon/PolarPro filters).

Cons

  • Honestly can’t think of any, the price might be considered high for some but if you look at what else is on offer it’s really not and it will last a lifetime.

Why I Chose It

It is so convenient, once you get over the learning curve which is quite brief, the capabilities for travelling with this kit are almost endless.

See this video for an explanation on how they work.

Using this system, you can just buy the appropriate VND bases or step-up ring bases to suit your lenses and be done with it.

Add in some Freewell magnetic quick swap ND filters (if you want to avoid the polarisation of VND filters) and they just pop straight into these bases as well, it’s just easy and about time!

My Recommendations To You - (Alternate Options)

I wouldn’t recommend anything else personally.

Other Filters

Freewell Magnetic Quick Swap Filters

Pros

  • Works with the base rings from the Magnetic VND system.
  • Same great quality.
  • Also screws in the traditional way if required.

Cons

  • Cheaper filters available for those starting out.

Why I Chose It

I own and travel with the following magnetic quick swap filters to compliment the magnetic VND range (Amazon links):

The UV filter is only used if I think the lens might be in danger of getting damaged, for example filming a grinder shooting sparks, or someone cooking something, or on a windy day at the beach with sand blowing.

The other two filters are just for long exposure photography when the variable ND is no good due to the polarisation affect. I rarely use them but they take up such little space and I already have spare slots for them in the Mindshift Gear Nest that I travel with.

All sizes are available for any type of lens.

My Recommendations To You - (Alternate Options)

For me this works just fine, but I really like the work of Freewell lately and they will be my next purchase. 

 If you want to shoot at apertures below f/4 you will need a bit more than the 5.5 stops on offer with this lens.

Freewell Variable ND All Day 2-5 Stop + 6-9 Stop

This set is good value, they are very good quality and so much cheaper than the PolarPro Peter Mckinnon versions and will get you the same results.

The Freewell would be my choice over the PolarPro for value for money in a product that’s basically the same.

GoPro Scuba Diving Filters

Polarpro 3 Pack Dive Filters

 

For those who are unaware, when you start to dive down to depths, certain colours of the light spectrum disappear before others. If you go below 5-10 metres it is good to have a red filter for your camera to bring back the missing colours and add life to the videos or photos.

PolarPro are a very highly regarded brand who make great filters. Remember to tether them to your mount, so when you’re not using it it hangs there and is easily accessible. This way you can dive with no filter until you approach 7-10 metres depth then put it on.

I generally only travel with the red filter for tropical waters as that is all I dive in.

Don’t buy cheap here, these aren’t expensive but stick with PolarPro to get good quality footage.

Digital Storage

 

I like having a portable SSD of the same size as my laptops SSD so that I can do a full back up once a week or every other day (if the mood suits), this way if the laptop is stolen I hopefully don’t lose too much data or footage.

For this I use the MacOs Time Machine Feature.

With the SD card selection, this is heavily dependant on the type of camera you use and the bitrates that you record in so you will want to be well aware of that.

Luckily it’s easy to find SD cards in most places even when travelling so if you get it slightly wrong it’s an easy fix!

 

Portable SSD

Sandisk Extreme Portable 2TB

 

For those who travel, these are small, tough, cheaper than buying more SSD for your computer and have super fast transfer speeds.

I have linked to the older models here as they’re physically smaller and are plenty fast enough, but there are newer models available, I just don’t rate them as highly after receiving them and seeing the size difference.

You can edit straight off these if you use the included cable or an equivalent speed cable, no dramas editing photos or videos at any point and they are super durable.

Alternatively Samsung have the T7 range (Amazon) out now which also look great.

 

SD Card

ProGrade UHS-II V90 256GB

 

The SD cards by ProGrade are highly regarded and cheaper than the alternative from Sony for example for the same speed specs. I only own 2 of the V90 cards and the rest are all the ProGrade UHS-II V60 256GB cards (Amazon).

You will need to know what bitrates you plan on shooting at to determine what speed card you need. For me, I only need the V60 for 99% of what I do, but there are a select few things I need the V90 for when recording all-intra video (which I mostly don’t do anyway).

UHS-II cards are much more pleasant to work with when transferring media onto your laptop, so long as you have a UHS-II card reader, because it is so much faster and you spend far less time waiting for file uploads.

 

MicroSD Card

Sandisk Extreme 256GB MicroSD

 

You’ll notice these cards are only V30 in speed, this is because none of the cameras I have or know of that take microSD cards offer any bitrates that exceed the capabilities of V30 cards.

The Mavic 3 for example shoots at 140mb/s (which is 17.5 MB/s) which is well below a V30 card’s 30MB/s minimum write speed.

Remembering that a megabit is 1/8th of a megabyte, which is what cards are measured in.

Even the GoPros at 5.3k 60fps only peak at about 100mb/s, so most cameras using microSD will be fine with v30 cards.

If you want to upload quicker then it might be worth looking for some UHS-II microSD cards like the ProGrade UHS-II V60 microSD cards (Amazon) which I will slowly change to as the others die or get lost, hopefully a long time from now.

I do notice the difference in upload speeds.

Memory Card Reader

Satechi USB-C UHS II Memory Card Reade

 

I like this as a way to transfer from the microSD cards that I travel with, it is UHS-II speed which is also good.

I can upload from two SD cards at a time (one built into the laptop and the Satechi) as well as another microSD card, speeding up the process at the end of the day of transferring all footage.

The card reader itself is well made and physically no bigger than it needs to be. Nice and simple design. The microSD card is easy to get in and out as well.

Bonus tip: On the Satechi website you might be able to leave the item in the “cart” overnight, then receive an email from them offering 15% off the next day for items in your cart. This is what happened to me because I was pondering the decision so hadn’t ordered, then they gave me this and the below item for 15% off.

USB-C Hub

Satechi Multi Port Adapter USB-C

 

I have to admit I use this less and less now that the Macbook Pro has an SD card slot and HDMI port built in.

I do still travel with it, in addition to the SD card reader mentioned above and the built in SD card reader I can upload from 3x SD cards and 2x microSD cards at the same time.

Also, as much as it annoys me, some items still use USB-A and this provides a way to connect those to my laptop, on top of that it can be used as a charging port.

However it is semi-redundant as the Zendure Passport Pro has USB-A ports to charge and I have some smaller USB-c to USB-A adapters like this (Amazon) for connecting to the laptop. I never use the ethernet port.

It’s getting less and less needed but still goes in the bag…for now. Good build quality but the microSD card slot is too deep and you need to use another card to get them to click in and out.

GoPro Accessories + Mounts

 

Alter this to suit your needs, you can load up on these things but it becomes a mess in your bag if you’re not well organised.

I have cut back on the amount I take in my camera gear for overseas travel, using more at home travelling in the 4WD when you can pack more.

Don’t be afraid to use 3rd party accessories if they have good reviews on Amazon for example, just be careful with what you choose.

Dive Housing

GoPro Protective Housing (Hero 9/10/11)

I can only recommennd the official GoPro housing because I have never had water come in at depths of up to 30m is as far as I have tested.

I’d try and stick to reputable brands for something like this because you don’t want to lose your camera just to try save $20 on a scuba diving case.

Remember to wash this with fresh water, make your own anti-fog inserts because GoPro will rip you off for their branded ones, and store the super suit without the door latched closed. This helps the rubber seal last longer.

You only need this when scuba diving or if free diving below 10 metres depth. The GoPro is waterproof up to 10 metres without any extra protection.

Bar Mount

GoPro Handlebar/Seatpost/Pole Mount

I use the official GoPro mount linked above but lately I have been using the following combination more and more (Amazon links):

As an alternate to the last bit you can also swap it out with the RAP-B-366U which is a 1/4″-20 thread on the end of the B sized ball, so you can mount other adaptors, phone holders or action cameras, it gives a lot of flexibility.

It is heavier and more expensive to use the RAM mounts but they offer more camera angles and are all modular so there’s heaps of variety in camera shots.

Still though, the GoPro kit is a nice lightweight option for most people. Only get these if you plan on shooting cycling, motorbikes or something similar.

Mouth Mount

Amazon GoPro Mouth Mount

For surfers mostly, but I like the ability to have a head high point of view while keeping your hands free to cross bridges, or climb something and film it.

Your neck acts as a natural gimbal and the camera follows your eyes as you move your head around. Good for when you’re riding a scooter, climbing something or doing something where you want your hands free.

Not comfortable for long shoots though.

GoPro Floating Grip

GoPro Floating Hand Grip

This just helps stabilise footage when scuba diving or snorkelling, can also be used if you like to do hyperlapse shots.

I just like being able to tie it off to my wrist and forget about it until I see something underwater worth shooting. Small and sturdy.

Batteries + Chargers

Sony Batteries + Chargers

Sony NPFZ100 Battery

Don’t buy cheap rip offs here. If you spend thousands on a camera I think it’s worth getting the proper batteries, wait for a sale and buy two spares. Label them with numbers and rotate them as you go.

 

Sony BCQZ1 Battery Charger

This is the fastest way to charge a battery but unfortunately it requires mains power and is a little bulkier. However I still travel with it for the times I need a quick charge because it really doesn’t weigh much at all.

 

Newmowa Dual Sony Battery Charger

This is a convenience item only. It is SUPER SLOW but it can charge with a simple USB connnection and charges two batteries at once. Just plug it and leave it overnight, it will take about 6-7 hours to charge two fully flat batteries.

The size of it is tiny though and it weighs next to nothing so I carry it around without guilt.

GoPro Batteries + Chargers

GoPro Dual Charger With 2 Batteries

 

The GoPro batteries are small and when you’re recording all day you’ll need two spares as a minimum.

This dual charging kit allows you to charge two batteries off a power bank while you shoot with the third, or allows you to charge quicker in the hostel or hotel.

Straps + Adapters + The Rest

Straps

Peak Design Slide Lite v3

 Not much to say here except that I kind of use this less and less as time goes on, however I still take it with me just in case I want the camera secured to myself in some areas.

Love the quick adjustments to wear the camera by my hip where it is most comfortable.

 

Brackets + Clips

Peak Design Capture Clip v3

 If it’s your first time hearing about these you’ll fall in love. This is the product that made Peak Design what it is today.

It’s a camera holder basically, the plate goes onto your camera, this then clips in to the capture clip from all 4 different angles and is locked in place until released.

So essentially you clip your camera to your backpack strap or belt for easy access.

I’d not recommend using this in certain areas but on a hike or in safe cities it’s brilliant. Very small so easy to travel with.

I have one of these on each camera and every gimbal that I buy I always buy plates that accommodate this, so that I never have to change what’s on the bottom of my cameras.

Cleaning Kit

Travel Camera Cleaning Kit

 I have a kit like this although I can’t remember if it is exactly this. I essentially have it spread out though, always with a few lens clothes and the blower on hand.

The other stuff I don’t need access to as frequently so it just stays in different pockets on my main bag.

With mirrorless cameras the blower is always handy to clean your sensor, especially if you change lenses a lot.

Discussing the camera gear for overseas travel

 

As you can see it’s a reasonably long list of things to travel with. This especially applies to those wanting to make videos, if you’re just taking photos you can use some of the extra space to get more lenses in your bag.

You don’t need all of this stuff to film your travels, these are just the tools I take but I tend to take more than most. The weight of the items will get on your nerves quickly so try to be picky with what makes the cut.

I have cut things from my equipment list over the years, in fact I still am making changes as I go to make things as streamlined as possible.

See the below list for some things that have not made the cut recently with the drop downs explaining why it is no longer part of my camera gear for overseas travel.

Things I no longer travel with

360 Camera

Insta 360 One X

 

I bought the original Insta 360 One X and I have used it a fair bit. I still use it in Australia but it doesn’t justify a spot in my bag for overseas trips.

I have also kept a close eye on all of the released models.

However I am yet to upgrade and I no longer include the 360 camera in my camera gear for overseas travel for a number of reasons.

Firstly, the big appeal for me is the ability to re-frame the shot in post to whatever you like, but these cameras fall well short of producing a good image after cropping. All the other stuff is gimmicky garbage (360° photos are sick though).

Once you crop to an equilateral image without distortion you’re looking at a 720P image, so it doesn’t mix well with other cameras.

Secondly, to make this work you need to use it in a very stylised manner with lots of motion and some blurring to make the poor image hidden.

This kind of means the whole video you’re making needs to be of a certain style, so it doesn’t really suit mixing with other cameras again.

In the end I think it’s better to just avoid the gimmick until we get a croppable image of 1080p or thereabouts, with higher bitrates to give a nice clean image.

If I had to buy a 360° camera now I would get the Insta 360 One RS 1″ edition (Amazon).

Here’s an example of how to use the camera, this is the style of video required, where the uniqueness on offer is the hook for the whole video.

It’s their best camera so far but I think I will wait to see what they come out with next.

Sound/Audio Recorder

Zoom H1N

 The Zoom H1N is great as a product but I never used it to record ambient sounds and with the wireless transmitters that I travel with being smaller and way more useful for hooking in a lavalier mic to, this thing lost its place.

If I need ambient sound I can get it from a website such as Epidemic Sound or simply record a short clip with the camera and a shotgun mic, then just take the audio from it.

Wrist strap

Peak Design Cuff V3

Honestly never used it, barely even use the neck strap.

It doesn’t take up much space at all but there’s no point keeping it for the sake of it, I like the design but I just don’t strap cameras to my wrist. 

Carry-On-Fee-Avoiding Jacket

AyeGear V26

These style jackets are handy but they’re so specific to just boarding the plane and then you never wear them again.

Instead I have figured out a way when travelling to wear cargo pants and a jacket that I already like that has lots of pockets, then I can spread all of my gear out and avoid the stingy 7kg carry-on limits.

Another thing that I did before I found a really good jacket was that I paid a seamstress to sow pockets into a fleece jacket I had. It was brilliant, the pockets were to my design so they held a 16 inch laptop, a Mavic sized drone and some big lenses!

I looked stupid wearing it as the weight dragged it down a lot but it worked when I needed it and was still super comfortable when it didn’t have all the gear in it.

Chest Mount

GoPro Chesty

You really need to pick your battles with the mounts or it just means you carry too much and rarely use any.

I have opted for the mouth mount instead of the chest mount as it is smaller and suits a larger variety of situations.

L-Bracket

SmallRig L-Brackets

I’ve been using SmallRig gear for a long time, since when they used to be relatively small and unknown and I really like their stuff.

But I found myself carrying around an L-bracket for shooting portrait orientation shots off the tripod and I just never did. Given that these are sturdy metallic brackets it was easier to just not travel with it.

Saved weight and space. Great for photographers but I lean more towards video and when I need a portrait shot it can still be done by tilting the ball head, it’s just harder to setup and makes the tripod less sturdy in the process.

Remote Shutter Release

I once travelled with the Phottix Aion Wireless Shutter (Amazon) because I wanted to set timers from distances with the camera on a tripod and take a photo of myself.

The amount I used it was basically zero, there are other ways to accomplish this now with apps like Monitor+ (short range) or by using my DJI image transmitter kit (Amazon) if I decide to take it to get better transmitting range.

They use more battery on the camera but I rarely use this feature anyway.

How to save money when buying camera gear for overseas travel

 

I have written another post that shows you real world figures and explains how I have gradually built up to what I have today whilst saving money along the way.

See that post for all the numbers and the items but to summarise how to save money when buying camera gear here are the key points.

  • Buy second hand.
  • Wait for sales.
  • Play the game.
  • Buy refurbished.
  • Crowdfunding campaigns.
  • Ex-demo or open box items.

The key is to get a good idea of what you want and to have time on your side so that you can find the best deal as it arises. If you are in a rush then you will be forced into paying top dollar.

I have saved over $12,000 using the above methods. I can’t calculate the exact figure but it’s actually higher than that, I just didn’t want to add up all the small things I have saved money on.

How to save weight?

 

This here is one of the biggest issues, weight.

If you plan on boarding flights on budget airlines (or most airlines I guess) with 7kg carry on limits then you need to save weight as much as possible.

For me I have made a few choices to save weight when travelling overseas.

  • Using a 14″ Macbook Pro even though I prefer the 16″ (-500 grams).
  • Travelling with the Mini 3 Pro instead of the Mavic 3 Pro (-1,100 grams).
  • Buying lightweight Tamron zooms from heavier Sony lenses (-450 grams).
  • Using DJI RS3 Mini instead os DJI RS3 overseas (-480 grams).
  • Changing to a more modern powerbank (-200 grams).
  • Limiting the amount of mounts for the GoPro to a small handful.
  • Getting a relatively lightweight tripod.
  • Getting rid of all the gear listed in the section above (-1,500 grams or thereabouts).

There are probably other small changes I have made that I have forgotten about, getting rid of other items like charging cables and making things more multi-purpose.

For example: a USB-C laptop charger can also charge your drone batteries given the right wattage is met and vice versa, albeit at a slower rate if it is a larger laptop. That’s on a case by case basis though.

Even now the camera bag weighs about 11kg fully loaded, which is fine for me weight wise but not with the airlines.

So when it comes time to catch a flight I have to load everything up into cargo pants pockets and wear t-shirs and jackets with pockets in just to be able to keep all of my expensive stuff on me and not check anything in (where it’s not insured by most companies).

Conclusion

 

Finding camera gear for overseas travel is a personal thing, any brand is a good brand if it works for you and I am not suggesting anyone copies what I have here as it’s a little bit ridiculous for most people to buy a Sony A1 for example.

However by listing all my camera gear for overseas travel and explaining how it made the cut you might better understand how to alter your setup.

 

Do you need a drone?

No. In fact in a lot of countries you won’t legally be able to fly (eg: Vietnam/Thailand) without permits and countries in Central America will confiscate it at the airport (Nicaragua is one but there are others in the region).

 

Do you need a gimbal?

Nope, you can get smooth footage other ways. Try using Catalyst Browse (Sony specific) or Gyroflow (open to cameras with gyroscope data recording).

There are caveats to the program though and you might need to change the way you shoot, for example in higher frame rates etc but it can be better to use this and ditch a gimbal.

 

Do you need two lenses?

Nope, you could travel with 1 multi-purpose lens, here are a few popular examples (outside of the Tamron 28-200 that I linked further up) for someone with Sony cameras (Amazon links):

As with any decision there are pros and cons. It’s a struggle to get anything super wide if you expect to get some telephoto range.

 

Do you need an action camera?

Not for photography that’s for sure. They are handy for capturing scenarios that you don’t want to risk a more expensive camera in when capturing video but they aren’t a necessity if that’s not your style.

 

There are heaps of ways to skin this particular cat and it’s forever changing. Everyone’s needs are so specific but hopefully this has helped someone out, as a thought exercise if nothing else.

Do you travel this heavy? Be interested to see what people travel with and where you cut down on weight.

Thanks for reading!

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