- Lowepro Photo Sport 200 AW II
- Mountainsmith Tanuck 40L Camera Backpack
- Peak Design Everyday Backpack
- Peak Design Capture Clip
- Peak Design Lens Kit
- Remote shutter release
- Creative filters
- Cleaning kit
- Dry bags
- Simple Landscape Photography Tips For Beginners
- Beginner to Advanced Landscape Photography Techniques
photo by Cleardesign1 via iStock
Two of my greatest passions in life are photography and hiking! However, it took many years for me to discover how to put together the ultimate kit of camera gear for hiking. You may think the two go together perfectly, like peanut butter and jelly, but at the most basic level there is one huge difference.
Hikers and backpackers spend as much time and money as possible trying to carry as little weight as possible. We spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars on fancy equipment to cut mere ounces off the weight of our packs.
On the other side of the spectrum you have photographers. We collect gear like kids back in the day collected Pokemon cards. As photographers, we are total gear heads and we absolutely love gear!
After many years of trial and error I’ve finally found the perfect balance of camera gear for hiking that is both lightweight and durable. So, let’s take a closer look at the most essential camera gear for hikers!
Essential Camera Gear for Hiking: Camera
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Before you can decide on other essential camera gear for hiking, the first thing you need to do is figure out what type of camera you are going to bring.
The primary thing you need to consider is the size and weight of the camera. You want to choose one that isn’t going to take up too much space in your pack and won’t kill your back. If the camera is too big and heavy, what’s going to happen is you will end up leaving it at home in favor of taking photos with your phone.
A second major thing to consider is if the camera has any sort of built-in protection against the elements. You never know what can occur when shooting out in nature, and having a camera body which is weather sealed means less stress when the conditions take a turn for the worse.
With those two things said, my recommendation would be to go for a lightweight mirrorless setup over a DSLR. If your top priority is mind-blowing quality, the best camera for hiking is unquestionably the Sony A7r iv. I understand if you aren’t prepared to dole out that kind of cash though, and another great camera for hiking is the more budget-friendly Sony a6500.
Essential Camera Gear for Hiking: Lenses
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Whenever I go out on a hike I like to carry two different lenses. The first being a wide-angle for capturing landscapes, and the second being a telephoto for shooting close-up shots and animals.
Another thing to keep in mind is that zoom lenses tend to be more useful than primes as far as camera gear for hiking goes, since they give you the flexibility of shooting at a range of different focal lengths.
For wide-angle lenses, I recommend choosing one which is around the standard range of 24-70mm. If you end up going with a Sony, two great options are the Sony FE 24-70mm f2.8 and the Sony Vario-Tessar E 16-70mm f4.
A natural pairing with a standard lens that goes up to 70mm is a telephoto that starts at the same focal length. The most common and portable telephoto lenses are usually in the zone of 70-200mm. Once again, if you end up going with a Sony, two fantastic choices are the Sony FE 70-200mm f2.8 and the Sony E 70-350mm f4.5-6.3.
Essential Camera Gear for Hiking: Backpack
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A comfortable and protective backpack is no doubt an essential piece of camera gear for hiking. You need one that is spacious enough to hold not only your camera gear, but other hiking equipment and food as well. Additionally, it needs to fit you well and be able to distribute the weight evenly across your shoulders and hips.
Other important features to consider in a camera backpack include water bottle/tripod holders, rain covers, waterproof pockets, size, and of course price.
A few amazing ones to consider are:
Essential Camera Gear for Hiking: Lightweight Tripod
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Whether you are hiking in a group or solo, a critical piece of camera gear for hiking is a lightweight tripod! With a tripod you can get the sharpest landscape images, epic group shots and spectacular selfies!
You want to make sure you buy one that’s light and compact enough to always carry with you though. It’s the same problem I spoke about earlier when deciding on a camera for hiking. If you get a tripod for hiking that’s too heavy, you will just end up leaving it at home when you are packing your bag.
Hands down the most innovative tripod today is the Peak Design Travel tripod. You can purchase it in either carbon fiber or aluminum, and it packs down to a size barely bigger than a water bottle! I made the switch to the carbon fiber model last year and I will never hike with a different tripod for hiking ever again! An additional perk of this tripod is it pairs terrifically with all the other Peak Design products mentioned in this guide.
Essential Camera Gear for Hiking: Spare Batteries and Memory Cards
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Spare batteries and memory cards are certainly crucial camera gear for hiking regardless of how long or short your hike is! Think about this for a second, without a battery, or without a memory card, your camera will not let you take photos!
No matter how many times I tell people this, I always hear stories about people running out of battery or space on their memory cards while out in the backcountry. With a little preparation, you never have to be one of those people.
Batteries and memory cards are some of the lightest pieces of camera gear and trust me, you can always find space in your bag for them. At a minimum I would always keep one spare fully charged battery and one spare memory card in your bag. Personally, I always have at least two extra memory cards and five batteries with me whenever I head out the door for a hiking adventure!
Bonus Essential Camera Gear for Hiking Ideas
photo by Nastasic via iStock
Now you’ve seen the most important camera gear for hiking, but that’s far from the only equipment you will want in your kit. Check out these other stellar camera gear for hiking ideas: