What’s in my camera bag?
I’ve recently had quite a few people ask what I carry in my camera bag when on a photography expedition. This blog is not an attempt to give an exhaustive list of all my gear, but rather a summary of what gear I carried on my recent trip to the Dolomites.
Firstly, a little about the camera bag I am currently using. I’ve tried several different camera bags over the years. The Lowepro Flipside 500 is a good bag, its spacious, and fits all my camera gear and is great for landscapes photography. The Lowepro ProTactic 450 is slightly smaller but more versatile, with access from both sides, the top and the back, its ideal for a quick trip or for shooting cityscapes. Although both these bags are great for carrying camera equipment, unfortunately, that is pretty much all they can carry.
After tonnes of research, I finally pulled the trigger on a bag which would meet all my needs, that is, apart from carrying my camera gear, it would also be able to carry other vital stuff for a couple of days off the grid. That Bag is the F Stop Tilopa, its part of the mountain range of bags from F-Stop and is super versatile as it has loads of zipped pockets and has a fully customizable and removable ICU (Internal camera unit).
The bag is sturdy due to its aluminium frame and the back straps are fully adjustable, like any technical mountaineering pack. It is incredibly comfortable and well-padded all around. In the dolomites I hiked for several hours with the pack weighing about 22Kg, and although I felt worse for wear, the pack performed admirably and was still comfortable (As comfortable as a 22Kg backpack can be). I would never have been able to carry that amount of equipment or weight with my old bags.
Nikon D810 + 16-35mm F4
Nikon D7200 + Tokina 11-16mm F2.8
Nikon 24-70mm F2.8
Nikon 70-200mm F4
Samyang 24mm F1.4
Sigma absorbent Lens cloths
Alcohol lens wipes
Extra SD and CF Memory cards
Haida Filter Holder
Haida Filters (3/6/10 Stops)
2 x Intervalometers
4 x Spare EN-EL15 Batteries
Gitzo GT3543XLS tripod
Diat Carbon fibre tripod
RRS Panoramic Gimbal head
A Roll of electrical tape
Hot shoe mountable Spirit level
Double sided tape
Depending on where I am travelling to and what I plan to shoot, I will carry 2 or 3 camera bodies. The main reason is redundancy, to ensure that in the worst case scenario, if a camera fails, I can still capture the images I have planned for the trip. In the Dolomites, I carried 2 bodies with me. My main camera is my Nikon D810 (A full frame body and all-round absolute beast!). My second body was the Nikon D7200 (A crop sensor body). The reason I don’t carry 2 Full frame bodies is to help keep weight as low as possible, but also because crop sensor bodies are great second cameras when shooting with a long lens as you get extra magnification.
For this trip I took my brand new Nikon 70-200 F4 VR Lens (I sold my 70-200 F2.8 VR just before the trip and bought the Nikon 70-200 F4 VR instead, in doing do, I saved roughly 650 grams of weight and got a sharper lens…. Win!). I also took my Nikon 24-70 F2.8, 16-35mm F4 and a Samyang F1.4 to shoot night sky images.
MSR Windburner Stove
Vango Bora Tent and footprint
Dry Bag with extra layers (Waterproofs / Gloves / Buffs)
Dry bag with clean clothes
Dry bag with basic toiletries
Travel First Aid kit
Food and water
Sleeping bag liner
Electronics: I carry a little pouch for all my electronics. It carries all my charging cables for my phone and other devices. I also carry an Anker 4 port USB power supply, an Anker 2 port USB car charger, a Nitecore UNK2 Dual charger for my Nikon ENEL15 batteries, spare AAA batteries and an Anker PowerCore+ power bank. The Anker PowerCore+ is definitely on the heavy side, as it has a capacity of 26,800 Mah, despite this, it goes everywhere with me as I use it to charge my iPhone and it’s also powerful enough to charge my camera batteries using the Nitecore UNK2 Charger.
Tent: I use a Vango Bora 200 Tent, this 2 person mountain tent is the perfect size for me and all my gear to fit comfortably. It weighs just 2.0 Kg and can be pitched in less than 5 minutes. I specifically bought it in Terracotta Orange to use it as foreground interest in photos, especially at night once it is lit up from the inside and glows, it looks epic!
I use the F-Stop Pro Large ICU, its enough to carry all the camera equipment I need for a trip.
I will write an in depth review about the F-Stop Tilopa in the coming months, but until then, I would recommend it to anyone who wants absolute peace of mind and a functional, comfortable, camera carrying system!