What do you take with you, what do you leave at home? It depends on what your purpose is.
- If you’re going on safari, you will want to take a “long” lens the longer the better. 200mm or more will start to get you there
- If you’re intention is to capture street scenes in exotic towns and cities, then a short lens in the 35mm to 85mm range will be a good choice
- Going for big landscapes? Then you’ll want to bring your widest lens
- On a full-frame camera, you can cover it all with a couple of really good zooms like a 24-70mm and a 70-200mm, add a 1.4x or 2.0x extender and you have it covered
Tripods are cumbersome and hard to pack, I prefer a monopod because it is easier to pack and suits my needs. If you rely on a tripod, consider a lightweight carbon fiber unit, they are expensive but they are light and stable enough for most needs. I have a tripod that converts to a monopod. If your purpose is to capture images of the Northern (or Southern) Lights or the Milky Way, consider a heavy tripod for its greater stability. Alternatively, you can hang a weight under your tripod to make it more stable.
You will need something to carry all of your gear. A good backpack-style camera bag works for me, but choose something that works for you. My experience is that there is no perfect camera bag, choose carefully.
I travel with a light-weight laptop, lots of memory cards, a card reader, and an external hard drive or 2. Depending on your camera and your chosen file type, 16GB to 128GB cards will provide lots of room. Doing your initial processing each evening saves time when you get home and gives you images to share on social media if you like.
Don’t skimp on batteries and carry a few freshly charged ones with you when you go out to take pictures. There is nothing heavier than a dead camera.
Location, location, location
Going to hot sunny places? You should consider:
- A good hat
- Sun screen
- Cool clothing
- Good walking shoes
Going into cold?
- Layers of clothing
- A good cold weather coat and good warm pants. You might want to have a coat that is big enough to let you keep your camera inside, next to your body.
- Gloves, depending on the severity of the cold, you might consider double layers of gloves, something lightweight to make using you camera easier and an outer pair of insulated gloves.
- Insulated boots.