Packing for a backcountry photography trip - Stover Photo

Congrats! You have either made the choice to leave the comforts of home and try backpacking or have chosen to incorporate photography into your backpacking. Either way you are going to find the challenge of getting it all into something you can carry on your back, well… challenging.

Take a look at the following pictures. This is everything that is currently in my MavicPro / GoPro / and Camera bag. Most of these items I use on a typical car or other adventure. This gear alone would be almost 50 pounds and represents more than I would ever need or want in the backcountry.

The "Joy" of Landscape Photography

So the question becomes how and where do you pair down? From the above picture and options I condensed into this set-up which  I was then able to pack into two protected cubes. No small feat but it was doable. 

The chosen few tools

The Package

No small feat but doable. The camera / lenses / filters / remote shutter weighed in at 8.5 pounds. The MavicPro, controller, and 1 extra battery tips the scale at 4.1 pounds. The GoPro and extra Tripods add 1.25 pounds. All said and done I added 13.8 pounds to my backpack to be able to take Drone / GoPro video and all types of options of still photgraphy. You can drop a drone battery if you want to keep your flights to 20 minutes which saves you .5 pounds or drop your wide angle lens + filters which will drop you another 3.4 pounds which means your gear will be below 10 pounds which seems very doable.

From there you still need to get all of your other stuff into the bag. This gear list is listed here. It is pretty no thrills but has been paired down over years of hiking. The heaviest items here are 100 oz of water at 5.5 pounds and my 2 person tent at 3.5 pounds. This is enough food and safety equipment for 2 days and to temperatures around freezing. This has some comforts like camp sandals and a chair that you can put your sleeping bag into. All told with the double lens / double drone battery set-up you tip the scales at 41 pounds.

Add the back packing gear

So the question becomes. Where can you cut. Newer tent could save you a pound + dropping the wide angle lens and drone battery will save you 4 pounds. If you have someone else to share the load that could help quite a bit and if you are in the summer you could drop the gloves / puffy / beanie / extra socks / buff and you save about 2 pounds there which would tip the scales at 34 pounds. Maybe you don’t want to be as comfortable. Drop the sandals and the chair and you lose 1.9 pounds and would be at ~32 pounds. To push it much more you would need to lose things like knife / light / GPS / SPOT / Pee Bottle (Yeah, still love it) … and you could get under 30 pounds.

But the question then becomes why? This is a change of clothes a place to sit, comfort for my feet after a long day / safety on the trail and protection if the conditions change.

The only things I could not get inside of the bag were the drone in it’s case / the tripods / and the foldable camp chair. It is a pretty compact package. The Atmos 50 AG is rated for loads up to 40 pounds and it does well with a 3051 cubic inch capacity. For the bigger and longer trips or where you need more cold weather gear or items like bear boxes we will need to step up to an entirely different category but for the 1-3 night options in non winter this pack and gear set-up works well for me.

Final Product-Game Time

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