It seems every photographer has a few extra “necessities” in the photo bag that can either help the shoot go easier – or that’s in there for those “just in case” moments.
Of course – there’s the always present camera(s), lens(es), lens cloths, filters, biz cards, small notebook, pencils/pens, memory cards, batteries, and maybe even a water bottle or camera manual. But I’m talking about the other items wedged down into the corners – likely not taking up too much room – and not weighing all that much.
And that’s an important point – space is limited in the bag– and who really wants a heavier camera bag? As it turns out – all of my “extras” probably add up to about the size and weight of two decks of cards.
(Long side note: I have been known to make backpacking gear decisions with the kitchen scale in hand. Not that my backpacking list is “ultra light” – but it’s amazing how a few “extras” can quickly add up to a few pounds. Now – I haven’t yet weighed all of my camera gear – but I try to take a similar approach when packing my photo bag. And – just in case you were wondering – my current grab-and-go bag is the ultra cool Think Tank Retrospective 10 – it’s small, durable, and great looking – holds a lot of gear – but doesn’t allow me to throw in the kitchen sink.)
So – in no particular order – seven extras that have become standard gear:
- Gum. Or sometimes it’s Altoids. Right now – it’s one of those popping fresh flavors by Orbit.
- Multi-tool. Sometimes it’s the ever handy Swiss army knife – or an older model Leatherman Wave. I also think the Leatherman Squirts are cool – and much smaller than either of the tools I have. Just be sure to take your multi-tool out when you’re ready to hop onto a plane.
- Small sandwich bag. Mostly used to hold full memory cards on a long shoot – so as to keep them from floating around somewhere in the bottom of the bag. Another option that a lot of folks like is the Think Tank Pixel Pocket Rocket.
- Large freezer bag. This corrals extra memory cards, batteries, and will sometimes have another lens cloth in it (can never have enough lens cloths).
- Earplugs. It took me some time to finally realize this was a good thing to permanently add to the bag. From motor sports to concerts to any event with really large speakers that you may find yourself under – earplugs can make it so much more enjoyable. The little disposable foam ones work great. I picked mine up at the Home Depot.
- Moist Towelette. Cuz’ sometimes your hands can get filthy – and it’s important to keep shooting.
- Headlamp. Sometimes a shoot goes through dusk – and it’s important to find your way back without a sprained ankle. The nice thing about a headlamp – it can double as a flashlight – but a flashlight can’t double as a headlamp. I prefer the small LED ones – and I think Petzl makes a pretty durable product.
Bonus: Filter wrench. OK – this one is pretty new to the bag. Didn’t even know they existed until recently. Handy for those difficult to remove filters.
Hope that helps. But now I’m curious – anything indispensable in your bag?
(And if you’re wondering – the photo has absolutely nothing to do with the article. As I didn’t have a photo of my camera bag – I just fished this one out of the archives.)