7 Not-so-Obvious “Necessities” in my Camera Bag

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.crab shack-107

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:

  1. Gum. Or sometimes it’s Altoids.  Right now – it’s one of those popping fresh flavors by Orbit.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Large freezer bag. This corrals extra memory cards, batteries, and will sometimes have another lens cloth in it (can never have enough lens cloths).
  5. 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.
  6. Moist Towelette. Cuz’ sometimes your hands can get filthy – and it’s important to keep shooting.
  7. 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.)

8 thoughts on “7 Not-so-Obvious “Necessities” in my Camera Bag”

  1. Sort of similar to the gum…I always keep a pack of ‘Wisps’ (little, disposable, one-time-use toothbrushes) in my camera bag. They’re great either for me if I’m coming straight after lunch or something, or if the client/subject needs a quick brush to clean up their smile!

    On the more photo-gear-side – I also make sure I have (at least!) a few feet of gaffer tape and a pack of Honl Photo gels for my speed lites. SO MANY USES.


  2. Not sure that the water bottle in the camera bag thing is a really good idea.

    Foam Earplugs – buy in bulk online loads cheaper and individually packaged.

    I would use a wallet for memory cards rather than plastic bags, especially night shoots. Much easier from an organizational point of view.


  3. Ahh…I have the Lowe Pro Flipside backpack that can carry 3 lenses plus my camera, batteries, cards, water bottle, notebook, pen, biz cards, etc…without feeling heavy or bulky, in fact, I love wearing it!

    Gotta carry gum 😀


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