Hiking Photography Gear: 14 Essential Items For A Photography Hike

In this post I outline the equipment I use for a photography hike.

Good hiking photography gear needs to combine high performance with low weight. In this post I provide information on all the equipment needed for a successful photography hike. 

For me photography and the outdoors go hand in hand. When I head out for a hike, I always take my trusty camera backpack. It’s jam packed with everything I need to enjoy a good hike and capture the best moments along the way.

When I switch hiking for travelling, certain items are taken out, others are put in and it doubles up as my carry on luggage. Perfect!

Here is a complete list of my essential items for a photography hike. I’m not sponsored by any of any of the companies and all opinions are my own.

A picture of my hiking photography gear - all the essential items for a photography hike

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You might also like this ultimate car camping checklist post for use with your next big outdoor adventure!

Hiking photography gear

Hiking camera backpack

A few years ago I splashed out on a backpack specific to the two things I needed it for – hiking and photography. The Lowepro photo sport has all the adjustable straps and comforts you’d expect from a hiking back pack, but it also has an easy access side pocket to store your camera.

The camera pocket will fit a DSLR and extra lens, plus it has storage pockets for SD cards or lens filters. The back pocket will fit a 2L hydration reservoir (not pictured) and it comes with a with built in all weather cover.

I love this bag and have never been without it since I bought it. The only downside is that it is a little on the small side, so would recommend getting the next size up (300 AW)

Lowepro LP36890-PWW, Photo Sport BP 300 AW II Outdoor Backpack for Camera, Fits DSLR with Lens…
  • PRACTICAL: Fits your DSLR with attached 24-70mm & extra lens such as 70-200mm
  • SAFE: Made with lightweight & resilient tech fabrics with ultra-tear-strength, while the UltraCinch design secures photo gear for bounce-free protection
  • WEATHERPROOF: The built-in All Weather AW Cover safeguards photo gear from rain
  • EXTRA SPACE: Keep all of your journey’s essentials in the open space, such as bike helmet, jacket, snacks, sunglasses, compact tripod
  • HYDRATION POCKET: Stay hydrated thanks to the 2-liter dedicated hydration pocket

Lightweight camera

I bought my Sony Nex-6 mirrorless camera in 2013 and it barely left my side, as it was so light and compact. Mirrorless cameras were relatively new then but since I bought it with the intention of using it for traveling and hiking, it seemed like the right way to go.

After 6 years of solid use I upgraded to the Sony A6400. This is only slightly heavier than the Nex-6 but produces much better images, as you would expect from a newer camera. It also shoots video in 4k. For hiking, mirrorless cameras are surly the way to go.

Take a look at my photos taken with this camera.

Sale
Sony Alpha 6400 | APS-C Mirrorless Camera with Sony 16-50 mm f/3.5-5.6 Power Zoom Lens
  • FAST AND PRECISE AUTOFOCUS: rely on 0.02s AF, Real Time tracking and Eye AF (human/animal) to keep your subject sharp in any situation.
  • PERFECT FOR VIDEO CREATORS: High resolution 4K HDR movie recording and Full HD slow motion feature (120p) with autofocus.
  • NEVER MISS A MOMENT: Up to 11fps with Autofocus.
  • CAPTURE CREATIVE ANGLES: easily frame up your subject when shooting from low or high angles with the tilting touch monitor.
  • IDEAL FOR: starters and advanced users who wants a compact everyday lens (Sony 16-50mm) and an additional zoom (Sony 55-210mm) to capture sports and nature.

Camera lenses

I replaced the kit lens for the A6400 for the Sony 18-135mm which is a fabulous all round lens, perfect for travel and hiking. I also have the Sony 55-210mm lens for shooting wildlife. A very affordable lens which has a decent zoom and beautiful bokeh.

My most recent purchase is the Sigma 16mm 1.4 prime lens. As a landscape photographer this wide angle lens is perfect for capturing those big scenes and with a f 1.4 is also great for astro-photography.

Sony SEL18135, E 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 OSS E-Mount Lens
  • APS C standard zoom lens with strong magnification
  • Outstanding optical design with an asphric element for high resolution from the centre of the image to the edge
  • Modern, linear motor technology for fast, crisp and quiet focus control
  • Box contents: Lens hood (model): ALC SH153, front lens cap: ALC F55S, rear lens cap: ALC R1EM
  • English (Publication Language)
Sale
Sigma 402965 16 mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary Sony E Lens – Black
  • Designed for Compact System Cameras with an APS-C size sensor
  • A compact, lightweight lens offering outstanding image quality with F1.4 brightness
  • Image quality rivalling that of SIGMA’s Art line lenses
  • Fast and smooth AF. Angle of view DC 83.4º, Maximum magnification ratio: 1 : 9.9
  • Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN | C Lens Sony SE Fit; Lens Hood; Front Cap; Back Cap, Instruction Manual;
Sony SEL55210 E Mount APS-C 55-210 mm F4.5-6.3 Telephoto Zoom Lens – Black
  • Telephoto zoom lens with 3.8x magnification range
  • Built in OSS (Optical SteadyShot) image stabilisation
  • Quiet, responsive autofocus with stills and video
  • High-performance optics and aluminium alloy finish
  • 35 mm equivalent focal length: 82.5-315 mm

Filters

Circular polariser filter and Gobe variable ND filter. I usually have one of these filters on my camera depending on the situation. I bought the variable filter so I wouldn’t have to carry around lots of different levels of ND filters.

Great theory and for the most part it’s ok but at the extreme end of the range the filter produces dark patches in the corner of the photo which is pretty annoying!

Gobe NDX 43mm Variable ND Lens Filter (1Peak)
  • GOBE IS NOW URTH | We changed our name to better reflect what we’re working to protect. To find the equivalent Urth product, search code B088C39MT1
  • VERSATILE | Rotating ring between ND2 and ND400 giving great versatility in changing light. Reduces light intake from 1 to 8.66 f-stops without affecting colour balance. Great for landscape…
  • GOBE 1PEAK | Premium Japanese optical glass with 8-layer nano-coating provides neutral colour balance, reduces lens flare, and removes ghosting. Backed by our lifetime warranty.

Power bank

I have a Zendure power bank which is really small but not so light. However, it provides about 3 charges for my Iphone and can also recharge my drone if I needs be. I’ve since replaced this for a lighter option as show below.

Sale
INIU Power Bank, 22.5W Fast Charging 10000mAh Battery Pack USB C Input & Output Portable Charger,…
  • ✅【From INIU — the SAFE Fast Charge Pro】 Experience the safest charging with over 38 million global users. At INIU, we use only the highest-grade materials, so we do have the confidence to…
  • ✅【60% Charged in 30 Mins】Support all the mainstream fast-charging protocols to ensure that any and all devices are fully charged in the shortest time possible.d all devices are fully charged in…
  • ✅【2024 Version USB C Input & Output】Unlike most chargers featuring a USB C input only, INIU PD 10000 has a USB-C In & Out port to perfectly fit your new iPhones, iPad and all upcoming USB-C…

SD cards

I have spare SD cards for my camera, drone and GoPro. I use SanDisk SD cards as they’re quick and reliable.

Sale
SanDisk Extreme PRO 64GB SDXC Memory Card up to 170MB/s, UHS-1, Class 10, U3, V30, Black
  • Shot speeds up to 90MB/s, transfer speeds up to 170MB/s
  • Perfect for shooting 4K UHD video and sequential burst mode photography
  • Capture uninterrupted video with UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) and Video Speed Class 30 (V30)
  • Built for and tested in harsh conditions: temperature-proof, waterproof, shock-proof, and x-ray-proof

GoPro

The GoPro Hero 4 in the photo above has been updated with a Gopro 9, but the most recent edition is the Gopro 12. Footage from the latest models look much more stable, even without a gimbal.

Not pictured above are the accessorises I have for the GoPro which I use for snowboarding, biking, diving etc. I have this accessory bundle which is much cheaper than the official GoPro version. 

Sale
GoPro HERO12 Black – Waterproof Action Camera with 5.3K60 Ultra HD Video, 27MP Photos, HDR, 1/1.9″…
  • High Dynamic Range Video + Photo: HERO12 Black takes its best-in-class image quality to the next level with HDR for both videos (5.3K and 4K) and photos. Great in environments with both shadows and…
  • Unbelieveable Image Quality: With 5.3K video that gives you 91% more resolution than 4K and an incredible 665% more than 1080p, HERO12 Black captures the action with crisp detail and cinematic image…
  • Emmy Award- Winning HyperSmooth 6.0 Stabilization: HyperSmooth continues to set the bar for insanely smooth footage and has the hardware to back it up—a 2021 Emmy for In-Camera Sensor and Software…
  • Rugged + Waterproof to 33ft (10m): Completely waterproof and as tough as ever, HERO12 Black is ready to capture the fun on any adventure. Its legendary durability can take a beating and keep going,…

Drone

Since 2018 I have been using the DJI Spark and have loved using it. Yes there are better drones available for professional drone pilots, but for my first drone and for ease of travelling this little gem is a winner! But if you want something that’s just as light and compact but with even better technoogy, go for the DJI Mini 3 Pro!

Even though these drones can work via your smartphone I highly recommend investing in the remote, as it makes flying so much easier and less frustrating.

DJI Mini 3 Pro – Lightweight and Foldable Camera Drone with 4K/60fps Video & Mini 3 Pro Fly More…
  • Product 1: Care-free Creation– Weighing less than 249 g, Mini 3 Pro doesn’t require registration in most countries and regions; The foldable and compact design also makes it easy to carry on any…
  • Product 1: Seriously Pro Shots – Capture your world in remarkable detail with 4K/60fps video and 48MP photos; The advanced camera system supports dual native ISO and f/1.7 aperture for high-quality…
  • Product 1: Portraits in a Tap – The redesigned DJI Mini 3 Pro offers True Vertical Shooting for portrait shots, ideal for social media; The gimbal rotates 90, so you don’t have to compromise image…

Tripod

This Neewer camera tripod is a really great tripod that I use for most of my landscape photography, but at 4kgs it is on the heavy side for big hikes. If I’m heading out on a big hike I’ll take my smaller and lighter Eloki tripod (not pictured) which will also fit my GoPro and Iphone.

Here are the best selling tripods on Amazon which all come in for very competitive prices.

Bestseller No. 1
JOILCAN Camera Tripod for Canon Nikon Sony, 65″ Aluminum Alloy Tripod Stand with Detachable Head &…
  • 『Tripod for Phones & Cameras』Comes with a standard 1/4″ quick release plate to help you quickly set up the device. Fits for the DSLR, SLR, action Camera, webcam, camcorder, ring lights, projector…
  • 『Phone Holder with Cold Shoe Mount』Equipped with an universal phone holder fits most smartphones with widths between 2.48″-4.21″, compatible with iPhone 14/14Pro/13/13Pro/12 etc, also suitable for…
SaleBestseller No. 2
K&F Concept Tripod for Camera and Phone, 64 inch/163cm Aluminum Travel Outdoor Tripod with Metal…
  • 【Lightweight and Portable】4 section leg can adjust tripod height from 20.4”/52cm to 64.1”/163cm; it can be folded to 15.3”/39cm to make it easy to put it in the carrying bag; the net weight…
  • 【360 Degree Metal Ball Head】28mm metal ball head can be rotated to any angle you want, helping to improve the range of camera activity during panning.The 360-degree panning dial lets you set up…
Bestseller No. 3
Lightweight Tripod 55-Inch/135cm, Video/Phone/Light Camera Tripod Stand with Wireless Remote…
  • Adjustable 55″/135cm TripodQuick Flip Lock is super easy to lock tightly and unlock quickly, helping you adjust the height from 16″ to 55″ in seconds as your needs; The maximum load is 4.4 LB, no…
  • Enhanced Stability Non-slip rubber feet grips more safely and firmly; Larger scratch resistant plate with 1/4″ screw mount is not only convenient to install, but able to secure your phone/camera.

Smartphone

Yup, I’m an Apple fan so this is my Smart phone of choice. At the moment I’m happy with the Iphone XS

Discover the top apps I use on my smartphone to help plan my photography hikes!

First Aid Kit

Compact first aid kit – just in case… I use this small camping and trekking first aid kit as it has everything I need.

Head torch

I’ve had several head torches over the years but I do like Petzl ones. This Petzl Actik has different brightnesses and the red light option to avoid blinding everyone around you. Not really sure if that option keeps the insects from flying into your face though?!

Cables/leads

Spare leads for charging Iphone and drone from the power bank.

Clothing

Not pictured are the clothing items I take which usually include a warm puffy jacket, a rain jacket, a buff and a pair of gloves. For more details on these items take a look at this day hiking list.

Travel gear

The last few items I don’t take hiking with me! When I switch to travelling mode, I take the big tripod out and replace it with my laptop and external hard drive.

Hard drive

I have a few external hard drives so not all come travelling with me, but I do like the Transcend ones  because they’re really tough and really fast. That’s pretty much all I want in an external hard drive.

Laptop

I have the Macbook Air which is light, compact and perfect for travel.

Ear buds

In the past I went through about 2-3 pairs of ear buds every year so I never invested in expensive pairs. I do like good sound quality though and so was treated to a decent pair for my birthday. I now have these wireless bluetooth earbuds by anker. They’re great sound quality and actually stay in my ear, which is something I’ve often struggled with. Let’s hope I don’t lose these ones!

Sale
soundcore by Anker Liberty 4 NC Adaptive Noise Cancelling Earbuds, 98.5% Noise Reduction to Ears and…
  • Reduce Noise By Up to 98.5%: Liberty 4 NC noise cancelling earbuds have a high sensitivity in-ear sound sensor, an oversized driver, and an innovative noise isolation chamber that cancels up to 98.5%…
  • Noise Cancelling Adapts to Ears and Environments: Adaptive ANC 2.0 makes real-time calculations and adjusts to your ear canals and external environment for maximum quiet amongst the hustle and bustle.
  • Crisp Sound with 3× More Detail: 11mm custom-tuned drivers deliver consistently crisp and detailed sound. Experience Hi-Res wireless audio and LDAC technology that transfers 3× more data than…

Photography Hiking Gear Summary

So this concludes my hiking photography gear list. In this guide I list all the essential items I carry for a quality day spent hiking in the mountains and capturing those special moments. Top items include my Sony A4600, DJI Spark, tripod and headtorch. Is there anything you would add to this list?

The footage I’ve captured with my DJI Spark has really blown me away and being so lightweight means I don’t have to compromise on comfort. Take a look at some of the videos I’ve created during my wanderings in Wales!

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An honest review of the essential items I use for a photography hike and for a day pack whilst travelling.

Louise

Louise is an Adventure Tour Guide, Snowboard Instructor & Mountain Leader from South Wales. Through working as a tour guide and snowboard instructor, she has spent the last 15 years travelling Asia, Africa and the Americas. Louise is a published photographer and currently guides mountain trips in the UK.

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