Our Camera Gear Checklist for Travel Photography

For us, travel + photography go hand in hand so we use our camera gear checklist to make sure all the equipment is packed before embarking on any adventure.

We get asked often what travel photography gear we use for taking photos.

camera gear checklist for travel photography

Our list below includes the cameras, lenses, tripod, and other accessories that we use for capturing good quality images while traveling.

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We get asked this question often. There are two places where we buy our cameras, lenses and other accessories: Amazon and B&H Photo.

B&H Photo is our go-to company for buying the high quality cameras, tripods and lenses. They are a reputable company that’s been in business for over 45 years. Their customer service and knowledge about photography equipment gives us peace of mind when spending money on higher ticket items.

→ Check out Photography Gear at B&H Photo

Amazon is where we buy most of our camera accessories like filters, memory cards, etc. The free two-day shipping is always a plus. We have bought cameras, lenses and tripods from Amazon with no problem as well. They are good about returns, but won’t be able to answer gear-specific questions.

→ Check out Travel Photography Gear on Amazon

Camera Gear at B&H Photo

camera accessories



The travel photography kit we detail below is something we have worked for years to build. It includes the equipment and accessories that are necessary for the types of photographs and videos we capture.

You must evaluate the images YOU want to photograph and determine which camera and video gear works best for you and your travel habits.

Cameras for Travel Photography

Camera Gear for Travel Photography - Nikon D7200 camera

CAMERA GEAR TIP: Inspect your camera before packing to ensure that it is functioning properly and has been cleaned. Make sure it is loaded with necessary memory cards and that a fully charged battery is inserted.

We like to carry at least two camera bodies so we always have a back-up and it alleviates the need to switch lenses in the field. It’s taken years to get the cameras we now have:

Selecting the right camera for your photographic goals is a complicated and personal process.

The cameras we have to produce the images we want may not be the best for your photography goals or travel style.

We recommend doing your research to find what’s best for you.

Camera Lenses for Travel Photography

To determine which lenses to pack, you must know what images you want to capture. Will you photograph landscape, wildlife, waterfalls or all of the above?

These are the lenses we use:

Tripods for Travel Photography

Camera gear for travel photography - MeFoto Globetrotter Tripod

A good sturdy tripod is worth the investment and can make a tremendous difference in the sharpness of your photos.

Our Mefoto Carbon Fiber Globetrotter is the perfect lightweight travel tripod for long hikes or when we won’t be using a large, heavy lens.

We also have the Induro Stealth tripod specifically designed for outdoor and adventure photography.

We recently added the Peak Design Travel Tripod (Carbon Fiber) to our gear and LOVE IT! It’s compact and lightweight so it’s perfect when our photo adventures include hiking.

There are many quality tripods of varying sizes and capacities. Evaluate your needs and spend the money to obtain a good quality tripod to meet those needs. It will definitely pay for itself in the quality of your images.

Camera Filters for Landscape Photography

Kase Wolverine 82mm filters kit

Circular Polarizer and Neutral Density filters are nice pieces of equipment to have, but pay the price for a name brand. You don’t put cheap glass in front of your expensive lens.

Circular Polarizers are great for bringing out the color and depth of your landscape shots.

Neutral Density Filters can be very helpful in obtaining a blurred motion with water scenes and when shooting in high light conditions.

We started out using Tiffen and Hoya filters, and we had good success using them. BUT we became frustrated with the difficulty of using these filter systems and only got them out when we wanted long exposure shots.

Then we found the magnetic filter system by Kase, and our use of filters has been changed forever! 

Read more: Why Filters are Important for Landscape Photography

Travel Camera Bags and Backpacks

Camera gear for travel photography - Dakine mission photo backpack

A good camera bag or backpack is the foundation of any photographer’s kit. A well-designed pack that fits and carries well when hiking and is equipped with pockets and organizing sections is a must.

We have opted to use camera backpacks for their ease in transporting gear while hiking to various locations. There are many camera bags on the market that may better fit your photography needs and style.

We use three different backpacks depending on the situation and/or gear we need. All of these backpacks are well designed with adjustable belts and straps to properly distribute the pack weight on our bodies while hiking.

The Dakine Mission Photo Backpack is used for smaller landscape excursions that will not require a lot of supplies or the use of large lenses.

The Lowepro Flipside 500 AW Backpack is best for photo trips that will necessitate the use of a large lens like our Nikon 500mm. Since we always carry two camera bodies, Jamie will carry the Dakine pack and Dave will carry the Lowepro so we are prepared for any wildlife or landscape shot. BUT Jamie has no issues using this larger backpack as well.

The Lowepro Pro Trekker 650 AW is a large capacity bag we use to transport our camera gear on the airplane or longer road trips that will require more lenses and supplies.

Finding the right camera bag or backpack will be a personal decision.

Camera Cleaning Kit

Camera gear for travel photography - camera cleaning kit

A quick field cleaning is sometimes necessary to remove dust or water droplets on your lens. NOTE: this is not for cleaning the sensor.

A good camera cleaning kit should include

  • lens pen
  • cleaning fluid in a spray bottle
  • air blower
  • microfiber cleaning cloths
  • soft brush

Remote Shutter Release

Camera gear for travel photography - remote shutter release

A remote shutter release is fantastic for decreasing camera shake caused by the pressure of your finger activating the camera shutter. Using this items results in sharper images.

We’ve used expensive and cheap models and find that most remote shutter release products wear out quickly. We always carry an extra because it’s frustrating when the shutter release goes out on you in the middle of a shoot.

You can compensate for this by using the camera timer, but it is inconvenient. You will need to search for a remote shutter release for your specific camera model.

Memory Cards and Batteries 

Camera Gear for Travel Photography - Lexmar memory card
Camera gear for travel photography - SanDisk memory card

Purchase name brand memory cards. After all, you are trusting your images to the card! Lexar and Sandisk are the best.

You will use the card over and over, so spending a bit more to get a better product, in the long term, will not cost you much more.

CARRY EXTRAS: You don’t want to miss any photographic opportunities due to forgetting to load a memory card or battery in your camera; draining a battery or filling a memory card (or two).

Read the Do’s and Don’ts of Memory Cards by Peta Pixel. They share simple tips to keep your memory cards and images safe now and in the future.


We find the following photography gear items very helpful for taking pictures while traveling.

Camera Clip

Do you ever come across something that you want to photograph, but by the time you got your camera out of the bag, the moment is gone?

This camera clip by Peak Design is AMAZING! We were skeptical that it would hold our DSLR with a heavy lens, but it does.

It’s so nice to have the camera securely attached while hiking – AND readily available for any photo opportunity when it comes along.

Portable External Hard Drive

Camera gear for travel photography - portable external hard drive

Create a photo back-up process that you do at the end of EVERY PHOTO SHOOT. You don’t want to lose photos left in the camera if something corrupts the memory card.

Our image back-up system:

  • IMMEDIATELY after a day of shooting, we download the photos to my main computer if we are home, or the laptop if we’re on the road. 
  • We also copy the photos to a portable external hard drive. These are the back-up copies.
  • Then we save the photos to our cloud storage.

When traveling keep your laptop and portable hard drive in two separate places – if your laptop is locked in the hotel safe while you are out exploring, be sure to carry the portable hard drive with you as they are small and lightweight.

We LOVE the LaCie Rugged portable drives!


Camera gear for travel photography - smartphone

Capturing memorable travel photos doesn’t require lugging around a professional camera. Focus on the basic photography techniques when using your phone to take pictures.

The biggest tip for using your smartphone is the same as using any other camera: UNDERSTAND WHAT YOUR CAMERA CAN DO!

GorillaPod & Mount

When you’re traveling, it’s important to have the right camera gear in order to get the perfect shot. We share all of our favorite camera gear for travel photography including: camera bags, the best camera lenses, camera accessories, camera backpacks, and photography tips. This post is packed full of helpful information. Make sure you save this camera gear guide to your photography board!

Jamie loves the JOBY Grip Tight GorillaPod Stand to use with her smartphone because the legs wrap securely around any surface. It does a wonderful job stabilizing the phone when capturing video sequences as we drive or hike. She uses the stand as a selfie stick as well.

There are GorillaPod stands for point and shoot, DSLR and smart phones. Be sure to get the correct mount for your camera needs.

Some stands don’t include the mount – Jamie likes the metal Jellyfish Mount – read the description of the item to make sure you have a stand AND mount.

External Battery Charger – Anker

photography checklist: Anker portable battery charger

Eliminate the need for an electrical outlet to charge your phone by using an external battery charger.

Jamie uses her smartphone as a camera and video recorder most of the day when we are traveling, which can drain the battery pretty quickly.

An external battery charger gives her phone a full charge when we’re outdoors exploring. She carries it in our backpack and plugs it into her phone so it can charge while we are away from the jeep or hotel.

Adobe Creative Cloud = Lightroom + Photoshop

Camera Gear for photography - Adobe Lightroom

There is no better photo editing program than Adobe Lightroom. It’s also a photo management tool that keeps your images organized in a comprehensive and cohesive way.

For more detailed edits and retouching, Adobe Photoshop is the industry standard. Our article Lightroom: 5 Photo Editing Tips will help you determine if the software is right for you.

We highly recommend the Adobe Creative Cloud for Photographers – it’s well worth the $9.99 a month.

These programs may be difficult to learn so we recommend finding courses or tutorials for beginners to help you get started.

Lightroom Tips Videos

→ Digital Photography School Lightroom Mastery Course

→ Digital Photography School Post Processing Resources

That’s our camera gear checklist. But please remember:

The most important instrument is the person behind the camera who creates the images. The type of camera you have does not determine the photographic outcome.

Be confident in your abilities. Get out there and capture what you love whether you use your cell phone, point-and-shoot, DLSR or video camera.

AMAZON Landscape Photography Books:

landscape photography books

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  1. Going around and taking pictures is something that I always wanted to get better at, but I want to make sure that I am doing it right. It’s good to know that one thing that I might want to invest in is a tripod to help provide more sharpness for my photos. I am glad you pointed out that when it comes to find one that is lightweight to help make it easier for long hikes and other adventures.

    1. Tripods really are the one ESSENTIAL piece of equipment to take your photography to the next level. Find one that is sturdy enough for your camera, yet lightweight enough for the type of traveling you do.

  2. I love this list and all the great tips, pinning it for later! I recently made my first “big” camera purchase, a Sony a6000. I love that it is small and relatively simple to use. I talked to the camera guy for 2 hours about photography, equipment, and travel, and he said something that made so much sense: The best camera is the one you have with you. I know I am not going to carry a ton of equipment and lenses along on all my travels, at least right now, so I need something more compact. It doesn’t matter how great the camera, if you don’t ever actually have it on you.
    Also, I LOVE the GorillaPod! I definitely have to pick that up before my next trip.

    1. I completely agree with the camera guy – use the equipment you have – it’s YOU who creates the image, not the camera. Always evaluate your travel style and photography needs and get the equipment that fits those parameters. You will LOVE the GorillaPod – it’s so amazing and doubles as a selfie stick for me too!

    1. A DLSR camera is not for everyone or all travel scenarios. Get the camera gear that works best for your needs. The big thing is understanding the basic concepts of photography, practice…and keep learning!

  3. I have been searching for a list just like this! I love my Nikon, but I still have the basic kit. I’ve known for a while that I need a new lens and filter to up my photography game but didn’t even know where to start. I’m going to go check these out!

  4. WOW, that’s an extensive list! I don’t think I could get myself to carry this many items with me, but I always travel with one camera body, two lenses and my GoPro. That takes up enough space in my carry on 😀 I would like to get a good lightweight tripod though to step up my landscape photography game!

    1. Yeah, it’s a lot of equipment. We don’t take everything on every trip – it all depends on our photographic goals. The MeFoto tripods are great – check them out.

  5. Great article. I agree with you, in photography, it’s all about the photographer, not the gear. I learned this the more expensive way. I had a t3i -loved it, took great photos, but I wanted more. So I upgraded to the 5d mark 3. Looking back at old photos and comparing it to the new ones, I realize, I still love some of the other photos. I love its composition. Oh well, now I have both, and the experimentation and learning continues!

    1. Too often people upgrade to new equipment not understanding the principles of photography, and get confused when photos didn’t ‘miraculously’ get better. I bet you enjoy that 5DMark3 though 🙂

      1. Oh I definitely do. I love my t3i but there’s many features on the 5d Mark 3 that the t3i doesnt have. Although I still use my t3i to do macro photography since it’s much more affordable.

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