One of our most frequently asked questions is “what kind of travel photography gear do you carry with you when you travel?” We always answer this question with big smiles and ‘well, do you have an hour to talk camera gear?’.
We run Divergent Travelers as a professional travel blog and this means we carry large amounts of gear with us everywhere we travel to around the globe.
It might seem obnoxious to the average traveler, but this is our job and we need this equipment to bring you great content from our travels.
As a couple, we tackle content creation as a team. I handle the majority of the photography and David handles the majority of the video filming, creation, and production.
We’ve spent years learning how to use our travel photography gear and are constantly adapting and growing our skill sets to better showcase the world of travel on our site, social channels and for our clients.
This travel photography gear list is not the be-all, end-all of travel camera gear lists. These items are the ones we prefer to use based on our styles, needs and wants when in the field.
When you grow as a content producer, you’ll start to learn the things you prefer to have over others and it takes time to build the kit that is perfect for your needs.
With that said, we love our equipment and can stand behind recommending each piece to anyone that is looking for something new to add to their own kits.
We’re going to break this post down by what we currently have in our camera bags but we’re also going to tell you some of the other equipment we’ve carried with us before as well.
Ultimate Travel Photography Gear List
Table of Contents
The following list of equipment is what I am currently carrying in my travel camera bag. It’s taken a long time and a lot of trial and error to get it narrowed down but this current setup meets most of my needs while on the road.
First off, before I tell you what is IN my gear bag, let’s talk about WHAT gear bag(s) I have. Honestly, I have a love/hate relationship with camera bags and despite my best efforts, have yet to find the perfect bag for me.
I am not giving up hope, but so far the search has been in vain. I currently alternate between 2 bags depending on the type of trip and location we are visiting.
- Vanguard Alta Sky 45D Camera Backpack – this is my ‘major’ gear bag. It is designed for camera gear and this thing holds A LOT of camera gear. It has served me well in Europe, Africa, Antarctica, South America, Asia, etc but truth be told the fit isn’t perfect for me. I have a short torso (hence my lifetime woe of finding backpacks that work) so when this bag is loaded with gear, it sits on my lower back strangely. I am able to adjust it in the shoulder straps and hip belt, but alas, still gives me back issues when I spend a day hiking with it loaded down. The upside, is that it is small enough to use as a carry-on, so I exclusively do, and it holds all the gear I need, plus my Macbook Pro.
- Pacsafe Venturesafe X30 Backpack – this is not a camera bag, it’s a hiking backpack but it works fine. It fits me really well and I have converted it into a camera bag by using camera inserts I removed from another bag. The limiting factor here is that I can only carry a small amount of camera gear with me. My camera insert holds 1 spare lens (not my telephoto) and my camera body with a lens attached. If I squeeze things just right I can fit a couple of filters, batteries, charger and my strap in there but it’s a tight fit. It’s great for trips when I won’t need a variety of lenses or accessories. I also use the hydration slip as a laptop sleeve.
Other bags I use for travel photography and find incredibly useful, depending on the job and destination, include:
- Think Tank Holster 50 V2.0 – I LOVE this holster sling bag for working in the field. Particularly because it has a solid, shaped form that doesn’t collapse AND it fits my camera when a telephoto lens is attached.
- Think Tank Holster 20 V2.0 – This bag is made exactly like the one above, except it houses shorter lenses. I often carry two bodies with me in the field and this is a great way to protect your cameras when doing this. When we were traveling in Antarctica, I used this setup exclusively when we made landings and went on zodiac trips.
Over the years I have tried so, so many camera gear bags. We’ve written about this journey and highlighted many of these bags in the below articles too. If you’re on a similar journey, be sure to read these as well.
- Best Camera Sling Bags: Top 5 + How to Choose the Right One
- Hiking Camera Backpack for Travel: Top 5 + How to Choose
- How to Choose the Best Camera Backpack for Travel
- Sony A7Riii Body – After shooting on Canon for my entire photography career, I decided to make the switch to Sony and moved to a mirrorless system. This was a steep learning curve but now that I’m in the groove I absolutely love the decision. The technology in these bodies is unmatched and I find that this has changed the way I shoot photos, in a good way.
- Canon 6d DSLR Body – I love this full-frame body and the Canon 6D performs very well in low light conditions too. At the beginning of 2020, I switched to a mirrorless Sony system, but I kept this body and a couple of Canon lenses. It is a great backup camera or second body when needed.
- GoPro Hero 9 Black – we actually take a ton of photos with our GoPro cameras when we travel. They allow you to capture unique perspectives in situations where it isn’t easy or possible to use a DSLR.
- GoPro Hero 8 Black – We love our GoPro cameras. You can’t go wrong with a camera that can be used on any adventure and the GoPro can take on any adventure you throw at it.
- GDome Underwater System – this is the most fun piece of equipment we have right now. Ever wondered how we capture those awesome over/underwater photos? This little device, paired with our GoPro, does just that.
- iPhone 11 Max – yep, we use our phones to capture moments during our travels too. Mostly, we will use our phone to create stuff for social media and editorial use. The technology on the newer phones is so good that it’s a tool we do not overlook to grab shots on the road.
If you’re looking for advice on what cameras to buy, be sure to take a look at these articles too:
- Best Camera for Safari: How to Choose & What to Avoid
- Top 5 Best Wildlife Photography Cameras
- How to Decide Which GoPro to Buy
- Best Drones for Adventure and Travel Photography from A Real Drone User
My Lens Collection
Lenses are the most important part of your travel photography gear kit. Your photos will be affected by the quality and types of glass you use on your body.
Having top quality lenses should be your first goal in buying the equipment as it will give you the best chances of capturing sharp, quality images.
- Sony 16-35mm f2.8 GM Wide Lens – this lens rivals the below for an everyday lens for me. With it being wide, it gives you a bit more room to be creative and capture things, especially in tight spaces. I use this lens a lot.
- Sony 24-105mm f4 G OSS Lens – this is my everyday walk-around lens. I shoot the majority of my photos with this lens. I am not crazy about it being f/4 but the compromise is a bit more zoom length. This is worth it for me as travel photography requires flexibility when walking around.
- Sony 200-600mm f5.6 G OSS Lens – Instead of going with the 100-400 in Sony, as I intended to keep the Canon 100-400 lens, I opted for more reach. This lens is crazy sharp but heavy. I can shoot it handheld, but not all day like I could the 100-400. I use it with a monopod or tripod and exclusively for shooting wildlife.
- Canon 24-105mm L Lens – kept this lens for my Canon system as a backup.
- Canon 100-400mm L Lens – this lens has a fabulous, high-quality telephoto zoom, so I kept it around when I switched systems. I don’t take this lens on every trip, but I’ve used it a lot to photograph wildlife in Africa and Southeast Asia.
If you’re looking for advice on which lenses you should purchase, be sure to check out the following articles:
Filters are absolutely necessary for creating great shots. They help you control the light that enters the lens and cut glare in your photos.
There is a massive variety of filters and they come in a wide spectrum of quality and use. When it comes to filters, you get what you pay for. These are the filters I carry and use.
- B+W Circular Polarizer MRC 77mm – if you are only going to carry one filter, then hands down it should be a circular polarizer. This filter will reduce glare and pump up the color in your photos. If you have ever wondered how I get those eye-popping shots of the water, this is the key.
- B+W UV Filter MRC 77mm – I use a UV filter on my lens to mainly protect my expensive glass investment. This filter will also reduce light flare in the lens but I use it for protective reasons.
- ND4, ND6 & ND8 Neutral Density Filters – I do carry a small collection of ND filters with me but this is not an item I use very often. They come in handy if you want to take long exposures of a waterfall, river or the ocean during daylight hours.
For more advice on choosing filters, be sure to check out these articles too:
- Best Polarizing Filters: Top 5 + How to Choose the Right One
- Best ND Filters: Top 5 + How To Choose the Right One
- Best UV Filter: Top 5 + How To Choose the Right One
- Best GoPro Filters: Top 5 + How to Choose the Right Ones
Photography Accessory Collection
- Peak Design Capture Camera Clip V3 – this little accessory has been a game-changer for me when it comes to hiking. I used to struggle with where to put my bug camera when I was carrying a pack. With this clip, I can attach my camera to ANY backpack leaving my hands (and hips) free to move. I do not go anywhere without this item.
- Vanguard VEO 2 265CB Carbon Tripod – a tripod is essential to capture sharp night shots, sharp depth of field and long exposures. Traveling with one is a pain but it’s essential to creating good content. This particular tripod is lightweight and packs well. We carry two of them with us on most trips.
- Vanguard VEO 2 AM234 Aluminum Monopod – we also never leave home without this item. It is great for stabilizing the long telephoto lenses and video equipment.
- Sony RM-VPR1 Remote Switch – an essential for timelapse, long exposures in Bulb and HDR. Note, these are not universal, so be sure you do some research on which one your camera needs before purchasing.
- SanDisk Extreme Pro SD Cards – we both carry lots of fast memory and only use extreme pro cards that write at 95mbps. They deliver top quality and write faster than I can click the shutter button.
- Batteries – I probably have no less than 4 spare batteries on me at any given time. Not because I go through the battery, these things actually hold a charge forever and last a long time, but because you never know what could happen. Batteries die, they drop to the ground and shatter, they go missing and they fall apart. Always pack spares.
- Optech Sling Comfort Strap – I adore this strap and it goes a long way for my comfort when I am carrying my camera around all day, every day when traveling. It has a neoprene padding that has never rubbed or chaffed me. It distributes the weight well and I can’t live without it.
For advice on choosing the best camera accessories, be sure to read the following articles:
Other Camera Gear I’ve Used
- Canon 60d DSLR Body – this body served me well for a long time and was used to capture many of the photos you have seen on our blog and social channels over the past couple of years. I’ve only been shooting on the Canon 6D for a year, so everything prior to that was captured on this bad boy. Great camera. The current model is Canon 90d.
- Canon Remote Switch – this switch works for the Canon 60/90d camera body for long exposures.
- Canon Rebel T2i Body – was my first DSLR body. I outgrew it pretty fast so I didn’t carry it very long but it is a really great starter camera. The current model is the Canon Rebel T7i.
- Opteka 6.5mm Wide Angle-Fisheye Lens – it is crazy fun and I used it a lot in Africa to capture astrophotography. It’s formatted for a crop sensor though, so I won’t be using it on the Canon 6d body.
Travel Video Gear
Now that you’ve seen inside my photography gear bag, we’re going to take a look into David’s camera gear bag. He produces the video that you see on our website and social channels with a wide variety of video gear.
We carry our gear separately and always carry all of it on the plane. Some people check their drones, but I think that is crazy.
Vanguard Alta Sky 51D Backpack – this bag has proved priceless for us. It’s the perfect bag for every piece of equipment that David needs to carry when we travel. It holds EVERYTHING. Drone, camera, accessories, and laptop. It’s too big for me to carry but it works well for him and we highly recommend this bag for the function and quality.
Travel Video Cameras
- DJI Mavic 2 Pro Drone – we capture all of our aerial photography and video with this bad boy. It was top of the line when we bought it and it produces exceptional quality.
- Sony FDRAX53/B 4K HD Video Recording Camcorder – This is one of the best professional video cameras on the market. Shots full 4K and is easy to use. It has lots of manual adjustments that allow us to capture some pretty epic video clips.
- GoPro Hero 8 Black – this is the best GoPro yet! We just added this camera to the kit and after using it a couple of times already, we love the quality. Really looking forward to having it in the kit.
- GoPro Karma Grip – the ultimate in stabilization for the GoPro. We recently added this to the video kit and so far we are loving it. Very stable, very high-quality content coming from this device.
- iPhone 11 Max – oddly, we don’t mind using our iPhone to capture quick video clips, do FB live, Snapchat and Instagram Stories. Yea, it’s not a fancy video camera but it produces pretty good quality and it very handy.
Travel Video Filters
Filters really go a long way to capturing quality in video footage. We use the same types of filters for a video that we do for photography but since the lens sizes are different, I will list them out for you.
- Polar Pro Drone Filter Kit – these are the best filters on the market for the DJI drones. We made the mistake of buying cheap filters when we first bought the drone and it ruined all our footage. Don’t skimp on filters, you really do get what you pay for.
- B+W UV Filter 72mm – used to protect the lens glass and reduce light flare.
- B+W 72mm Circular Polarizer MRC – this filter will reduce glare and pump up the color in your photos.
- Polar Pro Polarizer for GoPro Hero 4 – for the same reasons you want the polarizer above, this makes the colors really pop on GoPro photos.
Travel Video Accessories
- Drone Controller Monitor Hood – this thing is brilliant in blocking the sun from the iPad screen when we are flying the drone.
- Drone Controller Range Booster – if you’ve ever had connection issues when flying your drone, you wouldn’t leave home without these!
- GorillaPod Flexi Tripod – this little guy comes in handy when we want to do timelapse with the phone or GoPro cameras. On occasion, we will use it to fix the DSLR too.
- Go Pro Sport Pole – must-have for capturing selfies with your GoPro. We also use it to film underwater from boats and docks.
Photography Storage & Post Processing
- MacBook Pro – we each carry a Macbook Pro 16 inch with 750GB RAM and 1TB HD. These computers are massive workhorses and handle the load of processing all our photos and video from our travels. They’re lightning-fast and allow us to be processing and multi-tasking at the same time. We love them.
- Adobe Premiere Pro – all of our video editing is done with this software. We pay the monthly fee to Adobe to use it from their online source.
- Adobe Lightroom – rather than using the online version, I own the hard copy and have it installed on my Macbook.
- WD 2TB My Passport External Hard Drive – we have several of these things and use them to back up and store all of our photos and footage
- WD 1TB My Passport External Hard Drive – while we have a couple of 1TB, I prefer the 2TB size above because I store both RAW and edited files.
- WD Nomad Rugged Case– we never worry about our hard drives for anything with these cases. They keep out the dust, moisture, and sun. We don’t even worry about dropping them, this case is awesome.
- Universal Power Strip – one of these is absolutely necessary to keep everything charged.
- Portable Power Bank – this comes in handy to keep the phone and GoPro charged if we have a long day of filming.
- Skross World Travel Adapter – this is the best adapter we have found for plugging in our 3 prong power strip.
- SmugMug – we use SmugMug to store and showcase photos. It’s a great platform and if you’re interested in signing up, the link will get you 20% off your first subscription to the service.
So there you have it, this is all of our gear that we carry and travel with us all around the world. We use this equipment to create quality content and showcase the globe. Everyone has their own needs and wants when it comes to photography gear bu this works for us.
Keep in mind there is no one size fits all with camera equipment but if you’ve ever wondered what we use to create our content, there you have it.