Admittedly, I used to carry too much gear, way too much. There were so many extras for ‘just in case’ moments that my bag weighed a ton. To be honest, most of it went unused and was just along for the ride. However, since switching to the Peak Design Everyday Messenger Bag, I’ve slimmed down on gear, that was a good thing. I went from carrying a backpack with everything in the world to just essential items; again, a good thing. This led me back to an article I read by Ken Rockwell a couple of years ago where he stated, “trying to be prepared for everything makes you prepared for nothing.” That makes total sense now, Rockwell continued, “carry less and you’ll be more relaxed and have better time, again leading to more fun and better pictures.” (1) Not only is this great advice but it really works! I have my bag, with just this stuff now, I’m no long digging through a camera bag looking for stuff but actually shooting more. GAS, or Gear Acquisition Syndrome, is a very bad thing (see an article to fight GAS) (2). So here is essentially what has been in my bag for a while now.
Starting on on the outside, attached is the Peak Design Capture Pro (above) to carry a camera on the front of the bag, something that comes in very handy. Attached to the key connector behind the Capture Pro tucked away in a pocket is a Nano Light for emergencies. On the reverse side is an REI Square Luggage Tag that semi-blocks out personal info (left) at the casual glance. If the bag were lost, the finder would simply unscrew the cable and pull out the name card for the contact info, it’s not difficult. That’s it for the outside, pretty simple. Once the bag is opened, there are a couple of Ziplit lights attached to the zippers and these things rock! These little lights take up no space, probably weigh less than a penny, but will adequately light the inside of a camera bag. (below) I hardly ever use them but they have come in handy. Again, bang for the buck, they’re cheap, weigh nothing, can be hung just about anywhere, and take up no space when not in use.
Inside the bag’s main compartment is a Canon EOS 6d with the EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM attached most of the time. There is also the EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 L DO IS USM and EF 16-35mm f/4 L IS USM in the lens partitions and a EF 40mm f/2.8 STM laying in the bottom of the bag for when I don’t want to be out with a big lens. That’s pretty much it, the rest of the bag contains items that are worth the space/weight vs functionality they bring:
-Extra batteries and memory cards: Lets face it, without these you’re done! Keep multiple backups, I once read somewhere that US Navy SEALS preach, “two is one, one is none” and that makes a whole lot of sense. Having no batteries or cards is the same as forgetting your lenses; whatever you were doing today, it’s not taking pics.
–Nikon Lensmen: Takes little space and is great for a quick lens touch up.
–Giottos Rocket-Air: Great for blowing off your sensor between lens changes.
–Petzel head lamp: Great for going to new places in the dark.
–Peak Design Cuff: Like my 24-105mm lens, this is on the camera most of the time because if attaches so easily and provides safety from dropping a camera. Unless the camera in on a tripod, the cuff is attached.
–Tilley hat: Easily folds up and stored in the laptop compartment. Ideal for shade and rain!
–Disposable rain poncho: Nothing worse than being wet, well being wet and cold is worse.
–Glow sticks: Instant light if everything else goes wrong. Living in Europe taught me that you can’t take technology for granted. One glow stick gives me hours of light.
-Business cards: I’m always handing these out when someone approaches me.
-Band aids, Sun block, SPF Lip balm
-Camera body cap
This looks like a lot of items but it’s really not, mainly small stuff. These items have come in very handy and like I said earlier, when ditching the old backpack I needed to look at what was actually used/needed vice what was ‘nice to have’ in the bag. I would never tell anyone “this is what you need” but have to say that much of this list comes from other lists I’ve found online. Going back to Ken Rockwell’s advice to carry less and having a better time shooting, well it has lead to more fun and better pictures for me.
Ken Rockwell, How to Make Great Photographs, 2016, http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/howto.htm (accessed April 6, 2016).
Eric Kim, 10 Practical Tips for Fighting G.A.S., Nov 25, 2015, http://petapixel.com/2015/11/25/10-practical-tips-for-fighting-g-a-s-gear-acquisition-syndrome/ (accessed April 20, 2016).