What’s in my bag?

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One thing I always wish is that I had a Mary Poppins Camera Bag, anyone else on the same page? A bag that fits endless amount of gear, is super light to carry no matter what you have inside and you can just throw it all in without a worry in the world about airline carry-on limits. Ah, wouldn’t that be just perfection!

Well, it unfortunately doesn’t exist and is the reason why I get so many questions about what’s in my bag when photographing on the road.

We’ve all been there before, you arrive at the check-in desk thinking you’ve totally got it sorted this time, your luggage will meet all the requirements and your camera gear is nice and snug, safe for the journey ahead. Then they weigh it and it’s been eating a little too much cake. You have to either pay for extra luggage allowance or shuffle the gear around in front of everyone wrapping lenses into your underpants to ensure they are safely packed now they can’t travel with you on board.

I’ve just made the switch to mirrorless which means less weight and more gear! I took my first trip to Iceland with the Olympus gear listed below and am so amazed at what a difference lighter equipment makes. Not only did I not have one back ache the entire trip (usually something that happens without fail after an hour of taking photos), but it all fits in my bag and I can take every lens with me for a hike!

When travelling overseas for a week or two I like to plan ahead and think of what I’ll be doing during the trip to decide upon which gear I take with me. More often than not for a city trip or if you’re planning to document something cultural with monuments and people I’ll pack my 25mm or standard zoom lens. I find for exploring cities this is the perfect amount of gear. For landscape shots I like to have my wide angle lens along with a zoom in my bag, especially if I’m doing a hike or visiting scenery for the specific purpose of shooting large vistas.

Getting back to packing for a flight, I’ve had a snazzy little Lowepro Pro Roller Lite 150AW wheelie bag for the past three years. It fits all of my essentials, weighs around 7kg (feels like 12kg) when full to meet carry-on restrictions and everything is super safe and snug inside the bag. Having wheels just makes life at the airport super breezy too!

Any extra items I want to take with me I just wrap up and pop into my main luggage. Lately I’ve been packing my Underwater Housing as I’m a bit obsessed with shooting split-level landscape shots in lakes, rivers and the ocean. The housing is too large for the Pro Roller bag but it’s super sturdy so I just ensure the glass lens hoods are with me on board and the rest will be fine inside my suitcase.

For day wanderings I then break my gear down so I’m simply carrying around one camera with my 25mm lens and have my other lens in the bag so it’s there if I need it. The rest I leave in my hotel. I fell in love with a camera bag online from JoTotes a few months ago, purchased it on a whim and am SO happy I did…I’ve used it every single day as either a camera bag or handbag and it’s still going strong.

Here’s a little list of what’s in my bag for a trip…

Main Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II (details)

City/Handbag Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II (details)

Action Camera: Olympus TG-Tracker

Lenses:

25mm f1.8 Lens
14-150mm II Lens
7-14mm f2.8 PRO Black
12-40mm f2.8 PRO Black
40-150mm f2.8 PRO Black

PT-EP14 Underwater Housing for E-M1 Mark II

Lexar PRO SDXC 64GB 2000x SD Cards

Two external portable hard drive (always back up your images in at least two places!)

Power plug adaptors (relevant to destination)

Asus Laptop – that’s got a few bumps and bruises but still works surprisingly!

I would love to hear what you take with you in your bag abroad or on photography day trips! If you have any questions or would love to share what’s in your bag let me know below in the comments section…

Happy travels!

 

 

 

 

Lisa Michele Burns

Lisa Michele Burns

Photographer at The Wandering Lens
Lisa is the founder and photographer behind The Wandering Lens. As an Australian currently based in France she's never in one place for too long and is always looking for the next destination to photograph whether it be above or below the water. With 10+yrs as a professional photographer, all advice found on this site is from Lisa's personal experience on the road.
Lisa Michele Burns

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16 Comments

  1. Genevieve

    October 2, 2015 at 3:32 am

    This post is so helpful, thank you! I’ve been sticking to my 18-55 mm Nikon lens while I work on getting better at taking DSLR photos, but now I’m at a stage where I want to try using other lenses too. I’m overseas at the moment and just took the above lens, leaving the zoom lens at home, but I’m going to research the lenses you’ve mentioned here, it’s a great, simple list among an Internet full of long, complicated, expensive lists. Thank you!

    • thewanderinglens

      October 3, 2015 at 1:23 am

      So great to hear Genevieve! The 50mm is a great lens for street or detail shots and is nice and cheap, the others require a bit more of an investment but for me they are worth their weight in gold and I’ve had my lenses for about 5years! Trusty little sidekicks 🙂

  2. Ed K.

    April 11, 2016 at 11:36 am

    Lisa, Love your site ! I found it researching an upcoming trip to Italy in a couple weeks. I’m looking for some gear advice.I shoot crop sensor, going to Venice, Florence, Rome and Sorrento. I’m taking my 10-22 and 16-105 lenses. Torn over lugging my 70-300mm with me.( Its one of sharpest lens !) Did you find a need for extra length in Italy travels?

    Thanks Ed K.

    • thewanderinglens

      April 11, 2016 at 1:16 pm

      Hi Ed, thanks so much, I’m glad you found me! Exciting to hear you’re off to Italy soon, so many photo opportunities around every corner. Regarding your lens it depends on what you’re looking to shoot but I know personally I’d regret leaving a favourite lens at home. I always travel with my 28-300mm when visiting cities because there are usually those moments when you need the extra length, especially in Venice to zoom in on gondolas in the canals or from Villa Borghese in Rome at sunset…I hesitate when it comes to packing a heavy lens but usually end up taking it 🙂 Have a great trip!

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  5. Michelle

    June 4, 2017 at 7:09 am

    Hey there!

    I stumbled across your page and its infinite travel wisdom! I am planning a long trip (4+ months) to Europe in the next year and am conflicted about lenses to bring with me. I have the Canon Rebel t5i with the 18-135mm kit lens. I am considering bringing a wide angle (10-18mm) and a prime lens (24mm or 50mm) with me, but since I will be backpacking I don’t want to worry about lugging around three lenses. Any suggestions?

    • thewanderinglens

      June 24, 2017 at 5:33 am

      Hi Michelle,
      Lovely to hear from you and super exciting you’re heading to Europe for a huge trip! The 18-135mm lens will be great to have as a versatile lens and then it would be a matter of what you think you’ll use and what you’re aiming to capture. If you love mountains, waterfals, natural wonders then having a wide angle will be beneficial. On the other hand, a 50mm is one of my favourites for street photography, portraits and detail shots of things like flowers, cool artwork etc.
      Did I just answer and say you should take them all and break your back carrying them!? Sorry haha!
      Where are you headed in Europe?

  6. Melissa Conn

    July 19, 2017 at 3:01 am

    Hi Lisa,

    This is so helpful! Could you help me with lens advice? We’re about to take a trip around the world for a year with our two little kids, so I sadly have to leave my Rebel at home due to space/weight issues. I’ll just be bringing my Olympus E-M10 (original). Right now I have the 14-42 EZ 3.5-5.6, but I’m thinking about another. I’m leaning toward the 17mm 1.8, but do you have another suggestion? I’ll be photographing landscapes, wildlife, kids, cities… the whole gamut!

    Thanks in advance 🙂

    • thewanderinglens

      July 20, 2017 at 7:01 am

      Hi Melissa,
      Great to hear! Super exciting you’re taking a trip around the world with your kids, what an adventure! The Olympus E-M10 is actually what I also have as a back up to my OM-D E-M1 Mark II and it’s great for travel shots. I have a 25mm lens on mine at most times but also have a 14-150mm f4-5.6 that’s really versatile too and could be a great second lens for you to have. Having a standard zoom lens with a little extra reach that what you’ve already got will allow you to capture a range of subjects and as you’ve mentioned you’ll be shooting landscapes, cities and your kids, it’s probably best to invest in a lens similar to the 14-150mm. However, I do love a good prime lens and having the 17mm 1.8 would allow you amazing results in low light for landscape photography. I’m pretty horrible at suggesting gear, I always sway two ways haha. They’re pretty tiny lenses though…any room for both 😉
      Where are you off to for your trip?

      • Melissa Conn

        July 21, 2017 at 5:28 am

        Thanks for your reply, Lisa!

        I’ve been staring at that 14-150 and I found a great deal on a used one from a reputable shop!

        But then, I was just looking at someone’s landscape photos with the MkII and the ones I liked were mostly taken with the 9-18. Tough choices, right?

        I’m trying to avoid spending a ton of money and carrying a ton of weight/volume, but I could see potentially wanting A LOT of options on such a long trip. Our itinerary is Panama, Chile, Argentina, NZ, Australia, Thailand, Japan, Israel, Greece, Portugal and Holland… total international time around 10 months!

        • thewanderinglens

          July 23, 2017 at 7:28 pm

          Wow Melissa, what an incredible itinerary you’ve got lined up! I can definitely see why you want to get your gear sorted 🙂
          Definitely a tough choice but also once you’ve decided on a lens, I think regardless of what you choose you’ll make it work. I find that if I’ve only got a 25mm it’s challenging at first but then makes you seek new angles etc.
          Do you have Instagram at all? Would love to follow your adventures!

          • Melissa Conn

            August 8, 2017 at 4:56 pm

            Sorry for the delay! You can follow us at @thefamilyvoyage. Still in packing mode, but we start road tripping at the end of the month

            I haven’t bought it yet due to an eBay snafu, but I decided on the 9-18. Hope I like it! If I feel really limited, I can always look for a tele on the road.

          • thewanderinglens

            August 14, 2017 at 1:19 am

            That’s great Melissa! Thanks for sharing your account too, I’ve just followed so I can follow along on your big adventure ahead 🙂

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