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.
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8 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?

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