As a videographer, we never want to check a bag of equipment when we travel. Why? Well, your baggage could get lost or something could get damaged under the plane -- and that’s a travel vlogger’s worst nightmare! So then really our only option is to do our best to take all the essential video equipment as a carry-on. This means we have to be wise about what we bring due to strict carry-on weight and size requirements.
I recently travelled to Corfu, Greece with 19lbs (8.6 kg) of video equipment all in one backpack. Here is what I brought and why I recommend it:
A versatile and waterproof backpack
The key to a great camera gear backpack is that it can hold everything you need. In my recent trip to Greece I brought with me the Inrigo Smart waterproof backpack. It can hold up to 30 liters of space and you can take it with you outdoors and it will protect all your equipment from water. It will also notify you with an app if your backpack is too hot or humid for your equipment.
Ultra-compact fluid head video tripod
When you are travelling, you don’t want to bring a huge and bulky tripod with you. Manfrotto recently released a brand-new ultra-compact aluminum tripod designed specifically for travel videography. And it weighs less than 1lb!
A mirrorless camera
Over the past two years, mirrorless cameras have become more popular than the standard DSLR. Why? Because of weight! They are much lighter and less bulky - so it’s easy to travel with. While many vloggers would say they prefer Sony mirrorless cameras, I use a Canon EOS M3 for all of my video production, in the studio and while I travel. I chose the camera mainly for it’s value at a low price. Right now the camera is under $400 and it shoots 1080p HD /30fps, microphone jack, manual and auto-focus (touch-screen focus) and a flip up selfie screen for vlogging. In May of this year, Canon also released a new Canon M50 which now has a viewfinder and shoots 4k at 30fps.
Mirrorless cameras work just like DSLR cameras and they support interchangeable lenses. If you are primarily vlogging, I recommend bringing one solid wide-angle lens for most of your filming. In order to use EF mount Canon lenses with a Canon Mirrorless you need to also get a M to EF lens Adaptor.
If you want to walk and talk to your camera with ease or place your camera on a fence or hang it from a tree, the Joby GorillaPod is a must have. Joby also released a new GorillaPod Rig which comes with two arms where you can also place a shotgun microphone and a light on or attach another camera like a GoPro. The rig also comes with a carrying strap so you can easily carry your rig while on the go.
A travel vlog is no longer a vlog without some awesome aerial shots! Today, drone videography is easily accessible. I currently own a Yuneec Breeze, which is a budget and compact drone that you can fly with your phone and controller. It comes with a selfie mode, orbit mode and journey modes so the drone can follow you while you are on the go. The batteries only last for about 12 minutes so I recommend buying 3-4 for travel.
If you are going to be driving ATVS, sailing, or going underwater you definitely want to have an action camera that you can bring with you during the more active part of your adventures. On my trip to Greece I brought my Removu K1 all-in-one self stabilizing gimbal camera (get 5% off with code: GAL5). With Removu I shot stable 4k video, slow motion and timelapse shots on the move.
If you want to go under water, I’d recommend getting the GoPro Hero HD Waterproof Action camera. You can place the GoPro Hero on your Joby GorillaPog Rig for some awesome selfie shots or get the headmount for POV shots.
Memory Cards and Card Carrying case
My Canon M3 takes SD cards and I like to take at least four 32 gb SD cards with me. Since action camera usually take microSD cards, I also take at least four 32gb microSD cards with me as well.
Self-Reading Compact Hard-Drive
Earlier this year LaCie partnered with DJI to create a computer free way of travel vloggers to backup their memory cards direct to a drive. They created “Copilot.” It’s a 2TB portable drive that can read footage and charge your devices without a computer. You can copy your files directly to copilot from cameras, drones, and USB devices via Copliot’s SD card slot and/or the USB port. You can view, playback, delete or rename files by connecting Copilot to your phone with the cable that it comes with.
On-Camera Shotgun mic
When vlogging you can attach your shotgun to your mirrorless camera shoemount or attach it to one of the arms on your Joby GorillaPod rig. You can also use this mic to capture ambient sound from your travel, such as the waves crashing on the shore.
Lav Mic Set (Optional)
If you plan on doing any interviews while you travel it’s important to capture good audio. The saramonic lav kit is an excellent budget option for you and I even use the kit to record myself talking and the audio is much more direct and doesn’t pick up as much background noise as the on-camera Rode shotgun mic.
If you are out all day filming and taking photos it is likely that your phone will run out of battery. I recommend getting a portable power bank which you can charge at your hotel overnight and bring with you in case you need to give your iPhone an extra charge while on the go.
Universal Adaptors, Chargers and Rechargeable AA Batteries
When you are travelling having extra batteries for your equipment is essential. I’d recommend having 4 batteries for your main camera, 2 extra batteries for your drone, and an 8-set of rechargeable double AA batteries for your lav mics.
Accessory Pouch for adaptors, cables, headphones etc
Your cables and chargers can also turn into a mess! This is why I use a felt storage pouch to place all my cables, in-ear headphones and adaptors.
A laptop for editing (optional)
If you want to edit your video or photos while you travel to save time, I’d recommend the 15” Macbook Pro for speed and reliability. Bringing the Macbook Pro though will add a significant weight to your load, this is why I suggested bringing the LaCie Copilot drive which can read and backup footage without the use of the computer.
Total Weight *: 19lbs (8.6 kg)
*(including optional Laptop and lav mic kit)
Check airline weight restrictions
Most U.S. domestic flights will not weigh carry-on backpacks unless it looks oversize in dimensions. For international flights, however, you can bring on a max carry-on weight of 13lb or 6kg. Most international airlines will weigh your carry on at check in.
Place less expensive items in checked-bag
If you need to remove weight from your carry-on backpack, I’d recommend moving lesser valuable items into your checked bag, such as the portable chargers, batteries and tripods. This will lessen your load and also take away any anxiety thoughts that the airline would want to check your backpack.
Wear your backpack at the check-in counter
When I flew to Greece on a charter plane from Warsaw, Poland they did not check my backpack weight. At the check in counter they weighed my checked bag which had my clothes and personal items. But since I had no carry-on roller bag, just a backpack on, the airline saw saw no issue. Little did they know, however, that my back had over 19 lbs in it! I passed through security and my iNrigo filled backpack fit perfectly on the overhead plane compartment with ease.
If you have any questions about this equipment or travel please leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be sure to help out! Be sure to also check out my YouTube channel and happy traveling!