Road Trip Ready: Must-Have Equipment for Your Next Photography Adventure

Road Trip Ready: Must-Have Equipment for Your Next Photography Adventure

Summer is finally here, and it’s the perfect time to embark on your next photographic adventure. You’ve meticulously scouted locations, carefully booked your night stays, and secured that reliable rental car. But have you honestly considered all the essential gear to make your photography adventure a thrilling success?

Summer is synonymous with hot days, ice cream, and time at the swimming pool. But for us photographers, it’s also the season of road trips! I recently embarked on the ultimate ten-day American road trip, Route 66. This road trip was a true adventure stretching over 2,400 miles across eight states. Over the last two years, I have taken several weekend trips, including visits to White Sands National Park and Zion National Park. I also hit the road twice last year, traveling through Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota. I packed the car and headed to Colorado to visit Great Sand Dunes National Park and Mesa Verde National Park.

Every road trip came with challenges, from maximizing space in limited baggage to the luxury of almost unlimited space in a rental car. But I was determined to overcome them, and here’s the gear that helped me overcome these challenges and reassured me of its adaptability in various situations!

Road Trip Ready: Must-Have Equipment for Your Next Photography Adventure

Several years ago, a sales rep who had visited the camera store where I worked introduced me to the Hanual Procube Charger. It piqued my interest. For one, it can charge two batteries at once. I don’t like having to charge one battery at a time, as I want to complete the most work quickly. It’s a worthy friend to have on a road trip due to its fast and rapid charging capabilities, USB port, and, ultimately, it includes a 12V car lead. Now, you can plug it into your vehicle and charge batteries while hitting the open road. I placed it on the dash of the Nissan Rogue and made it easy to access while working from the vehicle. 

Introducing the most convenient battery ever created, the Promaster USB-C Rechargeable Battery. Almost every vehicle these days has a USB-C port somewhere. Occasionally, it would be best to have an easy and convenient way to charge the battery on the road or while walking around when your Hanual Procube fully charges two batteries. You plug it in with the supplied USB-A to USB-C cable and charge it directly from a power bank or a port in your vehicle. I’ll have to say, this isn’t the quickest way to charge the battery, as it takes roughly four and a half hours, but in a pinch, it’s a lifesaver!

There never seems to be enough power while on the road between trying to charge batteries, laptops, and all the other gear you have. This is especially true when you need a place to plug your laptop in while backing up images on the road. My vehicle is my office and home on the road. I sleep in the back of an SUV, and the passenger seat is set up with my laptop each evening. It allows me unlimited power for my computer while charging my iPhone through one of the USB-C or USB-A ports.

This bag is my go-to bag whether flying or hitting the open road. Space isn’t a problem for holding all my essential gear, from the camera, lenses, filters, batteries, and much more. One might say I try to fit fifty pounds of potatoes in a 5-pound sack! The biggest issue while flying is the overhead bin space, as I fly through many regional airports that support much smaller jets! The bag fits in every overhead bin or usually under the seat if I don’t stuff it and has held up through the rigors of airport security.

When traveling, I don’t use conventional luggage. How often have you seen relatively new luggage on the bag carousel, clothes falling out, or luggage wrapped in plastic wrap or duct tape? This bag has two purposes. First, I pack my tripod, hygiene products, and clothes to check in at the airline counter. Two, it’s a second camera bag. If I go for a long hike at a location, I can use this bag to haul all my camera gear and non-camera gear in one bag. This allows for a much more comfortable experience for long hikes and easy access to my gear due to the integrated belt pack that rotates to the front for easy access. Talk about a beast of a bag due to the quality. It has endured many trips through multiple airlines and bag transfers and has held up with no end in sight of retirement.

Small cables and accessories are the bane of any photographer’s existence. I have all three sizes of the EDC Pouches. These will keep you organized on the road. I use them to house my portable hard drives, cables, charging bricks, business cards, phone and computer chargers, and a light meter. These will all fit into my camera bag, keeping it organized. It also saves Mr. Money in the unlikely event I lose gear by just throwing it in a car seat!

It wouldn’t be a road trip without snacks! The Freeway Long Haulers and Organizer cubes are essential items for any road trip, long or short. From the organization of snacks to even clothing! I have used the larger Longhaul 50 with the organizer cubes to store clothes. Mostly, I use these as the go-to bags for all those miscellaneous items. Everything from snacks to an atlas, and they are pretty much a catch-all bag! When I roll up to a hotel, I grab and go and only carry less than three bags!

Don’t get me wrong; I love having the GPS hooked to Apple CarPlay. But we all know that the GPS isn’t always correct or takes us way off the beaten path sometimes, and sometimes it just doesn’t work without cellular reception! I always take along the Rand McNally Motor Carriers Atlas. It trumps paper maps if you can even find one. Overall, hands down, it is more detailed, has a spiral binding and laminated pages, and, over time, holds up better. Most of all, it is a lifeline in case the GPS fails, or it has no clue where you are!

These are just a few items you can take on your next photographic trip. The biggest challenges you will face while traveling are power and space to store all your items. As photographers, we have a good idea of the time of day, composition, exposure, and equipment we use to create our photographs. However, we don’t always consider all the non-photographic items as we tend to focus on our trip’s photographic aspect. Ultimately, I pack several must-have pieces of equipment before any road trip! What are your road trip must-haves?

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