When I go out on a shoot, I like to make sure I have everything with me BEFORE I leave the office. I have several checklists that I use in order to help my aging brain keep up with my needs. I’d bring different items to photograph a wedding than I would Coastal Brown Bears in Alaska. Accordingly, I have multiple lists that depend on the job. Here is my outdoor/nature photography checklist. NOTE: This list is not weather dependent – in cold climates I add my cold-weather gear checklist which I’ll share later.

* Two Nikon D3 bodies
* D3 Camera Manual
* Nikon D90 Body
* D90 Camera Manual
* Nikon MC-36 Multi-Function Remote Cord
* Wimberley Gimbal Mount Tripod Head
* Acratech GV2 Ballhead
* Gitzo Carbon Fibre Tripod
* Two Fresh Fully Charged D3 Camera Body Batteries
* Two Spare D3 Camera Body Batteries
* D3 Battery Charger
* Two Fresh Fully Charged D90 Camera Body Batteries
* D90 Battery Charger
* Four 16GB Hoodman UDMA CF Cards
* Two 8GB Hoodman UDMA CF Cards
* Four 8GB SanDisk Ultra II SD Cards
* SanDIsk ExpressCard Reader For MacBookPro
* Hoodman UDMA USB 2.0 Card Reader
* 17″ MacBookPro w/Power Cable
* Ethernet Cable
* 4GB Thumb Drive
* Verizon 3G Express Card Hi-Speed Modem
* Two LaCie Rugged 500 GB Portable Drives W/Firewire Cables
* Lensbaby Composer
* Nikon 14-24 F/2.8 Lens
* Nikon 24-70 F/2.8 Lens
* Nikon 50 F/1.4 Lens
* Nikon 80-200 F/2.8 Lens
* Nikon 200-400 F/4 Lens
* Sigma 100-300 F/4 Zoom Lens
* Sigma 300-800 F/5.6 Zoom Lens
* LensCoat Pouches For Each Lens & Body (Except Sigma 300-800)
* Nikon 1.7 Teleconverters
* B+W Circular Polarizer For Each Lens (Except Sigma 300-800 & Nikon 14-24)
* Sigma 49mm Circular Polarizer for Sigma 300-800
* Bubble Level
* Westcott Collapsible Diffuser
* California Sunbounce Reflector
* Kirk Fat Bag Bean Bag Camera Support
* Visible Dust Zeeion Blower
* Visible Dust Sensor Loupe
* Visible Dust Sensor Swabs/Brushes
* Four Large Microfiber Cloths
* Think Tank Hydrophobia Rain Cover
* Think Tank Airport Addicted Backpack and/or
* Gura Gear Kiboko Backpack
* Vested Interest – Khumbu Custom Photo Vest
* Allen Wrenches & Other Small Tools
* Duct Tape
* iPhone W/Car Charger Cord & Earbuds
* Garmin Nuvi Portable GPS
* Backup Paper Maps
* Petzl Headlamp
* Flashlight
* Mosquito Net
* Hat
* Sunscreen
* Purell Hand Soap
* Two 55 Gallon Plastic Trash Bags
* Two Sets Reading Glasses
* Hunting Knife
* Emergency First Aid Kit

Please note that while I will bring all of these items to the job, I might not actually take all of them into the field each day. It’s possible to bring TOO much stuff. This isn’t all the gear I own – it’s all the gear I might need for a typical outdoor nature shoot. The subject matter, conditions, location and other factors impact what I actually carry on my person or leave in the car close by.

In addition to these items, if I am traveling in remote back country or by myself, I will bring bear spray.

Feel free to share what’s on your list.

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Join the conversation! 0 Comments

  1. Jeebus.

    I don’t really go out on long shoots, but for some reason, I love to carry as much of my gear I can EVERY DAY.

    This includes:
    MacBook Pro (and accessories)
    Canon 40D + 17-55 and 70-200mm lenses (and accessories)

    It’s actually fairly good weight training. I really notice the days I don’t have my gear with me.

    Scott, if it’s not off topic, what kind of gear would you bring when you just head out for casual, unprepared shooting (not on a job)? Or are you just always prepared? Sounds like me and camping.

  2. Scott, do you think the hunting knife will be enough to defend yourself from a bear? I think you need a 454 Casul just incase. Have a blast buddy!

  3. Scott, interesting gear list – certainly something for every occasion. Do you think there will be a point when you’ll no longer travel with your camera manuals?
    Also, would be great to hear how you use the California Sunbounce some time – is that to scare the bears away too?

  4. Thats a lot of stuff Scott ! but you must always be prepared.

  5. Ok. Let’s say I agree with everything
    But Duct Tape?! Here I draw a line :)

    What a crazy list… You need a crane just to move all this from spot to spot.

  6. @Scott
    It’s a nice list but i’m shure u also have a camera with u when u don’t have any shoot in your plans.
    So whats in your carry evrywhere bag ?

  7. That is a very long list. I had a bad experience a few months ago and since then I have been scared of carrying anything into the field unless it is in a bag or a pack

    I was carrying a 50mm in a jacket pocket and I was getting low for a shot and the lens somehow fell out and rolled down into a creek.

    I was very sad.

  8. Scott, I agree that is one impressive list but I too would like to know what you have in your camera bag when you are traveling out and about on Whidbey Island or trekking down to Lynnwood? On an unplanned day do you just take the G10 along just in case?

  9. We hear alot on the podcast about time-lapse photography. How well does the MC-36 function as a intervalometer?

  10. Hey Scott, I’m curious, why carry the 100-300 f4 when you have an 80-200 f2.8 and a 200-400 f4? Isn’t that kinda redundant, or does the 100-300 offer something the others don’t have?

  11. Some advice from the 1800s:

    “… look over your camera to see that everything is in order, for however sure you may be that everything is right, it is always best to have an inspection before marching. To forget a screw, if you have a loose one, and only discover your loss when you are miles from home and the view before you is “perfect”, is to promote, possibly suicide, certainly profanity.” -H.P. Robinson

  12. Scott,

    How do you get all of your gear to the job location (FL, for example)? Do you ship it ahead? Check it on the airplane (knowing that a rogue TSA agent might go shopping in your luggage)? I assume everything is insured too, correct?


  13. All I can add is a few Velcro straps, which come in handy in many ways. I carry a couple in my bag, and if, for example, the wind is making my camera’s strap bounce against the tripod on a long exposure, I use a piece of velcro to hold the strap against the tripod leg.

  14. SCOTT: When you leave your equipment in the car, how do you keep it from baking in the sun?I worry about this, I take just the equipment that I can carry.

    If I’m going out specifically for photography, I reconfigure my ThinkTank Airport Antidote for the occasion and take only the equipment that I can fit in there plus a tripod. Out for a walk in the forest or around town on a Saturday afternoon, I take only a Nikon D60 with a Sigma 30mm 1.4.

  15. Has anyone added the current retail cost of all that equipment?

  16. One Tripod… TWO Heads!

    How often do you find yourself changing/switching heads?
    Although, now that you have jumped camps… I don’t think that Sigma 300-800 is as large/heavy as a 500/600 prime lens?

    Just curious, as I find myself in a similar position. And I get tired of having two tripods along for the ride. In my own truck, it’s not so bad, but when out in a Snow Cat in Yellowstone with 17 other photographers… this can get hairy!

    Which Gitzo are You using? How’s Your stability with the weight?




  17. Duct tape, hunting knife, first aid kit… for Scott’s ventures into the backcountry of online discussion forums.

  18. That’s an A+ list for sure and worthy of the “Be Prepared” motto. I now feel a little under-dressed :-) I could only add knowledge and mental preparation to the list. I’ve been working on being prepared for the unexpected photo op. IE being prepared to shoot quickly instead of standing there with that “deer in the headlights” look on my face. Excellent list Scott, I learned a few things from reading it.

  19. @Scott – What? no kitchen sink? and where’s the Drobo, i wonder? ;)

    @Dennis – 454 Casul? sweet!! Haven’t handled one of those in over 20 years. Good call :)

  20. Scott,

    I am about to purchase an Acratech ball head. Can you comment on the difference between the GV2 and the V2. I was considering adding a Wemberley Sidekick down the road. There is no place near me where I can actually touch and feel the equipment.

    My list for a weekend shoot includes:

    Pen Light
    Lens Brush
    Manfrotto CF tripod
    Sigma 135-400 f/5.6
    Knee high waders, Hip and Chest waders Depending on location
    Small vial of black walnut extract
    Water purification tablets
    macbook pro, and WD 160GB HD
    2 batteries
    2 4 GB CF cards
    Hunting knife
    Custom camo suit and / or blind

  21. The knife is for personal protection against drunks :) Bears are better behaved!

  22. That’s a solid list.

    My only change would be Gaffer Tape for the Duct Tape.

    It holds better, is removable, and won’t leave residue on you gear. Sure it’s $20 bucks a roll but it’s probably the most important gear in my bag (after the camera, of course)

  23. i have decided to invest in full frame gear starting with a D700 and a 70-200 nikkor lens, but i noticed you have the 80-200 nikkor is there something wrong with the 70-200 that i missed?

  24. If you need someone to help you carry all that stuff, I could use a job!

  25. Thanks for the list Scott, it is something I was wondering about.

    Do you have a short list of gear you would take on a small plane or helicopter trip when space and weight are more of an issue. I ask this because I am doing an Alaska trip next summer and while I don’t have all the gear you do I have more than I can take. What do you suggest? Thanks for all your great work!

  26. How about a small towel? You never know when a nice absorbent piece of cloth will come in handy!

  27. I’m starting to favor the Kirk ballhead over the Acratech. I’ve used both for years but recently had some slipping problems with the Acratech. Get the big Kirk head for safety sake – kirkphoto.com.

  28. So you went with the Nikon 50mm 1.4 I remember you talking about the Sigma 50mm 1.4 you reviewed from a friend and also said the last time that friend recommended a lens you bought the Sigmonster 300-800.

    Why no Sigma 50mm 1.4 or haven’t you given it as much thought since the podcast? I was curious because … well … because I have nothing better to do.


  29. I have to second the Gaffer Tape for Duct Tape, costs a little more (ok a lot more) but that duct tape residue is a pain to get off things.

    Another thing I always carry are ball bungees, bungee loop with a ball on the end, very useful and relatively light and inexpensive.

    Great list Scott!


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