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.

    Reply
  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!

    Reply
  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?

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

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
  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 ?

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
  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?

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

    Reply
  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?

    Reply
  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

    Reply
  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?

    -gary

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
  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.

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

    Reply
  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?

    thanks!

    Cheers!

    —michael

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

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
  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 :)

    Reply
  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
    GPS
    Custom camo suit and / or blind

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

    Reply
  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)

    Reply
  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?

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

    Reply
  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!

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

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
  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.

    AmKoz

    Reply
  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!

    Reply
  30. I was a boy scout – always prepared :)

    Reply
  31. I’ll you that, and it’s a darn good list, but

    what about RUBBER BANDS? :) they’re useful (and fun to fling at people if necessary :P)

    Reply
  32. Or do you mean the LX3? Great list scott.

    Reply
  33. LX3 is all I carry in those situations.

    Reply
  34. I think he did that because its a good lenght and u can use it without a tripod. (He said something about it in the review of the 100-300)

    Reply
  35. Well Marc for starters – the 100-300 has the 200-300 mm focal length that the others don’t. I use it strictly as a flight lens.

    Reply
  36. Why do you think it took him 12 years to get the ‘Cranes in the Fire Mist’ shot? It takes all the tracking skills of an indian warrior to sneak up on waterfowl in a Winnebago Vectra…even if does have the full lens coat camo treatment, them birds are wily… :D

    Reply
  37. @IIan…
    Duct Tape Works even @ -7 degres in Yellowstone! (as it did this past week)
    Little Spring clip popped off my 500mm Lens Hood. Roll of Tape ALWAYS under front drivers seat!
    Bit if tape between lens & hood, twist… snugged up nicely for rest of the week!

    There is even a place to buy CAMO colored Duct Tape to match my Lens Coat covers too!

    Reply
  38. Oops, My Bad! It was early when I posted earlier, I am sure that It must be the LX3 not the G10.

    Reply
  39. Conor I photograph subjects other than bears and you never know when you’ll need a reflector. The Cal Sunbounce takes up about as much room as an umbrella so it’s low impact. I ALWAYS carry my manuals and that’s because I read at least a page every day and always will. I want to be so familiar with the camera that it’s a part of me. BTW I carry them as PDF files on the computer not in the bag.

    Reply
  40. I only carry the Panasonic LX3 if I am not on an assignment.

    Reply
  41. Works well for me but then again I am not a person who needs advanced features along those lines.

    Reply
  42. Sometimes I ship ahead or in this case, I just bought an extra airline ticket. I carry on everything photographic. I never check gear.

    Reply
  43. I keep stuff in the trunk or in the hotel safe if I don’t think I will need it on location. But it’s always near enough so that if the situation changes. . . I can get it. I’ve never had trouble with gear getting too hot – but then again I don’t spend much time down here in Fla.

    Reply
  44. Yes Matthew my accountant and insurance agents both have :)

    Reply
  45. Merlyn you should read the specs. The Sigma is heavier than any 500/600 but in any event, I wouldn’t try to support a 500 or above on a ballhead. Won’t work. You need a gimbal head. So when I am shooting the 300-800 I switch to the gimbal head. I shoot that most of the time and rarely switch to the ballhead.

    I can’t remember the model I am using but it’s a higher end video capable tripod and is very sturdy but not too heavy.

    Reply
  46. 70-200 has MASSIVE vignetting on the full frame camera bodies – worst I have ever seen so went with older gen 80-200 – stupendous lens – affordable and sharp.

    Reply
  47. I pare down as much as I can but don’t run a separate list.

    Reply
  48. Don I have four VERY large microfiber cloths that double as small towels.

    Reply
  49. thankyou i owe you that little bit of info saved me about 800 bucks keep up the good work i am a regular listener to the twip podcast

    Reply
  50. Not to belabor the 80-200mm choice, but I’m torn between betting a new 80-200mm AF-D versus a used 80-200mm AF-S.

    Given that a used good copy of the AF-S version which is at least 5 years old costs *more* than a new AF-D, can you elaborate on the decision? I’m using a Nikon D200, but want to buy lenses that’ll work on FX whenever I make that transition.

    I’m an amateur/ hobbyist so the lens isn’t my bread-and-butter. I’m more concerned about the glass of these two lenses than the focusing speed.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  51. Hey Scott, thanks for replying. Isn’t the 200-300 focal length covered by the 200-400 lens?

    Reply
  52. Sorry my reply got truncated – HANDHOLDABLE 200.

    Reply
  53. Thanks Scott!
    I do use the Wimberley on an aluminum tripod for now, and it’s the Primary head on the tripod. However the 500mm is the wrong lens for shooting a 12-minute night time (light painting) shot of Old Faithful, so I am looking at another head for that same tripod… I’m liking one from Kirk. Not looking to ‘replace’ the Wimberley though… Love that too much & don’t trust any Ball head with the 500mm!

    I think the tripod I like from Gitzo is the GT2531EX or GT2541EX (3 vs 4 sectioned legs)

    Thanks for the info!

    Reply
  54. Scott you may wish to add a body guard to that list.
    I grew up in Pennsylvania and would be a bit nervous hiking through the mountains with that caliber of equipment. Deliverance comes to mind.

    Reply
  55. The Sigma is much larger and heavier – and more expensive. In this case it doesn’t make sense.

    Reply
  56. That’s really what the hunting knife and the bear spray are for. I rarely walk up remote trails alone these days and I of course don’t bring ALL of this on each day’s outings. Just the stuff I think I might need. In three decades of doing this I’ve had maybe four problems. . . two with extremely drunk people one with drug runners and one with a crook. I won all four encounters :)

    Reply
  57. Obviously AFS focuses faster. Whether or not you need that speed only you can tell. Either lens will serve you well.

    Reply
  58. Excellent. Next question (I should have asked both at the same time… d’oh):

    What’s a “safe” way to buy used lenses, then? Is there any useful inspection? Do you simply “trust” certain venues (like Nikonians forum or KEH.com)?

    Thanks for the help!

    Reply

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