I don't know about you, but I love packing videos and I love being able to peek inside someone else's bag. As someone who's traveled and moved to a lot of different cities, I've become something of a minimalist and am always trying to figure out how I can pack lighter and be more organized - it's all about being able to move around unencumbered. I also always love learning what little tools and tips other people have for making work and life easier. So here's a peek in my camera bag as I get ready for a week of filming in the field here in Jordan.
The right clothes
Blundstone boots - I decided I wanted these after hearing other photographers rave about them, and I unexpectedly found them when I was in Germany recently, so I bought them on the spot. Best shoes I've ever owned. They're sturdy, lightweight, all-weather, slip on and off easily, have decent ankle support, and still look pretty nice.
Cotton shirt or tunic (excuse the wrinkles) - natural fibers are always better, and you want to be able to move around easily while staying covered up.
Pants you can run, sit, squat, stretch in easily
A good pair of socks to go with your boots
Either a headband to keep my hair out of my face, or a cap if I know I'll be in the sun all day (this is the only hat I own)
Sunscreen is always a good idea. I don't really burn so I'm always forgetting about it.
You might also want a scarf or light jacket - you never know.
Nosy pet bunny is optional.
Porta Brace Hip-Pack - there are also great options from ThinkTank photo, but having this stuff off my shoulder was such a game changer; it also makes it easier to access microphones, lenses, batteries, etc. when you're trying to work quickly.
Manfrotto Monopod - one of the best things to happen to me recently.
Camera with 24-70mm lens
50mm f/1.2 lens (for portraits)
Rode shotgun mic
Rode wireless lavalier mic kit
ID card (or passport)
spare batteries for camera and microphones
extra memory cards
notebook and pen
hand sanitizer (there's almost never soap and water available)
head lamp or torch
snacks and water bottle
wallet with cash
First aid kit:
As any HEFAT course will tell you, being on the road is usually the most dangerous part of working, whether there's risk of car accidents or military checkpoints. If whoever I'm working with doesn't have their own first aid kit in the car, I bring my own basic supplies:
band-aids for small cuts or blisters
gauze pads, or clean cloths for bandages
anti-septic and anti-histamine cream
water purification tablets
ibuprofen (and other medications you might need)
There's lots more you can and should take with you, but even this basic stuff (with knowledge) could allow you to save a colleague's life, or fend for yourself if you're stuck somewhere and aren't sure about water quality
Sometimes, depending on the job, I also have to carry my computer, a hard drive, card reader, and so on, to be able to transmit images right away. In that case, you'd need a bigger bag. I love road trips in the US, but four years in tiny Jordan has me feeling like a 2 hour drive is a drive to the end of the world. So it's also good to bring a book to read, something to work on, or headphones for music to keep yourself busy (so long as you're alert). Sometimes we discuss plans for the shoot on the road, but often my colleagues have their own work to do in the car.
There's always more you could pack to be able to take care of yourself in unexpected or extreme circumstances, but in normal conditions, this is what I need for a day. I don't usually have a "go bag" packed, but I'm pretty confident I could pack a week's worth of essentials in about 15 minutes - and it's always worth knowing what you would grab in a situation like that.