If you’re finally planning a trip with photography in mind, you’ll need more than just your camera and lenses. Here’s our pick of the best accessories for travel photography, and once you’ve had a look through this buyers guide, then why not have a look at some of our Top Travel Tips.
1. USB camera battery charger
£10-£20 – www.amazon.co.uk
These little USB-powered chargers are incredibly useful for keeping spare batteries topped up during a day’s shooting. They’re available for almost every imaginable type of camera, and come in versions that accept one, two or even three batteries. They usually employ a micro USB connector for power input, which means they can be fuelled from a wide variety of sources. For example, you can top up your batteries in the car while driving between locations, or hook one up to a powerbank in your bag while you’re walking around shooting. They’re available under a plethora of brand labels, but we’ve had success with Nitecore and JJC.
2. Tenba Tools Reload 2 battery pouch
£14 – uk.tenba.com
The last thing you need while shooting is to run out of power and find yourself scrambling around in your bag for spare batteries. This neat case is designed to hold two Li-ion camera batteries, with the stretchy neoprene pockets being capable of accommodating most shapes and sizes, such as the Canon LP-E6 family or the awkwardly blocky Olympus BLH-1. It’s constructed from water-repellent polyester fabric and boasts a loop for attaching it to a belt or bag strap, along with two small d-rings that can be used to fix it onto a lanyard.
3. f-stop Gear Dyota Ag+ Ion Mask
£20 – www.fstopgear.com
The coronavirus pandemic has turned life on its head over the past couple of years, and despite our best efforts to open up again, there will still be situations where masks are either advisable or required to help prevent transmission in enclosed spaces such as public transport. This Dyota mask from camera bag maker F-stop Gear is surprisingly comfortable to wear for extended periods, thanks to its a 3-layer construction with a water-repellent outer, dense non-woven middle layer and soft liner. It’s available in a choice of three sizes and eight colours.
4. Mindshift Gear Filter Nest Mini
£23 – www.snapperstuff.com
As a simple but effective means of organising a small number of filters in your bag, this neat little case is difficult to beat. Measuring 10 x 9 x 4cm fully packed, it’ll hold four filters up to 82mm in diameter in colour-coded compartments. A plush-lined interior prevents marking or scratches, while a concertina-style design allows it to squash up slimmer when you’re not using all the slots. The nylon webbing handle also allows it to be clipped to a bag strap for easier access while you’re shooting.
5. Sandisk Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-I
£42 (128GB) – shop.westerndigital.com
One thing you really don’t want when you’re away on your travels is to run out of storage space. Thankfully memory cards are now very affordable, so you can stock up on capacity without breaking the bank. The Sandisk Extreme PRO range represents a sweet spot of high performance at a sensible price, with write speeds of 90MB/s and read speeds up to 170MB/s, and prices ranging from £24 for 64GB to £454 for a whopping 1TB. If you don’t regularly shoot video or bursts, then the gold-label Extreme cards are cheaper; conversely, demanding users will benefit from the much more expensive UHS-II version.
6. Peak Design Tech Pouch
£49 – www.peakdesign.com
If you’re fed up with not having enough storage space for your camera essentials, a dedicated pouch to keep all your accessories in one place could be the answer. This organizer is designed for anyone who owns a modular bag, or one that has a spacious open compartment, and allows you to store cables, chargers, powerbanks, earphones and the like neatly together. On the inside you get origami-style pockets of various sizes to separate accessories, as well as a central zipped pocket with four sleeves for storing memory cards. A pair of loops on the back allow a shoulder strap to be attached.
7. Novo Mantis T3 Mini Travel Tripod
£69.90 (legs only) – www.ukdigital.co.uk
Chances are you won’t want to carry a large tripod when you’re travelling, but there will always be occasions when you’d benefit from being able to set your camera on a robust support. Enter this neat 27cm-tall mini tripod from Novo. It has many of the features of full-size models, with two-section carbon-fibre legs that can be independently set to three different angles, and chunky rubber feet that unscrew to reveal ground spikes. The matched MBH-25 ball head (£59.90) employs a lever lock to provide impressive strength, and an optional centre column is available for £29.90.
8. Biolite Charge 80 PD
£70 – uk.bioliteenergy.com
These days everything seems to be power hungry, not just cameras but smartphones, tablets, and headphones too. With its impressive 20,000mAh rating, this hefty powerbank may be able to keep your devices going for several days. In addition to two standard USB-A ports, it boasts a USB-C output that supports the Power Delivery (USB-C PD) standard. As a result, it should support USB charging with even the pickiest of cameras, while also being able to power a select few directly. It takes about 5 hours to recharge fully through its USB-C connection when using an 18W charger.
9. Tilley T5 Cotton Duck Hat
£70 – uk.tilley.com
It’s important to look after yourself when you’re travelling, just as much as your kit, with a good hat being essential particularly in hot sunny climes. Tilley’s classic T5 is constructed from durable cotton fabric, with both a UPF 50+ rating to prevent sunburn and a water repellent coating for less perfect weather. There’s even an adjustable cord to stop it blowing off in the wind, that can be hidden away when it’s not needed. The Tilley T5 comes in a choice of three colours and eight sizes for a perfect fit – just be sure to check the sizing guidelines first.
10. BlackRapid Delta Sling Strap
£75 – www.blackrapid.com
If you’re going to be carrying your camera around all day, then it might just make sense to invest in a strap that makes it feel lighter while always keeping it handy for shooting. This generously padded cross-body sling strap has a symmetrical design for use over either shoulder, with a honeycomb-textured inner that should stop you getting sweaty. It employs a specially designed connector that screws into your camera’s tripod socket, which allows it to slide easily up the strap for shooting, while a secondary tether can be attached to a strap lug for peace of mind. The Coyote brown option provides a refreshing alternative to the standard all-black.
11. Manfrotto Advanced2 Travel Backpack
£142.99 – www.manfrotto.com/uk-en
This versatile backpack can swallow an impressive amount of kit, while providing convenient access on the go thanks to its side-opening design. It’s large enough to accept a full-frame DSLR with a vertical grip and 70-200mm f/2.8 lens attached, along with at least three more lenses. A small zipped top compartment provides space for small personal items, and there’s space in the padded back compartment for a 10in tablet and laptop up to 15in. But perhaps the standout feature is a clever full-height side pocket that can hold a compact travel tripod, such as one of Manfrotto’s BeFree range.
12. Hahnel Modus 360RT
£169 – www.hahnel.ie
This compact, lightweight flash unit is a good match for small mirrorless cameras. Unlike other similar units, it’s powered by a dedicated Li-ion battery rather than AA cells, which packs in more energy. As a result, it promises more flashes per charge than its competitors, along with quicker recycling times of just 1.5sec. Its head can be set to almost any angle for bouncing light off a wall or ceiling and zoom to cover 24-105mm equivalent lenses. TTL-Auto, manual and stroboscopic modes are all on offer, along with high-speed sync for daylight fill-in. All in all, it’s a smart little flash that provides a lot of capability for your money.
13. Vanguard Veo Select 42T
£180 – www.vanguardworld.co.uk
This four-wheeled pilot case is designed to accommodate a substantial amount of kit while meeting most airline carry-one restrictions. It’ll hold two pro DSLR bodies with a good set of lenses, providing quick access via a zipped top panel. Alternatively, it could be used to carry a smaller camera kit along with personal items for a short trip away. There’s also space for a 15in laptop and a tablet in the fold-down front panel. A tripod can be attached to either the top or side, while the removable shoulder strap allows it to be carried as a shoulder bag. It’s available in a choice of green or black.
14. Kase Wolverine Magnetic Circular Filter Kits
£220-£395 – www.kasefilters.com
In a brilliant re-imagining of how filters should work, these kits include circular polarising, 3-stop and 6-stop neutral density filters that snap magnetically onto adapters that screw into your lens. This considerably speeds up the process of using filters, which encourages you to use them creatively. It also means you don’t have to buy and carry around different size filters for each lens, just the adapters that cost £12 each. Kits are available in 77mm and 82mm sizes, with adapter rings available in all sizes from 49mm upwards. The Pro kit adds a 10-stop neutral-density filter.
15. Billingham Hadley Pro 2020
£260 – www.billingham.co.uk
When you’ve invested in valuable camera kit, why skimp on looking after it? British-made Billingham bags may be pricey, but they offer exceptional levels of protection. This latest version of the firm’s most popular bag now boasts additional travel-friendly features, including a loop for attaching it to a wheeled suitcase, a removable shoulder strap, and a rear document pocket with a waterproof zip. Its unique triple-layer canvas is both hard-wearing and impermeable to water, while the generously padded camera insert provides excellent protection against knocks. Available in seven colour combinations, it’ll comfortably hold a full-frame camera and three or four lenses.
16. WD My Passport Wireless SSD
£280 (500GB) – shop.westerndigital.com
If you’re on a once-in-a-lifetime trip, there’s a lot to be said for making copies of all your photos as you go along. This handy device lets you back up your pictures from your camera to its robust internal solid-state drive without the need for a computer and is available in capacities from 250GB to 2TB for £220-£760. It has both a built-in SD card reader and a USB 2.0 port that allows backup of other card types using plug-in readers. Its rechargeable battery will last for hours and can even be used as a powerbank to top up other devices.
17. Formatt Hitech Onyx 85mm Travel Kit by Elia Locardi
£340 – www.formatt-hitech.com
While many photographers favour square filter systems, 100mm setups can be bulky to carry around. If you use an APS-C or Micro Four Thirds camera, or don’t usually shoot at angles wider than 17mm equivalent, then a more portable 85mm system may well do the job just as well. This kit is based on Formatt Hitech’s superb Onyx filters, and includes a polariser, a 3-stop soft-edge ND grad, and both 4-stop and 10-stop neutral density filters. It’ll fit filter threads up to 77mm, with step rings for 72mm, 67mm and 58mm supplied in the box.
18. Olympus Tough TG-6
£369 – www.olympus.co.uk
If you’d like a rugged compact for shooting around water, sand or snow, this is the best you can get. It matches a 12MP 1/2.3in sensor with a 25-100mm equivalent f/2-4.9 lens, while composition is via a fixed 3in rear screen. Olympus says that it’s waterproof to a depth of 15m, dustproof, shockproof to a drop from 2.4m and crushproof to 100kg force, so it should survive almost any adventure. It’s very much a point-and-shoot at heart, but more advanced users can take a degree of manual control and even record raw files. An array of onboard sensors can even record location and environmental metadata to your images.
19. 3 Legged Thing Legends Ray with Airhed Vu
£390 – www.3leggedthing.com
This compact, fully featured travel tripod kit extends to 138cm, folds down to 35.6cm thanks to its 5-section reverse-folding design and weighs 1.6kg. It boasts an array of travel-friendly features, including a well-padded carry bag whose strap can be removed and attached to the tripod. All the controls are large and easy to use, and the centre column can be inverted or removed altogether for low-angle shooting. It’s even possible to remove the legs and replace them with the included stainless steel Vanz spikes to make a small table top tripod. With a 10kg rated load, it’s fully capable of holding a full-frame DSLR with a telezoom lens.
£599 – www.panasonic.com/uk
Sometimes you may not want to carry a large camera around, but something pocket-sized instead. Panasonic has long been at the forefront of making ‘travel zoom’ compacts, with the TZ200 being its most advanced. It combines a 20MP 1-in sensor with a 24-360mm equivalent f/3.3-6.4 lens and offers a standard sensitivity range of ISO 200-25,600 along with 10 frames per second shooting. Both a 2.33m-dot electronic viewfinder and a 3in, 1.24m-dot touchscreen are on hand for composing your images. Crucially, it offers a decent range of manual control and delivers pleasing images in a wide range of light conditions.