(Reposted Feb 2015)
Sometimes in your quest for the perfect image you will find yourself climbing up or down things, wading into the sea or into a river, standing out for hours waiting for the sun to rise or set, for an oncoming weather front to pass, for a break in the clouds and so on.
Being prepared for many circumstances and situations is something I have learned the hardway in my photography journey, I have got wet and dirty and wetter and dirtier, shivered on cold frosty mornings, gone walking on a mountain top with only half the kit I needed and generally done everything wrong at every opportunity.
Here is a collection of useful clothing and other items I find handy to have in my camera kit or in my car – if you have any suggestions of things you find useful please let me know, always glad to hear other ideas!
I have a sun hat for warm weather, even when the sun isn’t shining I wear it, because the sun is very harsh here in NZ and its easy to get burnt if you are out for a long time. A sun hat also makes a good shade for the lens if you are getting lens flare as well 🙂
I have a polarfleece hat with a waterproof top for winter wear as well, it comes down and covers my ears and won’t blow off on a windy day. Keeping your head warm in cold weather is important.
If your hands are so cold you cannot feel the buttons on the camera then that is not an ideal situation! It doesn’t often get really cold (like Canada cold) here in NZ but if you are sitting still on a cold day you can start to feel quite cold. I have some Kathmandu windproof gloves with silk tips that are thin and flexible but still keep my hands warm for using the camera. I have a thicker pair of polarfleece gloves to go over those when I am not shooting.
Its all about the layers with keeping warm. I have a polarfleece zip up jacket for warmth, and once you are out walking its often all I need. But for wet days I also have a rain jacket, sized 2XXL to give me lots of room in the front to tuck the camera with a lens on down the front to keep that dry! Also good for snow days 🙂 The rain jacket also makes a good wind break as well, when sitting still.
I also have a new Kathmandu Exmoor jacket which is incredibly light, packs down to a tiny size, is super warm and comfy, has lots of play in the arms for when you shoot, has a built in hood and will withstand a light rain shower and it is my FAVOURITE jacket. It is also extra long, a side benefit of it being a style for men. Women shop in the guy side of the store for jackets, it might surprise you 🙂
I have struggled to find good waterproof overpants to fit my generous curves, so currently don’t own a pair, but I am continuously looking.
Paramo apparently make some nice options for womens clothing for outdoor use but I haven’t purchased any myself.
In hot weather I have a pair of knee length cotton cargo pants that are very comfortable to wear, breathable and have lots of pockets!
Having good footwear is important. I have a lovely light pair of walking shoes that have good tread, and teamed up with a pair of Thorlo running socks, are comfortable to wear in everything from hot to cold weather. I wear these on most of my adventures.
Last winter I bought myself a pair of Muckboots – the camouflage pair which are very warm and comfortable to wear. They live in the back of my car in case they are needed while out on adventures.
That covers the basics, most of this kit I carry in my car so it is always available (yes generally wherever I go my car goes too).
Here is a list of some other bits of kit I have found useful:
Headlamp – ideal for hands free lighting while in the dark (before dawn, after sunset, in a cave, lightpainting at night time). Other than my Exmoor jacket, this is the most useful item I have acquired.
Camping cup and plate – sometimes you take some food but need something to eat off or drink out of, I bought a collapsible rubber cup and plate which live in my glovebox. I need to get camping cutlery to match!
Cash – I keep some change and a $5 note in my camera bag and very handy for unexpected parking costs!
Muesli bar – always one tucked somewhere in my camera bag and are often snacked on because I forgot to eat breakfast