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How to carry a DSLR camera while hiking

There’s no denying the joy and excitement of capturing the beauty of nature through our DSLR cameras while hiking. However, carrying a DSLR camera during a long hike can be cumbersome and challenging, especially when you want to keep your gear safe and accessible.

Fear not, as I’m here to provide you with valuable insights on how to carry your DSLR camera comfortably and securely while hiking, so you can focus on enjoying the great outdoors and capturing breathtaking images.


Before you hike with your DSLR camera, there are some things to think about. The type of camera bag, and lenses to bring – these can help you get good pics, and stay comfy and safe. Let’s check out what you need to know!

Choose the right type of camera bag

When you’re out on a hike, the right camera bag is essential. It can protect your gear, make carrying easier and boost your performance as a photographer! Here’s some advice on selecting the best one.

Weight and capacity are key – the bag should be light and not too big. Check the material too – it should be water-resistant, durable, and lightweight. Look for internal compartments and adjustable straps.

Keep in mind features designed for outdoor use: waterproofing, UV protection, and dust resistance. Every detail counts when selecting a camera bag for nature!

Pack the right accessories

Once you’re all set with your gear, it’s time to get extra accessories. Invest in good quality gear from reliable brands. They last longer and won’t disappoint you in use.

A tripod is a must-have for many types of photography, especially if you plan to take slow shutter speeds and long exposures. Choose the one that fits your needs: lightweight for portability or stronger and bulkier for more weight. Check the size too – some don’t fit all lenses. A great tripod gives you stability, essential when shooting on difficult terrain.

For a lighter setup, go for an adjustable monopod or gimbal head. They give you smooth panning or tilt control and less weight.

Never forget spare batteries and memory cards. Take them on long hikes in case they’re hard to replace. And for extra protection, take a lightweight rain cover or a heavier camera pack. They will safeguard your DSLR on the go!

Wear comfortable clothing

When hiking with your DSLR camera, pick comfy clothes. Wear fabric that is lightweight, breathable and flexible. Think of the weather and environment. If possible, wear solar protection clothing, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.

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To protect your camera, bring a light rain jacket or windbreaker in case of sudden weather changes. Wear sturdy walking or hiking shoes for good grip on rough terrain. Carry plenty of water to stay hydrated and alert while hiking.

Camera Settings

Going hiking? Understand the best settings for your DSLR camera!

Aperture, ISO and shutter speed – these are the factors to consider. Here’s a guide to help you get the perfect shots! A must for every hiker with a DSLR camera.

Set the shutter speed

When prepping my DSLR for a hike, I figure out the shutter speed first. I take into account light conditions and any actions I want to capture. If I’m shooting fast-moving objects, like running animals, I use a faster shutter speed. But if I’m shooting a landscape or architecture shot with lots of detail, I use a slower shutter speed for a beautiful bokeh effect.

Then, I choose an aperture setting. This affects how much light and detail is captured, and how narrow or wide the depth of field is – depending on what I’m shooting.

Set the aperture

When carrying your DSLR camera for a hike, think about the aperture or f-stop. Aperture is the size of the opening which lets light enter your camera. A bigger aperture is good for low light. A smaller aperture is good in bright sunlight.

f/8 is great for landscapes and wildlife shots. This will give you sharpness and background blur. For people pics, try f/5.6. That will help to differentiate between subject and background.

For an incredibly shallow depth, use higher F-stops like f/16 or f/22!

Set the ISO

Set the ISO correctly to make sure your photos remain exposed, even in dim light. When outdoors, keep the ISO low, between 100 and 400.

If you must take pics in dark places, then you may need to increase the ISO to 3200 or more. This can create noise, so try to avoid it if you can.

Do a test shot to decide the best ISO settings for your situation.

Hiking Tips

Planning a hike? Need to take a DSLR camera? It can be heavy, but worth it for awesome shots! Here are some tips for carrying one while hiking.

Pack it in a bag that’s easy to access. Use a strap to keep it secure. Bring extra batteries and memory cards. Keep your camera clean and dry. Enjoy the view and snap away!

Choose the right terrain

Choose your terrain carefully for a safe and comfortable hike. Think about the difficulty level and potential risks like slippery rocks and steep cliffs. Get the best shots by selecting the right kind of trail.

Pack the right equipment. For example, cleats for slippery terrain and waterproof bags for the rain. Be prepared for whatever the terrain throws at you!

Choose the right time of day

For outdoor photography, the time of day matters a lot. If you’re shooting a landscape or sunrise/sunset, choose when the sun is 6 to 12 degrees above the horizon. This gives soft, even lighting that won’t ruin your photos.

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If you’re shooting animals or people, midday is best. It has most consistent lighting and less shadows. If possible, don’t shoot around sunset or sunrise. It can be hard to balance brightness of the background and your subject – this makes it harder to get a good shot.

Take regular breaks

Taking breaks on your hike is important for fun and safety. Breaks keep you energised, especially if you have a heavy DSLR camera! Stop every 30 mins for 10 mins. Make sure you have water and snacks, especially if it’s a long hike.

Breaks let you rest and appreciate the view. You can also adjust your camera settings before continuing.

Safety Considerations

Safety is key when carrying a DSLR camera while hiking. Secure your camera so it doesn’t get damaged. Consider the strain on your body, the weight of the equipment, and the risk of theft. Weigh these factors before heading out.

In this section, I’ll discuss how to ensure your camera and gear are safe.

Wear a backpack

Safety first when going on an outdoor adventure! Don’t want an accident or injury. Wearing a backpack is the best way to protect both you and your camera gear. Pick one that fits snug against your body and has enough room for extra items.

Pack extra clothing in case of weather changes. And don’t forget your water bottle – it’s a must!

Wear a safety harness

While hiking with a DSLR camera, it’s important to have a safety harness. Choose one with sufficient padding and adjustability, so it fits comfortably around your shoulders. Additionally, make sure it can handle the weight and size of your camera plus any other equipment you’re carrying.

The harness helps by reducing strain on your neck from prolonged carrying. It also transfers the camera’s weight down to your hips or back, allowing for more mobility as you traverse rough terrain or steep slopes. Make sure the safety strap fits snugly and securely for both comfort and stability during long hikes.

Most importantly, an adequate and secure fitting safety strap prevents accidental dropping of your DSLR if you stumble or fall. Plus, some straps come with snap hooks that provide additional security while you move along during hikes, climbs or treks. Wear a security strap anytime you use a DSLR outdoors, to protect it from damage or theft.

Avoid dangerous areas

When heading out on a hike with your DSLR camera, stay away from areas that could hurt you or put you in danger. It’s not just your life at stake but also your equipment! Look out for bodies of water, steep terrains, and areas that may flood quickly. Be aware of wildlife and how they might react to your camera. Keep away from animals or places they may live to keep yourself and your gear secure.

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When choosing the perfect place to take photos or set up a tripod, be careful. Don’t stand near edges with loose stones that can make the tripod slip. Make sure to set up on a stable surface. Secure all equipment before moving on in case the wind picks up. It can change suddenly in mountainous/organic environments.

Know when it’s time to call it quits. If the terrain gets too hazardous for you or your camera, slow down and turn back. Don’t risk it for pictures.

Post-Hike Care

After a lengthy hike, your DSLR camera needs special attention. Rough hiking can damage delicate gear, so handle it with care!

This article provides post-hike care tips. These will help your camera last longer and work better.

Clean the camera

Strenuous trekking means your camera gets dirty. From mud, dust and sweat, these impurities can corrode it if left on. To clean it properly: turn off the power, then remove the lens.

Use a compressed air duster to blow off dust or debris. Or use a soft cloth with some rubbing alcohol. Check it’s nonabrasive and won’t leave lint residue.

After cleaning, let both the camera and lens dry before reassembling.

Store the camera properly

It’s vital to store your camera correctly after a hike. Dust and moisture can harm it. Place it in a camera bag with a lens cap on, the battery removed, and an anti-static bag inside. Make sure you close the zippers of the camera bag tightly.

This will stop dust or moisture from entering. You may use a hardshell case for extra security. To add another layer of protection, use sealable plastic bags to cover storage compartments.

For cleaning the lens, use lens wipes or microfiber cloths, which are perfect for delicate lenses. After this, put your DSLR and lenses in their box. Keep it away from direct sunlight or any kind of heat source. This will protect your camera until the next time you use it!

Back up photos

Regularly back up your photos during the hike and also when you’re done. It would be horrible if something happened to your camera or memory cards, and you were left with no pics!

Transfer the pics from your camera to your laptop or desktop. Or, use an external hard drive. This allows easy readability and guarantees your memories stay safe.

Another good way to back up photos is with online storage sites. There are plenty of cloud-based services on the internet. Many offer free subscriptions. You can easily store, access, share and download backups of your memories while in nature!


In summary, carrying your DSLR camera while hiking doesn’t have to be a daunting experience. By choosing the right carrying solution, such as a camera backpack, sling strap, or chest harness, you can ensure your camera is secure, protected, and easily accessible throughout your hike.

Remember to prioritize comfort, weight distribution, and accessibility when selecting the best carrying method for your needs. Now, armed with the knowledge to safely carry your DSLR camera, you’re ready to embark on your next hiking adventure and capture the stunning beauty of nature. Happy hiking and shooting!

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