How to Protect Camera Gear Outdoors 2016/01/04

I have been using cameras outdoors for years now. Certainly bad things happen and sometimes the weather is not working with you. When you need to capture images here is what I use to protect my equipment and what techniques I utilise to keep my stuff safe when working out and about. This is how I protect camera gear outdoors.

Introduction How to Protect Camera Gear Outdoors

As with everything outdoors it’s a sliding scale of products and precautions I use, as it’s not realistic to take a hard case waterproof box with you for a day hike! Please use the list below as suggestions and pick and choose the gear to match your needs and locations.

WaterProof Dry Bags

This is the most basic form of protection. It offers no shock proofing or organisation but what it allows me to do is keep my camera, lens and accessories safe from water when I am using another rucksack to store everything in. For example if I am hiking then my camera in its dry bag simply goes inside my big rucksack and as long as I don’t throw my pack around then it seems to work for me just fine. If you are travelling to humid environments or situations where condensation may be an issue then a couple of silica gel pouches chucked in to the dry bag help absorb any excess moisture. For my spare lens (if I am carrying one) and memory cards and batteries I simply put these in a brightly coloured smaller dry bag. This is such a simple solution it is hardly worth mentioning but it works so well when hiking or walking around in the woods or the hill that I have outlined it here. I do think drybags are vital to protect camera gear outdoors.

The tricky part comes when you are hiking but have some form of water crossing to deal with, be that in a canoe or boat. For this I add an Ortlieb rucksack liner into which I put all my stuff along with the drybags for my cameras. Here you avoid the weight of carrying a hard case for just a small amount of water crossing. I have used this system many times and again it works so well.

Padding Foam

One method I experimented with was adding some foam from an old roll mat that I cut up to line the inside of a drybag. Place your camera ontop of a section of the roll mat to get a rough idea of the size of the foam you need. Try to create a 3 dimensional box by cutting the foam so that it covers your camera. This can then be inserted inside the dry bag to add some shock protection when hiking. It works… kind of. This is a DIY method to protect camera gear outdoors.

Peli Case 1450

I use a 1450 Peli Case. It’s a hard plastic waterproof and shockproof box with foam you can cut out to fit your equipment. It allows me to venture out onto the water without fear of loosing anything to the drink! I suggest the first thing you do when you get one is pack your camera inside close it up and then throw it in the water! It’s pretty liberating.

The 1450 Case fits my Canon 5D and 24-105 along with a 50mm and batteries, memory cards and transfer cables. You can cut the foam whatever shape you want and this allows great organisation, as everything is together, protected and totally accessible.

I use the 1450 Peli Case when I am on extended water based trips. Stowed in the bottom of your canoe and within reach you can capture images freely. As the outside plastic is strong it can withstand bumps and knocks when being transported or rolling around in the boat etc. It is not break proof and so a reasonable amount of care must be taken but other than that it’s very easy to relax with the knowledge your kit is safe. The case also helps protect against dramatic differences in temperature as the foam is slightly insulating. Overall I am very impressed with the quality and performance of this solution. The use of this product is not confined to water based expeditions but could also be used on rugged overland trips where you are not personally carrying your equipment. Hardcases are one way to protect camera gear outdoors.


Lens pen – Simply the best way to clean your camera and lens in the field. Buy one now! The brush can sweep away dirt and the carbon lens cleaner makes your lens brand new each time. Filters – I try to use weather sealed lenses as much as possible but they are only resistant if used with a filter. They also protect the front element of your lens so for me it’s obvious to use one. They do decrease image quality somewhat so buy a good one; Hoya Pro UV is what I use. The use of filters have saved my front elements many times.

Maxpedition M-5 to place batteries, memory cards, microphone and timer release cables as well as my lens pen when on extended land trips. The pouch fits in everything with organisation built it. It can even be worn on your belt if you are shooting a lot in one place and need quick access to batteries etc. Having some silica gel also helps to absorb extra moisture.

Urban shooting… It’s so easy to look like a geek. Try to get something subtle… please. I use a Crumpler Shoulder bag – I am pretty sure they don’t make it anymore and I got it second hand but the quality and look is pretty cool. Its still pretty heavy to lug around all day but it does the job. I hope you have enjoyed my guide to how I protect camera gear outdoors.


Back to Top

(C) Copyright Ember Survival