How an Adventure Filmmaker Packs his Gear

I am currently in Veracruz, Mexico with a few different assignments to complete on this trip. I’m mostly here for recreation and so I am happy to have some video work to help cover the trip but don’t want it to work too much into the real reason I am here: to kayak.

I am continuing work on a series for NRS that I started around this time last year. The series is a travel tips guide for traveling to whitewater destinations. I am working on it with Dylan Page and Jim Coffey. It is surprisingly difficult to capture all the shots that we’re missing from the initial shoot in the airports and travel destinations. It is hectic enough just trying to get around and security often prevents cameras. Therefore in this case I have been shooting handheld as well as even resorting to using my iPhone.


I am also shooting some pieces on this trip for Canoe & Kayak magazine. One specifically on the Alseseca River in Tlapacoyan is exciting to me and therefore I want to put a little more cinematic style to it. Therefore I have put more towards a medium scale rig on this trip.

When packing for travel with video equipment I usually divide it up into 3 categories:

a) Super low scale: This might include things like a DSLR and a GoPro

b) Medium scale: This starts to bring in tripods, sliders, etc that are compact as well as various lenses

c) Full scale: Full production budget and no limits

Some items that I have packed to get good shots but keep the weight low and what I consider medium scale:

1. Sony A7S

This camera can capture some stunning footage in a small package. With it’s capability of shooting in SLOG I can deliver a final product that has some great colour and appeal.

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2. Canon 24-105 F4

This lens has proved to be the most versatile lens in my kit over the past year. I decided to scale right down and see how this trip would go with just this lens.

3. Lite Pro Gear Feather Crane

To get great motion with a lightweight footprint this has proven to be the best gear pick up in 2015. I can do so much with this and keep it lightweight and compact. One of the coolest aspects of this unit is that I can use water bottles or rocks to provide on the fly counterweight. That makes the entire package under 4 lbs.


4. SmallHD DP4 Field MonitorMonitor

I basically brought this to mount on the feather crane. It is a nice compact monitor that works well and is quite small.


5. Joby X Ballhead

I brought 2 of these. These allow a lot of versatility with the feather crane and a lightweight slider if you decide to bring one. I like to make sure I have a small spirit level to mount on the camera to make sure I keep the shots level and square.

6. Tripod

I have a small aluminium tripod that I found at a second hand store. This thing is bomber. I am able to knock off at least a few pounds from my Manfrotto. This is huge when traveling with a bunch of kayak gear.

It is also good for throwing in the back of my kayak to get to tight spots. I keep my Manfrotto fluid head on with a levelling ball on it. This adds weight but I feel it is necessary.

7. Extra batteries

It is surprisingly hard to keep things charged in Mexico. Plugs can sometimes be hard to come by and spending most days on the river makes it hard to charge every day. Therefore, I just have a bunch of extras a all times.

Light, medium, and full scale might mean different things to everybody. But this is just a guideline for myself. As jobs change, this may change. Let’s see how this goes!