How to Keep your Photography Gear Safe On the Road
“It is my intention to present – through the medium of photography – intuitive observations of the natural world which may have meaning to the spectators” –Ansel Adams, nature photographer
For many, one of the greatest joys of travel is to capture the memories digitally and/or in film. It’s an effort taken not only to share the story with friends, family, and the world at large, but to remember that wonderful moment in a place we might not have the chance to visit ever again. It’s also a way of expressing oneself artistically, capturing the things that interest you the most and sharing your own unique perspective of a place.
Unfortunately, along with the desire to capture every moment comes the danger of losing one’s equipment along the way. It’s not fun to stress about losing your stuff, while sightseeing, while in transit, and while doing adventurous activities. Thankfully, it’s possible to keep your stuff safe by taking the right products and precautions.
Over the past four years, I’ve travelled all over the world and so far (knock on wood!) haven’t had anything major stolen. By following these simple rules you can increase your chances of holding onto your dear memories and photo equipment:
Keep it locked when it’s in your room
Some hotels in some parts of the world have safes, but what about all of those places that don’t? Over the course of my travels, I’ve found safes in about 20% of the places I’ve laid my head, which have included tents, camper vans, bamboo bungalows, dorms, temples, and hotel rooms. If you travel far and wide, chances are really good that at some point you won’t have a safe to lock your important stuff in.
I’m a big proponent of the Pacsafe backpack and bag protector for this and have travelled with it from day one. I simply put everything important into my backpack, slip on the rain cover, cover it with the bag protector, and then lock it to something immovable in the room. Bonus, it folds down to a little package the size of your hand when not in use!
Keep it locked in transit
Another time when people lose their valuables is while in transit, either from their backpacks or their purses. A great way to combat this is to lock your zippers. This doesn’t mean you need a little individual padlock for each one, but rather can fix them to little hidden clasps that would make it really hard for someone to unzip your bag quickly and without you noticing. My favourite bag for this is the Venturesafe 55L anti theft backpack.
Another great option is a slash-proof, anti-theft camera strap. With its metal clasps and reinforced neck strap, it’s hard to cut off quickly and it’ll make you a much less attractive target.
Strap it to your body when out and about
Whether you’re out hiking, touring the city, or doing some other activity that would be a whole lot easier without a camera in your hands or around your neck, wrap it around your body with my Camsafe anti-theft sling pack.
When I’m bouldering, hiking, climbing, motor biking, or just walking around, this is one of my favourite ways to bring my camera along with me without worrying about a cumbersome backpack or dangling shoulder bag.
In a crowded area, use a selfie stick
Yes, I’m suggesting the dreaded selfie stick! While a polarising item that some travellers love and others loathe, it is undeniably a great way to get a photo of yourself when in a place that’s too crowded to set a camera on a tripod, or too dangerous to leave your camera unattended.
There are lots of creative ways in which you can use a selfie stick that don’t have to look typical and silly. Try slinging it over your shoulder for a different point of view, or hold it up in the air facing away from you to get a photo from above. It’s useful for more than just smiling-face selfies!
For more photography tips, check out how to take better travel photos in 7 easy steps!
Know when not to bring it out
It’s tempting to always have the camera handy, and these bags are all great for keeping it safe. That said, make sure you keep your wits about when bringing your camera out to bars and nightclubs while you travel, and think twice about showing it around in areas known for theft. Ask the staff at your accommodation for best standards and practices in their city and what areas to avoid.
All of the above are great ways to keep your camera gear safe so that you can come out of your trip with awesome photos. By making yourself a much tougher target, you can worry less about bringing your expensive gear with you and enjoy the journey more. Happy travels!
Kristin Addis is the solo female traveler behind BeMyTravelMuse.com, a website for off the beaten path adventures! She is also the author of solo female traveler guidebook, Conquering Mountains and How to Solo Travel the World Fearlessly.