If Only My Life Were as Organized as my Camera Bag!


“Hon, have you seen my keys?” is a common, almost daily phrase spoken at our house. Sadly, I'm not referring to my husband. It's me. As I write this, I'm not sure where my keys are. My camera battery and chargers? One is in the red daypack on the right side exterior pocket. The other is in my Tamrac bag, 2nd zippered compartment on the inside. The spare? Well, that is in the exterior compartment of the same Tamrac bag.

As photographers, we are passionate about taking care of our cameras, lenses and supporting gear. When it's time to get the shot, we want to be prepared, organized and ready to go.

Over the course of time, I've been through camera bags and day packs. There are many brands and choices. If you've made the decision that it's a camera and a couple of lenses, carrying and packing bags are a cinch.


As your camera and gear collection expands, it gets harder and heavier to pack for hikes and travel.

As a nature photographer, protective camera-specific bags are needed to safely transport our valuable assets. When you add in battery chargers, cables, filters, remote releases & cables, memory cards, lens cleaners, bubble blower, an off camera flash and laptop, it's a weighty gig. Plus, organizing the needed accessories so they are quickly accessible and not left behind takes time and forethought. We'd rather be shooting our favorite subjects versus searching the caverns of our camera bag.


A simple investment that has been a proven to minimize the “Oh darn (or choose your own word) I forgot….” is a lightweight daypack. I store all of the needed, easy to forget accessories in the daypack at all times in the smaller compartment. The bigger area is reserved for the camera and lenses I decide to use and pack in that given day.

When I'm traveling by car and air, the daypack is packed in my suitcase. It's empty except for filters, sunshield discs, remote cable release and lens cleaner that are stored in the top compartment. This bag becomes small and takes up little space in my suitcase. Cameras, lenses, battery chargers, flash unit and memory cards are always transported in the protective, heavier camera bags. This is also how my gear is stored at home.

Note: when traveling by air and I know I'm checking a bag, that is the one time I put all the accessories in my carry-on camera bags. When bags get lost or left behind, it can take a couple of days to be located. That's too much time to be without filters, etc. When I reach my destination I put the accessories back in the daypack.

When traveling by air or car check out 1) How to Travel with Your Camera, 2) Light Stalking Photographer's Traveling Tips, and 3) Traveling Light: A Photography Kit.

My sunglasses? They could be in a few different places, will probably take a few minutes to find them. My sunglasses for my lenses (circular polarizers)? They are in the top compartment of my red day pack.

About Author

Sheen Watkins is a conservationist, wildlife photographer, instructor, author and photography writer. You can follow her photography on Facebook, Instagram and her website.

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