I’ve done a couple of EDC posts detailing the things I carry. I’m a big fan of being prepared, although I don’t take it quite as far as “preppers” or survivalists. I do, however, take some ideas from them and adapt it to the urban life, or in my case, the weekend warrior lifestyle. I’ve done EDC posts on my range bag (which I keep in the car), Carry Bag, and personal items. As the Coast Guard says, Semper Paratus. Here’s a list detailing the times my gear has come in useful:
- Someone came into my workplace asking if we had duct tape. We didn’t. I ended up taking some from the mini-roll I had attached to my keychain.
- I got a flat tire driving home from San Jose to San Francisco one night. I put on my blinkers and pulled over, but could barely see because it was so dark. Thankfully, my range bag was in the truck and I used the crap out of my flashlight.
- The titanium spork always comes in handy for when take-out places don’t give me utensils and I’m on the move.
- My Gerber solves everything. The scissors, screwdriver, and pliers are my most used.
- I use the camping spork on my keychain for all sorts of minor adjustments when I need a flathead screwdriver or for opening bottles. I’ve only used the spork for eating about 3 times and as a fair warning, if you try to take it into a nightclub, they classify it as a weapon.
Now onto my Camera Bag EDC:
Previously, I was using the CitySlicker MacBook Case – 15″ in Grizzly Leather from Waterfield Designs. I still love the bag and take it with me for interviews or on days when I don’t want to be weighed down. At the end of that post, I said that I was eyeing the Chrome Niko Pack. I ended up buying it and that was a game-changer; allowing me to carry a lot more accessories.
The bag. The Niko Pack by Chrome Industries is stellar. Priced at $180, it is water-resistant, padded, and includes a laptop sleeve. I basically put everything into the bag and it has become both my laptop and camera bag rolled into one. I love how there is quick access to my camera, allows for storage all of my lenses and accessories, and has a place to put my laptop while still allowing me to carry notebooks, pens, and other random trinkets. It’s boxy in shape, yet portable and even has velcro straps for carrying a tripod, which I find indispensable for night photography. The downside is that it weighs a ton if you load it up all the way and gets in the way when you take a bus or step into a crowded place.
The top flap of the Niko Pack:
The notebooks. I like to write things down. If you run a quick search on this blog with the search terms “writing“, “pen“, or “notebooks“, you’ll find a lot of posts on the various notebook brands I’ve bought or looked into and the pens that I use and even some samples of my writing. Although I haven’t written extensively in the Baron Fig Confidant, I did buy two of them when they came out: one for myself and one for someone else. I’m not sure how she’s enjoying hers or if she has even used it, but I love it. I’m pretty messy when it comes to notebooks. I can’t ever seem to make them last a long time and this one is no different. I bought it because the cover looked clean and sophisticated, but after a few months, it’s been marred, marked, and dog-eared. It fits perfectly into the top part of the Niko Pack and comes with a hard cover, so I know it’ll be protected if I throw stuff on top of it. I prefer lined notebooks and this one is useful. The bookmark is a nice touch. I also carry an Apica Notebook and I’ve written extensively about the brand here.
The pencil wrap. I’ve written about this pencil wrap. It fits nicely into the top flap of the Niko Pack and wraps all my pens, pencils, and ink cartridges neatly. When I need a specialty pen, all I have to do is unroll the wrap and take one out – no fuss. So far, I haven’t had any problems with it.
Moo cards and case. I’ve gone on about why you should carry business or personal cards with you at all times. You never know when you’ll run across someone you want to keep in touch with or network with. If you have a supply on-hand at all times, you’ll never worry about fumbling with hand-written names, numbers, and contact information. Just do it. I love Moo’s Printfinity feature and use it for both my MiniCards and Classic Business Cards. The ShowCase business card holder is perfect for showing off your cards and runs for $10.99. I keep my cards and case in the top pocket of the Niko for easy access.
Pebble Charging Cable. I wear my Pebble every single day and since I don’t have a smartphone, I can’t always have it connected. I’ve noticed that it tends to lose a few minutes here and there because of that. I carry a charging cable with me because I’m usually at work when it runs out of juice. A few months back, I misplaced my cord and this one is a replacement that I ordered. Ever since that incident, I’ve kept a close eye on it.
Utensils. I end up eating a lot of oatmeal in the morning, but we keep running out of plastic utensils at work. I was with my sister at an outlet and found these bamboo utensils for a few bucks. I decided that I would put them in my pack so that I could eat with them and use them over and over again. So far, it’s working and it feels good not using disposables.
MagSafe to MagSafe 2 Converter. I used to carry the charging cable for my 15” Macbook Pro with me, but I forgot it one day and my Macbook almost ran out of charge. I ran over to a certified Apple retailer and bought the converter because we had a couple of older MagSafe chargers in the office. If you have a few older chargers handy, I highly recommend this little thing. Plus, it’ll only be a $9.99 ding. Ever since that day, I’ve only carried the converter and not the actual charging cable.
Apple Magic Mouse. I’ve had this mouse for about as long as I’ve had my Macbook. Since I like to do a lot of editing work with both videos, audio, and photography, I naturally wanted a mouse that could perform but was also portable. The Magic Mouse fit all that criteria: it connects via bluetooth and features gestures, which work beautifully with the macbook and with all of my “most-used” applications. It costs $69.
The big compartment on the Niko:
To keep things organized and so I don’t repeat myself or forget items, let’s go from left to right. Here goes:
Foldaway Viewfinder with 3x magnification. It’s a generic hood-eye that gets the job done. I was shooting a few videos for skits in college, but had a very hard timing pulling focus in the bright Davis sun. The viewfinder is pretty small on the t2i, so I decided to buy a viewfinder. There are several advantages to having it attached, especially when it comes to video: 1. There’s more to look at and pulling focus is a lot easier – the 3x magnification packs a punch 2. Holding it to your eye (using the viewfinder) makes it more stable for video 3. Replaying footage in bright sunlight is no problem because it comes with a little box to shade the LCD from the sun.
EzFoto Professional DV Stereo Microphone. I don’t have a huge budget to spend on quality audio, but I did want something that would capture sound a little better than the internal t2i microphone. I opted for the cheap EzFoto microphone because it offered a pattern that could be set to a 90 degree or 120 degrees. I found that extremely useful during filming. However, I badly need an upgrade. It takes extra software and MagicLantern to make the audio usable at all. My next purchase will definitely be something for audio capture.
SD card case with SD cards. I’ve seen people keep their spare SD cards in Altoid tins, but I’m pretty uneasy with the contacts banging against each other and the metal of the tin. I went out and bought a cheap SD card case that can also hold microSD cards as well. I currently have a 4 GB and a 16 GB card just in case I fill the one in my camera. Some people stick to a brand, but I like to try different ones, so I have a Fujifilm, Transcend, and a Sandisk. They’re all class 10 so I can record video and one of them has MagicLantern installed, while the other does not. Tip: you can never have too many backup cards.
Circular Polarizer. I bought a lot of my gear when I was still in college. The circular polarizer is a cheap one that came bundled with my UV filter. It’s a SunPak that I picked up at Walmart. I was intent on buying a UV filter for my kit lens and ended up buying the pack and so far it’s worked. It might not be the highest quality, but it does the job, even though I rarely have a need for it. I can’t always afford to lose out on light.
Cowboy Studios L bracket with 2 hot shoe mounts. Originally I bought this bracket so that I could use a flash unit in conjunction with a mic. I also found that it was a great help when I wanted to film with an external monitor attached. When I had completed my projects and stopped filming, I started using it just to put some distance between the flash unit and my camera. It’s pretty easy to use, since it just screws onto the bottom of the camera and comes up and around one side of it. It’s cheap, about $4.
Lenspen, lens cleaning wipes, and microfiber wipes. These things are a must. When I’m out taking pictures, sometimes I get dust or a little mist on the lens. I can’t take the time to sit down and go crazy with the cleaning. In a rush, the lenspen does a decent job and I sometimes follow it up with a microfiber or cleaning wipe depending on the location.
55-250mm, 75-300mm, and 50mm in addition to the kit lens – all Canon. I bought these along with my camera and they’ve all served me well. The 50mm is my carry lens. I think it’s versatile enough, since it’s stellar in low light situations and at f1.8, it does well with depth of field and bokeh. I probably use my kit lens the most after the 50mm and the 75-300mm telephoto after that. The 55-250 gets the least use just because I don’t have a use for those focal lengths all that much. The 50mm has a Fotodiox 3 section rubber lens hood. I like that it’s adjustable, but after a few years of being in the sun, it’s starting to fall apart. I also carry the camera body cap and and a lens end cap in case I need to store the camera without the lens attached.
Camera straps. I put a few rings on my camera and attached a quick release, like for keys, on my factory Canon strap. That way I can carry it and detach it with relative ease. I don’t normally use a camera strap unless I know I’m going to do a fair bit of walking and I need it for a little bit of extra security. I also have a leather camera strap that I bought at the General Store. It’s tough and a bit thinner than the Canon strap so it’s less clunky, but it’s also a little less secure. I’ve definitely had one side fall out before.
Polaroid lens hood. I used this with my kit lens. Not only does it help with focusing because I can just turn the entire lens hood, but I can protect the front glass element and also use it to prevent lens flare. It’s a solid investment and hasn’t ever given me any problems. $12.99
Yongnuo triggers and cord. I bought these because I have a Yongnuo flash, but I didn’t have a way of triggering them remotely except by using them as optical slaves. Sometimes I only want one light source and using it as an optical slave is cumbersome. I could, of course, trigger it manually, but I have to be quick. I decided to invest in a set of Yongnuo triggers – one for the camera and one for any flash that mounts on a hot shoe. The Yongnuo flash I bought has a built-in RF mode and these Yongnuo triggers are outfitted to work with it, so when I use the Yongnuo flash, I only need one trigger. The cord can connect to my t2i so I can trigger the shutter from the flash or use one trigger as a wireless remote. About $30.
Remote trigger and spare batteries. The remote trigger is from my Meike MK-550DL battery grip, which is always attached to the camera. I carry the remote with me in case I want to trigger the camera when it’s sitting on a tripod. I also carry extra batteries for the the trigger as well as batteries for my external flash and two spare batteries for the battery grip. I never want to be without power.
Yongnuo YN560 III that I’ve written extensively about. This flash will run you about $71.