Traveling with GoPro's; My Favorite Accessories (Part 1)
GoPro's are a great way to capture anything you want too while traveling. They are awesome cameras that are so versatile. From being waterproof to being durable, they take the cake. They offer so many different ways to mount and hold your GoPro that they really cannot be beat when it comes to travel cameras. (See previous blog posted at the end of this one for more on that) That being said, the pure amount of stuff that is available to GoPro users can really confuse some people, and make you wonder what you really need to bring with you. Im specifically writing this for the confused, probably newer, GoPro user looking to get the most out of their GoPro while traveling.
Lets start off with how to carry your GoPro's. In the past I had a North Face backpack that I traveled with, and there was no real way to carry your GoPro's in it organized. My solution for this was to buy a GoPole Venturecase. This easily let me organize two GoPro's, some handle mounts, memory cards, cords, cases, and anything else that covered the basics for using my GoPro. It doesn't have the most room ever, and can't fit a ton of mounts, which became a problem later on.
Once I started getting more mounts, I needed to find a bigger backpack to hold everything, but didn't want to spend a ton of money on a bag, which lead me to the Drifter and then the Drifter HD backpacks from SOVRN Republic. Both bags are great, and allowed me to carry a ton of mounts and gear with me comfortably (I personally recommend the Drifter HD as is has some awesome upgrades over the regular Drifter). I could slid the Venturecase right into the main compartment along with some extension poles and even a change of clothes, while the other mounts went into another pocket where I could keep them somewhat organized in the bag.
The Drifter HD is a 32L pack, and its size is big. So when I needed all the gear I had, or wasn't sure what I would need, this was my go-to bag to bring with me. If I was able to narrow down what I needed, the North Face backpack came back out and would be brought along with me. That is until recently when I found the GoPro Seeker backpack. (Full disclosure, I have not traveled with this backpack yet, but have worn it around to see what I think about it, I do own it, and my review on it is based off of around town usage). This backpack for me is the holy grail of backpacks for my GoPro. The seeker is a 16L backpack, so the bag isn't big, but it is well organized, and offers a lot more room than you would think. The bag is hydration ready also, so that may be a perk for some people.
The bag offers a storage compartment on the top of the bag that can hold up to five GoPro Hero 5 Blacks, and even has some storage for memory cards in little organized pouches. A big plus. In the main compartment, there is organized storage for mounts, clips, batteries, and really anything you can think of. I have all of my gear in it, and you can barely feel it, and the bag is still small; 2 GoPro's, 3 Batteries, 1 Power Pack, 3 hand grips, 2 suction cups, 1 GoPole Arm, Manuals, Cords, and more. The bag just feels compact and light even with all of that. Not to mention the bag offers you three really easy ways to mount your GoPro right too the bag, provided you have a pole mount. On one side there is a special strap system to secure a pole mount, sold separately, to the side of the backpack for some over the shoulder type videos, then there is a shoulder strap mount on the left strap, and GoPro included a removable chesty that integrates right into the backpack, but does require the backpack to work. This bag is my favorite, and I will be sure to post more about it later.
Hand Grips and Poles
So I have a feeling that these are some of the more popular GoPro accessories, especially for people who are traveling. Everyone loves being able to take a selfie, and these hand grips and poles make that easier, but also make the GoPro easier to hold on their own. So they are versatile and help just walking around taking photos or yourself or the surroundings. When I bought my hand grips and pole mounts, GoPro didn't have their 3 Way mount out yet, so I had to go to a third party, which was GoPole. I have zero regrets about my purchases from them and love all of their gear that I have bought. I own all of their hand grips and pole mounts other than the mini reach. I even have a lot of their other mounts, but for the most part, the hand grips and poles are going to be a more user friendly option for most travelers.
Depending on where you are going, or what activities you will be doing, that will dictate what hand grip or pole you are going to want to use. If you are looking at the GoPole website you will see that they have a few options, but some float and some do not. If you suspect you might be near the water, then get the floaty ones, which the pole is cool because it is clear so even out of water it looks good in your shots. For most people I would even say to only buy the floating versions, because then you're covered no matter where your adventures take you.
Headstrap's and Chesty Mounts
These are two of the more common mounts that you might see being used with GoPro's depending on your activity while traveling. I am going to start off with the head strap mount, because this is one I have used a lot more than a chesty. The head strap mount is a great for a lot of adventure activities. I have used the head strap mount while zip-lining, riding ATV's, and whitewater rafting. You do have to be careful though that the straps will say on your helmet, otherwise you might lose your camera, so there may be times when a floaty on the GoPro is a good idea, especially if you are on the water. I have found that a lot of helmets for zip-lining and whitewater rafting do have clips meant for lights to be strapped too that the GoPro's head strap mount do work awesome with.
The chesty is a great option for those instances where the head strap might not be the most secure but you still want some (somewhat) first person view. I particularly liked using this mount while whitewater rafting as it was a cool view down the river and I was able to see how I was paddling in the video, plus it would be much harder to lose the camera, even jumping into a class 3 rapid didn't phase the camera, and it got some awesome footage. The mount is sturdy but you have to be sure you won't be blocking it, which was what I did while zip-lining in Costa Rica, my hands blocked the cameras view in 90% of the footage that was taken, and that can be a bummer.
So this post covered a lot of the storage options and the mounts that you might want to purchase if you haven't already with your GoPro. There are a ton of mounts, and storage options out there for all GoPro users, but I really do like the products made by both GoPro and GoPole, and love my backpack from SOVRN Republic. So check out their products and let me know what you think, I'd love to get some feedback.