Camera for backpacking

On our travels we met people fitting into three brackets when it comes to photos. Click on each tab to find out more….

  • 1) The DSLR Crew

    A group that’s growing and growing. We met so many people with high-end DSLR cameras. Lugging around huge bags with multiple lenses but most likely getting some amazing pictures. A DSLR camera will set you back a lot of money. You will also need a couple of lenses and a sturdy bag to keep it in. Some places you may only visit once in a lifetime, so you should take the best equipment and get some great pics. However, you have to lug it about and it’s a constant worry having such an expensive piece of equipment. I wouldn’t be surprised if in a few years time the majority of backpackers have a DSLR.

  • 2) Digital Camera majority

    The norm and the group we were in. We took a Panasonic Lumix TZ-20 which was the top of the range digital camera at the time with a huge 20 times optical zoom. It recorded at 1080p for high quality videos and we got some amazing pictures (check out our flickr account). However, in some conditions a DSLR would have been better, and we could have taken some amazing pictures. John also dropped it which caused dust to get into the lens. After getting it cleaned in Bangkok it then slowly lost focus. Remember that your camera takes a lot of knocks and different conditions over 12 months, from snow, wind, sand, rain and sweat – it needs to be tough.  I would still suggest a Panasonic Lumix, we saw a lot of people with them but just take care.

    You can get one for around £170 now from Amazon, before we went we bought one for £260!

    In general a digital camera will take photos, videos and fit in your pocket. Just expect it to break at some point and when they do, if it’s not insured then you’ll need to get a new one. We took two, the one above and another older Sony camera just in case, and it came in useful!


  • 3) The iPhone or no camera kids!

    There are a few kids who don’t have a camera. They just take their phone which takes relatively decent pictures or they don’t have a camera at all and just grab other people’s pictures from Facebook! Too cool!


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Useful for remembering those special moments

A few tips:


– Take what you fancy but remember DSLR are heavy to carry and generally require a separate bag.
– Take multiple memory cards.  I would suggest 4-6 8GB cards (Depends on how long you go for). Don’t take one huge card e.g. 32GB. If it breaks, you lose all your photos. Its probably best to split photos over multiple pictures.
– A good camera bag and if possible a waterproof bag, especially if its in South-East Asia.

Waterproof camera

The amazing GoPro video camera

If you’re into scuba diving or planing to do your PADI course in Asia then I would suggest getting a waterproof digital camera. In Thailand and Vietnam loads of activities involve water; whitewater rafting in Chang Mai, tubing in Vang Vien, snorkelling in Koh Phi Phi etc. Not having a waterproof camera means you miss out on some great pictures. We didn’t take a waterproof camera and ended up buying a one-use camera to use at the Great Barrier Reef and the islands in Thailand. However being one-use we only had 32 pictures and one chance to take them.

If you have the money I would suggest getting a GOPro which is a waterproof / shock proof small video camera. You can attach it onto anything and it’s not going to break if you’re scuba diving in Fiji or sand boarding in New Zealand. Check out the Go Pro site and Amazon where you can pick one up, I wish we had taken one with us, from amazon starting at £160 for the old version

See the blog post about backing up photos whilst travelling and what to do with your pictures.

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