Traveling on location for a shoot, some people love it, some people hate it. No matter which group you are in, you have to realize that on location jobs require their own set of preparation steps and they definitely operate a little differently from in studio photo shoots. There are also certain pieces of gear every photographer should at least have experience using on location so they can make the best purchasing decisions for themselves. Here is my list of 3 pieces of gear every on-location photographer should own.

Pelican Cases:

These products are the tried and true method of transporting expensive gear. They have been around for years and years now and are quite possibly the best cases available for transportation. Just look up the pelican cases tests that are online to see what I mean when I say they can keep your gear safe in some pretty drastic scenarios. They come in various sizes and interiors that can work for the different uses you may have. Sometimes you just need a small case to transport a hard drive. That is where the Pelican 1120 case would work well.  For me, the perfect size to transport most camera equipment is the Pelican 1510 which is also one of their more popular cases. These cases are just under the overhead luggage limit on most commercial airplanes so it is also the perfect size for flying with your gear. I can easily fit a few lenses and camera bodies in one of these cases and have the peace of mind that everything is safe.

Pelican Case Inserts

Let’s talk about the different interiors you can get for these cases. Most of the bigger Pelican cases come with the option of pick and pluck foam, foam dividers, or Trekpak dividers.

The standard pick and pluck foam is relatively self explanatory. You make an outline of the gear you are trying to place in the case, and then pluck the insides of that outline. If everything was done correctly, it should line up perfectly with your gear and you are good to go.

The foam dividers are a nice and easy way to add some cushioning to the inside of your cases without the need for any plucking. These dividers can obviously be moved and adjusted over the lifespan of the case so it offers a wide range of variety in the layout of your gear.

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The third option for interiors are the Trekpak dividers. This is a newer way to organize your gear in Pelican cases. It offers even more customization for the layout of your gear. Where foam dividers can lack the Trekpak system makes up for them. Say you have a smaller piece of gear that needs to fit in a section of the case that would normally be too big for it and it would leave the item moving around too much for safe transportation. This is the perfect scenario to use a Trekpak interior! You can cut the sides included in the Trekpak kit to the exact size you need. In my opinion the Trekpak system offers the best of both worlds. It is fully customizable and provides enough padding that you don’t have to worry about your gear being safe during the most vigorous scenarios.

My current camera transportation system involves Pelican 1510’s with the Trekpak cutouts. I can also easily fit two Profoto D1’s with their power cables into one of these cases for an easy travel setup.

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Tether Tools Tether kit:

Hey, if it works so well in the studio, why not bring in on location with you? This is a kit of gear I hate shooting without. Whether it is just for me to check focus on a bigger monitor or to help coach my portrait subjects throughout the shoot, being able to see the photos on your computer in real time is something I can’t live without and frankly, has spoiled me quite a bit.

Below is a list of the gear that I bring with me to make tethering a breeze on location:

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This setup allows for quite literally a plug-and-play scenario which keeps me from needing to get to the location super early. I am a firm believer in tethering whenever you can, (even during an outdoor shoot). It truly adds a level of professionalism to every session that can’t be matched and makes our work better than it would be otherwise. Clients often are surprised they can look through their photos on a big monitor as we shoot, which I think is a huge bonus for client relations. I really wish I didn’t have to bring extra gear with me on location but this kit is something I certainly can’t leave in the studio.


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So we got all this gear, how do we move it from point A to point B?

Rock n Roller Multi Cart:

I first learned about these carts from their popularity in the music industry. Load your instruments onto the cart and wheel it wherever you need to go. The first on location job I ever did, I didn’t have a cart for and thought to myself “I don’t need one of those stupid carts, I can just carry everything.” Boy was I wrong… From that point on, I haven’t left the studio without at least one of these carts. They make traveling super easy on your muscles. Why carry when you can wheel? The bottom column system of the cart can easily be extended to make it longer, hence the ability to store more gear on it. The whole cart can also be broken down for easy storage within seconds. Feel free to add a GripnGaff bag to your cart for even more storage options. Turn your multi trip load in, into a one tripper with a Rock n Roller Cart! You can even add a top level shelf and a laptop stand so you can tether and shoot right off of the home base of your cart.


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Well there you have it! The 3 pieces of gear every on location photographer should own. These items are on this list because they make your life easier on location and help to provide you with the same quality of product as in the studio. Please feel free to reach out to me if you need any further info on my experience using these products as I would love to help!

Guest Post By Matthew Hamilton