Reading prerequisite: This post won’t make a whole lot of sense to you unless you’ve read this starting post about weight considerations for backpacking with camera gear.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m going to briefly touch on all of the ways I managed to cut down on the weight I carry with me while backpacking and overnight camping for photography missions. Some of these things might be obvious to you, and some may be new. Until I embarked on this little project I hadn’t considered these things in detail before, nor appreciated just how much weight can be saved by making just a few changes to your gear.
As I’ve also mentioned in that starter post linked above, I found it easier to imagine weight savings as fractions of my camera gear, because ultimately what I was trying to do was free myself up to carry more gear if I wanted to. You should choose measurements that make sense to you, but for reference, these are numbers I was keeping in mind to help me visualize my progress:
- Canon 24-105 f/4 L IS II: 795g
- Canon 16-35 f/4 L IS: 615 g
- RRS TFC-14 Tripod with Microball head: 1170g
- Canon 5D Mark IV: 1505g
- Canon LP-E6N battery: 79g
Hopefully you have been following along in this Backpacking with a Camera post series from the first one, but if not, here’s a quick recap at this point, with links to their respective posts.
- Rain covers – weight saving 140g
- Lens hoods – weight saving 90g
- Water bottle – weight saving 191g
- Ultralight stove – weight saving 177g
Total savings: 598g
It’s going pretty well when you consider that 600g was my total initial target, but it quickly became clear to me that it was possible to smash that goal, so let’s keep going shall we?
Redundant Camera Remotes
Since I first started taking photos I’ve been carrying around a Canon RS-80N3 remote cable release for my camera. When you’re doing long exposures, you won’t introduce vibrations into the tripod/camera combination if you fire the camera from a remote instead of using the shutter button. The slightly more fancy versions also control timelapses by allowing you to designate shutter time, and how many images you want the camera to take. I like using the cable releases, but the fact is that many cameras have these features built into them these days. Certainly my Canon 5D Mark IV does, and my 7D Mark II, and Canon were about the last people to make these simple features a part of the menu system. Instead of using the cable for a long exposure, you can also set the 2-second time on the camera, giving it 2 seconds of time for vibrations to be dampened out of the system before the shutter actually trips.
In other words, whilst they might be quite convenient, there’s little to no reason for carrying the remotes around these days when you are being weight conscious with your packing. Leaving the remote at home felt odd the first time, I usually pack it with my memory cards and batteries, it’s that central to my normal packing routine! However, the Canon RS-80N3 weighs 55g, and the no name more complex one I have is 84g. For simplicity moving forward in this series, and because it’s the most used of my two remotes, I’m going to use the weight of the lighter RS-80N3 remote in future calculations.
So the remote is pulled from my kit! An easy 55g saving, and one that didn’t cost me a dollar. Now I’m up to 653g saved, which is more than the weight of a Canon L-series 16-35 f/4 L IS.