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Carrying Your Camera While Hill Walking and Hiking

By Dave Roberts   

on February 18, 2023    No ratings yet.

Carrying Your Camera While Hill Walking and Hiking

It’s one thing keeping your camera kit safe from the weather and damage while hiking and hillwalking , but what’s the best way of carrying your camera while hiking and walking? However you decide to do it, you’ll still need to make sure it keeps that expensive MILC/DSLR secure and safe from damage, easily accessible and comfortable. Neither should it get in the way of the walking – either as an inconvenience or dangerous on tougher routes where you need to be concentrating on the activity and not where your camera’s swinging.

Here’s our Mud and Routes rundown of how to carry your camera while hiking and hill walking.

1 – Just use a Camera strap  – let it all hang loose

This is cheap as you’ve probably got a strap with your camera, if it’s a good one’s another story. It’s also accessible as your camera’s already there by your side. However, this offers zero protection from the weather and you can easily knock your camera against obstacles and damage it.

On the plus side, it can be comfortable enough depending on the camera straps used. I’ve used cheap straps and they largely do the job in cooler weather, but in warmer weather with just a base layer you may need to look at something a bit more padded and possibly even a washable option.

Using the sternum and waist straps on the rucksack you can at least ensure that the camera is reasonably secure . Of course there’s absolutely no protection and we find this is OK with a smaller camera with a prime or short zoom. However, it’s also quite useful for carrying aa Fuji GS645W medium format film rangefinder as if it isn’t on a strap it’s got to be in the pack, same goes for something like the Fujica GSW690ii – there’s just nothing built to accommodate these other than inside the camera pack! It’s not ideal, and to be fair we’re not going to be taking loads of shots with the 6×9, but I do like burning a roll of black and white film in it on a walk and getting it developed and online the same day. The smaller 6×4.5 camera does work wonderfully to take a day’s highlights. 

Of course – all straps are not created equal and you can also get more elaborate chest harnesses and straps such as the Think Tank system is more outdoor focussed and with various accessories you can literally carry your entire kit either on the strap or on the belt. Some of these also allow you to carry the camera at chest level, and easier yet to use.

2 – Carrying Your Camera safely in your pack

It will be fully protected in the bag, but if you left it at home it would be even better protected and you’d only end up losing the handful of shots you could be bothered taking. The other advantage of this is when you don’t want the distraction of a camera dangling from your neck, such as on tricky scrambles. The smartphone shots you took were nice though. Keep the pack for the spare bodies and lenses, and swap out as needed. Of course, some would argue that you need to keep your main spare lens to hand as well. 

3 Carrying Your Camera in your pocket

You’ve either got huge pockets or a tiny camera. Or of course, you count your smartphone as your camera. If so, put it in a waterproof case and this combo is almost impossible to beat for convenience. Even better if you can fit it in your pack’s waist pockets. We can just about fit a small mirrorless with a pancake lens in a kangaroo pocket, but it’s not particularly comfortable, especially if you need to close the straps. There’s also sweat to deal with, so you may need to put it in a dry bag as well. So taking a quick shot turns into an impromptu game of pass the parcel. 

4  Camera Holster or small shoulder bag.

This is a nice compromise. The camera’s protected, yet easily accessible. You can also add a few extras in there while you’re at it. This has long been one of our favourites, but you really need to strike gold and find a bag that works well with your camera. A holster bag from Amazon Basics fits our Canon EOS6D and 24-105mm lens perfectly, but also doubles up to take in a medium format Zenza Bronica ETRSi comfortably. A slightly larger, and long discontinued Ben’s Pizza bag from Crumpler also works well for that camera as well as providing enough room for another lens or two more film backs. And yes, we’ve got a fair few more bags for other camera combinations and quite frankly the situation is getting a little out of hand. Please send help.

5 Carrying Your Camera in an Ever Ready case.

It’s not for good reason that these are called never ready cases. However, this is often unfair and they provide a decent half way house between just using your straps and carrying a shoulder bag. They fit the camera perfectly and offer a small degree of protection depending on the camera. These are less popular these days, but anyone into vintage or film photography will probably already have a case for their camera and find this an appealing option. Newer options are obviously available, but we reckon that the Pentacon cases on the old Practikas were made to survive the nuclear holocaust.

6 In your hand.

Yes, we hear some people actually just carry it in their hand. That’s ok for short sections, and might well be the best option going if you’ve got a really compact camera like the Canon EOS M6ii, especially for short scenic sections. A good wrist strap is a must though!

7 Peak Design Capture Clip.

The final option allows you to simply attach a camera to your pack strap or belt. This is easily one of the more accessible options and is much more comfortable than wearing the extra strappages involved with camera bags and straps. You could even carry a pair of these, one on each shoulder! Of course, there’s no one perfect option and using something like a Peak Design Camera Clip offers no protection from the elements and you need to make sure that the camera protruding from your shoulder doesn’t get knocked against obstacles and damaged.


What’s our choice? Well they all have their place, and we make use of all these methods as we see fit. Our favourite is to use the Capture Clip for our main shots (anything from a DSLR, MILC to various film cameras), and if we fancy carrying another camera this currently ends up either on a shoulder strap (preferred) or in a shoulder bag if we need protection. Of course, our trusty smartphone is also part of the workflow, and that fits firmly in the pocket!

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Dave Roberts

Dave Roberts founded Walk Eryri in 2004, with the aim of providing routes that are off the beaten track. Walk Eryri is now part of Mud and Routes which continues to provide more off beat routes and walks in Snowdonia and beyond. Dave has been exploring the hills of Eryri for over thirty years, and is a qualified Mountain Leader. Dave also established Walk up Snowdon, Walk up Scafell Pike and Walk up Ben Nevis just to mention a few.

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