What Do I Need for Hiking Photography - Cotton Camera Carrying Systems

What Do I Need for Hiking Photography

For hiking photographers, capturing the outdoor scene means freezing that moment in time. Putting together the ultimate camera gear kit for hiking can be challenging. Hikers spend time and money trying to carry as little weight as possible, but photographers are notorious for collecting gear—so how do you find the balance?

We’ve put together a list of essential camera gear you need for hiking photography.

6 Essential Camera Gears for Hiking Photography


Before choosing any additional camera gear, you need to decide what kind of camera you’ll be bringing. Depending on the length of the trail you’re hiking, you’ll want to consider a lightweight, mirrorless setup vs a DSLR. You’ll also want to consider if your camera has any built-in protection against the elements. You never know what can happen when shooting nature, and having a weather-sealed camera body means less stress if conditions turn for the worse.


When you go hiking, you may want to bring two different lenses. The first is a wide angle for capturing landscape images, and the second is a telephoto for close-up shots and any animals you may encounter. Another important thing to keep in mind is that zoom lenses tend to be more useful than primes for hiking since they have the flexibility of shooting at a range of different focal lengths.


A comfortable, protective backpack is essential for any hiking trip, photography or not. You need one that’s spacious enough to hold hiking equipment and food, and maybe even your camera gear if you opt out of bringing a camera harness. You want to make sure you’re bringing a backpack that can also hold water bottles, tripods, and rain covers.

DSLR camera on the ground with a backpack and other photography gear for hiking

Lightweight Tripod

With a tripod, you can get the sharpest landscape images, group shots (if you’re with a group), and selfies if you’re alone. You want to make sure it’s light and compact enough to always carry it with you. If you get one that’s too heavy, you will probably end up leaving it behind when you’re packing your bag.

Camera Harness

As you may be able to tell, you may need to bring a few pieces of camera gear. This means you’ll need a camera harness that can carry your camera and its’ lenses while keeping it secure and close to your body. You’ll want a camera harness that fits with your backpack and offers the ultimate weight distribution for comfort and stability.

Man wearing a heavy duty hands-free camera harness holding his DSLR camera and lens while hiking

Spare Batteries & Memory Cards

Spare batteries and memory cards are crucial no matter how long or short your hike is. These are some of the lightest pieces of gear you will bring, and you can always find space in a bag for them. At a minimum, keep one spare fully charged and one spare memory card in your bag.

CCS G3 Strapshot

The CCS G3 Strapshot is perfect for hiking because this system attaches directly to your backpack so you can be hands-free. With this unique design, your camera will never be stuck inside your bag and you’ll have quick access to it throughout your hike.

Man wearing a CCS G3 Strapshot camera harness and looking at his camera while hiking

Camera Harnesses for Hiking Photography

You’ll want a camera harness that can carry your camera, your lenses, and even a lightweight tripod. Cotton Carrier harnesses offer comfort and stability without compromising your trip. Built with a patented twist and lock carrying system, your camera will be secure, allowing you to be active while still having your optics accessible. Keeping the camera close to your center of gravity, it will move with your body. It also keeps it instantly accessible so you can capture shots without any delay.

Cotton Carrier camera harnesses are designed for active photographers. Support and secure multiple cameras and other gear. Shop our collection of harnesses to find the right one for your hike.