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What’s Your Favorite Gear?

March 5, 2010

I know, I know…photography isn’t all about the gear.  But even those who aren’t gearheads usually have a favorite piece of equipment they’ve used for years over which they would cry like babies if it was ever lost.

I thought it might be kind of fun to see what everybody considers their most favoritest piece of gear ever.  Since we’re all outdoor photographers this gear doesn’t have to be photography related.  It could be a backpack, a rain jacket or a GPS, or it could be a camera, tripod or filter.

For me, I think it would have to be my old Osprey backpack.  I wore it for years until I finally had to replace it because the suspension didn’t really suspend anything anymore.  The shoulder straps were totally compressed, the hip belt was torn up and the pack itself was frayed in several spots.  I called Osprey to ask about rebuilding the suspension but they advised it couldn’t be done.  I looked everywhere for a replacement but they pack had gone out of production and I couldn’t find it any where.  Reluctantly, I retired it and moved on to something else.  And then something else.  And then another something else.  I have yet to find a day pack that fits as well, carries as comfortably and holds up to abuse like that old Osprey.

My second favorite piece of gear is my Acratech Ultimate Ballhead.  Best ballhead on the planet for nature photographers.  I won’t go into detail but if you’d like to learn more about it, check out this recent post on my blog.

Last, but not least, I’d have to say that iFotoGuide is pretty darn cool, too.  Nothing else lets you carry an entire photo guidebook on your iPhone or iPod Touch.  Of course I’m a little biased since I did co-create iFotoGuide. 😉

Your turn!  Use the comment field to tell us about your favorite piece of gear.  Who knows, maybe someone else will read your post, buy the gear and in a few years they just might feel the same way about it that you do.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. March 5, 2010 9:08 am

    Good one Bret!

    For me it would have to be my Nikkor 50 mm f/1.8 lens. I’ve had it for probably about 10 years (since my film time in NYC)and it’s a work horse. Super sharp and so versatile. I find the extremem wide angle to be too wide for some comps and in those instances my 50 is the go-to glass. Best part, it’s a $200 lens! So even if I accidentally killed it I wouldn’t be too heart broken. I mean I would be upset because of the sentimental value and the memories we shared but…

  2. March 5, 2010 9:41 am

    I have an Osprey pack I bought in 1993. It may not suspend much, but I really love it. I’ve been loving a pair of Montrail trail runners I bought 2 falls ago too–will definitely replace them when they wear out.

    My wife always jokes that guys are worse about clothing sales at REI than women are a shoe sale. Sad thing is, she’s right. I’m a total gearhead.

    Great Post!

  3. March 5, 2010 9:53 am

    I think mine would have to be my Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM. I didn’t use it much when it first came in but in the last few years it’s rarely left my camera.

  4. March 5, 2010 9:59 am

    That would be my Benro C169 tripod legs, valuable for me, since I am always on a motorcycle and that tripod is just the one I always needed!
    Second to that I believe it would be my sliplock pouch (previous blog post on yours) has saved me since the day I acquired it, carries all my field tools which I can access immediately without any hassles.
    Lastly, my Lowepro bag (Computrekker), they have proven their quality, storms, snow, sand, wind and many many Km’s on a motorcycle with speeds from 120Km/h to 220Km/h not the smallest hint of problems! But as yours its time has come, I am looking over a flipside 400 mostly because the gear opening is at the back and not at the front, makes it a safer and more easy to use at field bag! 🙂

  5. March 5, 2010 1:34 pm

    Angle finder! I have no idea how I was able to shoot small flowers before it. I remember I often got headaches for having to twist my neck in some very unnatural positions when the camera was down in the grass… the angle finder is the best pain killer!

    In the wintertime there’s no wildflowers to shoot, so my favourite gear at the moment is snowshoes.

  6. March 5, 2010 3:13 pm

    Hey Bret

    Definitely my chair kit:

    Actually, my favoritest piece of gear, ever, would be my Lowalpine Mountain Cap. I’ve had it 16 years now, and it totally rocks. And I’ve never seen anyone else with one, which I consider to be an equally important factor:



  7. March 5, 2010 3:26 pm

    Arrrrrggggghhhh… more stuff to buy! Right now I’d say I have 2 “favorite” pieces of equipment. First would be my RRS L bracket which allows me to shift my camera from horizontal to vertical and keep the lens on axis. It also elilminates flopping the ballhead over on it’s side which cuts stability and adjustabliity by 2/3. Second, I have a buckwheat bag. It’s sort of a bean bag filled with buckwheat. I’m really big on multifunctionality for my accessories and in the past this thing has acted as a beanbag support for shooting out the window of my car, as a ballast when hung from the centerpost of my tripod on windy days, and I can toss it in the microwave for a couple of minutes then use it as a heat pad for aching muscles at the end of the day which was actually it’s primary purpose when my sister made it for me. I’m a gear junkie so there’s a lot of stuff I really really like but these are my two current favorites.

  8. March 5, 2010 3:54 pm

    Thanks for commenting on this post, everyone. I had a blast reading about your favorite gear. Hope to read some more comments on this one.

    Carl’s post about his Lowalpine Mountain Cap reminded me of my favorite hat, a desert tan booney hat given to me by an old Navy SEAL friend over 10 years ago. It’s been on just about every hike I’ve ever done and it keeps going strong. I’ll wear it til it falls off my head. Hopefully my head won’t be with it when that happens.

    Keep ’em coming!

  9. March 5, 2010 10:46 pm

    Right now it would be my Icebreaker bodyfit 260 Tech top. I wear it all the time and it never holds a smell. The merino wool is super soft and warm as well.

  10. March 6, 2010 9:37 pm

    Other than the usual essentials, the piece of gear that has to be my favorite is the Really Right Stuff L-bracket. It makes switching between horizonal and vertical a breeze – no more balancing in the notch, and minimal recomposing!

  11. March 7, 2010 3:03 am

    Jason: I’m a HUGE fan of Icebreaker stuff. Bought a bunch of it at the Outdoor Retailer at ridiculously low prices on the last day. Love it.

    Doug: Never tried an L-bracket but everyone I know who uses them swears by them. Might have to give one a shot some time.

  12. Kent Mearig permalink
    March 7, 2010 10:45 am

    Never tried an L-bracket?!! Bret, do yourself a service!

    …now where’s that winking emot-icon…

    Of course, I’m one to talk. I’ve been working without a bubble level since mine fell off the side of a mountain six months ago. Now there’s a useful piece of equipment. I’ve wasted some really great opportunities with crooked photos lately.

  13. March 8, 2010 8:37 am

    Hello everybody,

    My favourite gear has to be light. I take my camera everywhere. So it would be Lowepro slingbag with 50mm (1.4), 16-35mm, 100mm,.together with my Canon 5D.

    Best regards,.

  14. March 8, 2010 7:15 pm

    My favorite gear, after thinking about this for a few days, is my Canon G10, which I take with me at all times as I am doing a Project 365 this year and must shoot a photo a day. My second favorite gear is my Domke bag which holds my DSLR, 2 lenses and filters, cards, etc very nicely and I can sling it over my shoulder easily.

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