40 Things You Didn't Know You Needed in Your Camera Bag


The camera bag is for more than cameras and lenses. Besides carrying what you need to make photographs, the camera bag is the photographers tool kit and the tools inside tell you about the photographer, their experiences, their needs, and their quirks. I asked a handful of B&H photographers what they carried in their camera bags and came up with this interesting list—in the meantime getting some ideas and some new tools in my camera bag!

  1. Rite in The Rain All Weather Spiral Notebook – For notes.

  1. Earplugs– For hearing conservation.

  1. Sunscreen – My dermatologist once said, “If you are walking around outside without using a flashlight, you need to be wearing sunscreen.”

  1. Lip Balm – Chapped lips are bad.

  1. Fenix LD12 Flashlight + Extra AA Battery – Always good to have a small flashlight handy for when your larger ones die on you. We have lots of different torches.

  1. Zeiss Lens Wipes – Keep your optics clean.

  1. LensPen – Ditto.

  1. Motrin – Vitamin M.

  1. Handheld GPS – Try not to get lost.

  1. Disposable Vinyl Gloves – Keeps your hands clean, and allows you to change halogen bulbs.

  1. Power Receptacle Tester – Use before you plug in your expensive lighting gear.

  1. 3-to-2 Prong Grounding Adapter – A must for using power in older homes and buildings.

  1. Multi-Tool – For multi-purposes. 

  1. Toupee Tape – I don’t wear one, but I was told it is great for lapel microphones and adhering gels to lights.

  1. Carson PO-55 5x MiniBrite Pocket MagnifierLoupes and magnifiers have Multiple uses.
  2. Sharpie Fine Point Permanent Marker – Write something. Label something.

  1. Gaffer Tape – 1" Black stored using a Film CanisterGaffer tape is one of your best friends and it is even better than duct tape

  1. Spare pair of eyeglasses – Only if you wear eyeglasses.

  1. Eyeglass repair kit – For your eyeglasses and lots of other repairs.

  1. Midland E+Ready ER40 Emergency Crank Weather Alert Radio – Be prepared! 

  1. Monocular – For scouting.

  1. Portable Power Packs – Keep your phone (and more) charged!!

  1. Make-up kits / perfume – One B&H photographer hands these out to young girls when photographing in impoverished locales.

  1. FUJIFILM INSTAX Camera – Great for giving an instant “gift” to portrait subjects while preserving the image digitally.

  1. Dryer Lint in a Film Canister – Great for starting fires in survival situations.

  1. Fire starter – For igniting #25.

  1. Binder clips – Multi-purpose.

  1. Silica gel packs – Do not eat.

  1. First Aid Kit in Pelican 1010 – For life’s little accidents.

  1. Vello COOLTOOL Camera Plate Combo Tool – For repairs/adjustments.

  1. Film Canister with $5 in quarters – You never know when you might want to play a video game, shoot a game of pool, or feed a parking meter.

  1. Vello Three-Axis Hot Shoe Bubble Level or Vello Two-Axis Hot Shoe Bubble Level – Keep on the level.

  1. Three 1-gallon sealing plastic bags – For storage.

  1. Water bottle – Stay hydrated.

  1. Delta 1 “A” Grip Clamp – Multi-purpose.

  1. Cable ties and/or Touch Fastener Straps – Keep your gear shipshape.

  1. Snacks – Yum.

  1. Tactical Knife – For igniting #25 and other uses.

  1. Fisher Bullet Space Pen – Pressurized ink to write at any angle, or in outer space. This Nitecore pen takes Fisher refills, and we have other writing implements that take pressurized refills as well as bust windows!

  1. Business cards – Quicker than finding a napkin to write down your contact information.

What do you carry in your camera bag? Let us know in the Comments section, below!


I'm glad to see business cards on the list! I can't count the number of times I'm out in the field and run into a "newbie," (aka pandemic birder/photographer) who's boasting all about their web site and forgets the basics of having a businesscard! (And, don't forget to use one of your images on the card! That speaks volumes about that type of work you do!) 

I'd also recommend having a good bird app on your phone. (That way, pandemic birders won't come up to you and ask what that bird you're shooting is!) 

I'd also recommend having an app for the phases of the moon, a golden hour/blue hour app and most important, a good weather app! 

Hi Susan,

All great tips! Thanks!

I guess I need to get a photo on my business card now! :)

Let us know if you need tips for good apps for your moon, hours, and weather!

Thanks for reading!



Band-aids! And tissues (allergies!).

Hey Brenda,

Great tips. Thanks! I have definitely been caught out without both of those things!

Thanks for reading!



A tiny plastic bag with 3 dental floss picks.  For teeth but the point can get grains of sand off the lens and buttons.  A little brush that slides into a tube.

Hi Jude,

Great ideas! Thank you for sharing and thanks for reading!



Film. Oops, wrong era.

Okay, batteries. 

Hi Ralph,

Ha! I consider you to be at the forefront of the resurgence of the film industry!

Thanks for reading!



Hi Nesanel,

That is a perfect SKU for #12. Thanks!

In years of keeping this article (fairly) up-to-date, I have found that many of the utility plug SKUs get discontinued randomly, so I made the bold decision to link to the product category instead. Sorry if this caused any confusion!

Thank you for reading and thanks for the assist!



I always bring a tripod. Even a tiny, $10 pocket tripod if I'm out with my point & shoot. There are situations where a $10 tripod outperforms a $1000 lens.

Bike shops sell $3 day-glow or reflective straps to secure pant cuffs. These can secure gear and/or keep people from tripping over my tripod in small nightclubs or on dark sidewalks.

Ditto on #40, the business cards. I printed a bunch of "mini" cards, about 3" x 1" just for my weekend photo walks. They read, in English and Spanish: "Thank you for being part of my photograph. If you would like a copy of my picture, just ask me. I am happy to share. (email address)." People rarely object to being photographed, but I've found these cards to be calming off-ramps when things do get tense. Just having a few of these cards in my bag puts me in a friendlier, more open mindset.

Hi Artie,

Great tips and I agree about the tripod. I keep a sandbag in my camera bag for the same purpose.

Your mini card idea is awesome, too. I once took an epic photo (one of my best ever) of a woman standing on a New York street corner. She was waiting for her husband/bf/date and they went to a restaurant down the street (ironically, the same place I met my wife). I saw them in the window a while after I had captured her in the photo and went in, introduced myself, and gave her my card to share the image with her. She never reached out. Her loss. The photo is now captured in an oil painting above my bed at home because an art school friend of mine loved the photo so much she wanted to make a painting of it.

Oh well!

Thanks for reading!



I would take all of it, but weight would be extra. However, half of the list is already being prepared to be ordered. 
In Brazil nowaday, I would also include in my list a shotgun to keep thieves away. kkkkk
Thank you for the big hint.

You can't be too prepared! :)  Thanks for stopping by, Fernando and be careful out there!

I take a lot of photos of plants/flowers, so I also carry a small paintbrush to whisk away stray detritus on leaves - also some string to tie back unwanted branches, etc.  And a bandana to keep my unruly hair out of my way!

Excellent suggestions, Cindy—thanks for writing!

I'll second that! Thanks for stopping by!

Bring a friend so he can carry all that while you takes pictures. 

lume cubes and a hot-shoe to 1/4 inch adapter piece.

so you have a constant video light, a slave flash, and an emergency flashlight.


Nice additions! Thanks, Thomas!

Gray card, white card, American Express card.  And migraine meds for after I use the American Express card.

Nice additions, Brock! I agree with all of your suggestions!

You might also consider a climbing harness, rope, and a helmet.

Nice additions, Jonathan! Thanks!

Whistle/Boat Can Horn ( can be used to scarce away bears/ alert rescuers if you need help.

Balloons/panels {yellow} can be blown up and tied to rock or tree branch in the event you get lost or hurt and need help. 

Nylon cord=50 ft

Raingear/large garbage bags to protect gear.

Small Mirror+ Can be used to signal your location .




Hey jose,

Great additions to the list. Thank you! Safety first!

Yellow Caution Barricade Tape. A great way to keep overzealous parents and family away from certain situations where they would otherwise damage equipment or interfere with your work. It works great!

Good idea, Tomblvd! Thanks for sharing!

I know now what to get for christmas!

This list will definitely fill up most wish lists, Joshua! Thanks for reading!

A rusty shank for stabbing cannon users 

That is a new one! Thanks, jhon! I will add it to the list! Thanks for reading!

I got a jagged piece of plastic for those Nikkon people...

I keep an extra battery and some lens cleaning supplies. I usually don't go far enough into the woods to get lost.

Hey Ken,

Good tips! Thanks for reading and sharing. You are smart to not go far enough to get lost!

Nice addition, Brian! Thanks for the suggestion and thanks for reading!

How big is this camera bag?!?!?! And some of this stuff sounds like you're going to spend a week in a war zone. 

It is a pretty big bag, Mundstrom. It has wheels and an engine attached!

Thanks for reading!

I carry in my little Lowepro 150 Instant Messenger on nature trails:

* Either a small multitool with a tiny set of pliers or that orange Victorinox tool (optional item)

* Battery power bank with two ports: 1A and 2A as well as an LED flashlight (and its USB cable)

* A small roll of medical tape, hand tearable

* An emergency cookie or some candies

* A carabiner and lanyard

* Some tissues

If it's a crosscountry hike we also carry hiking sticks.

These days we also carry a backpack with water bottles, fruit and snacks, binoculars, a small towel, mosquito repellant, etc. One or two small flashlights if we're staying overnight (at an enclosed campsite complete with tents having attached bathrooms) and more food and water.

Hey dokopter!

Great stuff! Thanks for sharing. I wonder what our firewall blocked on your "An emergency ****** or some candies" bullet! 

I am sure it was something salacious and crude. Just kidding!

Thanks for reading!

I haven't read all the comments, but I keep

Allen wrench to tighten tripod legs or etc.

I try to have at least one plastic grocery bag from Safeway or Kroger or etc.  This in addition to a ziploc or two.  They may not be in my camera bag but travel with me in some pocket.  A bag from a store like Microcenter is sturdier but may be overkill  :)

I will add that I have a couple ND filters as well.

This idea might be a little off topic compared to the other helpful miscellaneous items suggested, but I have found ND useful on the odd ocassion.  I have used them to increase exposure time to 'erase' people from images.  There are other ways to get rid of people and the filters haven't always worked for me, but it is an item to consider and determine if it will be helpful.

On the other hand, plastic bags are always useful !

More good stuff, Tan68!

Thanks, again, for reading!

Hey Tan68,

Good tips! I don't think these are redundant! Thanks for reading!

I have in mine Camera Bag; Extra Batteries; Eye Glass Kit; Ring Flash; Business Cards; Small Flashlights; Battery Chargers(3) for Camera; Rain Gear for Camera; Tool Kit; 4 Sets of Ear Plugs; 2 small Digital Cameras; Pens; Markers; Paper; Table Tri-Pod; 3 extra batteries for camera Grip; Credentials; Off Camera Flash Cord; Flash Battery Pack; 6 Lens; cannon D40; Small Cleaning Kit !!

Good stuff, Jeff! I have some of those in my bag too!

Thanks for reading!

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