Packing before you head out for a shoot is all about weighing up – often literally – the pros and cons of each piece of kit. If you’re heading somewhere out of the way, the last thing you want is to be burdened with a huge bag and loads of unnecessary gear.
Having said that, there are a few items that no drone pilot should leave home without. It’s all about finding the right balance between utility and creativity.
We’ve put together a list of items and accessories with that in mind for this ‘What’s in Your Bag?’ special.
For remote shoots, you want a backpack that can handle all of the essentials without weighing you down. But most importantly, it needs to be relatively sturdy and weather-proof.
Go with something like this, from Herschel. You can scale up the bag depending on which drone you’re carrying.
Speaking of which, if you’re looking to find the right balance between price, flight time, camera quality and portability, look no further than the DJI Mavic Pro. It’s currently cheaper than it’s ever been.
Sure, it takes up more room. But keeping your drone inside a case adds another layer of protection. You’ve got two choices, soft or hard. Hard cases are usually bulkier with extra room for more accessories.
A good middle ground is this, from Smatree.
One thing you should never fly without is spare batteries. Staying in the air for as long as possible is the best way to guarantee you get the shots you want. So have a few on hand – you won’t regret it.
Prop guards are handy in certain situations: maybe you’re flying indoors or in a tight outside space. Guards add a few centimeters to your overall wingspan but offer peace of mind and limited protection against scrapes.
They are especially useful when flying drones that don’t have sideways or backwards -facing sensors, like the Mavic Pro.
Some accessories offer practicality and the ability to push those creative boundaries, like ND filters.
They work by reducing the amount of light the lens is exposed to, giving you more control over shutter speed and aperture. The result is the ability to capture shots that emphasize motion, as well as avoiding overexposure in bright conditions.
The best times of day for photography are often the coldest, whether that’s flying as the sun goes down or preparing for a sunrise shoot. Do yourself a favor and get some gloves. Flying with numb fingers is no fun at all!
Find some that are touchscreen sensitive to avoid having to take them off everytime you want to adjust your drone’s settings.
Last but not least is DJI’s CrystalSky monitor – the cheapest of which is an eye-watering $469. That’s a lot of money for a dedicated drone monitor, but if you’ve got that kind of cash lying around, it’s probably worth it.
This is your chance to say goodbye to the days of squinting through the sun to see your fuzzy video feed. A call from grandma will no longer crash your phone and bring down your drone. Not convinced? Budget visibility alternatives are available, like this monitor hood.
For more detail on accessories and other things to consider adding to your bag, check out our Best Accessories for Drone Pilots post.