If you haven’t heard of the popular action camera known as GoPro, you must have been purposely avoiding technology. When founder Nick Woodman wanted to capture quality surfing footage that he couldn’t seem to get one way or another, he was determined to create a system that could capture angles and shots that looked professional, hence the name “GoPro”. The first GoPro compact digital video camera was released in 2006, and since then Woodman Labs have been releasing new generations that come with higher resolution, more recording settings and mode options and many more enhancements over the years. GoPro cameras are ridiculously small, inconceivably lightweight, and rugged enough for most extreme sports.
While the price tag for the latest and greatest model might be a bit high for some (The GoPro Hero 4 Black currently retails for about $500.00 USD), GoPro is not only great for extreme sports but its also one of the best cameras for travelling, especially when it comes to backpacking and more uncertain travel plans that may include more than unknown adventure!
Fitting snugly into your carry-on along with your other valuables, you can take the camera along on your Amazon River boat tour and not worry about it getting splashed, or head out on camel back into an abyss of sand dunes in the Sahara without concern for wind or sand damaging your camera.
In addition to the heavy duty durability of the GoPro, has a wide-angle lens that is able to capture more than you may anticipate when you first start using the camera. Thanks to this extremely wide field of view, you can mount the camera close to your body or head and still capture a full view of subjects that seemed to almost touch the camera lens like your body while surfing or your face while hiking.
GoPro dominates the market with their extremely extensive assortment of mounts to help you mount the camera on your board, backpack, dog, head, gun, handlebar, and so many more. The locational versatility of the GoPro is perfect for travelling as you can choose to mount it, carry it on a pole, set it up on a tripod, or if you prefer hand held, just use it as you would a normal camera. With so many possible accessories to mount, enhance and customize your GoPro, how do you decide which ones to bring with you for your trip?
Here are the top ten travel essential GoPro accessories to help you capture that special time lapse of the Aurora Borealis or a video of your dog sled experience in Alaska.
GoPro batteries have a bit of a reputation for not having long lasting battery, although with every generation of camera the battery life is extended more than the last one. To save yourself the disappointment of running out of battery just before the big moment, bring along an extra battery that you can keep charged in case the one you’re using drops dead. There is a Dual Battery Charger accessory from GoPro that allows you to charge both batteries at once! Given how small the GoPro camera is, the battery is even smaller, so bringing along an extra battery and charger would barely add any weight to your pack.
Just as crucial as having enough battery to last through your entire adventure, having enough space on your memory card is vital! GoPro cameras are not packaged with the memory card when you buy them that is required to record footage, so make sure you head on down to your local electronics store and pick up a Micro SD Card. Micro SD Cards come in different sizes of memory capacity and different transfer speeds. The amount of memory will correlate to how many videos and images you can take, while the speed determines how fast the card can write the information from the camera as you’re shooting as well as how fast it transfers information from your GoPro to computer. An 8 GB Micro SD Card will only yield about 20 minutes of video or 2,000 photos, 16 GB will give you about 40 minutes of photo or 4,000 photos, 32 GB is about 80 minutes or 8,000 images and 64 GB will allow you a whopping 160 minutes or 16,000 photos. There is even a 128 GB card for the travellers who will not be able to download their footage throughout their trip and need a lot of space. Since these cards can be quite pricey the higher up in capacity you get, another approach is to bring a few lower capacity cards that you can switch with when your old ones are full. Just know that this could happen at some inappropriate times where you wouldn’t want to be caught dealing with microscopic pieces of equipment.
When you hit the road solo or as a couple, you may have found that you run into the dilemma of always having to ask people to take your photos. The invention of the Extending Pole accessory can solve this issue by giving your arm a few more feet to help capture all of you, the stunning sunset backdrop and more! The pole allows you to reach out to take ‘selfies’, to reach up to capture above the festival crowd, to skim the ground as you whisk through sand dunes on a quad, or to reach as close as you can get it to a lurking shark during a reef dive. Depending on which pole you pick up, you could have a reach of up to 60 inches, but that is at full extension, when fully compacted these poles can be as small as 10 inches which is perfect to fit into your backpack.
This mount gives you so many options that you’ll feel as though you have brought along a mount that can go more than just three ways. There is a camera grip, tripod and extension arm formation that the mount can be morphed into, allowing you endless amounts of versatility. Use the camera grip to get a steadier shot as you walk the streets of Montmarte, or set up the tripod to get a big nomad family photo. The extending arm works similarly to the afore mentioned extending pole, but can bend and contort to get the angle you really need. Several reviewers dramatically rave about this being the number one GoPro accessory to have, and testify to its flexibility and sturdiness when faced with difficult situation
This is an accessory for the on-the-go traveller whom constantly finds themselves in crammed tuk tuks, jeepneys, long boats or double decker buses as they venture forth to their next destination. The Suction Cup mount can survive speeds up to 150+ mph, as long as it is applied properly to an acceptable surface. Position it on the inside of a window as you ride the Shinkansen bullet train through Japan, the hull of your catamaran whilst sailing the Great Barrier Reef, or on the side of your car as you cruise through the mountains on roads lined with the stunning colours of autumn in Vermont, USA.
This accessory is a frame case that you put your GoPro into, so you must take it out of the underwater housing, which renders it now NOT waterproof. The Frame is the ultimate way to cut down on weight when mounting your GoPro and enables for optimal audio recording, low-profile mounting and easy accessibility to the Micro USB, Micro HDMI and Micro SD card ports. There is also a protective glass lens cover that helps to protect your camera’s lens from scratches and other hazards. This would be a great accessory to utilize when you are strolling through a vibrant Guatemalan city and come across a local band busking on the side of the road and want to capture every detail of their performance that you can, or attending a special event such as a wedding that you are responsible for memorializing and need ready access to side ports. This is a low-impact accessory that does not make the GoPro waterproof compared to the waterproof housing it is packaged with.
Half the battle of taking a good photo is making sure that the image will be clear, but you won’t be getting much of anything if your camera is fogged up. Bring along some Anti-Fog Inserts for when you head into humid or cold environments so that you can prevent fog from forming between your hot camera and the cold environment. The GoPro edition Anti-Fog Inserts are reusable, lasts up to four uses as long as you follow proper care procedures and store in an airtight bag. This way, your epic swim with a whale shark in the Philippines won’t go blurry due to fog!
Going snorkelling in Fiji or perhaps Kayaking in Alaska? You’ll want to be sure that you bring along a Floaty Backdoor to keep your precious GoPro from falling to the depths of Davy Jones’ locker. This floatation device keeps your GoPro afloat while highlighting it in bright orange so that you can find it among the waves if something goes wrong with your mount job. The Floaty Backdoor attaches to the back of your camera with two adhesive anchors but it will not be able to float if you have mounted your camera to the Suction Cup mount or attached a BacPac. GoPro backdoors are interchangeable so you don’t always have to have a large orange foam addition bothering you as you walk through an old Roman city.
Fully adjustable and elastic, the Head Strap mount can be worn directly on one’s head or fit over a helmet. It sits in the same position that a headlamp would, so it records basically whatever you are looking at so you won’t miss a shot because you were too slow bringing your hand around to the other side, you just had to look at it! The Head Strap’s elastic straps are versatile enough to be worn as a wrist mount, or even around your legs depending on what angle you want to capture- just remember that because it is not the designated purpose of this mount, do not engage in high-impact activities that could jolt it loose. The actual mount itself is also very light and manageable to bring with you and when you’re wearing it you will barely remember its there! Just don’t forget to take it off before you’re in a photo, unless you want to be wearing your GoPro in all your vacation photos from your point and shoot camera. Perfect for hiking, festivals, snorkelling and all sorts of adventure.
LCD Touch Screen
One thing that people critique about the GoPro is its lack of a screen to help you see whether you are getting the shot you want or not. With the LCD Touch BacPac you can play back videos and photos on the spot rather than waiting till you get home and checking them on the computer. The touch screen allows easy controls while the navigation menus can be managed with simple swipes. GoPro’s wide angle lens may surprise you with the field of view it can capture and you might find that you were actually too far away from most of the subjects you were interested in shooting, but the LCD Touch BacPac will allow you to gauge the position of your camera and make sure that you are shooting from the right place. A good place to hold your camera for steady all-encompassing shots is from the hip or lower, but now that you’ll be equipped with the LCD Touch Screen, you can make sure that you have it where you want it.
If you don’t have the extra money for this accessory (about $80.00 USD), not all is lost, download the GoPro app on your smart phone and activate the Wifi from your camera and you will have a display of what your camera is seeing as well as ease to change any settings. You can also playback your movies and photos on your phone, but make sure to upload them to your computer, as the GoPro app simply functions as a tool to film and view the media files, but not to store them.
In addition to these accessories, there are a few key techniques and factors to manage to make sure that you have a successful day out with your GoPro. It is important to make sure that your GoPro is fully functioning before you take it out into the world, which includes setting up the latest software updates, which is a step many eager photographers forget about. Simply head to the GoPro website and you will find the software tab where you can download updates, and connect your camera to receive the update. At the same location on the website you can find a free download for the GoPro Studio film editing software that allows you to edit, enhance and produce all your footage.