My Gear/FAQ

What editing software do you use?

I use a mixture of Lightroom CC, Photoshop CC, and Photoshop Fix (phone app). Photoshop Fix is free and Adobe has a photography plan for Lightroom and Photoshop for $10/month.

Is your website made from a template?

Yes! I use the Rosalie Theme and have a WordPress Premium plan which gives me access to a customized domain name, unlimited premium themes, and the ability to edit the CSS. Most premium themes have a support forum on WordPress’ website to help you customize the CSS to your liking.

What gear do you use?

The big question! When it comes to gear, I try to be as economical as possible. I don’t know a lot about gear but here’s what I try to ask myself when deciding what to buy for both camping and camera equipment:

Will it last?  Sometimes the cheapest option isn’t the best option, and that’s definitely true with camping and camera gear. I try to find products that will be durable without breaking the bank. When it comes to Amazon, I tend to prefer the options that have “Amazon Choice” written next to them. Call me mainstream, but that’s what I do.

Is there room to grow? I don’t need the biggest, badass tools but I want products that will suit my needs both now and in the near future. E.g. I’m not a backpacker right now but I’d like to be someday, so I bought gear that will work for both casual camping and backpacking. I’m sure others will tell you not to do this but this is what worked best for me. Hopefully you find out what works best for you too.

Are there sales going on right now? As you’ll notice below, I’m an REI hoarder. One reason is because it was simpler for me to go to a one-stop-shop for everything while also getting the advice of their employees. I’m sure this isn’t the absolute best route, but it’s what I did. The second reason is that as an REI member, I got a lot of deals. I chose to buy items when there were sales and I used my member dividends. I also signed up for the REI MasterCard which gave me a $100 gift card in addition to more dividends on all my purchases (not just REI purchases). Warning: the dividends can only be used at REI so make sure that’s what you really want! REI also has “Garage Sales” where you can buy practically new gear for half the price. For camera gear, I also paid attention to sales and used Amazon gift cards to my advantage when I had them.

Do I really, actually need it? I have a tendency to go overboard with shopping, so this is always a good question to ask myself.

With all this in mind, and heavily taking into account the reviews and advice from others, here’s what I am currently using for both camping and photography:


REI Quarter Dome 2 Tent — Lightweight, easy to set up, comfortable for two (given that it’s a backpacking tent), convenient openings/pockets

REI Quarter Dome 2 Footprint — Protects the base of your tent; better to replace this than your tent!

REI Flash Insulated Air Sleeping Pad — Manual inflation, somewhat noisy to move on, but keeps you warm

Therm-a-Rest Non Inflatable Sleeping Pad — Just for extra warmth if needed

REI Serrana Sleeping Bag — So warm, light and comfortable. Mine is an older model, but they have a new model that you can buy.

REI Flash 60 Pack — Lots of access points and airline carry-on approved!

ENO Doublenest Hammock and Atlas Suspension System Straps (straps sold separately) — the straps let you hang your hammock pretty much anywhere in a matter of minutes

MSR PocketRocket 2 Stove and Jetboil Fuel Can Stabilizer

MSR IsoPro Fuel — I’ve heard that it’s better to get the same brand of fuel as the stove. I get the 3.9 oz. canisters. They’re reusable and can be found at most camping stores.

GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Dualist Cookset — Folds up nice and compact and its very versatile

Osprey Daylite Backpack —  I swear by this backpack. Even though it’s only 13 liters it holds so much! They have a “plus” option which is 20 liters in case you need more room.

CamelBak Reservoir — Most packs – big and small – will have a section to hold a reservoir (sometimes known as a “bladder”). The area is noted by a “water drop” symbol on the pack, usually near the top of the arm straps. Some packs come with a reservoir but the perk of buying a day pack separately is that you have more options for packs.

2-In-1 First Aid Kit (120 Pieces) — Some people make their own kits but I didn’t know where to start so I ended up buying one online that promised to have lots of pieces. I figured more pieces means more helpful, and this kit comes with a smaller kit that you can take on day trips.

Typical miscellaneous stuff picked up from Target, REI, Ralphs, etc.:

Matches and lighter
Water bottles
Headlamp, flashlights and lantern
Big container to put all of these items in
Other misc items from this list


Camera Gear

(1) Canon EOS Rebel T3i — I like this one because it has a swivel display (good for hard angles and selfies), video capabilities, and it has an infrared sensor which allows me to use a wireless remote. Warning: make sure you know if your camera is an APS-C or full frame camera as it will affect which lens your camera can use. Canon EF lenses work for both but EF-S lenses only work for APS-C.

(2) Tamrac 5684 Digital Zoom 4 Camera Bag — Solid, compact bag when you’re just looking to stuff your camera in your bag while still keeping it protected. Paired with the lens sleeves (12), it’s a good way to transport your gear if you don’t want to carry a bigger bag.

(3) ProMater Universal Camera Remote #7613 — It seems this version of the remote is no longer available in most places, but they have a different different one on Amazon that is essentially the same thing. Amazon also has its own remote that seems to be pretty good for such a cheap price, but I haven’t tested that one out. Regardless, it’s important to check your camera’s specs to see which wireless (and wire) remotes it’s compatible with. My camera, the Rebel T3i, has a place for the Remote Switch RS-60E3 (remote with wire) to be plugged in and it’s also compatible with the wireless RC-6, RC-1 and RC-5.

(4) Extra camera battery — An absolute must! Again, check your camera’s specs to see which battery you need. The Canon Rebel T3i requires a Battery Pack LP-E8 x 1.

(5) AmazonBasics Large DSLR Gadget Bag — Fits one DSLR body and 3-4 lens, lots of external pockets

(6) Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM — Relatively inexpensive and perfect for amateur portrait photography. It creates that nice blurred background/bokeh and the colors are so vivid.

(7) Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Lens — The “IS” stands for image stabilization which is useful when you’re really zoomed in. At the time, the “Amazon Choice” option for this lens was the refurbished one so I bought that and it seems to be working alright so far (knock on wood). Based on what I’ve read, “Certified” is important when buying refurbished from Amazon.

(8) Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.5 IS II — Standard “kit lens” that came with my camera

(9) Quantaray 28-90mm 3.5-5.6 AF Macro for Canon — Found this is a thrift store once and bought it because why not? I’m just now getting around to looking at the specs and it’s actually not that great, but it has a nice zoom on it. More versatile than the kit lens.

(10) JOBY GorillaPod SLR-Zoom and Ballhead Bundle — The ballhead is key! That’s what allows you to screw your camera into the tripod. I chose this tripod because of it’s flexible legs. I haven’t actually tested it out yet but it seems pretty cool.

(11) JOBY GripTight Mount PRO Holder for Smartphone — I wanted to have the flexibility to prop up my iPhone too, so I bought one of these.

(12) Altura Photo Thick Protective Neoprene Pouches for DSLR Lenses — They come in a variety of packs that are useful if you want to take a lens on the go without carrying around a big camera bag. Warning, the Extra-Large pouch is really big, like pro-sport lens big. I use the Medium and Large pouches the most.

(Not Pictured) Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens

(Not Pictured) AmazonBasics UV Protection Lens Filters — They come in sizes 52mm, 55mm, 58mm, 62mm, 67mm, 72mm, 77mm and 82mm.  Filers are nice because they protect the glass on your lens. Their other uses are also good but this is the reason I use them. Better to replace your filter than your lens! To figure out what filter size you need, look for the ø symbol (represents diameter) on the front of your lens. This number is the same for the filter size you need.

(Not Pictured) 8 GB SDHC memory card — The “HC” stands for “High Capacity” but to me it also means “Highly Crucial.” It speeds up the process of writing files to the card.

(Not Pictured) Additional lens caps and camera body caps — Always a handy thing. When buying one of each, I went with the Movo Photo Lens Mount Cap and Body Cap. You pick your camera brand before purchasing and most, if not all, cameras of that brand (at least the lower end models) can use the same size caps.

(Not Pictured) Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens — I haven’t bought this lens yet but I’m hoping to soon. From what I’ve read, this seems like a decent wide angle lens for beginners.