If you're going to LiveTheVanLife, your going to want the best equipment to capture all of the amazing places you'll be traveling to. I've compiled a list of the current camera equipment I have with me in the Van, along with my reasons for carrying each, and why I think they might deserve a home in your van too. This is all equipment that I have been traveling with for a while now, across the USA and Canada. It should also be noted that I have not been sponsored or provided any of this equipment in order to sell it to you. I bought these for myself, with my own money based on the advice of close friends in the community, my own research, trial & error.
DJI Mavic Pro Camera Drone: $940
This is hands down the best drone on the market right now for Van Dwellers. Why? For starters its wings and props fold inwards, making it extremely compact. My old DJI Phantom 3 took up my whole Aluminess Storage box in the back of the Van. The Mavic fits nicely inside my locked center console storage box. Compact size aside, it offers fantastic battery life (20-25 mins), fantastic image quality (4k!), and is very easy to fly. Additionally it has oodles of different “Flight Modes” where for example you can tell the drone to follow the Van, hop in, drive away, and watch out the rear view as the drone flies along behind you up that sick mountain road. I purchased mine HERE.
This photo was taken in Nova Scotia, Canada in July 2017 with my DJI Mavic Pro Drone
Video I shot with the Mavic Pro of the old abandoned Overseas Highway near Bahia Honda State Park, Florida Keys
GoPro Hero 5 Black: $399
I held out on buying a GoPro for a long time. I had a Sony Action Cam for years, and messed around with some cheaper off brand Action Cameras. They all worked ok, but GoPro is the Go To (see what I did there?) Action Camera for all of the pros. It has Wifi, Bluetooth, can shoot in 4k, Super Slow Mo, has a million different modes including time lapses, on and on. Suffice it to say, this thing has all of the bells and whistles. Not to mention it has a huge and vibrant ecosystem of mounts and accessories, most very reasonably priced. I was able to get a big bag of mounts, and accessories for around twenty dollars that greatly expanded how and where I could mount it on my Van. It's even waterproof! I’ve mounted mine under the van at the beach, on top of my roof rack driving down the Overseas Highway in the Florida Keys, and to the side of my High Top driving down Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. This action cam rocks, and is great for giving you different camera angles of whatever crazy thing you happen to be doing. I purchased mine HERE. You can also purchase that really great accessory kit HERE.
Shot using my GoPro Hero 5 and Suction Cup mounted to the side of the Vans High Top. Mt. Washington, New Hampshire, July 2017.
Fuji Instax Mini 8: $59
Remember the magic of shooting with a Polaroid when you were a kid? Ok, maybe I'm aging myself a bit. Lets try this again, does anyone over 30 remember that magic feeling of waving Polaroid film around waiting for it to develop? Yes? Ok then, this is the 2017 version of that. Except the film is a little smaller, and the camera comes in a bunch of different fun colors. Why take one of these with you on your travels? Because you love sharing fun experiences with friends. When you roll up to that amazing mountain overlook, or incredible beach camping spot, what better way to share that experience than to take a photo and hand it to your buddy. You’ll have to try it for yourself to completely understand, but having a physical photograph in your hand is more impactful than if you were to text that same photo. Is the image quality fantastic? Nope, its awful. This is Lo-Fi, 80’s technology, but honestly thats a big part of what makes it so much fun (plus most of us are prettier in Lo-Fi :) Lastly being able to take that fun group photo you just captured and tape it up in the van, makes your tiny home feel that much more like, well, home. I bought mine HERE. If you want film for it, the best deal i've found is HERE.
Photo taken with Fuji Instax camera at Trona Pinnacles, California in early 2017
Sony A6000 Mirrorless Camera: $648
Every one of the cameras above has a major limitation. They are all terrible in low light. Want to capture that amazing shot of the Milky Way Galaxy over your Van when you're camping in Joshua Tree? What about the shot of your and your girlfriend holding hands watching the Sunrise? If the answer is yes, then you need a solid SLR camera. This one in particular fills a Niche. Its great because its tried and true, is relatively budget friendly (DSLR’s and Mirrorless Camera’s can quickly become several thousand dollar investments, or more), has fantastic image quality, and is small and compact. Add to all of that Optical Image stabilization built into the included kit lens for more stable shots and you have a solid performing camera ready to capture those more difficult #VanLife shots. Its great mix of features will challenge but not overwhelm newbies. I purchased this camera along with a 18-55mm kit lense HERE.
iPhone 7 Plus Unlocked 256GB: $899
The camera I use the most is the one that I have in my pocket the most often. My iPhone 7 Plus. What makes the camera on this phone so great? Image quality on cellphones has steadily improved over the past 10 years. It used to be that they were barely passable. With the iPhone 7 Plus, in good light, id argue that the images to most people's eyes are on par with a DSLR. Most of the photos I post on Instagram, and use on this website, including the photos of the camera's above, were shot with my iPhone. In addition to the excellent camera quality you have instant access to handy photo editing tools to tweak your photos (I use the Adobe Lightroom app). I think having the ability to snap a high quality photo anywhere in the world, and be able to instantly share it with friends anywhere else in the world is an incredibly powerful and underrated thing that so many of us now take for granted. I got this particular model with 256GB of storage so that I would have ample room to store all of my photos and videos while traveling. Paying full price for it also gives you the unlocked version, enabling you to use foreign sim cards when in far away countries. The case I bought for it, made by Incipio, doubles as my wallet, allowing me to store up to 3 Debit/Credit cards and my drivers license. I purchased my iPhone HERE and I bought the Incipio Case HERE
How did I do? Did I convince you on any of the equipment above? Why or Why not? Any questions you have that weren't answered? I want to hear from you below! Thanks for reading and following the Journey.