When leading a group of people on a photo tour I usually get asked about the equipment used for outdoor photography. Not cameras and lenses or tripods, but trousers and other items that make for a more comfortable day out, and also protect your equipment. Here is a small list of gear for those moments.
Being outdoors, under rain or cold, on coastal areas blasted by strong winds, or in damp forests where you sit for hours, waiting for the right moment, makes you think carefully about the layers of clothing you wear, the boots you use, the multiple choices to make the experience more comfortable so you are ready when the right moment comes.
Most people do know the essential about clothing for outdoor photography, so I am not going to mention the most regular choices available when it comes to footwear and clothing. But I still do find some people are curious when they see some of the things I use, so I thought it would be a good idea to write this article revealing what works for me. This is not a “best solution”, it should be read as “the solutions I use”, and which may interest some readers.
When it comes to trousers, I've settled for the Stealth Gear Stealth Gear Extreme Photographers Trousers 2N, from Stealth Gear. These dedicated photographers trousers offer high quality waterproof trousers with features designed to help aid photographers in operating and carrying their photography equipment. These photographer's trousers are stylish and full of practical features for outdoor photographers from amateur to professional photographers.
The new Extreme Photographers Trousers 2N offer what some consider to be better expandable pockets (they have elastic inserts to grip your lenses) but I must say I prefer their original version, with smaller pockets, which I used previously, as I do not usually carry lenses in my trousers pockets. Still, I very much like my Extreme Photographers Trousers 2N because they are totally waterproof – I've tested them, although involuntarily – are extremely comfortable and have external removable knee pads that are essential for outdoor photographers spending a lot of time on their knees… something I do!
I like the Extreme Photographers Trousers 2N. In fact, I wear them almost daily, even if I am not out photographing. That should say something about how much I like them. Stealth Gear also has an Extreme Photographers Jacket2, which I find much to warm for the weather conditions in my country, but that others might find to be the ideal solution for them. I wish Stealth Gear would make a vest following the same concept, something that I would probably buy. They have a new collection coming out soon, so maybe I will be surprised.
Stealth Gear also has another piece of equipment I use. Their Stealth Gear Photographers Poncho 2. Although heavier than other ponchos, this poncho, which will easily go over you with a large backpack/camera bag on your back, thus giving your equipment more protection when moving, can also be pegged down to the ground to act as a ground sheet or you can put your equipment under and then peg down. It's like having a light tent to take around, besides being an excellent hide for wildlife animals photography.
One item I always have in my bag, and this is more to protect my gear, but also to provide me a place to sit down, is the Contact Sheet from MindShift Gear. This multi-purpose “Contact Sheet” is designed for photographers who work in wet or dirty environments and need a clean, dry work area. The ultralight waterproof fabric provides a barrier from the elements. The 3.5’x5’ ((152 x 107 cm)) ground tarp stuffs into an included mesh pouch so it stays out of the way until you need it.
With a weight of 5 oz (142 g), the Contact Sheet should never be left at home. It can easily accommodate you and your full sized pack, either working or for a moment of pause during a walk. In extreme conditions it can even provide you and your equipment some form of shelter from the elements.