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​So You Want To Be An Action Sports Photographer?

F-stop makes high-performance adventure packs for visual creatives. Designed to carry and protect camera equipment and adventure gear to remote, challenging places, f-stop uses a modular system to enable every photographer to customize their own carry solution to suit their adventure, and their gear. You pick the pack size you need, then choose the right sized Internal Camera Unit (ICU) to organize and protect your camera equipment. Let’s take a look at how three of f-stop’s ambassadors approach gear and packing selections for different adventure shoots.


Every year Red Bull Rampage produces some of the most jaw-dropping images of mountain biking. Here f-stop Icon Scott Markewitz shows us what was in his bag for Rampage this year. Just like the riders, the photographers have to navigate the vertigo-inducing terrain to find their angles on these new features. Scott grabs the slimmest of the Mountain Series packs for this, to navigate the Rampage course and still carry a two-body set up.

“One of the challenges of photographing the Rampage is moving around and getting set up to shoot the riders during the event. The venue is spread out and every athlete takes a different line down the mountain. There’s not much time between runs, so you have to have to know where you’re going to shoot and move fast between each run to get in place. I like to have a pack that is large enough to carry everything I need for the event but light and agile when I’m running up and down the mountain between shots. For this year’s Rampage I brought a Lotus. It’s a great mid-size pack that fits a Large Pro ICU, but is lightweight and easy to move around with.”

On the road to Rampage 2018: Packing 2 full frame pro body DSLRs, 4 lenses, and daily essentials in the 32L Lotus pack to stay agile while shooting among the Utah cliffs of the Red Bull Rampage course


Outdoor adventure shoots and big gear lists always go hand in hand, but this was especially true for f-stop Ambassador Ming Poon's epic summer multi-sport adventure in the Sierra Nevada with Jeremy Jones and Brennan Lagasse. Biking and hiking to access skiing and snowboarding in July, and shooting stills and video along the way, means a full spread of gear to pack, carry and ride. Their secret weapons to make this mission possible in a single day were e-mtb. Here is Ming's walk-through of his camera gear, and the snowboard gear on the outside of his pack:

“Taking in bikes, hiking and snowboarding, and shooting both stills and motion, you can imagine the amount of gear required. The bikes really gave me more options to take more, for at least part of the day. I had my standard camera kit, two Sony Alpha cameras (A9 and A7RIII) and three lenses. I also brought a drone and Jeremy and I each had a Rylo 360 camera. My Tilopa pack was key to carrying my camera kit and snowboarding gear. Here's a look at what I packed in the pack:”


f-stop Ambassador Craig Kolesky takes us on a packing tour of his 25L Guru UL pack. The Guru UL is designed for active shooters who want a simple and lightweight carry solution, and Craig shows how he approaches fast and light adventure shoots, and how to fit a surprising amount in the smallest UL Series f-stop pack:

Each shoot has different requirements, depending on the project; gear is packed to accommodate space. Keeping gear light when doing long hikes, riding bikes or needing to get around quickly is key when on projects. Keeping gear down to minimum and just packing the needed and not over packing is a process, once you get into a routine or system packing for specific shoots it becomes easier to decide what gear to use. “

“This set up is great for short trips, 1 day or maybe even a one-night trip where you need to keeps things light. The plan on this shoot was to recce a Fat Bike route and shoot some stock images while out riding. We needed our own food/water so kept gear down to the essentials for the day out. This is also a similar set up for trail running shoots if I’m out all day. You can pack anything you need really based on what you’re shooting and what your requirements are.

Each photographer has their own system of packing gear. Knowing where all the gear in the bag is for quick access or finding gear quickly is important. The best thing to do is create a system that works with your gear and what you are shooting, using your ICUs and packing areas available on the bag. For me this means:

  • Using different color dry bags to pack smaller items. Each color is for a specific items: Red for food, yellow for dry clothing, blue for batteries, etc. The dry bags also add extra protection to gear.
  • Waist strap pockets for energy bars, gels, nuts and a small knife/Leatherman.
  • Outside front pockets for quick access items like memory cards, food, 2-way radios and sun block.

There is a lot of space on the bag and once you get to know all the pockets you can pack and stash a lot of gear!

Craig uses the Guru UL camera pack and Medium Shallow ICU for staying light and nimble on location

Head on over to to see more examples of how the pros pack, and to learn more about packing for your next adventure. 

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