Photographers Packing Guide for Galapagos

It’s been a busy few days getting ready for my exotic trip to the Galapagos Islands. This trip has been planned since last summer, and has given me plenty of time to plan ahead on what type of camera equipment to take, and how to carry it with me.

First starting with purchasing the Gura Gear Kiboko 22L+ backpack. I wanted something that was manageable for my smaller stature, but still fit the large camera equipment I was planning on taking. This backpack has two handles. One on the top and the other on the side. The shoulder straps can be tucked into the bag when not in use. The bag also has its own rain cover tucked inside.

After reading a number of other blog posts and photographer websites and knowing the type of images I would like to capture, here is what made the cut into the bag:

      • Two Camera Bodies: Canon 5D Mark III
      • Canon 500mm f/4L IS II
        • Aquatech Softhood Collapsing Hood (packed in main case)
        • Aquatech ASCC-5 Soft Cap (packed in main case)
      • Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM and Lens Hood
      • Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS USM and Lens Hood
      • Canon EF 15mm Fisheye f/2.8 rented from
      • Filters include:
        • Lee Big Stopper
        • Grad ND Filter
        • Circular Polarizer
      • Zeiss Pre-moistened cleaning wipes
      • Rugged Neoprene Memory Card Case
      • Battery Charger, remote switch, Flash Drive and rugged case.

The total weight of this bag ended up being 25 pounds. I’ve heard that the weight limit on Aerogal from the mainland to Galapagos is 22 pounds. Here’s hoping this bag will make the cut.

The checked bag allowance is 44 pounds (other accounts 50 pounds) and with a 23 inch featherweight suitcase, the total ended up being 35 pounds. Finding that a makeup kit bag works perfectly for storing the variety of electronics kept things nice and neat.


The cruise ships usually have one 110V plug and one 220V plug. First was to solve the multiple plug requirement. Finding the above one outlet plugin extender is a great solution. Two USB ports, and three electric.

Within this bag hold my photo imaging backup system:

Within the main suitcase is:

This trip is certainly a photographer’s dream and trying to maximize the photo opportunities while minimizing equipment and weight has certainly been a challenge. The thrill of being so close to nature and the wildlife on the islands is worth a little bit of hefting.

Hope this helps with your travel planning and safe travels.

34 replies »

  1. Fascinating post and a real insight into the kit/mind of a nature photographer……when I go to India later this year I’ll be taking considerably less kit – a body and a couple of lenses. I hope you have a great time and get some great images….I’m sure you will. Looking forward to seeing them.

    • I need to do a follow up post on what I did use on this trip. I ended up not using the 24-105mm or the fish eye angle lens at all. The 500mm was the right thing to take, along with the 100-400mm, with two camera bodies (1 failed). I had gotten a super point & shoot camera and that was my go-to camera for regular shots.

      I would think India you could really travel light. 24-105mm may be just enough. 🙂

      • The problem is you never quite know what you’re going to need…..and better to have it with you and not use it than the other way round. Having said that it’s funny how your eye becomes attuned to the photo opportunities within the scope of your lens.

  2. I second Midwestern Plant Girl! So so happy for you to have this opportunity. And thank you for sharing this information, you seem so well organized. Perhaps, if we’re lucky (or if I am, lol), one of your blogs after/during this trip will be about how to decide what photos to keep and share!

    Wish you all the best on your adventure and hope that you are ultimately happy with your well-planned gear selections.

    Be safe in body and mind and out-of-the-box in creativity!

      • Your welcome!

        I can’t imagine how many photos you must have and how long that is going to take. Gosh, how do you decide what if any to delete other than the most obvious mistakes, especially when some mistakes turn out great?!

  3. Brilliant camera bag – it’s just what I’ve been looking for yet was JUST told by a camera shop nothing like it existed, hmmmmm, now I know differently – YEA thank you!!!

    • I’m thrilled that this helped you Joanne. I love the bag, but loaded it weighed 30 pounds. Quite a bit of heft to it. I think I’m going to get a luggage cart to help me in the airport. Otherwise super duper bag. The next closest is the Think Tank Glass Taxi.

      • I’m so glad you said that as I bit the bullet and ordered one over the week-end for Hubby to give me for Mother’s Day! I wondered about the weight but to have everything securely in one place will make such a nice change. Loving your adventures – safe travels and be gentle with that luggage cart!

        • I actually keep it active at home and have it set out as my storage for all of my equipment. I love it as my go-to bag with all of my stuff.

          Short moves is no problem – to and from car, etc.
          What’s nice is that you can tuck the shoulder straps in the bag and easily mount it on a roller.

        • Having everything in one place is what I’m looking forward to the most. The side openings looks ideal! Currently I have lenses and bits scattered throughout my clothing drawers which is more than a tad frustrating, especially when time is of the essence!

          We leave for Alaska in three weeks so hopefully the bag arrives before then so I get to christen it properly – fingers-crossed!

      • I just can’t believe your images…. They’re UNREAL! I’m living through you right now, but this place is most definitely on my BUCKET LIST! I’m so happy you’re able to visit with your amazing eye and vision. XOXO!!!!

        • You are truly too sweet and boy I wish you could have been there with me. You probably would never leave. This place is the most amazing place I’ve ever visited. I do hope you get there one day for a visit.
          Hugs to you.

  4. I wish you the best on your trip to the Galapagos Islands. Can’t wait to see your images when you return. Safe travels and wonderful picture taking!!

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