Over the years you get burned a few times and then you have no choice but to smarten up and hold true to the boy scout motto, "ALWAYS BE PREPARED." Not to say you are not already a smarty-pants, but I know I have definitely had to learn from a few first hand mistakes of my own. I wanted to share a sneak peak into my bag and give you a glimpse at what I consider my essentials to avoid surprises.
The list below should help you have everything you need if backed into a tight corner, assure enough space for images, and allow you to backup your images immediately so they are safely stored in at least two places at all times while you travel.
WHAT IS IN MY BAG?
Canon Mark IV 5D
Canon 50mm fixed
Canon 16-35mm | Great for tight spaces
Canon 70-200mm | Great for distance
2 Fully charged Camera batteries + Charger
4-8 Memory Cards| good range (3) 4GB | (5) 8GB | (4) 16GB | (3) 32GB Cards
Small to ensure the event is on more than one card
Large to ensure you have enough space for video
Memory Card Wallet | I recommend Think Tank
Lens Cleaner + Wipe
Card Reader | for both SD and Compact flash
External Hard-drive | At least 500 GB (truly recommend at least 1TB)
Pen + Paper + Black Sharpie
Snacks | I get hungry often and your client might as well | Check out Honey Stinger Waffles
Chapstick | Model may need some | Keep it simple, I recommend Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer
Flash Drive | Just a small 8GB - 32GB to run a print if needed
Batteries | Carry 2x the amount you may need for your hardware
I recommend something with optimal protection; however, discrete enough not to scream, "I AM A CAMERA BAG, HEAR ME ROAR." I typically travel with two bags, a larger pack to host all of my gear for major travel and a small companion bag to stow my camera and favorite lens, leaving a little extra room for cards, ID and cash. I can then come back to home base and download images to both my laptop and external drive so they are securely saved in two places. I can either clear cards for the following outing or if I want the extra security, I can bring extra cards and leave images on both my cards and drive.
Let me know if you have any questions.