Backpacking Iceland with a DSLR | Kelli Price Travel Photography

I’m very lucky to have a lot of amazing friends that enjoy different activities. I have my Atlanta friends that I have known forever, photography friends, Burning Man friends and my Adventure Girlfriends. They are energetic planners that peer pressure me into doing stuff that I know my Mum does not want me to be doing. Our first trip together was In the beginning of 2018 when we hiked down to Havasu Falls for two nights, we had such a great time we planned our 2nd trip to Iceland. I was super excited for my first BIG backpacking trip to another country. The big question, should I bring my DSLR I use for work or my little Canon PowerShot G5?

I decided to go for it and bring my Nikon D750 and Tamron 24-70 with my Joby Pro Sling Strap strap, after all it is ICELAND for goodness sakes. Land of the gorgeous landscapes and expensive food. I’m here to tell you, backpacking Iceland with a DSLR is a bad idea. At least for me. Maybe other photographers can handle it ….but not this wussy photographer. Here’s why:

It’s heavy! My backpack included 1 ziplock bag of toiletries, winter sleeping bag, 2 changes of clothing, rain jacket/pants & gaiters, water shoes for river crossing, two 32 oz. Nalgene bottles of water, 1 Mini bottle of wine (don’t judge) and a lot of food and snacks. Adding 3.7 lbs of weight, plus a water proof bag doesn’t seem like a lot….but it does make a difference, especially with packing & balancing of the bag.

It rains! Holy crap. My friends and I were so excited on Day 1 of the hike, just cruising along and enjoying the “light sprinkle”. Then as we started one of many climbs (Iceland doesn’t believe in switchbacks, its just straight UP) the heavens opened up. And it.didn’t.stop. I saw my friend Tammy almost blown off the trail. I lost my footing and slid down a pebbly hill …. I literally had to will myself back up to the path. We walked through Mordor for a couple hours and finally our hut appeared! Needless to say, I have ZERO images from Day 1 and only a few from Day 2 because there was no way I could even take my camera out of the bag.

My friends are fast! I think the Southern girl in me just hikes a tad slower then the rest of the gang no matter how much I hustle. So getting to my camera just slowed me down too much. I’d have to undo the 56 straps (ok 6) to my pack, get the camera out of the water-proof bag and then replace it & cinch up before I could catch up with friends. Having the camera around my neck was only do-able for certain parts of the hike.

Luckily, each day of our 5 day hike the weather got better and better, so I was able to enjoy using my camera. And at the end of the day, I do love being able to take good quality images with my DSLR camera. And I love capturing fun moments with my friends. But this trip gives me the perfect excuse to invest in some gear like this secure backpack clip and/or a GoPro as I travel to more locations with water excursions!

Going on your own trip soon? Check out my Travel Photography Tips!