Summer Adventure Filming Gear, and My Pack Setup

Looking Ahead

As a counselor in public education, once Spring Break is over, I find my thoughts not so much drift as become fully infiltrated by my summer plans, and this summer, just like the many before it, is very bike-centric.  Here’s the general itinerary:

  • Mid-June: End of school – summer starts!
  • Late June: Oregon Outback with a couple buddies (less than two weeks)
  • Early/Mid July: Back-to-back family vacations in the San Juans and Leavnworth, Washington (1 week each)
  • Mid to Late July: Bike tour with Trish (1 week)
  • Late July/Early August: Oregon Timber Trail (2 weeks+)

The cool thing about these trips are that they involve numerous people who I don’t get to constantly interact with, specifically the Oregon Outback and Oregon Timber Trail, which include friends or close acquaintances that I look forward to getting to know a little better on the trail.

New Film Tech!

The other exciting thing about these trips is that, similar to my Colorado Trail ride last year, I’ll be documenting the experiences via video narratives.  However, this year, I’ll be using all my own filming equipment instead of bumming all of the footage from my riding partner like I did last summer.  After doing a fair bit of research on the subject, I decided to go with the following recording devices:

DJI Mavic Air:

  • Having a drone to document the landscapes I’m riding through will be really fun… in retrospect.  Last year, Andy and I both found the drone to be a rather time consuming endeavor while on the trail.  We’d stop, pull out all the needed gadgets, get the drone in a spot where it could safely take off and land, and then try in vain to get the ‘active cam’ feature on the Mavic Pro he owned to actually follow us, often with repeated failures.  However, even when a filming attempt with the drone felt like a complete failure, there was almost always something from the attempt that was not only usable but pretty excellent in capturing the landscapes we rode through.  That is once again my goal.  I’ll try to pull the drone out at least once, and usually twice a day to capture the riding terrain of all my trips this summer.

GoPro Hero 6:

  • Although some of the reviews of the Hero 6 were less than stellar, I decided to go with it versus the Hero 5 because of its claimed superior video stabilization feature.  After using it this past weekend without a gimbal, I’m a bit skeptical, but will continue experimenting with it strapped to different places.
    • GoPro Karma Grip (not pictured)? I bought this item at REI not totally sold on bringing with me on trips this summer, and ended up bringing it back to REI this past weekend because one of the USB plug-ins had a very clear bubble in it, which prevented me from using it at all.  That being said, I may still order one and see if I like it.  It’s VERY heavy, which I don’t love, but having a handle with the GoPro makes for a lot more versatile footage opportunities, so we’ll see.

GoPro Gadgets and Power Banks:

  • In addition to the GoPro Hero 6 and possibly the Karma, I also purchased the Handlebar Mount (not pictured), the Joby GorillaPod Action Tripod (with GoPro), and the Grab Bag (a bunch of additional mounting accessories, not pictured).
  • Anker PowerCore 5000 (not pictured): I’ll likely get a 10,000 to bring along for this trip, but I’ve had great luck with this brand for charging electronic devices, which alongside the above mentioned cameras, will include my IPhone 8 and Garmin Fenix 5X.

Packing it All Up

  • Revelate Designs Egress Pocket: Fortunately, all of this electronic gear fits quite nicely into my Revelate Designs Egress Pocket, which straps to my Revelate Sweetroll handlebar bag.
The Revelate Designs Egress fits very securely to the Sweetroll Handlebar bag on the front of the bike.

The cool thing about this bag is that since it’s not up against the frame of the bike, it doesn’t bang against metal every time there is a bump in the road.  What’s also cool is that the red liner which holds all the gear is held in the bag with velcro, so I can pull it out and place it in a backpack or other carrying case if I’m not sightseeing by bike (which is unlikely, but possible).  I was able to separate this bag out pretty effectively to organize all my electronics, as seen below:

The empty bag with foam dividers.
The bag with controller on the right, three batteries on the bottom, and the Anker battery pack and cords up front. There is a folding foam pad that rests over top of this bottom layer so that the actual drone can sit on top.
The open Egress bag with the DJI Mavic Air resting on top of the foam cloth dividers.
All packed up.

This is easily the most electronic gadgetry I’ve brought along on a trip, but being able to look back and remember the highs and lows is worth the extra weight, in my opinion.  Is it summer yet?