All the Gear You Need to Become an Instagram Star

11 products that professional photographer Chris Brinlee Jr. keeps in his camera bag at all times

Chris Brinlee Jr. hitching a ride to the middle of nowhere—with his camera gear, of course. (Greg Balkin)

Chris Brinlee Jr.’s Instagram feed will make you drool. The adventure photographer and Outside contributor spends most of his year on the road—camping in Baja, skiing powder in the Italian Alps, and climbing steep ice in the Canadian Rockies. In fact, since relocating to Lyons, Colorado, from Los Angeles a year ago, he's spent less than two months total at home. We asked him to talk us through the most important items in his camera bag, whether he’s trekking in Nepal or on a boat off the coast of Australia. Here are his picks, in his own words.


Nikon D750 Camera ($2,300)

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(Courtesy of Nikon)

While a lot of photographers have switched over to the lightweight and nimble Sony mirrorless platforms, I still trust a full-sized DSLR as my primary workhorse. The D750 is full frame, has fantastic dynamic range and low-light performance, shoots 6.5-frames-per-second (quick enough for short spurts of action), and can write to dual cards. It’s also proven itself in less-than-ideal weather conditions.

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GoPro Hero5 Camera ($400)

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(Courtesy of GoPro)

The Hero5 is the best action camera on the market. I like the accurate voice control, waterproofing without a housing, and the ability to shoot RAW photos. I use it for capturing unique perspectives during moments when shooting with a DSLR just isn’t possible.

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Peak Design Capture Pro Camera Holder ($80)

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(Courtesy of Peak Design)

If you’ve ever hiked with a camera dangling from your neck, bouncing against your ribcage, you know how uncomfortable it can be. The Capture Pro clip solves the problem by securing the camera to your backpack strap where it’s accessible and comfortable and can't bounce around.

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Google Pixel XL Phone ($650)

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(Courtesy of Google)

For my mobile needs, I use a Google Pixel XL phone on Project Fi—a Google product that seamlessly connects multiple networks so you always have service when traveling— and the Snapseed app to edit photos on-the-go.

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LaCie Rugged Mini USB 3.0 2TB Hard Drive ($190)

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(Courtesy of LaCie)

Big digital files from the Nikon camera require lots of storage. I keep a dedicated backup system at home, but while traveling, I rely on two identical 2TB LaCie Rugged Mini USB 3.0 portable, external hard drives. They are relatively light and compact—yet drop and rain resistant. I always back up files to both, and then have a trusted partner carry one whenever possible.

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Goal Zero Venture 70 Battery ($150)

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(Courtesy of Moosejaw)

The Venture 70 provides enough power to charge my Pixel XL, GoPro, headlamp, and 66 Audio BTS Pro Bluetooth Headphones. At one pound, it's a bit bulky and heavy, but I like that it's waterproof and dustproof.

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Cotopaxi Tikal Active Jacket ($150)

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(Courtesy of Cotopaxi)

I always keep the lightweight, water-resistant Tikal shell at the bottom of my pack in case the weather turns sour. I like the four-way-stretch fabric, with allows for unrestricted movement, and perforated underarm panels that dump unwanted heat.

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LifeStraw Go Filter ($45)

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(Courtesy of REI)

I’m often photographing in the backcountry, or while traveling abroad, so being able to filter water from just about any source is invaluable. This filter lasts for up to 26 gallons, and since it integrates into its own bottle, I never have to buy plastic water bottles.

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Hyperlite Mountain Gear Stuff Sacks (From $15)

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(Hyperlite Mountain Gear)

Because I travel so much, keeping my gear sorted is crucial. These ultralight stuff sacks provide extra organization and weatherproofing for my small electronics.

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Joby GorillaPod SLR Tripod ($50)

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(Courtesy of Joby)

I don’t use tripods enough to carry a full-size model all of the time. But I do carry the Joby GorillaPod, which is small and light.

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Petzl Reactik+ Headlamp ($110)

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(Courtesy of REI)

The Petzl Reactik+ is a USB-rechargeable, 300-lumen headlamp that allows me to control the brightness from an app on my phone. I also like that it has great battery life and can be charged on-the-go.

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