Backpacking Recap + New Camera and Gear Review

Can I just say that life has been a little bit crazy?  I'm not complaining, it's been SO fun, but I feel like I've neglected adult-ing.  You know, all the fun stuff like getting groceries, cooking dinner, laundry, thorough cleaning... yeah that has or hasn't been slightly ignored the last couple weeks... months.  

I've been meaning to publish this post for awhile, but over Labor Day weekend, I flew into Salt Lake City and went backpacking in the Uinta Mountains with my family.  Then the next weekend I flew to NYC with Caryl for a few small Fashion Week events, and really just to witness the madness.  (See what I wore to the RewardStyle Fashion Week Rooftop Party here, what we did on our  first day | second day | third day )  I also went out of town the following weekend, and then to Arizona for a week.  Madness, fantastic madness. 

It was a whirlwind couple of weeks, and being out of town so many days was a little exhausting, but I wouldn't have done it any different.  How fun to go from roughing it one weekend to glamming it up in NYC the next?!?!  I've obviously shared (or over-shared) about my time in New York, but I didn't think it was fair to neglect my time backpacking either.  Not sure if this is a topic of interest among fashion blog readers... so if this is boring... sorry?  I just thought it would be really fun to share an overview of what you actually do when you go backpacking, what you pack, and share about the awesome new camera I brought along. 

What do you actually do when you go backpacking?

Backpacking is basically like camping and hiking had a really high-maintenance offspring.  You pack a giant backpack with everything you will need for X amount of days, hike into a remote place in the mountains carrying said backpack, and sleep there overnight.  Then sometimes you stay at that camp a few days, or you move on to another location the next day.  I swear it's fun.  

What do you bring backpacking?

I feel like the easiest way to do this is just a list...

Things you need
Sleeping bag | tent* | camp stove* | water pump | freeze dried meals | granola bars and snacks | water bottle | cup | absolutely minimal extra clothes, underwear, and socks | toothpaste and toothbrush | sleeping mat | spoon and fork | headlamp | a hat | dish soap | a towel 

Extra things I bring
Hot cocoa | hard candies | camera what I brought | mini tripod |  extra contacts | GoodWipes | Gatorade powder

*Optional, but only sort've...

Ultimately everything you need, you have to carry, so wearing one pair of pants, and having just one extra in case you get wet suddenly sounds totally reasonable.  Same logic applies to sports bras, tops, etc.  The only thing I don't scrimp on is clean underwear, and I usually bring two pairs of clean socks cause I'm fancy like that.

The camera and accessories I brought backpacking

Camera: Sony a6000 with kit 16-50mm lens currently on sale!
Filters: polarizing filter and neutral density filters
Mini tripod  |  Extra batteries  |  Camera case  |  Cleaning cloth
Extension tube set (coolest thing ever)

I was tremendously pleased with this camera decision.  I was originally planning to get a more basic entry level mirrorless camera (mirrorless cameras sort've fall between point and shoot and DSLR) - I had picked out the Samsung NX3000, but then I consulted my amazingly skilled photographer father-in-law, and he highly recommended the Sony a6000 and offered to chip in so I didn't go over my budget.  I even found a few reviews online from people who had taken the camera backpacking that raved about its performance.  I was sold.

taken with an extension tube
He also recommended a few accessories I would've never even considered on my own- a few different filters and my new favorite thing, extension tubes.  Extension tubes are a tremendously affordable (like $20!) way to get super close pictures of things without having to invest in an expensive macro lens.  You simply remove your lens, and secure one or more extension tube(s) between  your lens and the camera body.  It's definitely not quite as smooth or quick to focus as a pricey macro lens, but for a lower budget amateur like me, it's perfect!  I got some really cool shots, although I would recommend a always using a tripod next time.  I took a few photos that looked phenomenal on the camera's LCD, then to my dismay when I uploaded them to my computer they were a little blurry.  But now I know :)  One thing to note, the subject does need to be very close.  It's not like my Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 lens that qualifies as a macro lens but allows me to take close or far away photos, extension tubes only do close.  

Above is a tiny fungus shot with an extension tube, and my hand next to it for reference.

I also brought along a few filters, but only ended up using the polarizing one, which helps keep colors vivid and balanced (think making a sky darker) and reduce glare.  I was definitely pleased.

See that orange blob?  That's me! :)

Okay and just one more thing!  Has anyone else on Blogger had issues with their photos looking blurry?  These photos are tremendously crisp in iPhoto, but look kind of crappy here and it makes me sad :(  Ideas?


  1. Holy moly these photos are beautiful! Wow. Haha I really had to search for you (the orange blob) in that last photo!


  2. These photos are gorgeous!!


    Hope to see your Thursday for TBT Fashion link up.


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