Some cyclists are big fans of photography. While they are out on the open road with their bike, they like to take shots to capture parts of their journey. For those who cannot be satisfied with a simple cell phone photo, a real camera will be the best solution – in this case a DSLR.
However, there are many factors to take into consideration, like weight, waterproofing, ease of access, selection of lens, protection, comfort, and impact on handling while riding.
Unfortunately, your camera can potentially be damaged due to many things, such as:
- A sudden crash
- Rain and moisture
- Vibrations and shake
- Dust collected on the sensor when the lens is switched
- Condensation inside the viewfinder/lens
- Cold weather damage to batteries
- Falling into water when crossing a river or lake
- DSLR Maintenance on the Road
- A Small Pouch
- Trunk Bag
- Handlebar Bag
- Bottle Bag
- Shoulder Bag
- Camera Backpacks
- Neck Strap or Sling
- Frequently Asked Questions
DSLR Maintenance on the Road
Taking care of your gadgets on the road ensures you won’t return home with broken tidbits. It is best to take some extra measures to protect your camera from the possible damages it may incur during a trip on your bike.
- Take a microfiber cloth in your bag to clean the camera
- Keep a sensor cleaning kit and air blower dust
- Carry ziploc bags and silica gel packs to lock the moisture out
- Put your camera in a plastic bag to shield it from the rain
- A lens flipper device will help you change lens quickly in dusty conditions
That brings us to the question: how to carry DSLR on bike safely? There is no perfect answer to this but we have found some helpful solutions. Keep on reading to find out.
- Trunk bag
- Small pouch
- Shoulder strap bags
- Handlebar or bottle bags
- Neck strap or sling
- Backpack mount
Related reading: How To Carry Shovel On Bike?
A Small Pouch
This solution works best for smaller cameras. Not everyone wants to lug around a big DSLR around their journey, especially keeping in mind the weight and maintenance demands of such a gadget. If you can fit the camera into a small pouch, things get so much easier.
You can buy pouches that are mountable on the top tube – and they are generally cheap. These offer easy access for shoot and point cameras. Some digital camera pouches also come with a holding strap.
When carrying small camera accessories, storing them properly becomes a challenge. You can use multiple small pouches to arrange these small extras for easy find.
What do you look for in a small pouch? It has to be easy to remove and padded inside.
Trunk bags are effective storage compartments for any camera on a trip. Even if you encounter rain, it will keep the sensitive parts of the DSLR protected from the water. We suggest putting the camera inside a waterproof bag or wrapping it in a protective fabric. If you own a rear bike rack, it would be best if you can get a trunk bag featuring panniers.
Some other advantages of carrying a DSLR as well as your camera gear in a trunk include:
- Can strap a tripod if necessary
- Carries larger and heavier loads
- Reduces the pressure of the camera on the back
- Carrier slides on and off the bike rack effortlessly
- Good distribution of load when you are riding the bike
These are the kinds of bags that are mounted on the handlebars of the bike. Although a feasible solution to how to carry DSLR on bike, these come with their own set of cons. One of them would be how a handlebar bag interfered with the headlight shifters. Alternatively, it may not be the best shape for a particular setup.
In contrast, one major pro of using a handlebar bag is that it lets you store other camera accessories such as small camera attachments, backup batteries, and lenses.
Handlebar bars are super popular with cycling photographers due to their multi-purposing abilities. When you are leaving your DSLR at home, the handlebar bar can be a trust storage for snacks, small foldable jackets, a mini-tripod, and much more.
Bottle bags, as the name suggests, are made to mimic the shape of a water bottle. Naturally, they are good at storing food and water, but they can also come in handy when carrying a DSLR.
A bottle bag can also be called a point n’ shooter bag. The best use for this particular bag is on the road. If you need to conduct a photoshoot on the go but cannot bother with large bags, why not give the bottle bag a whirl?
One disadvantage, however, of using this kind of bag is that carrying bigger lens attachments can be annoying. Cameras have a rectangular shape and tape up the majority of the room in this cylindrical unit, which brings us to another topic. Instead of carrying a big lens, consider bringing a pancake one. Those are easier to fit in these bags or even in a jersey pocket.
Bottle bags generally feature a waterproof construction and basic one-handed closure clasp.
Shoulder bags are convenient and easy to carry. You can swing one to the front of your camera, take your camera, and quickly snap a picture while on the move (but you should definitely stop the bike if you can to avoid getting into an accident).
One negative of having a shoulder bag is that it can be cumbersome after prolonged periods. Having a bag strapped to your shoulder can create pain across the body if it stays on for too long. Shoulder bags are generally carried like courier bags since they are strapped across the chest, over one shoulder.
You might have to move the bag around a little while cycling because they are loosely attached, but it’s still easy accessing the DSLR with just one hand. You can find your gear right away, given you had organized it properly.
The use of shoulder bags is noticing a rise in popularity as the cameras get smaller in size. This also calls for smaller shoulder bags. Many manufacturers have started paying close attention to the design and pattern to attract the fashion-forward photographer cum cyclists. Some popular shoulder bags are made from upcycled materials such as inner tubes.
Camera backpacks are the most common answer you get from cyclists on how to carry DSLR on bike. These handy storages have multiple pockets, spacious inners, and are budget-friendly.
Some backpacks are equipped with mounts on the shoulder strap so you can carry an action camera. Having said that, carrying heavy equipment or a digital camera in a backpack on the cycling track has its own negatives.
The load is not distributed evenly on the bike and if you ever do end up crashing against something, you stand the chance of not only injuring your back but also damaging the contents of your backpack. A few important points to keep in mind when carrying your camera in a backpack”
- A light backpack is a way to go
- Use a piece of fabric to envelope the camera
Read more: Best Bike Camera Bag Reviews & Buying Guide
Neck Strap or Sling
Professional photographers tend to carry heavier cameras with tons of camera attachments to help them achieve the perfect shot. This is when a sling strap offers the adjustability and flexibility they need. But even if you are not a pro photographer, a neck strap or sling would be perfect for carrying extra large cameras that cannot fit in a bag or over the handlebars.
Many photographers say that a Peak Design Strap works wonders for them. It allows them to secure the camera tightly by cinching the strap. Another advantage of using a strap carrier is that you can loosen it, take pictures, and still have one hand steady on the handlebars.
In most of these cases, you get what you pay for. So, expect to make a sizable investment on a quality strap so it doesn’t come loose every other minute.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can my camera be damaged due to vibration?
Road vibrations are always a major concern when carrying a camera on the road; it’s not just about how to carry DSLR on bike. Having the camera flush against the body while cycling lowers the vibration frequency on the camera, reducing chances of damage. At the same time, you can damage the gadget with blunt force if you were to fall or crash against the ground,
Some cyclists find that carrying the camera in a trunk or handlebar bag protects their camera from vibrations. If you’re really concerned about the damages, best to have the camera mounted on your chest or simply use a cheaper camera that if harmed, will not cause you too much pain.
How safe is it to take my camera with me to cycle?
Let’s be real: bringing your camera on your cycling journey will always pose some threats to it; you will always run the risk of damaging it. This is why many cyclists and photographers prefer leaving their camera behind at a safe place after a certain point. No one wants to damage their super nice (and expensive) camera.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t have your camera with you when cycling. The best idea is to plan the ride ahead and adjust your storage and setup according to the conditions of the road. Remember: if you want to keep your pricey equipment safe, there will be some trade-offs. You may end up sacrificing comfort to ensure safeguarding of your DSLR.
We suggest taking your riding technique into account. Avoid uneven roads as much as you can. Moreover, riding standing up when moving across rocky or bumpy terrains is helpful if your bike doesn’t have a suspension.
How to carry a tripod on my bike?
Tripods can be rather useful when you’re trying to take a photo of the perfect location or moment. Plus, it is the only way you can get a decent shot in certain scenarios. This is why many people wonder how they can carry a tripod on their bikes. We have found that attaching the equipment to a rear bike rack is simple and efficient. This keeps the tripod out of your leg zone. The best part: that’s one less thing you have to strap on your handlebars or top tube.
Some people have shared that they like attaching their tripods to the bike fork’s long side stem. A pair of good straps will help fasten the tripod. There are certain narrow and slippery areas you have to work with there – an option best for bikes that have no shocks or long forks.
If you are somewhat opposed to the idea of tying a rear bike rack then you can look into a rucksack. However, a con with using a rucksack is that you can develop a sweaty back over time, not to mention lower back pain.
Small tripods can also be carried in handlebar bags.
Read more: How to Carry Tripod on a Bike?
Which DSLR lenses to bring on my bike ride?
Every lens offers something unique – a different perspective. Before you embark on your next journey with your bike, it’s important to look into the many different lens choices. You may be tempted to bring all ten lenses for ten specific works, but you are limited by weight and space in a tour. So which ones make the cut?
You can never go wrong with a single one-do-it-all kind of lens on a trip. For a full frame camera, get something like a 24-105mm F4 – it offers a diverse range of telephoto and wide. We adore the 18-135mm zooms for crop sensor cameras. Apart from being diverse, these lenses work well in most conditions. If you must carry multiple lenses, an ultra wide lens will be a good choice, like 10-22mm/10-18mm (crop sensor body) or a 16-35mm F4 (full frame).
In comparison to F2.8 lenses, F4 lenses make much more sense because they are smaller and lighter. Plus, as you will be travelling the most in broad daylight, an F4 lens will provide better chances. Majority of your landscape captures will be taken at F4 and F8-F11 lenses.
Either way, it’s best to stick to one or two lenses for the journey. Everytime you switch them, there is a high risk of debris accumulating on the sensor.
This was all on how to carry DSLR on a bike. At the end of the day, try not to live the journey through the lens.
Taking pictures here and there is a great way to take a snippet of the beauty but what’s really important is enjoying it on your own.