What’s in my (holiday) bag?

I’m off on holiday in the morning and there’s been some frantic packing going on to get everything ready for our 5 hour trip up to the Lake District. That said, my toy selection and camera gear has been (mostly) prepared for days! So, hot on the heels of Shelly’s awesome ‘What’s in my bag?’ post last week, this week I’m sharing what’s going with me on holiday (and hopefully on several hikes during the week if the weather’s good!)

The kit

First up, the non-toy items!

What's in my bag?
How much do I need to carry?
  1. A light reflector! Not something I used to carry but I learnt the value of it over the last few toy safaris!
  2. Lights. I have an envue cube and a mini-Aperture light. I haven’t travelled with the cube before but the mini-led from Apature is a brilliant size for the travelling toy photographer.
  3. An Exped waterpoof sack. This is new, so I can’t vouch for it’s effectiveness, but I plan on keeping it handy in case of (likely) torrential downpours to protect my camera gear. Will also be useful for putting wet toys and towels in! Speaking of which…
  4.  A towel! Such a good thing to take with you! I bought this small quick dry towel for Kendo, but proves a great size for travelling. Can also be used as emergency picnic blanket!
  5. Maps! We’re hiking in places we’ve not been to, so will take a paper OS map with us. Obviously this may not be required, depending on where you are planning on taking your photos!
  6. First aid kit and emergency whistle. I would argue that everyone should have some kind of first aid kit when they are out photographing, but as we will be out in the fells, it’s a must have. As is the whistle. Just in case we get completely lost.
  7. Tripod. OK, I’ll admit that most of the time I carry it and never use it. But the day I don’t carry it will turn out to be the day I want it. So into the bag it goes.
  8. Hair tie. Every bag should have one. Even blokes. You can be that guy that saves the long-hair day!
  9. Lens cleaning brush and toy cleaning brush. Good for removing dust.
  10. Polarising filter, just in case.
  11. Camera remote for all-important selfies.
  12. Lighting cable SD reader, so I can back up my photos onto my phone (and share!)
  13. LEGO tape. Not used this out and about before, but could be useful?
  14. Joby camera sling and security attachment (the last time I took my camera on the sling without the safety, it fell off whilst walking down Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh! Not something to repeat!)
  15. Spare battery and SD card. NEVER, EVER go without a spare battery if you can help it!
  16. My camera and lenses. I’m still in love with my 40mm for toy photos, but I want to learn to use my 35mm so it’s coming with me as well. Plus my kit lens for any other use case. I might not take these all out everyday though!

The toys

So that’s the regular kit that will be in my bag. What about the toys though? A week away from home without being able to pick and choose might be tough, but I don’t want to take too much with me! It’s also hard because at the moment, the weather could change at any time!

  • Collection of toys
    Toys, so many toys!

First up, we have mostly non-LEGO items (bar the disassembled TARDIS! It will be in one piece before we leave, if I can locate the instruction manual!) I’m taking some of my favourites (new and old) to play with. I’m really hoping I can finally get a good shot of the Mummy bear this year. Grumpy Snape is coming with me as well. Just because his grumpy face makes me endlessly happy. The toy dinos are coming so I can get a few ‘Toy Dino Tuesday’ photos sorted in the woods.

After this, it all kind of descends into ‘how much LEGO can I cram into a box’ territory! (Don’t ask me how Rex made it into that photo as well! He gets everywhere!) In all, I’m taking a box of minifigures and a box of accessories. You never know when that all-important accessory is the one you left at home so I’m covering my bases and taking a whole lot! And on the off-chance it snows again, I’m bringing skis!

Thankfully, despite having quite the collection to carry, it does all collapse down rather neatly! Now I just have to get in the car without adding anymore to the collection!

LEGO hiker figure in the woods
I guess now is the time to learn to read a map!

I’ll be back in a couple of weeks (assuming I don’t get lost in the woods). Until then, have fun photographing!

P.S. I didn’t forget blue-tac! I just need to go buy some more so couldn’t take a picture of it!

If you like what we’re doing we invite you to support the blog by purchasing our book that celebrates our first year as a blog: A Year in the Life of Toy Photographers, 2017. The book is available for purchase as either an eBook or as a physical copy.


  1. Joshua Kittleson

    Thanks for sharing, always cool to see some of the diverse tools of the trade!
    curious about the envue cube is it bright enough for outdoor shoots, or is it mainly a fill light? almost seems like it wouldn’t be bright enough. I’ve been on the hunt for a light to go in my bag, with specific cost and size criteria making it a little more difficult than id like.
    also, i love that woody

    • Thanks for your comment! I haven’t had the chance to use the envue cube yet! This is it’s first trip out! You can take the diffuser square off and just have the flat LED part so I think it would work outside as well.

  2. Tony Tulloch

    I am really looking forward to those Toy Dino Tuesday shots!
    I like the look of that Enevu LED. It looks great for both general use and a bit of fill-in light. I read the specs and I see it is 100 lumens. I’d be interested to see how it does in outdoor light as a fill-in light, or whether you use the Aputure instead (at 900 lumens).
    Good luck and safe travels.

  3. the_adventures_of_little_amy

    One of my friends at big girls school ( I’m studying photography and film and tv ) said that I pack too much in my backpack. She went through my bag in class and took out all the things she thought I didn’t need. Ok, so I didn’t need 2 fleece tops, spare socks. I used to think of all eventualities, nothing worse than having wet socks on a 2 hour train ride home. I probably did have too much in my backpack for class. I don’t carry a first aid kit to class, but I do have Nurofen, headache tablets, hand sanitizer, spare pens, note paper, all those female specific items, and studying film tv and photography, I always have a bag full of different cables. Whatever happened to that Universal Service ( what does the B stand for? ) that one port where you only needed one cable. Now, I have a USB 2, C, 5, 6, Lightning, Thunderbolt, HDMI, and card readers, not forgetting all of the camera cables! That’s just for film and tv school. Often I plan on going out shooting after class, so I almost always pack a small camera bag with the mini figures I photograph most. I also have a selection that I still haven’t photographed, but have ideas of shots I want to create. I think blutac is essential. I also carry transparent clear plates and other parts to help position mini figures. Depending on where I’m going, I like to buy a new Elves set or Speed Champions set for when I’m travelling on a train ride longer than 2 hours or a flight. They are the perfect size to build while flying or that long train ride with no mobile reception or wifi. I find it relaxing, and it’s also gets ppl asking questions. I enjoy the conversations with strangers about what I do with the ‘toys’ when I’ve finished building them. They are always impressed when I share my IG or photos with them. I always try to pack 1 or 2 small sets where ever I go. Last week, I had an unexpected stay in hospital, eye surgery, and after I was discharged, I wanted to make sure I could still see and take good photos. The old buildings on the hospital grounds were the perfect setting for photographing my new Porsche with what looks like a castle driveway in the background. No matter where I go, even if it’s just to the shops, I always pack at least 1 mini figure. I have lots of ideas for shots and sometimes the weather is perfect timing.
    The 2 things I think are also essential are zip lock freezer sandwich bags. They are great for seperating mini figures into themes, beach/ forest/ special. Also whenever I photograph a mini figure at the beach or in a lake, or a small boat or car, I put it in a separate bag to make sure I don’t get sand or mud/ dirty water on the other mini figures. So I pack spare bags. They are also useful for protecting camera gear. I remember my bag getting soaked when a wave crashed while I was trying to get that surfing shot. I got the shot and rescued the mini figures from drowning. My bag got wet but everything inside was ok. The other thing I carry is a t-shirt made from cotton that doesn’t leave lint. I use it to clean my iPhone camera and also clean any fingerprints on the speed champions cars and mini figures. I’ve also used it in the past to sit on where the ground was muddy or slippery moss covered rocks. It’s lightweight, so it fits in my carry on. One last tip I have is to double check pockets for mini figures before going through airport security or doing the washing. Nothing more embarrassing than holding up the queue and having to go through more screeenings because they found the mini figure in my jacket pocket that I forgot when asked to empty my pockets as I walked through the screening gates and the alarm goes off! Also label all bags with your name and number, or ask for an extra flight tag for carry on bags. I left a mini figure on a plane and the flight attendant who remembered talking to me about my photography, found my mini figures and arranged for them to be put on a later flight. I will always be grateful for her going out of her way, and I did love her selfies she took of the mini figures helping out in the flight attendant cabin area.

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