Here at Historic Racer, we love planning a road trip. The anticipation of what’s to come, combined with the trip itself and of course, the happy memories that we’re going to treasure afterwards. We were surprised to find that many Historic Racer readers actually find planning a road trip stressful, so we’ve put together this guide of the things we always take with us or have in place every time we start planning a memorable journey. We hope this list of essential road trip items is something you’ll love and you’re doubtless have favourites of your own. Hit us in the comments section below to add your own recommendations.
Capturing the memories. Here’s our favourite cameras that we never travel without on road trips. Each one is compact, simple to use yet capable of stunning results.
1. Sony A6300 / 6500 Cameras
Our Go To camera for road trips. Gone are the days of shoulder aching Canon 1DS bodies and those huge white lenses. Today, we shoot on Sony’s A6300 and are constantly marvelled at the quality of the image and versatility of this tiny camera. A combination of 10 frames per second for action, 24 megapixel chip, 4K video and even 120 frames per second slow motion at full HD.
We love the rangefinder style of this new generation of cameras, the digital equivalent of the analogue Lieca used by shooters like Bart Kuykens for his Flat Six Love Affair books. And yet this camera can be passed across to pretty much anyone who’s with you and they can shoot great shots with it, all without aspiring to be a pro photographer.
It’s an interchangeable lens mirrorless camera, so we recommend two lenses to travel with if the budget allows.
2. Sony 10-18mm Wide Angle Zoom
The Sony can be bought with a kit lens that works really well, though the kit lens for us falls short at both ends of the range. For in your over the driver’s shoulder wide angle shots, the 10-18mm f4 wide angle zoom is brilliant. The 1.5x crop factor of the Sony chip means that it’s the equivalent of a 15-27mm wide angle, making it a really useful lens for getting up close in all sorts of situations.
3. Sony G Series 24-105 f4 Zoom
That camera and two lenses will fit into a super small bag that can sit in the passenger footwell, ready to shoot.
The only downfall? You’ll have to get used to the traditional shooters looking down on you as they pop another shoulder out of joint wrestling that 70-200 Canon and heavy alloy 1DS that marks them out as being a true pro. Whatever, dude…. Just keep wearing your camo pants and khaki safari vest…..
Our top tips for shooting with these Sony Mirrorless cameras?
If you want to control action set shutter priority, if you’re wanting majestic landscapes or you want to control depth of field, set it to aperture priority. Then you and the camera work as a team, with you in control of the setting you need.
Shoot RAW and Jpeg. You’ll be familiar with jpeg, it’s the universal name for a picture these days. The RAW file is valuable though. It’s essentially a digital negative and captures an huge amount of data that can be processed at your leisure when you return home. Use Adobe Lightroom to pull out details you’d never have guessed were there in just seconds.
You’ll be wanting sound too.
4. Rode Video Micro Compact
The Rode Video Micro Compact is great value for money, doesn’t require batteries or external power and is capable of delivering great results. We’ve had off the cuff interviews recorded with it, with the subject ten feet away and the sound has been very good indeed. Add in the dead kitten mic cover that it ships with and you have a mic capable of recording engine sounds as you pop and crackle down that mountain Alpine pass.
5. GoPro Hero 5
No longer do you need a separate waterproof case for your GoPro, the latest Hero 5 is waterproof itself, without need for assistance. Add in the great wide angle, with adjustable field of view, slow motion, time lapse and still photography burst mode and you have a great camera that you can simply slip into your shirt pocket or rig on the outside of your Ferrari at 150kph. A great camera for very little money.
Keeping the Paperwork Safe. That’s the boring part, though one that is essential. You’re going to need passports, Euros or dollars or even GBP. And those tickets for the ferries, Euro Tunnel, the hotel booking confirmation that they told you didn’t need to be printed. But you did anyway. And as you’re driving, you’re going to need a licence. And car documents. And insurance.
Our first recommendation for keeping everything secure and backed up is Evernote. Scan your driving licence, insurance, passports etc into Evernote. It syncs across all your devices and so if you’ve lost absolutely everything except your iPhone and the Levis you’re standing in, you will still at least have a digital copy of your most important documentation. For each road trip, we also create a fresh notebook for that trip with information specific to it. So think email confirmation of ferry tickets, hotel reservations, suggestions on places to stop off and so forth. If you don’t have Evernote, why not? Get it now.
7. Go Travel RFID Credit and Debit Card Passport Organiser
For the physical documents you have to carry, this Go Travel RFID Credit and Debit Card Passport Organiser & Document Protector may not be the most stylish, but it’s a very practical wallet for keeping stuff safe.
8. Bellroy Travel Wallet
If you want something more stylish and believe in spreading the risk by splitting things up, we love these top quality Bellroy wallets. Super slim and very stylish, the design holds up to ten cards and ‘standard’ dimension passports.
And if you don’t believe you need to carry all this stuff, read our blog post on the perils of being caught speeding in France.
9. DJI Mavic Pro Drone
They used to require a van full of support equipment that arrived with great ceremony, like a film unit. Today, the DJI Mavic Pro is a truly great travel drone and one that we’ve used at various times. It’s incredibly compact, delivers a stunningly stable image and can be operated by the young teenager inside of all of us. Remember when shooting drone footage, less is more. Resist the temptation to blast around at thigh speed. For the cool cinematic look, slow, gentle camera moves such as ‘reveals’ and that must have ‘parallax’ shot give a quality production feel to your road trip film.
10. Power, power and more power – adapters, power packs.
When you’re on a road trip, you will inevitably have a huge demand for power. So avoid the fight over who gets to use the in car charger next by talking along this CH Geeks, multi socket charge adapter. Three cigar lighter sockets and another 4x USB points, together with a decent length of cable mean that you can charge up as you drive.
Finally, Get Spotify.
Why bother trying to tune into one fuzzy local radio station after another when you can have a Spotify Road Trip Play List? Here’s a link to our recent France Road Trip playlist. It’s pretty varied. Sharing a road trip is a great way to tune into everyone’s musical tastes.
So as you’ve probably gathered, we travel light here at Historic Racer. Everything you see here can be packed into a single, airline friendly or Lamborghini luggage compartment friendly space. No stressing out about what to leave behind or concerns about having to spread your gear across multiple cars. It can all pack into one simple travel bag.
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