Blog – The World Pursuit Travel Different Wed, 09 Sep 2020 07:12:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Blog – The World Pursuit 32 32 An EXTENDED North Coast 500 Route • Amazing 1000+ Miles Itinerary Wed, 09 Sep 2020 07:12:28 +0000 Read moreAn EXTENDED North Coast 500 Route • Amazing 1000+ Miles Itinerary

The North Coast 500 was originally launched back in 2015 to increase the number of visitors to the Scottish Highlands and it has most definitely achieved that. The North Coast 500 is being added to so many people’s bucket lists and you can see why.

When Ed and I drove this North Coast 500 route, we ended up driving just over 1400 miles. This was due to other detours, driving on small roads, taking the slow road, and also visiting the Isle of Skye (now one of our favorite places!).

The North Coast 500 generally starts in Inverness, continues up the east coast to John O’Groats and Thurso. Then across to the west into Sutherland and Durness, and down passed Ullapool before crossing back across Scotland towards Inverness.

Although the North Coast 500 provides amazing views, hikes, walks, castles, rivers, mountains and so much more, Scotland’s surrounding scenery is in abundance and there is so much more to see when visiting the country. You won’t want to miss some of these stops just because a few of them aren’t technically on the North Coast 500.

So sure, the North Coast 500 officially starts in Inverness, by why not add on a few days for Edinburgh, Cairngorms National park, and maybe even the Isle of Skye? Here’s the perfect extended North Coast 500 itinerary for you to copy and add on stops to add on to your North Coast 500 trip.

Day 1-2: Edinburgh

Things to do in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is only an hour or so drive north of the Scottish border and the capital of Scotland but is never usually included in a North Coast 500 itinerary. We’ve visited Edinburgh multiple times and always find more things to do.

With protective measures in place, Edinburgh has no skyscrapers and is rather untouched by modern architecture.

The city is divided into two halves, the old town, and the new town. Although the new town was finished around 1850, it was designed all at one time.

What this means, is that it was built strategically with streets arranged parallel and perpendicular to one another and at every crossroad, a monument of a famous figure.

The new town is home to the majority of shops (Princes Street), the Hard Rock Café, and just at the end of Princes Street, the Edinburgh Gin Distillery.

The old town and new town are separated by the Princes Street Gardens. By heading through the park, you can see views of Edinburgh castle. Placed on a hill to give intimation to all below!

The Royal Mile is also in the old town and ends with the Palace of Holyroodhouse – the Royal  family’s residence in Edinburgh.

Things to do in Edinburgh

Arthurs seat

Arthurs Seat

Walk up to the top of Arthurs Seat to see panoramic views of Edinburgh below. It takes 2-3 hours to walk up and back down and there is a path the majority of the way up

Edinburgh Dungeon

Wanting to see more history of Edinburgh but in a fun way? The ‘Dungeons’ which are in a lot of major cities across Europe, bring history to life with journeys through scenes of history. Edinburgh’s version includes Mary Queen of Scots

Surgeons Hall Museum

Surgeons Hall Museum

A collection of thousands of specimens used by the Royal College of Surgeons. Not necessarily to everyone’s taste but it is extremely interesting to see real preserved human organs and often with medical conditions.

The Dome for Afternoon Tea

The Dome was built back in 1847 as a bank but now runs as a hotel and restaurant that serve amazing afternoon tea for only £16.50 per person. They provide a range of sandwiches, scones, cakes and obviously tea. Although, you can upgrade to champagne for a further £7

The Dome is on George Street in the New Town

Edinburgh Zoo

Although further away from the city centre, the zoo can be reached by jumping on the x38 or 26 from Princes Street. Home to the only giant Panda’s in the UK! Although they are classed as a giant, they were much smaller than I expected

Walking down the Royal Mile

The Royal Mile now pretty much consists of tourist shops but outside the cathedral, they have a bagpipe player there every day. I bought myself a lovely tartan scarf and probably the most iconic street in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

You can walk up to the castle and view Edinburgh from above without going inside. If you wish to see the jam-packed history of Edinburgh and the castle from inside it costs £17.50 for an adult and £10.50 for a child

Edinburgh Gin Distillery Tour

Edinburgh Gin Distillery

Gin and flaoured gins have ecame so much more popular in recent years. Although Edinburgh Gin Distillery is fairly new in the terms of distillery history, they do a really good tour and the history of gin in the city.

Where to Eat in Edinburgh

Makers Gourmet Mash Bar

Makers Gourmet Mash Bar

This was our favourite place in Edinburgh. A restaurant revolved about mash potato and a large variety of it.

They serve different meats e.g lamb, duck and haggis and different varieties of mash including cheesy mash, mash with black pudding, mustard mash and so much more.

Instead of booking lots of tables you can put your name of a waiting list and receive a little device which will buzz when your table is ready. We enjoyed a nice drink beforehand in the bar next door.

A Room in Leith

A Room in Leith

By being right on the seafront they have the best seafood around! We shared oysters and scallops and more glorious seafood.

There was some confusion about reservations, but they fit us in any way by moving some people around which was really nice of them. Check out the best places to eat in Scotland here.

Where to Stay in Edinburgh

Radisson Blu Edinburgh

When Ed and I have visited Edinburgh, we have stayed in an Airbnb a few minutes’ walk out of the city. Edinburgh is fortunate enough to have many Victoria townhouses which were converted into flats, often with original features

There are hundreds of hotels and Airbnbs to choose from when visiting Edinburgh depending on your style and budget

If you stay a little further away from the city centre of Edinburgh, public transport is really good.

Day 3: Edinburgh to Inverness, 116 Miles

North Coast 500

Cairngorms National Park is Britain’s largest national park and by driving through it, it has some amazing roads and scenery.

The drive from Edinburgh to Inverness is 156 miles taking the A9, or 171 miles taking the A95. We drove the A95 due to more impressive scenery – the slower road, and a stop at Balmoral Castle.

Balmoral Castle is the royal family’s other Scottish residence. You can visit Balmoral Castle from April from August but it can change whether the royal family is staying.

The flag will be raised if members of the royal family are there, which they were when we visited, so we weren’t able to go inside.

Linn of Dee

Linn of Dee

The Linn of Dee is a river which runs through the village of Braemar and 20-minutes’ drive away from the village.

From the car park (AB35 5YJ), you can take multiple walks including seeing the waterfall and gorge which is under the bridge you drive over to reach the car park.  


Cock Bridge

How can you not drive through here and take a picture with the sign? The villages’ main tourist attraction!

By driving through these amazing roads, you will find viewpoints and laybys to stop and admire the mountains and views of the surroundings. Just make sure you are entirely off the road and parked safely.

Inverness itself is not a large city, we stopped here purely for supplies like food and petrol. We were more interested in officially starting the North Coast 500, even if we did immediately take another detour…

Day 4: Black Isle, Tain and Glenmorangie Distillery

Driving from Inverness to the Black Isle via the Cromarty bridge is only a 38 mile drive

The Black Isle

Black Isle

The Black Isle is a small Peninsula only 12 miles from Inverness and the first detour on the main North Coast 500 route. It is so beautiful we are unsure why anyone would miss this out!

Full of amazing beaches and views across the peninsula. You can take a detour off the A9 onto the A832 and drive circular around the Black Isle.

We stopped on a few beaches for nice walks to simply admire the views. We were fortunate enough to have good weather which makes it even more enjoyable.

Black Isle to Tain (22 miles)

Tain is only 22 miles up the road from the Black Isle but a great stop for a distillery tour don’t you think?

Glenmorangie Distillery

Glenmorangie Distillery

The ‘Men of Tain’ started making the Glenmorangie whiskey back in 1843 and have done ever since.

For only £8 you can take a great tour of their distillery which also includes a ‘wee dram’ of their original whiskey at the end. You can also request another one if you wish!

One thing to bare in mind, is the Scottish drink driving laws are pretty strict. But you can take your ‘wee dram’ away with you to enjoy later

Day 5: Dornoch, John O’Groats, Dunnet Head and Thurso

Tain to Dornoch (10 miles)

Dornoch Beach

Dornoch is another small detour off the A9. Worth it for a visit to their cute village and their long and wide beach.

We spent the afternoon with ice cream and patrolling the beach. We parked free in Dornoch before walking to their beach which is extensively both long and wide. Beautiful for a stroll with ice cream.  

Dornoch Beach

Dornoch to John O’Groats (80 miles)

John O'Groats on the North Coast 500

The drive to John O’Groats is up the east coast of Scotland, and by reaching John O’Groats, it is the most north-westerly point in the UK.

Many people (for charity) run, bike, or even walk from John O’Groats to Lands End. The most north-westerly point to the most south-easterly point of the UK.

We saw a man running towards John O’Groats and then saw him 5 days later 150 miles south! Takes so much courage to do!

John O’Groats is a small village with some tourist shops and small cafes. We had a small walk on the beach, saw the John O’Groats sign, and bought a hot chocolate. It’s easily one of the best places to stay on the North Coast 500.

John O’Groats to Dunnet Head (16 miles)

John O’Groats, although being the most north-westerly point, isn’t the most northern point of the UK, this is in fact Dunnet Head.

With a winding road up off the A836 onto the B855, you reach Dunnet Head lighthouse. On a clear day has the most spectacular views out to sea.

The clouds pass so quickly here and the mist and fog can clear or appear in only a few minutes, so try and get your photos when you can.

Dunnet Head Lighthouse

Dunnet Head to Thurso (13 miles)

You can then start the drive across the very top of Scotland! Thurso is the last place in the North before Durness where you can gather a good amount of supplies such as food and petrol!

Day 6: Lighthouse, Durness and Smoo Caves

Thurso to the Light House at Strathy Point (24 miles)

Strathy Point Lighthouse

The lighthouse at Strathy point is a detour off the A836 north after passing through the village of Strathy. You can drive up the road for around 20 minutes, often passing through highland cows before reaching a farm.

By parking just at the farm, you can take a further 15-20-minute walk towards the lighthouse.

From the end, there is so much bird wildlife here and nice to just sit, watch and maybe eat some lunch!

The lighthouse itself belongs to someone and I believe they still live there. You therefore can’t enter the lighthouse itself, but the surrounding views are excellent.

The farm next to the start of the walk also had highland cows! Not as popular in Scotland as you may think so this was a perfect time to see them.

Strathy Point
Highland cows

Strathy Point to Durness (52 miles)

By this point, you have driven across most of the north coast of Scotland and around half of the North Coast 500 route. Also passed highland cows, admired views out to sea, and stopped on the side of the road (safely) multiple times to admire the view.

Smoo Caves

Smoo Cave

Just before you reach Durness on the A838, you will pass a small place called Smoo, which in my opinion is an excellent name.

Smoo Caves date back to the Viking times where there is evidence of shipbuilding in the caves along with habituation.

There are tours of the Smoo Caves when there has been good weather and you can explore the depths of the cave. If not, you can still venture into the cave and explore the most outer part of the cave, which is still great!

Smoo Cave

Day 7: Stac Polliadh, Kylesku Bridge and the B869

I’ve already mentioned a few detours, but this section of the North Coast 500 there are so many more! Driving from Durness to Ullapool is 94 miles with a few detours and stops we took on the way.

Leaving Durness to take the A838 heading south for 35 miles until you reach Kylesku bridge.

Kylesku Bridge (Durness to Kylesku, 35 miles)

When driving on the A894 you will pass over the Kylesku Bridge which is a perfect spot to admire the surrounding mountains and take some photos

The B869 (Kylesku to the B869, 9 miles)

Views from the road on the North Coast 500

Just after the bridge, there is a turning for the B869 which takes the coastal route out into the peninsula and around Loch Assynt.

Although it is a fair detour of 25 miles, if you’re a confident driver it is well worth the detour for the amazing views.

It is a single tracked road but there are lots of passing places. There can be some lorries that drive this route also, so be prepared to reverse to the nearest passing place. 

Before Lochinver, the road becomes the A837 and by driving back east you can re-join the North Coast 500 route towards Ullapool.

Walking up Stac Polliadh (19 further miles)

Stags on the North Coast 500

With an elevation of 600m, it is an excellent hike in Scotland to take for the absolutely breath-taking views at the top. It overlooks Loch Lurgain, which means 2 things; amazing views and lots and lots of midges, so be prepared.

We use smidge midge spray and seems to be the only thing that has ever worked. The midges may still land on you but don’t see to bite half as much.

Midges are usually pretty bad in the summer months near again stagnant water, which includes Lochs

When walking up Stac Pollaidh, we were lucky enough to see two stags grazing not far from the path! This was amazing as they literally just stood there and allowed me to take so many photos. They seemed quite used to humans as they didn’t run off as soon as we saw them.

The walk up Stac Pollaidh takes around 2-3 hours up and down and is only 2.75 miles. However, it is a steep incline majority of the way up.

To get to Stac Pollaidh, it is north of Ullapool. Travelling south, take a right onto a smaller road at Drumrunie (really a few small houses) and there is a car park on the left-hand side of the road. The postcode for the car park is IV26 2XY.

You can also get an infrequent bus from ullapool – the 811

Before taking any hikes in Scotland, we always look at Walk Highlands. I don’t think there is a hike they don’t have on their website with concise but good informative instructions. There are so many walks and hikes in the North Coast 500 route and you should definitely try to do one or two!

Views from Stac Pollaidh
Views from Stac Pollaidh

Day 8: Corrieshalloch Viewpoint, Applecross Pass and Fairy Pools

Ullapool to Kinlockewe (75 miles)

Corrieshalloch Viewpoint bridge

You can drive the coastal road from Ullapool by driving south on the A835 and then taking a right turn onto the A832.

Once on this road, on the right-hand side you can park up to see a large gorge and the Corrieshalloch viewpoint.

There is a small parking area on the right-hand side which is fairly small. I don’t feel the car park is ready for the amount of tourism it now receives and improvements were being made when we were there.

Once you leave your vehicle, there are 2 gates, one goes left and one goes right.

The path to the right goes to the bridge which we enjoyed more. You can cross the bridge to another viewpoint but can be closed for maintenance.

You can then go to the left as both paths join up and walk to the other point to see the waterfall.

Kinlockewe to Tornapress (53 miles)

Driving this route includes Bealach Na Ba road, also known as Applecross pass. This famous road has such infamous views with huge twists and turns and is often included in one of the best roads to drive in the world!

However, it isn’t too easy to drive. Ed is a really confident driver since he is an absolute petrol head. But the views were so worth it. If you’re driving the North Coast 500 in a motorhome, the road probably isn’t suitable due to the reduced width of the road

At the top, there is a view point to the amazing views below from where you have driven.

You can then drive another 38 miles to the Isle of Skye, the biggest detour on our extended North Coast 500 route

Tornapress to Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye (65 miles)

Fairy Pools

We drove straight onto the Isle of Skye and across to Fairy Pools! The Fairy Pools are a stream of waterfalls from the water coming down in between the Black Cullins of Skye

You can swim in each of the pools including next to a waterfall and one pool with an arch in it! The rocks and waters are multicoloured of blues and greens and the views of the surrounding mountains is just beautiful

Day 9-13: The Isle of Skye

The Isle of Skye is such a small geographical area but some of the best views in the whole of Scotland.

The Isle of Skye doesn’t normally feature on the North Coast 500 at all, but many do add this detour onto the end of their road trip because it’s too good to miss!

Ed and I spent 4 days here and did everything we wanted too. Some only spend only 1-2 days in Skye so it can be completely up to you, but I would suggest a few more days if you want to experience Skye to the fullest.

Things to do in the Isle of Skye

Fairy Pools

Fairy Pools

The Fairy Pools are a great place to swim! Blue and green water with waterfalls and a chance to swim under an arch. But can be muddy so be careful of your footing!

Fairy Glen

Fairy Glen

In the Trotternish Peninsula, Fairy glen is one of the newest tourist attractions on the block since it doesn’t even have a brown sign or an actual car park.

This is a magical place where the fairies live with weirdly formed rocks, moss and trees



This was our favourite places and one of our favourite walks even if it was quite hard at time… and muddy!

There is a viewpoint for the views below only a 2-minute walk from the car park, but you can take a 3-4 hour walk around the whole thing.

The views just get better and better of the Trotternish Ridge and the smaller Lochs below. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Harris


The Old Man of Storr

Old Man of Storr

It is thought there was once a giant who lived on the Trotternish Ridge. Once he passed and was buried, his thumb still remains out of the ground!

You can walk all the way up to the top of the Storr with rewarding views of Raasay, the Lochs, and the thumb of course.

Due to trying to improve the path, the mud at the top is quite traitorous at times so walking boots is a definite must

Staffin Bay

Staffin Bay

At Staffin beach, you can hunt for Dinosaur footprints!! There are a few small beaches in Staffin Bay but we actually camped here overnight and the sunset was amazing!

Neist Point

One of the more iconic views of the Isle of Skye. In the far west of Skye, you can walk right over to the lighthouse. There are also different viewpoints from the car park.

Dunvegan Castle

One of the last remaining castles actually occupied by the same family – Clan Macleod. Dunvegan Castle is in the northwest area of Skye.

You can take a tour of the castle itself as well as the gardens

Aird of Sleat Beach

Aird of Sleat Beach

Although full of Jellyfish, the walk to this beach is a nice gravel path until the last part and takes 1-2 hours to complete. Some of the whitest sand on a beach in Scotland

Fish and Chips in Portree

Portree, Isle of Skye

Portree has some very colourful buildings which you can see and view up at the top and near the Scorrybreac restaurant.

But by walking down into the Harbour we had some great fish and chips at Lowerdeck Seafood. Which we enjoyed on a bench nearby.

Where to Stay on the Isle of Skye

Portree is the capital in Skye and where most people stay. Everything is generally accessible from here and usually within a 45-minute drive.

The whole of Portree is pretty much bnbs and hotels. We, however, camped around Scotland and Skye in our campervan and the rest of the North Coast 500, which is our preferred method of accommodation.

If you’re going to do everything on the list I would suggest 3-4 days depending on if you do the whole Quiraing walk (which takes most of your day) or how long you stay up at the Storr.

If you want the most out of the Isle of Skye I would definitely suggest 4 days to be able to see everything properly and also account for the weather.

Weather in the Isle of Skye

It is well known that the weather in Scotland is usually pretty rubbish and all over the place. But the Isle of Skye is even more all over the place

The weather forecast can be a slight guide but honestly, it’s usually wrong. We use the Met Office for all of our forecast needs and its usually spot on but in Skye its awful.

Due to the weather coming from across the Atlantic, the weather could be entirely different at the Storr, Neist Point, or Fairy Pools and anywhere in between.

If you’re walking the Quiraing or the Storr, it is best to try and do it in the best weather you have to be able to see the most.

I would never leave my vehicle without a waterproof coat just in case, because in Skye, you can never tell.

Day 14: Eilean Donan Castle, Glenfinnan Viaduct and Loch Shiel

Leaving Skye to Eilean Donan Castle (55 miles from Portree)

Leaving the Isle of Skye over the Skye bridge nearly immediately takes you to Eilean Donan Castle.

You may know it when you see it as it has featured in many films! Such as Highlander (1986), The World is Not Enough (1999), and Made of Honour (2008).

Inside is the history of the castle and its involvement in the Jacobite risings

Once you’ve driven past the castle, there is a small parking area where you can then walk back to get good views of the castle from the bridge.

Glenfinnan Viaduct and Loch Shiel (from Eilean Donan Castle, 78 miles)

Jacobite train driving across Glenfinnan Viaduct

Glenfinnan Viaduct is the place where Harry and Ron flew the flying car in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and where Ron fell out of the car.

The Jacobite train crosses over Glenfinnan Viaduct every day at around 1045am and 3pm.

There are viewpoints you can access by walking out of the car park, turning right and taking the next right.

As a major HP fan, it was amazing to see the train and so much more magical than I expected. Across the road from the Viaduct car park is Loch Shiel. Beautiful in its own right but used as the Black Lake in harry potter too.

The viaduct is only a 20-minute drive west from Fort William on the A830. The viaduct has its own car park but can get very busy. If you’re wanting to see the train, it can get exceptionally busy. We arrived around an hour early and there was already a good amount of people there.

Loch Shiel

This itinerary covers over 1000 miles of the Scottish Highlands and doubles the original North Coast 500 route! We found there was so much more to see and we just can’t help our selves but drive the smaller roads to try and see as much as possible

Driving the North Coast 500

Ed and I began our route of the North Coast 500 from Edinburgh, quite a way further down from Inverness which is the official starting point. We drove in our converted Ford Transit van which we finished converting in 2019.

There are many options including public transport, car hire (with hotel stays), or campervan hire with wild camping or campsites! If you’re curious what it’s like driving in Scotland see here.

Camping spots on the North Coast 500

Using Public Transport

One of the more restrictive modes of travel if using buses and trains. They will take you to the main places but won’t give you the experience of a road trip (if that is what you’re after).

Taking public transport – especially trains, is generally a quicker route to travel. But do you really take it all in? In your own vehicle, it is so much easier to stop and admire the views when you want.

Train tickets from Edinburgh to Inverness cost around £20 and take 3.5 hours. But you can’t stop and explore the Caringorms National Park this way.

It would also become harder more north into the highlands for travel.

Car Hire in Scotland

Trip To Scotland Cost

By renting a car in Scotland, you have the ability to drive the speed you want, take the slow road and admire all of the views!

You can hire cars from all over the place! We use if not driving our campervan. This is because when turning up to a new country there is always the generic brands that can generally be more expensive. But using a comparison site compares the smaller cheaper companies too.

When using a car, you could take a tent and camp where ever you like by wild camping! Or book hotels along the way

My favorite car rentals to look at are:

Campervan/motor home

If you’re lucky enough to have your own campervan or motorhome then you are really lucky!

Ed and I converted our own Ford Transit campervan back in 2019 and used it for our North Coast 500 trip.

Although motorhomes give you a similar freedom to a campervan, driving on the smaller roads is much harder.

The smaller roads tend to be single-tracked with passing places and often with large potholes. It seemed when passing motor homes (or cars with caravans also) they did not find it very easily at all.

By having a campervan or caravan, you can pull up wherever you wish and camp generally without unpacking anything. You are also more protected by the weather in a nice warm van.

There are so many companies offering campervans and motorhomes for the North Coast 500 but be careful they don’t have a mileage limit.

Camping in Scotland

Wild camping in Scotland is legal and easy to take advantage of and you should too! Camping, whether in a tent, campervan or motorhome, is an excellent way to travel.

Being with nature but also in more luxury is amazing. However, in a motorhome or camper you have to content with water supply and ability to empty chemical toilets which you can only do at campsites

We use the app Park4Night all of the time. People can post free overnight parking spots on an app. We would have a good look on the app, decide on a spot (there are hundreds!), drive up, and stay for the night.

Some of the spots weve stayed in Scotland have been amazing. Views of mountains, Loch’s, amazing roads.

Only thing to mention is obviously the risk of midges if youre going to stay near loch’s, don’t forget your Smidge!

Wildlife in Scotland

Highland Cows

Highlands Cows on the North Coast 500

Wildlife in Scotland is so vast. Obviously, there is the highland cow which is an iconic picture of the highlands. It depends on farmers to where the cattle, are but Ed and I have been lucky enough to see them a few times.

When reading a few blog posts, many people haven’t seen them at all when they’ve visited Scotland. So if you see them, stop and take some photos!

Stags and Deer

Stags when walking up Stac Pollaidh

When we walked up Stac Pollaidh we were so lucky to see the two stags grazing on the grass only a few hundred metres from the path!

Deer and Stags are fairly popular across Scotland and there is still a hug hunting community

Red Squirrels

Red squirrels have been dying out across the UK but further down near the Scottish border you may have a chance to see one. We were just driving when we saw a little fella run across the road

They aren’t as popular in areas where the grey squirrel is really popular.


Puffins on the North Coast 500

Puffins can be found from late March and early April until August and nest on coastal clifftops. The biggest colony is on the island of St Kilda, but they could be spotted on the eastern cliffs from North Berwick to Berwick-on-Tweed and also from Galloway to Wick.

When driving along in Scotland it is not uncommon to see birds of prey across the sky either!


Not sure how much you would class it as wildlife, but I’ve mentioned midges already but these deserve it again.

Before we travelled to Scotland, I didn’t realise how bad the midges actually would be. I saw people with bug hats sometimes and just thought it was quite over the top but I was naïve

Please take some Smidge with you as it seems to be the only thing that actually works. We tired other bug sprays but they’re not half as good.

Be cautious of this if in a tent, camper, or motorhome. Of course, in a camper and motorhome, you can shut the doors and windows and the windows do usually have bug nets on.

But you can’t do that in a tent. Heat does generally keep them away when you are cooking but they are drawn to light.

Packing for the North Coast 500

Whenever you are doing the North Coast 500 the weather is never fantastic, summer or winter. We use the Met Office to try and judge the forecast but even in places in Skye, this isn’t possible.

We never leave our vehicle without our waterproof coats and we wear our walking boots every day. Below is some of our favourite items and items we would never travel without

Hiking Boots

We never travel anywhere without our walking boots. We replace them every few years because we wear them so much and if travelling anywhere we wear them every day.

When walking in Scotland, due to the rain it is often very muddy and walks can be rather muddy and hilly so good footwear is a must

Our very first pair cost only £20 and didn’t last too long. By spending a little more, we got much more comfortable boots with insoles and arches for our feet

Boot socks

Boot socks don’t only keep your feet warm but prevent blisters or uncomfortable feet after a long day of hiking and exploring

But make sure you have a good number of them. The North Coast 500 itinerary takes 14 days and if any of them get wet you will need to change your socks!

Waterproof Coat

With weather in Scotland usually raining its best to be prepared. A good waterproof and even wind proof coat would definitely come in handy

Hiking Trousers

If you have ever been walking in jeans and its rained, you’ll know they take forever and a day to dry. Hiking trousers dry so much quicker and easier to wear on multiple days

Rucksack with Waterproof Cover

If you carry any camera equipment, jumpers or anything else in your bag, you dont want all your stuff to get soaking wet!

Our bag also comes with back support and a gap to allow air through. This is much more comfortable to wear when hiking to make sure your back doesn’t get as sweaty

Driving the North Coast 500 is an amazing experience and some of the views you wouldn’t believe. Ed and I can’t help ourselves but drive on smaller roads as they’re more enjoyable but this truly does rack up the miles!

30 BEST Things to do in Jasper National Park, Alberta Sun, 30 Aug 2020 04:18:18 +0000 Read more30 BEST Things to do in Jasper National Park, Alberta

Jasper National Park is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Canada. Like it’s southern sister, Banff, there are many things to do in Jasper all year round.

In the summertime, you can easily grab a canoe and paddle your way around one of the many mountain lakes, or in the winter you can take a drive on the stunning Icefields parkway. If you’re wondering what to do in Jasper on your Canadian vacation, we have you covered.

Things to do in Jasper

Best Things to do in Jasper

Glacier Skywalk

things to do in Jasper

What better way to start off the Canadian adventure you’ve been dreaming about for months than by hanging yourself out to dry on a manmade structure protruding from a rocky precipice overlooking a valley nearly a thousand feet below. If that sounds like the kind of thing you had in mind, then Glacier Skywalk in Jasper National Park is the place for you.

The view straight down through the walk’s glass floor to the Sunwapta River valley below will make you wish you’d brought your parachute, but you probably won’t need it. Once you’ve bought your ticket, head to Glacier Discovery Center and hop on the shuttle bus which will take you right to the Skywalk. It’s open from May to October and other day tours to nearby towns and attractions are available, so check online or ask an attendant.

Jasper Sky Tram

Built in 1964, the Jasper Sky Tram is the highest and longest tram in Canada. With a starting elevation of over 4,000 feet, the 10-minute trip to the top in the enclosed gondola will take you to over 7,500 feet, where you’ll be surrounded by magnificent views of the largely undisturbed Canadian Rockies, the town of Jasper and the Athabasca River.

Starting at $32 for adults and $16 for children, the fees won’t break the bank, and your guide will point out landmarks and teach you about the areas geology, history, and wildlife. Open from April until October, remember to dress accordingly and bring a hat and mittens as the weather here can change quickly.

Hike to Whistler’s Summit

Things to do in Jasper

From the top of the Skytram, you can enjoy the views and restaurant, but you can also continue on to summit Whistler’s Mountain. The tram assists you for most of the way, but a 20-30 minute hike further will get you to the summit. On a clear day you can even see Mount Robson – the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies!

Hike to Indian Ridge

Indian Ridge in Jasper

If Whistler’s Summit isn’t enough of a workout for you then continue on to Indian Ridge. From the Skytram Indian Ridge is another 12.7 km, and 950+ meters of elevation gain, but it’s a beautiful hike and isn’t too difficult. To reach the ridge there is mild scrambling involved. The views of Mount Robson get even better from the ridge!

Take a Motorcycle Tour

Things to do in Jasper

You know when a company is endorsed by the Canadian Tourism Commission that they’ve been doing something right. Such is the case with Jasper Motorcycle Tours, who provide a unique experience unlike any other you’ll probably ever experience. If you’ve only ever driven vehicles with four wheels, don’t worry, because you won’t be the one doing the driving. The cost of your motorcycle tour covers a safe, experienced and professional driver, and you’ll get to enjoy the stiff Canadian wind and breathtaking scenery from the relative safety of the sidecar or rear seat.

The tour will take you on nearly 100 kilometers of the Icefields Parkway, which was named one of the world’s 10 best drives by National Geographic. Check out the company’s website for pricing and booking information.

Jasper Planetarium

Due to its remoteness and overall lack of development, Jasper boasts amazing views of the stars, galaxies, and constellations that are often difficult to see in more urban areas. If you’re an amateur stargazer or just prefer comfortable reclining seats to craning your neck or laying on the cold ground, then the Jasper Planetarium is one of the best things to do in Jasper that you won’t want to miss.

Located in Jasper National Park, the planetarium’s trained guides will lead you on a virtual tour of the galaxy and explain a few of those mysteries of modern science, like the aurora borealis – or northern lights. Boasting one of the largest telescopes in North America, after the planetarium show, you’ll get to peer through its massive lenses and gaze into impossibly distant worlds.

Hike the Berg Lake Trail

Although not in Jasper, the Berg Lake Trail is only an hours drive from Jasper and makes for an epic day. If mountains had resumes, you’d swear that Mount Robson’s was embellished. One of the best things to do in the summer is hike around Mount Robson. Towering to just a tick shy of 13,000 feet, it’s the tallest mountain in the Canadian Rockies, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and resides in one of Canada’s oldest parks – Mount Robson Provincial Park.

Paired with those statistics and its natural majesty, it’s an impossible to miss icon of Jasper that finds its way onto photographs and artists’ canvas more than the average mountain.

It’s also open to multi day campers in the summer who want to hike around Berg Lake. Consisting of nearly 600 stunning, wildlife-packed acres, the park isn’t open all year, so check out their website for specifics. If you are in for a long day you can hike the Berg Lake Trail in one day (this is what we did). It’s 40km, so you should plan accordingly, but it sure is worth it!

For experienced, fearless, and properly equipped mountaineers, Emperor Face – on the mountain’s north side – is the most challenging way to reach the summit. Robson is well known in the mountaineering community here as a proving ground.

Take a Soak in Miette Hot Springs

About 40 miles east of Jasper, Miette Hot Springs may not be the most accessible of all Jasper’s attractions, but if properly timed to coincide with other nearby activities, it’ll be the perfect place to soothe those bones, weary from a long day of exercise and fresh air. Bubbling from the earth at a piping 130 degrees Fahrenheit, the water cools to about 100 degrees before making its way into the pool.

Not only will the water relax you, but the dissolved minerals within have long been thought to have curative powers for those with skin, bone and muscle ailments. Though originally built in the ’30s, the facilities have been upgraded, and there’s a swimming pool and restaurant on site if you’d like to make a day of it. Open from May to October – depending on the weather – the entrance fee is less than $10 for adults, making it a relatively cheap way to pamper yourself.

Paddle on Lake Edith, Annette, and Beauvert 

Lake Annette
Edith Lake
Beauvert  Lake

We spent many days in Jasper enjoying these three lakes. I would highly recommend bringing your own or renting a canoe, kayak, or stand up paddleboard to enjoy these lakes because they are amazing! Edith, Annette, and Beauvert are all very close together and you can easily enjoy all three in one day. My favorite is Lake Beauvert, it has some of the clearest water I’ve ever seen and insanely blue.

Sunwapta Falls

If you like getting two for the price of one, then visiting Jasper’s Sunwapta Falls is one of those things to do in Jasper that should be on your itinerary, because it’s not just one, but a pair of waterfalls. Located inside Jasper National Park, you can reach them by an access road leading from the Icefields Parkway. Due to the massive ice melt-off that occurs in spring, this is when the falls are at their most dramatic.

But no matter when you go, you’ll be impressed by the falls which drop over 60 feet. Of the two falls, the upper one is the more easily accessible of the two. Like many things in Jasper, they’re open from May to October. You can go in the winter months but you’ll have to hike in, preferably with snowshoes and someone who knows their way around the area.

Maligne Canyon

Things to do in Jasper
Things to do in Jasper

Maligne Canyon is another one of the things to do in Jasper that will keep you occupied and fulfilled, regardless of the season in which you visit. Carved slowly out of limestone over the years by the rushing waters within, the deep canyon walls reach nearly 200 feet in places, making it one of the most dramatic sights in Jasper National Park. Though it freezes solid in winter, it provides recreation for brave ice climbers; there are guided tours of the area’s frozen waterfalls and ice caves too.

When the ice thaws in late spring and summer, the canyon area is a hot hiking spot due to its natural beauty and the sheer number of amazing and unique geological features you’ll find. Guided tours are available but you can also visit on your own, though visiting in the winter without a guide isn’t recommended for those not equipped for Canadian winters, as you’ll need special cleated or spiked boots to walk on the ice safely.

Yellowhead Pass

Things to do in Jasper
Credit @lizballmaier

As one of the lowest – and therefore most easily crossed – passes in the Canadian Rockies, Yellowhead Pass has been taking travelers of all sorts across the Continental Divide for ages untold. At 3,700 feet above sea level, and located in Jasper National Park and Mount Robson Provincial Park, this national historic site is one you should plan on checking out – especially since you’ll be in the two parks listed above visiting other sites anyway.

According to legend, the pass was named after a golden-haired trapper who first crossed the pass in the early 19th Century, though the First Nation people were surely using it long before that. Though the pass’s traffic has steadily increased over the years, you’ll still get a glimpse of its original splendor, so check it out.

Athabasca Falls

Things to do in Jasper

A great thing to do in Jasper in the winter is check out Athabasca Falls. Located about 20 miles south of Jasper town – with a drop of about 75 feet – Athabasca Falls isn’t a giant by waterfall standards, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t dramatic and majestic in its own right.

The volume of water that rushes over the edge is very high, making the upper Athabasca River positively roar – especially during the height of the thaw in late spring. Like so many other visitor sites in the area, it’s conveniently located in Jasper National Park, which will make filling up your day with enough scenery to satisfy even the most finicky nature lover pretty easy.

There are ample hiking trails to get you to viewing areas which will allow you to ogle the river and falls in all their glory. Don’t try to get closer to take a good picture, the ground and rocks are treacherous and slippery and a fall into the frigid water and rocky canyon wouldn’t end well.

Climb Mount Athabasca

Mount Athabasca looms over one of the most popular attractions on the famed Icefields Parkway, but only a few get to see the view from the top. To reach the summit requires a long hike to a technical glacier crossing and then up an exposed face or couloir. The views are breathtaking in more ways than one. From the top, you can spot countless glaciers, icefields, and many of Alberta’s highest peaks.

The peak is one of many in the Canadian Rockies famous for reaching an altitude of 11,000 feet. Many climbers in the Rockies have the lifetime goal of summiting all 54 (58) of the peaks, and they are considered classic mountaineering objectives. At 11,453 feet in elevation with a massive glacier and convenient location, Athabasca proves to be a tremendous first “11,000er.”

You cannot attempt this on your own without mountaineering experience, it is a serious mountain. We did a three-day mountaineering course with Yamnuska and summited on the third day – the experience was epic. This is probably not for everyone, but definitely one of the more adventurous things to do in Banff.

Columbia Ice Field

Things to do in Jasper

Located in the Canadian Rockies – straddling the Continental Divide and border between British Columbia and Alberta – Columbia Ice Field is the largest in the Rocky Mountains. Part of the ice field resides in the southernmost portion of Jasper National Park, and its base is continually replenished each year with nearly 300 inches of snow, which, through the thawing and compression processes, turns into rock-hard ice.

The ice field covers an area nearly 125 square miles and can reach a depth of 1,000 feet in places. As you can imagine, it’s a treacherous place, but tours are offered – some of which are given in massive, six-wheel drive behemoths that look like they’re out of a James Bond movie. This is the best way for most visitors to experience a glacier and can be arranged at the Glacier Discovery Center. The Glacier Discovery Center has a restaurant and cafeteria, gift shop, exhibits, and lodging too if you’re inclined to spend the night.

Evening Wildlife Tour

Things to do in Jasper

A great Jasper activity is a wildlife tour! Like animals everywhere, many of Jasper’s non-human residents prefer to come out at night to hunt and forage. What could be better than watching them and all the interesting things they do on a guided, moonlit tour. Like the SS Minnow on Gilligan’s Island, it’s a three-hour tour, but instead of a skipper, this one will be guided by a local expert who knows pretty much all there is to know about the local fauna.

Though it’s not guaranteed, you may see grizzly bears, mountain goats, foxes, moose, and bobcats, to name a few. Tours are limited to 15 people, and as long as you’re staying in Jasper, they’ll even pick you up and drop you off after it’s done. The start times vary slightly depending on the season, but are usually 4:30 or 5:30 PM.

Maligne Lake and Spirit Island

A great place to visit in Jasper is Spirit Island. As you may have guessed by its name, Spirit Island is a serene and revered place, especially to the area’s indigenous people. Due to its sacredness, the island is off limits, but boat tours are available which will take you close enough to appreciate its splendor.

For those who need a little more exertion and adventure, it’s possible to view the island by kayak or canoe; this option is only for the physically fit because the roundtrip is difficult to complete. There are campsites nearby where you can book an overnight spot, breaking the trip into two days and giving you a wonderful night in the wilderness.

Pyramid Lake and Island

Heading to Pyramid Lake is another fantastic thing to do in Jasper. Pyramid Lake is close to the town of Jasper and is another great lake to enjoy. Bring the paddleboard, canoe, and kayak here and even take a jump in! I actually found this lake much warmer than the others.

Don’t miss Pyramid Island either, it’s a small island with a bridge to it. Try and catch it at sunrise or sunset for a wicked view.

Lake Patricia

Things to do in Jasper

Yup another lake on this list of things to do in Jasper! This one is right next to Pyramid Lake and is another good one to head to for your summer needs. Come here to enjoy the backdrop of Pyramid mountain, or go for a swim! With a national park license, you can even go fishing here!

Enjoy a Drink at the Fairmont

The famous Fairmont Jasper sits right on Lake Beauvert and is the ideal spot to enjoy a drink at sunset. It’s calming, quiet, and not crowded and even if you’re not staying at the hotel you should definitely stop for a drink!

Have a Champagne Lunch on Beauvert Lake

Things to do in Jasper

The Fairmont also offers guests and day visitors a chance to have a champagne picnic lunch right on one of the most beautiful lakes in the Rockies. If you’re in for a romantic lunchtime activity this is one of the best things to do in Jasper.

Play a Round at Fairmont Jasper Park Golf Course

Things to do in Jasper

Conceived by a famous Canadian golf course designer, the renowned 18-hole course at Fairmont Jasper Park Golf Course incorporates all the twists, turns, vistas and changes in elevation that diehard golfers have come to expect from world-class courses. On the Jasper to-do list of golf enthusiasts from all over, it’s been rated the #1 golf resort in Canada in past years.

Not surprisingly, the course isn’t open all year round; the greens fees also vary by season, day of the week, and whether or not you’re a Canadian or pesky tourist. It’s not particularly expensive by exclusive course standards either, so check out their website for a visual tour, booking, fees, and tee-time information. It’s one of the things to do in Jasper that golfers should take advantage of.

Hike Pyramid Mountain

Things to do in Jasper

Pyramid mountain towers over Jasper and is a beautiful sight to behold. If you’re up for a long day hiking consider putting it on your list of things to do in Jasper! It’s a 33km trail and over 2600 meters of elevation gain – so it’s not for the faint of heart! You should be experienced with long day hikes if you attempt this one. The good news is you can bike the first 11km cutting out a significant portion of time there and back.

Medicine Lake

Things to do in Jasper

Medicine Lake is a fantastic thing to see in Jasper. Located about 12 miles southeast of Jasper, Medicine Lake is in the Jasper National Park. Though technically part of the Maligne River, to the untrained eye it looks like a lake, especially when it swells with water from the big thaw, which takes place in late spring and summer.

At less than $10, admission to the park is cheap; once inside, you’ll be stymied by all the things there are to do and see. The area abounds with wildlife and is a favorite spot for hikers, bird watchers and fishermen too. In winter, many of the roads become inaccessible and much of the lake disappears below mud and ice.

Ski at Marmot Basin

Things to do in Jasper

One of the best things to do in Jasper in the winter is ski at Marmot Basin! Marmot Basin is an alpine ski area less than 30 minutes’ drive away from Jasper. With 91 named runs on four mountain faces and 3,000 vertical feet of drop it’s definitely one of the best ski resorts in all of Western Canada!

Enjoy Downtown Jasper

Honestly one of my favorite things to do in Jasper was just walk around town. The town of Jasper is charming and small, even smaller than nearby Banff! There are plenty of restaurants, shops, and coffee shops to venture in and out of. I love the vibe of the town and enjoyed coming here in the evening.

When is the Best Time to Visit Jasper?

If you’re looking for beautiful summer weather the best time to visit Jasper is in July and August. However this is also the busiest time of the year (though nowhere near is busy as Banff), and you’ll also have to deal with mosquitos.

If crowds and high prices are not your thing consider visiting in the shoulder seasons. Early June and Late September are great times to visit. If you want to go skiing at Marmot Basin, enjoy the snow, and go snowshoeing the best time to visit Jasper is between December and February!

Where to Stay in Jasper

Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

Fairmont properties are some of the most exclusive in Canada. The Jasper Park Lodge is located on the shores of Beauvert Lake in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. It has a golf course (mentioned above), great restaurants, and a huge spa. It’s great in the summer and winter as the ski resort is only 30 km away. (This is also one of the best places to spend Christmas in Jasper!). Read the full review here!


For apartment rentals in Jasper consider looking at Airbnb. However, Airbnb’s in Jasper doesn’t come cheap and there’s not a lot of them. You will need to book them well in advance.

Especially in peak summer and around the winter holidays. You can read about choosing a good Airbnb hereHere is a coupon for your first stay with Airbnb!

We Have an Entire Website on Banff!

We live in this beautiful area of the world and want to make sure you have an epic time in the wilderness. Check out The Banff Blog for more travel information.

Banff Blog 4

What to Pack for Jasper?

We’ve put together our favorite packing list items for the Canadian Rockies. This list is meant to be good in any season, for many different levels of activities. Whether it’s hiking or just wandering around exploring the town of Banff and it’s surroundings here are the things to consider for your trip.

Travel Insurance

We don’t travel without travel insurance and neither should you. You never know what can happen in a foreign country and it’s best to be prepared. World Nomads provides good short term coverage

SafetyWing is perfect for digital nomads. See our full review here!

Hiking Backpack

Indian Ridge in Jasper

You’re going to need something to carry your belongings in while your traveling around Jasper. Even if you’re not doing extensive hikes you need at least something small for day trips. My favorite daypacks are from Camelbak.

Hiking Shoes

The North Face Ultra 110 GTX

If you’re wondering what necessities to bring to Banff then sturdy shoes are perhaps the most important thing you will need before you get to Canada.

All Around Canada

The Ultimate Fjallraven Kanken Backpack Review • 10 Key Takeaways From a Classic Bag Fri, 28 Aug 2020 04:33:27 +0000 Read moreThe Ultimate Fjallraven Kanken Backpack Review • 10 Key Takeaways From a Classic Bag

The Fjallraven Kanken backpack is a classic style of bag and has been around for decades. It’s been almost 50 years since the Fjallraven Kanken was initially released, so we’re here to revisit the classic design and see how compares to the modern competition.

Let’s not mince words if you’re after a highly functional bag that is both tough and great for hiking or travel the Fjallraven Kanken is not for you. However, the backpack is a classic and has been popular with the fashion-forward and hip crowd for a good reason.

Fjallraven Kanken Backpack Review

Kanken Specs

Fjallraven Kanken Backpack Review
  • Material: Vinylon
  • Height: 38 cm
  • Width: 27 cm
  • Depth: 13 cm
  • Volume: 16 liters 
  • Laptop Pocket: No 


Fjallraven Kanken Backpack Review

A great small day bag, the Fjallraven Kanken Kanken backpack is the perfect bag for carrying around the odds and ends you’ll need throughout a day of travel. Designed for lightweight travelers, or as a substitute for a purse or tote you might carry around for everyday use.

Produced in Sweden, the classic backpack was made for school children to help promote straight backs. Thanks to the success in design, they are now sold worldwide for a variety of uses. With a volume of 16 liters, this certainly isn’t big enough to be your only packed bag when traveling, but it’s a perfect solution for a day bag or carry-on item to keep your essential belongings close at hand. 

The Kanken will easily fit underneath the seat of an airplane as a carry-on but is still big enough to pack those essential items you want to have on hand. Kanken backpacks help keep your back straight and ultimately less achy at the end of the day. Construction uses vinylon, which has a texture similar to lightweight canvas, creating a very durable yet let lightweight backpack. 

In comparison to other backpacks, the Kanken is also a very budget-friendly option. For half the price of other travel backpacks on the market, you can get an excellent quality bag that will hold up to your adventurous lifestyle. 

Key Features 

1.) Multiple Compartments

The Kanken has a main pocket, two flat side pockets, and an additional zipped front pouch. This simple design keeps your possessions organized, but doesn’t become overwhelming with all the options for pockets and zippers that some bags have. 

The large zipper on the main pouch makes it easy to open the backpack almost all the way. Even if what you’re looking for is all the way on the bottom, you can access it without unpacking everything. 

2.) Seat Cushion and Back Pad

To keep the items in the backpack from jabbing into your back, the Kanken has a foam pad inserted into the back panel. This provides a bit of extra cushion without adding weight. The great thing about the foam pad is that it can be removed and used as a seat cushion wherever you’re going.

Although some people might not use this feature, it can come in handy more often than you realize. Sitting on hard park benches, wet ground, uncomfortable plastic bus seats, or even a corner of the airport while waiting for a delayed flight can become more comfortable when you have an easily transportable foam seating pad with you at all times! 

3.) Lightweight Material

Vinylon f is a synthetic fiber used in all of Fjallraven’s products to produce lightweight and durable outdoor items. Unlike other materials that require some sort of coating to produce a water-resistant quality, vinylon f is water-resistant all by itself. Since the material expands when it becomes wet, the fiber fabrics will swell, leaving almost no room for water to pass between the strands.

Dunking your backpack underwater will still result in damaged material on the inside, but in light rain, highly foggy conditions, or with gentle splashing, everything on the inside of the Kanken backpack should stay safe and dry thanks to the expanding quality of the material. 

4.) Exterior

The Kanken has a simple design with a slightly “boxy” appearance. It definitely preserves some of the “school day” nostalgia, while still being an excellent option for travelers. The rectangular shape also helps keep everything organized and gives you easy access to all the items in the pack. 

5.) Colors

If you’re the type of person who likes color and variety, then you’re in luck with the Kanken. You can pick from a ton of different colors for your new bag – from a simple navy to a light orchid pink or acorn brown. 

Some people have commented that the color selection on the webpage doesn’t accurately match what the bag looks like in real life. For example,  colors may be slightly more or less intense than the hue shown on the screen. Take the color selection with a grain of salt, but still, it’s pretty cool that there’s more to choose from than the standard black, grey, and occasional green and blue! 

Straps and Support

One thing the Kanken lacks in comparison to other travel backpacks is thicker shoulder padding on the straps. 

The thin straps don’t have much going for them in terms of support if you’re carrying a heavier load. Thankfully, since the backpack is on the smaller side, it’s not likely you’ll be carrying around something bulky or heavy, so the thinner straps might not be much of a problem. 

On the pro side, the Kanken can easily be carried as a backpack or a bag, thanks to the convenient top strap. This allows for easier transport in various situations and lets you use the Kanken bag more like a tote if desired. 

6.) Side Pockets 

On each side of the Kanken, there are flat pockets with a bit of reflective material on them for added visibility. 

Unfortunately, these to pockets are a bit too small for most water bottles, unless your bottle happens to be particularly thin.  

They are still convenient places to keep an umbrella, extra pens and pencils, or a map of the area on hand. If you’re the type of person who likes to have a water bottle within easy reach, it would be good to get a carabiner or water bottle strap if you like other things about the Kanken. 

7.) Interior 

The Kanken backpack has a simple design with one main compartment, two flat side pockets, and one additional zippered pocket in front. If you’re looking for a straightforward bag without extra bells and whistles (or endless places where things can get lost), the Kanken is a great choice. However, if you’re the type of person who likes many different pockets, compartments, and lots of zippers, the Kanken backpack might not be the right travel bag for you. 

8.) Main Compartment

Fjallraven Kanken Backpack Review

The largest pocket in the Kanken has a zipper that goes almost all the way around the bag, allowing you to open it to reach whatever items may be closer to the bottom. 

On the back of the main compartment is the sleeve holding the foam pad to protect your back. This pad can be removed easily to be used as a seat cushion wherever you end up. 

The Kanken doesn’t have a designated laptop compartment, and it’s a bit too small to fit most laptops. Tablets, Chromebooks, or smaller electronic devices can still easily fit with room to spare for other items. 

If you don’t have a laptop or are fine leaving it behind at your hostel or hotel while you go out exploring, the Kanken is an excellent choice for a travel backpack. If you’re a digital nomad who needs to have your laptop with you everywhere, the Kanken might not be for you. 

On the inside of the main compartment is a label where you can put your name and address on the pack in case it gets lost. It’s a nice touch for travelers or really anyone who worries about misplacing a bag somewhere! 

With a volume of 16 liters, the Kanken is better suited for day trips or as a small carry-on bag. It’s perfect if you’re the sort of traveler who wants a few essential items along, like a water bottle, a snack, and maybe a few other odds and ends. 

9.) Additional Pockets 

Aside from the two flat pockets on either side of the backpack, the Kanken has one other small zippered pocket in front. This compartment is big enough for phones, a wallet, or other small items you might want to have within easy reach. 

The logo on the outside of the bag and the side pockets is reflective, making it easier for cars to spot you if you’re out walking with your backpack after dark. 

10.) Durability 

There’s no doubt that the Kanken is built to last and to hold up to a lot. It may be small, but that doesn’t mean you should underestimate its strength! 

For starters, the material is different than many other bags on the market. Vinylon 5 isn’t a super common material, but it provides great results. Lightweight, reasonably water-resistant, and very durable, the bag is meant to withstand adventures. The zippers are fairly good quality, without many issues of snagging or breaking. 

One thing to consider in terms of durability is the foam pad in the back of the backpack. Especially if you are using it as a seating cushion, as Fjallraven suggests, the foam can get worn out quickly. In comparison to backpacks with built-in padding, the foam on the Kanken won’t last as long.

Check Prices For Fjallraven Kanken

Fjallraven Kanken Backpack Review


Fjallraven Kanken Backpack Review

Fjallraven originally designed the Kanken for school children, then expanded to the market for travelers and everyday use. It’s certainly a versatile bag and easy to use in a variety of circumstances. The fact that you can carry the bag either as a backpack or tote opens up more possibilities for areas of use. 

If you’re a student for part of the year, traveler for another part (or possibly traveling and studying simultaneously), then the Kanken is ideal. It can hold a decent amount of gear but doesn’t become bulky or cumbersome. 

Because it’s on the smaller end, the Kanken is a nice bag to use even when you aren’t traveling. Instead of carrying a purse or trying to jam all your essentials into various pockets, the Kanken is convenient to use in many situations. 


Cost To Backpack Europe: Edinburgh

Although there are many things to love about the Kanken, there are also a few potential downsides you should consider before making a purchase. The size can be positive or negative, depending on your style of travel. For some people, 16 liters isn’t enough room to pack all the essentials, especially if you carry around a lot of electronics or want a specific compartment for your laptop. 

With only two real pockets, the Kanken lacks the organizational features and numerous zippered compartments that other travel backpacks often have. Again, if you like a simple design, this might be a good thing, but if you prefer to have a separate pocket for each of your items, you might want to look elsewhere for a travel bag. 

For a backpack with the main advertising point of helping you keep a straight back, it does seem a little strange to have such flimsy shoulder straps. Yes, the backpack itself sits very squarely on your back, and the foam pad provides a nice cushion between you and the contents of your bag. However, with such minimal padding on the straps, after wearing the Kanken all day while walking around a new city or going on a long hike, your shoulders can get quite sore.

Going back to the origins of the Kanken as a school backpack, it was designed to be carrying things for shorter distances, like between classes, then being set down again. 

For travelers who know they’re going to be standing for extended periods or plan on going trekking, it’s probably a better idea to get a travel backpack with a bit more support and cushion for your shoulders, and possibly a waist or sternum strap to help distribute the weight more evenly. 

Check Prices For Fjallraven Kanken

How to Replicate the Perfect Yukon Road Trip Itinerary (Klondike Kluane Loop) Tue, 25 Aug 2020 02:13:05 +0000 Read moreHow to Replicate the Perfect Yukon Road Trip Itinerary (Klondike Kluane Loop)

A Yukon road trip is one of the most epic trips in Canada. The Yukon, a territory in northwest Canada, is wild, mountainous and sparsely populated. It is home to vast swaths of wilderness that is teeming with wildlife like bears, moose, caribou, and wolves. This road trip was our first time to the Yukon and it blew us away — we know we’ll return.

This Yukon road trip route heads north to the gold rush town of Dawson City, before driving up the Dempster Highway to one of our favorite parks in the world Tombstone Territorial Park. Afterward, it’s back down to Dawson and across to Alaska via the scenic Top of the World Highway.

The final section involves the imposing Kluane National Park and Reserve home to monstrous glaciers and the tallest mountain in Canada, Mount Logan. Consider this the fast version of the route, but if you have time we’d really recommend completing the loop in two weeks, plus or minus a few days.

Yukon Road Trip

Yukon Road Trip

Klondike Kluane Loop Itinerary

Day 1: Whitehorse

Yukon Road Trip

Most trips to the Yukon start in the capital of the Yukon, Whitehorse. The city is well known as “The Wilderness City,” and it serves as a jumping-off place to explore the territory. It’s well worth a night or two or even a couple as there are a plethora of operators that run tours such as hiking, white water rafting, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Its charming historic city center with shops and a number of bars, cafes, and restaurants are sure to entertain you for at least a night!

For anyone flying to The Yukon, this will be your starting point with flights from Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Frankfurt in the summer. This is the place to stock up on food, gas, and supplies before taking off to explore the rest of the territory as prices will only go up in the more remote regions.

Yukon Road Trip

If you have time in the city check out the Beringia Center, SS Klondike, Miles Canyon Suspension Bridge, Whitehorse Fishladder and Hatchery, or the Yukon Wildlife Preserve.

Where to eat in Whitehorse?

Yukon Road Trip

With only two nights in the city we tried out only a few places, but all of them were fantastic. For dinners your first night in the Yukon you’ve got to try out the Miner’s Daughter/Dirty Northern.

It’s a gastropub with some fantastic food, drink, and atmosphere with dishes like spicy kale salad, bison burgers, grilled salmon, and harissa wings.

On your way out of town, grab some delicious morning joe at Midnight Sun Coffee Roasters.

Where to stay in Whitehorse?

Yukon Road Trip

There are a number of hotels, guesthouses, and rentals (Airbnb) in the city. We stayed at the Coast High Country Inn and found it a great place to start and end our road trip in the Yukon. It’s only a few blocks from Main Street in town and we were able to walk around Whitehorse rather than driving. Breakfast was included, fast wifi speeds and free parking makes it a no brainer for us!

Day 2: Whitehorse to Dawson City (533 km)

Yukon Road Trip

Head to the historic Gold Rush town of Dawson City which also happens to be one of our favorite towns in the world. It’s the epicenter of all things “Yukon” and the town feels more like a big summer camp for adults. With all of that history, it’s listed as an official National Historic site as it was the base for one of the greatest gold rushes in history and almost all the buildings date back to this time.

Yukon Road Trip

For the start of the drive, you follow along the Yukon River the former artery of the Yukon in the age of steamships. It’s a beautiful drive and you’ll want to build in some extra time for stops. Most notable is the Five Finger Rapids famed for its difficult navigation and even noted in novels such as Jack London’s Call of the Wild. On the way, stop at the Coal Mine Campground & Canteen for a burger in Carmacks or the Braeburn Lodge for a cinnamon bun the size of your head.

Dawson City now serves as the base to explore all things about the old prospectors, First Nation’s people, and the surrounding wilderness. The drive up from Whitehorse takes about six hours on a paved road. Once you’re in the city, hit the wooden boardwalks and step back in time. After a stroll down Front Street head to the dike and watch the Yukon River rush onwards.

Yukon Road Trip
Yukon Road Trip
Yukon Road Trip
Yukon Road Trip

If you feel like learning more about the city Parks Canada offers daily walking tours and visit the KSA the Visitor Information Centre. Or you can learn about the time before the gold rush and learn about the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, at the Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre.

Yukon Road Trip

Once the sunset, if it ever does in the summer months, head to Diamond Tooth Gerties for some blackjack, can-can dancers, and drinks. It’s Canada’s oldest gambling hall and every night they put on three can-can shows a night that gets more risque as the night progresses.

Where to stay in Dawson City?

Yukon Road Trip

We arrived with our awesome truck from Overland Yukon equipped with a rooftop tent. There are a couple of campsites around town, but the best one in our opinion is the Yukon River Campground. It’s a quiet campground that sits along with Yukon River and lets you feel at home with nature. You’ll have to take the free George Black Ferry that runs 24/7 a day, except Friday morning for servicing.

Yukon Road Trip

If camping is not your scene Dawson City does have a number of hotels and lodges. Don’t expect any five-star hotels though, as it is the Yukon! If you’re looking for a good clean place to stay check out the Aurora Inn or the Bunkhouse if you’re on a budget.

Where to eat in Dawson City?

Dawson city has a number of great restaurants to grab something to eat. If you’re in search of something for brunch check out Alchemy for great coffee and fresh baked goods. Or you can head to the Drunken Goat Tavern for some tasty Greek food. 

Yukon Road Trip

However, the most famous cocktail in town is a shot of whiskey garnished with a human toe at the Sourdough Saloon in the Downtown Hotel. Yes, you read that right a mummified human toe is the second ingredient in the famous Sourtoe Cocktail.

Day 3: Dawson City to Tombstone Territorial Park (111 km)

Yukon Road Trip
Yukon Road Trip

After a night or two in Dawson City hit the road back out of town to the Tombstone Territorial Park. We’ve seen our fair share of natural beauty, but few places compare to the Tombstone in the fall. It is the Yukon’s most iconic image as the shrubs and trees turn to vivid reds, golds, and oranges across jagged mountain peaks. The drive through the parks is nothing short of breathtaking, be prepared for tons of photo stops.

Yukon Road Trip

There are some phenomenal hikes here, and we were left wanting to explore so much more of this gorgeous park. The most popular hikes are the Grizzly Valley and Goldensides that are pretty easy for anyone of moderate fitness.

Tombstone Park
Yukon Road Trip

If you need more information about the park and recommendations head to the Tombstone Interpretive Center. With just a night we only got a taste of what the park has to offer and we’ll have to make plans to return for a multi-day hiking and scrambling trip.

Yukon Road Trip

We spent a night at the campground, but if we had more time I’d recommend two-three nights to take advantage of the great hiking in the park. It’s a stunning part of the world and we’re already planning our return someday soon to tackle new peaks.

Where to stay in Tombstone Territorial Park?

There’s only one designated campsite in the park and it operates on a first come first serve basis. It’s a basic campsite with several drop toilets and kitchen shelters that are well managed. Individual campsites are well spaced out with room for vehicles. There is also free firewood as long as you pay the fire permit fee and campsites Probably one of our favorite campsites in the world!

Day 4: Dempster Highway (736 km)

Yukon Road Trip

After getting your fill of the Tombstone Park to drive up the Dempster Highway for some wild scenery. The Dempster Highway is one of the most epic drives in North America and extends from Dawson City to the town of Inuvik. It’s a long 736 km drive that crosses through Tombstone Territorial Park and into the Arctic Circle. Then finally connects to a highway from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk which sits on the Arctic Ocean.

Yukon Road Trip

It’s a stunning drive that crosses vast swaths of wilderness and roaming caribou. The Dempster is the furthest North all-season highway and stays open all year long. We didn’t have enough time to drive the full road and if you plan to take the trip it’s a journey in itself. Instead, we drove North of Tombstone into the open Tundra to witness the changing landscape.

Yukon Road Trip

If you plan to make the full drive stop at the NWT Dempster Highway Visitor Center for road conditions. On any long drive, it’s a good idea to leave early with extra time to get out of the vehicle to take photos, hike, and enjoy the breathtaking scenery. You’re going to want to take a lot of photos on this drive!

Day 5: Dawson City to Chicken via Top of the World Highway (174 km)

Yukon Road Trip

The Top of the World Highway is a route that connects Dawson City and eastern Alaska, the most northerly border post between Canada and the United States. After we finished in the Tombstone Territorial Park we made our way back to Dawson City for a night to save enough time for the next drive and explore the town a bit more.

Yukon Road Trip

After taking the George Black Ferry out of town head West along the Top of the World Highway. It’s another spectacular drive as the gravel road snakes across the top a series of hills and ridges that provide views down wild valleys. As we’d timed our trip to the Yukon in Fall (late August/early September) the colors were on full display and it was mind-blowing.

Yukon Road Trip
Yukon Road Trip
Yukon Road Trip

We’d thought that the drive up the Dempster and Tombstone Territorial Park we’re going to be our highlights of the whole trip. However, with the fall weather and scenery, the Top of the World Highway was a standout. We connected this drive with the Alaska Highway in Tok. If you want to do this as a day trip out of Dawson City the most popular stop and turnaround point is Chicken, Alaska.

Where to stay around Chicken, Alaska?

Yukon Road Trip

It’s true wilderness for most of the drive and even when you reach Chicken, Alaska you’ve barely reached “civilization.” That being said there is a campsite in Chicken along with a number BLM Campsites in the region. Of course, you can always return to Dawson City if you don’t have plans to complete the loop. We did not stay in the area and made for the Alaska Highway instead.

Day 5: Chicken to Beaver Creek via The Alaska Highway (300 km)

Yukon Road Trip

It’s really tough to find a boring point on this road trip because the whole trip is just so spectacular. From Chicken drive South on the Taylor Highway before turning onto the Alaska Highway. You’ll follow a long stretch of the Alaska Highway from here all the way back to Whitehorse.

Yukon Road Trip

The historic highway played a vital role in the formation of the Yukon and Alaska developed as it bypassed Dawson City and went via Whitehorse instead, thus overtime it became the capital.

Yukon Road Trip

Views from the highway are nothing short of spectacular. The highway passes alongside the imposing St. Elias Mountains, the highest coastal mountain range on earth. We stopped along the route just outside of Beaver Creek as we had left from Dawson City around 487 km away and two border crossings.

Where to stay near Beaver Creek?

Yukon Road Trip

We stopped at a great little campground called Discovery Yukon Lodgings. It has campsites, guest rooms, and cabins for rent. We also really appreciated a hot shower after a long day’s drive.

Day 6: Beaver Creek to Haines Junction (291 km)

Yukon Road Trip
Yukon Road Trip

The Kluane National Park and Reserve are home to the most daunting mountains and glaciers in all of Canada. The terrain is severe with 83% covered by glaciers or mountains. Those mountains happen to be some of the tallest in North America and the world. It is the park that lies Mount Logan, a member of the Seven Second Summits and the highest mountain in Canada.

Yukon Road Trip
Yukon Road Trip

This last section of this Yukon Road Trip follows along Kluane Lake and into Haines Junction. We stopped at the Tachal Dhal Visitor Information center for some information about the surrounding area before taking off for a hike. Close by you can find the ruins of Silver City an old trading post, roadhouse, and Northwest Mounted Police barracks.

Yukon Road Trip
Yukon Road Trip

After a summer’s worth of scrambling at home, we decided to make it up the nearby Sheep Mountain. The route we tackled left from the boat launch and was steep with several goat trails to follow.

Once of the ridge, we were afforded stunning views and wild dhal sheep on the cliffs above. For hikers adventures, the Kluane is a destination in itself worthy of weeks if not years exploring.

Yukon Road Trip

Where to stay & eat near Haines Junction?

Yukon Road Trip

We stayed 10 minutes outside of Haines Junction at the Mount Logan Lodge for some amazing lodgings in the Yukon. Roxanne and David the two owners gave us a warm welcome and provide guests the best stay in Haines Junction.

They have a number of unique rooms you can book on the property such as an old prospector’s cabin, a school bus, yurt, and a converted school bus. There are also traditional guest rooms in the main lodge is you want something with modern amenities like a private shower! For our stay we lucky enough to get the yurt which was cozy, spacious, and super comfortable.

Roxannes cooks an incredible dinner that you’ll share at the table with fellow guests for a wonderful evening. The next morning you’ll be treated to her breakfast which is included in the room rate. We can’t recommend this lodge enough!

Day 7: Flightseeing Tour and Hike

Yukon Road Trip

If weather permits you should take one of the mind-blowing flightseeing tours, Kluane Park. It offers the rare chance to see the staggering Mount Logan up close and personal. Kluane’s glaciers spread out and from the air their movements are evident.

Yukon Road Trip

The glacier flight takes around 75-90 minutes and weather permitting you can land on the glacier at the foot of Mount Logan. Regardless of the landing, it’s an incredible experience to witness these humbling mountains and glaciers from the air.

Yukon Road Trip
Yukon Road Trip

It reminds you just how small we are on this planet and allows you to bear witness to the brutal strength of Mother Nature. It is a part of the world untouched by humankind.

Yukon Road Trip
Yukon Road Trip

The Kluane is ripe for hikes and there is a number that can be easily accessed as day hikes from the Alaska Highway. If you’re not super confident in adventuring around bear county (Kluane has the highest bear density in the world) you can book a guide.

Mount Logan Lodge offers several guided hikes from the property and can connect you with local guides in the area, like Kat and her dog Roxy who joined us for an afternoon. Since we only had an afternoon adjusted our hike to a half-day and went for a hike up to a rock glacier in a stunning valley.

Yukon Road Trip
Write caption…
Yukon Road Trip

Day 8: Haines Junction to Whitehorse (154 km)

Yukon Road Trip

The hike is up to you! However, after an exciting flight around Mount Logan, you’ll land back down in Haines Junction or Burwash Landing. Ease your stomach with some fresh baked goods at The Village Bakery before hitting the road for Whitehorse. Once you’re back in Whitehorse the town of 25,000 people we’ll feel like a big city and a return to civilization.

Vehicle For a Yukon Road Trip

Yukon Road Trip

We got to try out a new company in the Yukon renting out campervans and rooftop tent trucks. Overland Yukon is run by Andrew who was happy to meet us and turn over the keys. They’re all pretty much what we would describe as our dream adventure vehicles.

Our jeep came fully equipped with everything you could need for camping and a rooftop tent. Most impressively, Overland Yukon supplies an inReach (satellite GPS and communication) for emergencies. It was our first time trying out a rooftop tent and it was better than expected.

Not only is setting up camp a breeze, but the mattress inside the tent is super comfortable. On most camping trips we have a little difficulty sleeping and settle for less than the usual eight hours, not the case with the rooftop tent — we slept like a baby.

The vehicle gave us the confidence to explore everywhere we wanted in the Yukon. For visitors, it’s really one of the best ways to explore the Yukon as many of the destinations require you to be self-sufficient with limited guesthouses and hotels. We couldn’t imagine traveling around the Yukon any other way.

Tips For A Yukon Road Trip

Yukon Road Trip

Be Gravel Prepared

There are a lot of loose gravel roads in the Yukon and fast-moving trucks/vehicles. This is not very friendly to windshields… We found out the hard way our first day driving to Dawson City from Whitehorse when a semi-truck peppered the windshield with rocks. The damage was extensive and ruined the windshield. My best advice would be to take whatever insurance you can and be mindful of approaching trucks.

Dress Warm

Always pack extra layers when you’re in mountain conditions. Nights in the Yukon are cold year-round so be prepared for cold weather. It never hurts to have thermals, a hat, gloves, and a down jacket!


Whatever you plan expect it to take longer. The distances are great and there is so much to see along the way. We made frequent stops during our Yukon road trip. If you have the option add more time to your trip. Our trip was just over a week, but this route would be great with two weeks if not a little more.

Watch for Wildlife

Yukon Road Trip

You’re in the wilderness and that means lots of wild animals. Always keep an eye out for animals crossing the road and be particularly mindful of moose as an impact at speed can be deadly due to their body height similar to the windshield.


We’ve learned this tip long ago after our overland trip in Africa, but fill up any chance you get. Fuel stations are spread out far apart and this means you should be strategic with your fuel. If you’re half full it’s time to start looking for a fuel pump.

Cell Signal

Outside of the towns don’t expect to get any cell signal. For that matter don’t be prepared for longs nights surfing the web. The Yukon is about disconnecting and exploring the wilderness.

Don’t Forget Your Passport

You’ll be driving between the USA and Canada so make sure you have your passport.

Plan Your Road Trip To The Yukon

Travel Insurance

We don’t travel without travel insurance and neither should you. You never know what can happen in a foreign country and it’s best to be prepared. World Nomads provides good short term coverage

SafetyWing is perfect for digital nomads. See our full review here!

Accommodation in Canada

To feel more at home we use Airbnb you can check out some tips and read more about getting an Airbnb coupon code hereOr just take this coupon for your first stay!

Hiking/Daypack Backpack

You’re going to need something to carry your belongings in while your traveling around Jasper. Even if you’re not doing extensive hikes you need at least something small for day trips. My favorite daypacks are from Camelbak.

Beach Packing List Sunglasses

Make sure to protect your eyes from the sun in Canada. There are a lot of options for sunglasses and everyone should own at least a pair. It’s best to make sure they do have UV protection for the health of your eyes. We made our first investment in quality polarized sunglasses with a pair of SMITH Optics Lowdown 2.

Danner Mountain 600 Mens Travel Boots
Hiking Shoes or Boots

If you’re wondering what necessities to bring to the Yukon then sturdy shoes are perhaps the most important thing you will need before you get to Canada. I love my Merrell Moab Ventilators and have been going strong in them for two years! Check out my other recommendations on women’s shoes, and we have a post on the best safari boots.

Best Down Jackets
Down Jacket

Down jackets pack up light and small so there is no reason NOT to have one in your bag. Seriously it could save your life in a bad situation. We wrote a whole post on our favorites (hint –Feathered Friends, Arc’Teryx Cerium LT Hooded JacketPatagonia Down SweaterREI Coop Down Jacket)

Packable Rain Jacket - Arcteryx Women’s Beta SL Gore-Tex Jacket
Goretex Shell

We’re building up a collection of shell jackets. We always carry one in our pack and they’ve come in handy a number of times. They are lightweight, durable, packable, waterproof, and windproof. We have a bunch of different shell jackets after several years, but my favorite right now is from Arc’teryx.

Best Travel Water Bottles

Please consider purchasing a travel water bottle before your trip! We hate to see one time use plastic bottles ending up in the ocean. The tap water is so good here – seriously please don’t be one of those tourist that buys plastic water bottles in Jasper. It’s a waste of money and plastic!

Read Next

All Around Canada

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The Ultimate Peak Design Travel Tripod Review • 5 Essential Takeaways Sun, 23 Aug 2020 18:19:29 +0000 Read moreThe Ultimate Peak Design Travel Tripod Review • 5 Essential Takeaways

The Peak Design Travel Tripod promised to deliver the best travel tripod ever made — that’s a pretty tall order. However, Peak Design has provided innovative and quality camera accessories such as camera bags, clips, and straps.

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that they would deliver what may be the best travel tripod on the market. At the very least, it’s sleek design is both robust, portable, full of new features. After two months of shooting with both the carbon fiber ($600) and aluminum version ($350), we love these tripods. So, what makes the Peak Design Travel Tripod stand out from other travel tripods?

Our Verdict

Peak Design Travel Tripod Waterton National Park

Quite simply, it may be the best tripod for travel and photography in general ever made. Top marks all around.

  • Low Profile when folded
  • Quick Release
  • Build Quality
  • Smartphone clip
  • Reversible center column
  • Smart Design Features
  • Price
  • Height
  • Unusual Ball Head
  • Tripod Level
  • Hex Key Clip

Shop For Peak Design Travel Tripod

Peak Design Travel Tripod Review

Peak Designs Travel Tripod Product Specs 

  • Folded Length: 15.5 inches 
  • Load Capacity: 20 pounds 
  • Maximum Height: 60 inches 
  • Minimum Height: 5.5 inches 
  • Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Material: Carbon Fiber or Aluminum 
  • Quick-Release Plate: Arca-Type
  • Vertical Tilt: 90 degrees
  • Panning Range: 360 degrees


There are a lot of elements and features in the Peak Design Travel Tripod. To give a better idea of the function of the tripod, we’ll break them down. Items, like the carbon fiber legs in flat shape or a unique ball head, allow for a lightweight and small footprint. Other features come down to personal preference and your style of photography. 


Peak Design Travel Tripod Legs

The Peak Design Travel Tripod features five-section aluminum or carbon fiber legs with quick-release latches. There are none of those twisting locks that can be troublesome and not sufficiently lock. Two leg angles allow for a standard tripod height or low ground level shot that provides more stability. The legs extend to a maximum height of five feet, which is sufficient for most shooting, but there are taller tripods on the market.

The feet on the tripod are tremendous and can grip most surfaces, which includes rock where we do most of our shooting. The addition of a small hole on the bottom allows for quick water drainage if you place the tripod in water.

We’ve most of this before in quality tripods. However, what stands out the most in terms of the legs is their unique flat shape that allows for a low profile when folded in against the center column. It’s instrumental in the tripod’s small form and makes for a more natural surface to grip when changing camera angles.

Central Column

Peak Design Travel Tripod Column

Another stand out feature of the Peak Design Travel Tripod is the reversible central column, which allows you to capture ground shots more easily. There is also a hook underneath the central column to attach a stabilizing weight in case of windy conditions or trickier setups.

Unique to the column is a hidden phone mount that is lightweight and easy to connect to the ball head. Another notable small feature is the adjustment screw on the central column as it slides in and out from the body and aids in the tripod’s low profile. It’s these little design elements that add up to one beautifully engineered tripod.

Ball Head

Instead of the knobs and locking levers that many tripods have, the Peak Design Travel Tripod has a single ergonomically designed ball head. Only one ring is used to adjust the ball head and allows for quick adjustments. You’ll have 360 degrees of panning motion and 90-degree vertical tilt to make panorama shots and tricky upward angle photos possible. 

I should note that the ball head is unique in portrait mode as it is limited in angles, by the way, the camera mounts. One position will allow for portrait shots that are downward while the other faces upwards. It can be frustrating at first, but over time it becomes second nature to know which way to mount the camera with the Arca-type L clip that can attach in either direction.

The ball head has a quick-release system that is compatible with Peak Design standard plates. Arca-type L brackets can be also be securely attached to make the tripod compatible with Arca-type plates. I live in the Peak Design eco-system, so it’s not a problem for me, but the clip does require a hex key, included with the tripod, to remove the plate.

One last feature to note or lack there-of is the level on the ball head. The level sits right next to the quick release plate and only allows for the measurement of landscape photographs. Most notable is that when any camera is mounted, the level hides under the body of the camera. In use, it has little effect on my shooting as my mirrorless camera provides an in-camera level. However, the lack of a level may be a source of frustration for some shooters. Quite honestly, the level feels like Peak Design included it to market an additional feature with little real-world use.

Included Equipment

Peak Design Travel Tripod Carrying Case

The Peak Design Travel Tripod comes with its protective fabric storage case. As stated earlier, included is a mobile phone mount, which is a nice feature given the prevalence of smartphones these days.

For maintenance and setup, a 2.5mm and a 4mm hex wrench are included, as well as a bushing removal tool that is used to clean the components of the inner legs in case they get clogged with dust or dirt. 

Carbon vs Aluminum

Which model to buy, carbon or aluminum is probably the most asked question and debate for anyone who considers purchase of the Peak Design Travel Tripod. After using both tripods extensively I would say it depends, however, most photographers will be happy the aluminum tripod. There is a difference of 300 grams between the two models and the difference is significant in the hand.

In the scope of a $300 price difference, I find the carbon fiber a little difficult to justify. If I had a choice, I’d instead save the $300 for additional photography equipment like a VND from PolarPro, one of Peak Designs’ revolutionary camera bags like the Everyday Backpack, or my wallet.

Shop For Peak Design Travel Tripod

Travel Capabilities

Peak Design Travel Tripod Packaging

There’s no doubt that this tripod is for a lightweight traveler. It weighs only 2.8 pounds, and it’s not going to add much drag to your backpack but will provide you with a wide range of functions for your photography needs. Once packed down, the Peak Design is about the size and shape of a 32 oz water bottle, which makes it easy to slip into a travel bag and conveniently take out as soon as you reach your photo destination. 

Although the Peak Design Travel Tripod won’t be the solution to absolutely every photography situation, it does an impressive job of being an all-around good travel tripod. As mentioned before, this thing is very lightweight, so carrying it around with you all day in Bali or the jungles of Costa Rica won’t wear you out too much. 

For the average backpacker and travel photographer, the Peak Design is a great travel tripod that combines functionality in many areas with a lightweight and easy to carry design. 

What Makes the Peak Design Travel Tripod So Great? 

Peak Design Travel Tripod at bow Lake


The low profile design and attention to detail is what sets this tripod apart from its competitors. I love the small attention to details like the easy to adjust ball head, telescoping adjustment knobs, carrying case, angled legs, and hidden phone mount.

Carbon Fiber

Most photographers agree that fiber tripods are superior to aluminum ones. They are lighter weight and more durable. When you’re traveling and really need to watch how much weight you’re adding to your backpack, a lightweight travel tripod like the Peak Design is great to have. 

Reversible Central Column

To obtain closer ground-level shots, you can reverse the tripod’s central column. This feature brings the minimum height to 5.5 inches, which is lower than many models of travel tripods. 

Ball Head

Some people love it, some people hate it, but it does save space and makes a more versatile tripod. If you’re new to using ball head tripods, it may take a bit of getting used to, but you might find that you like this design even better. The Peak Design can hold various types of cameras, GoPros, and has a mobile mount for even more options for photo setups. 

Carrying Case and Service Tools

To keep the Peak Design safe, the tripod comes with its own storage case. Although you might already have a spot reserved for it in your backpack, it never hurts to have a bit of extra protection for your camera equipment! 

Peak Design Travel Tripod Areas of Use 

Just because the Peak Design Travel Tripod is marketed as a travel tripod, doesn’t mean that the Peak Design necessarily has to be used for travel. Even if you’re interested in doing local city photography or planning some weekend hiking trips, the Peak Design is a great choice. 

Because it’s a more expensive travel tripod, it’s not recommended as the first pick for beginner photographers. If you’re just starting out experimenting with photography, there are plenty of other adequate and cheaper lightweight aluminum or carbon fiber blend tripods you can try out before deciding whether you’re ready to make a more serious photography equipment investment. If you already have a bit of experience with photography and are annoyed with how heavy and cumbersome all your camera equipment is, then this is the tripod for you. 

Since the Peak Design can be compatible with numerous types of cameras, including GoPros and mobile devices, it can be used for various photography styles. The Peak Design lacks a fluid head, which is much better if you want to take videos since you can smoothly pan from one direction to another. It’s still possible to take videos straight on, or you can purchase a separate adapter if you like the other qualities of the Peak Design but want to achieve a fluid range in motion while shooting videos. 

Cost vs. Function 

Peak Design often carry more expensive camera products, and the Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod is no exception. If you’re looking for something cheap, this isn’t the way to go. Although it hurts the wallet the benefits of the tripod can balance out the cost. 

Since the Peak Design is compatible with so many cameras and has a mobile mount, it’s also very versatile. You’ll be paying more upfront, but in the long run, you probably won’t have to purchase too many adaptors and extra parts for your set up. 

Equipment compatibility 

The Peak Design Travel Tripod fits with other Peak Design products. If you already have different cameras, travel backpacks, and accessories from Peak Design, this travel tripod will be the perfect addition to your equipment collection. I’m a massive fan of the camera clip that always rides on whatever backpack I’m carrying.

If you’re a photographer who has equipment from many different brands, there’s no need to worry. As mentioned, the tripod fits many other cameras, including mobile phones and GoPros. For specialized cameras, you can buy adaptors if you like the Peak Design lightweight tripod. 

The tripod also comes with its own carrying case, so even if you don’t have other Peak Design products, you’ll still have a safe and convenient place to store the tripod. Thanks to its small packed size, it’s not difficult to fit in any suitcase, backpack, or equipment bag you may already have. 

To service the tripod, the Peak Design comes with two hex wrenches, both of which can be stored within a tool holder on one of the legs. This makes it convenient to adjust the tripod and clean parts when necessary. 

If you absolutely love your Peak Design Travel Tripod, there is a wide range of accessories you can get to help with certain photo setups. These include spiked feet to help provide a steady grip when doing photoshoots on sandy or loose soil, tripod sleeves in case of wet or mucky weather, and tripod hammocks for storing equipment within easy reach when doing a photoshoot.


Peak Design Travel Tripod

The first and most significant drawback to the Peak Design Travel Tripod is the price. With so many great features (lightweight, versatile, etc.), you can expect a travel tripod of this grade to pack a punch in terms of cost. The Peak Design Travel Tripod may not be the best idea for novice photographers or people who only take photos on occasion. However, if you’re already serious about traveling and photography, the Peak Design is probably one of the best pieces of equipment you can add to your photography kit! 

The other major fault to the Peak Design is also one of its best features: the weight. Since it’s just 2.8 pounds, it fits nicely into almost all backpacks and equipment bags. However, it’s just not designed for super heavy rigs and big clunky camera equipment. If you’ve got a big lens for wildlife photography you’ll need to look elsewhere. Chances are, travelers are going to have lighter setups anyway, but it’s good to keep in mind that the load capacity is 20 pounds. While this is certainly enough to accommodate most basic setups, it might not do the trick for specialized rigs and photo shoots. 

There are a few other things about the Peak Design that might be considered drawbacks by some photographers. First, the five-section legs can become a bit of a hassle. When you’re excited to get set up and going, clasping and locking each section can feel like it takes too long. The ball head takes some getting used to when in portrait mode. With a unique camera plate, it can be frustrating when you switch to other mounts as a hex key is required.

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6 Exceptional Cameras For Hiking + How To Take Great Photos on Hikes Fri, 14 Aug 2020 21:10:32 +0000 Read more6 Exceptional Cameras For Hiking + How To Take Great Photos on Hikes

In this post, we share the best cameras for hiking and backpacking trips. Of course, It’s natural to want to photograph the gorgeous landscapes when exploring. We’ve shot an innumerable amount of photographs from the trail and over time have learned a few things along the way.

There is a wide range of camera categories and price points that can make the decision a tough one. Point-and-shoot cameras are the most simple and lightweight so it’s a favorite among most hikers. However, the image quality and build from many mirrorless and DSLR cameras deliver the best image quality.

What Kind of Camera is the Best for Hiking?

There are several versions of cameras and then on top of that individual kits for cameras. You can break down the primary cameras used for hiking into four categories, which are robust, point-and-shoot, mirrorless, and DSLR. When it comes to lightweight hiking cameras, we prefer point-and-shoot and mirrorless cameras.

Best Camera For Hiking

Tough Camera For Hiking

hiking for beginners Cameras for hiking

Several camera manufacturers produce a tough or rugged camera. These cameras are waterproof, dustproof, and sturdy. The idea is to have a camera capable of handling harsh elements such as lots of water and dirt. However, the value of the cameras is wholly inadequate as they are expensive, and the image quality is subpar when compared to other camera categories. When it comes to hiking, it’s also not all that hard to protect a camera from the elements with a dry bag, so these cameras are better suited for adventures who need a camera for kayaking, surfing, rafting, or rock climbing.

Olympus TG-6 Waterproof Camera for Hiking

Best Cameras For Travel Blogging


  • Megapixels: 12
  • Sensor: 1/2.3″
  • Weight: 9 oz
  • Avg Price: $450

The Olympus TG-6 will be right by your side, no matter if you are climbing the most rugged of mountains or diving in the ocean. This camera is a simple point and shoot, so don’t expect to have too many options in terms of manipulating the image quality. However, it is tough and ready for adventure.

With its lack of zoom and manual settings and small sensor, it leaves a lot to be desired for image quality at its price point. That being said, the TG-6 has a fantastic macro function and an aperture of f2.0. It also shoots 4k video that looks pretty decent.

It makes for a reliable second camera and a questionable primary. I’d only recommend going this route for a few budget-strapped and rugged adventurers.

Point-And-Shoot Camera For Hiking

Yukon Cameras For Hiking Example

Tough cameras are point-and-shoot cameras with rugged housing and waterproofing. Without the costly build, point-and-shoot cameras offer a lot more value. Furthermore, many of them offer excellent value in a convenient package that easily fits in a pocket. We love these cameras for hiking and think they’ll satisfy the demands of most people on the trail.

Sony Rx100 – VII

sony rx100 best cameras for blogging
  • Megapixels: 20.1
  • Sensor: 1″
  • Weight: 8.5 oz
  • Avg Price: $450 – $1,200

There are several versions of this camera so the final choice depends on your price point. With the baseline coming in at a more reasonable $450 and the latest iteration around at a whopping $1,200 for a compact camera. Make no mistake this camera for hiking does manage to pack punch and in my opinion is easily one of the best cameras for hiking.

We have the RX100 V, which has one of the fastest fps in the world for still images (24 images a second), it contains a one-inch sensor, and shoots 4k video. The built-in lens is also plenty fast enough opening to a 1.8F stop and it has image stabilization for video. You can also gain full manual control with an ability to shoot RAW images even with the RX100 base model that retails for under $400. This produces wonderful images.

The negatives are the size of the camera makes it uncomfortable for shooting all day, okay at landscapes; it has a small viewfinder and fixed lens. In my opinion, it is the best camera for hiking. You don’t need a ton of accessories, just a memory card, and it easily fits in a pocket, hip belt, or backpack. It’s phenomenal, and the amount of camera that Sony packed into such a small product is fantastic.

Panasonic Lumix LX10

Panasonic Lumix LX10
  • Megapixels: 20.1 MP
  • Sensor: 1″
  • Weight: 11 oz
  • Avg Price: $500

The Lumix LX 100 II is a compact point and shoot camera which still can satisfy even the most experienced photographer’s expectations. The LX 100 II is so versatile that its interface is simple enough camera for hiking photographers, while still providing extremely sophisticated manual settings which allow experts to have limitless creative control.

Its lens has an aperture equivalent of 1.7-2.8, making it perfect for macro photography and shooting in low light. On top of everything else, the LX 100 II also shoots in 4K ultra-high definition.

For so many advanced functions one would think the LX100 II would also include a tilting touchscreen which is fairly common with most newer cameras on the market today. If dependent on the EVF (electronic viewfinder), be prepared for the battery to be drained severely. You can conserve battery life, however, by using the optical viewfinder. A big deal when you may spend multiple days in the backcountry.

Even though weighing only 393g, the Lumix LX100 II can hold its own against the most hi-tech of DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, making this camera one of the best point-and-shoot cameras you can buy today.

Mirrorless Cameras For Hiking

Bow Lake Camera For Hiking Fuji X-T3

Since mirrorless cameras have fewer parts in the body, the cameras they weigh less and can provide better speed. While there were new a few years ago, the future of cameras now appears to be mirrorless. They deliver the best image possible in a package that is now weatherproof in a smaller frame than DSLR cameras.

They do come with a few negatives, but the most notable is the use of EVF or electronic viewfinder, which be a drain on battery life. However, with every model, battery life improves, and most are suitable for around 600 shots a battery. It’s our preferred choice of a camera for photography when hiking, granted they are much more substantial with interchangeable lenses. Most notable these cameras come with the highest price tag that can easily cost more than $2,000.

Fujifilm X-T3

Best Cameras For Blogging
  • Megapixels: 20.1 MP
  • Sensor: APS-C
  • Weight: 1.19 lbs
  • Avg Price: $1,000 (Body Only)

This beautiful and reasonably priced camera for hiking is both weather-resistant and mirrorless. It is easily the best ASP-C camera on the market and gives a run at many of the full-frame cameras. After all, is a full-frame camera a necessity? In my opinion, not at all!

For any photography enthusiast, the Fuji XT3 will literally check everything down your list of expectations for your ideal camera. This state-of-the-art mirrorless camera has a highly sophisticated autofocus function, due to its cutting-edge CMOS 4 sensor and X-Processor. Almost unheard of by its competitors, the XT3 can shoot up to 30 frames per second with its electrotonic shutter and 11fps with the mechanical.

For those wanting to shoot video, this Fuji camera also shoots in 4K 200mbps. There is little to complain about when looking at the XT3. The only things which could be improved are its battery life. Also, for such high-end video performance, it lacks image stabilization. However, they addressed those issues with the Fuji X-T4 that comes in at a higher price point, only worth it for video-focused hikers.

The Fuji X-T3 is the camera we choose to carry in the mountains and on the trail. There are a lot of options for lenses, and Fuji makes some fantastic options. My favorite lens is the 16-80mm F4 zoom lens that provides a wide range of focal lengths in a convenient package and durable build.

Sony A7 III

Sony A7 III Best Cameras For Travel Blogging
  • Megapixels: 24.2
  • Sensor: Full-Frame
  • Weight: 1.43 lbs
  • Avg Price: $2,000 (Body Only)

Sony had a smash with this camera, offering a genuinely fantastic workhorse of a camera that has flown off the shelves. They’ve continued to deliver with the latest Sony A7 IV (61 MP). It has a full-frame sensor, excellent high ISO quality, an impressive 24.2 megapixels, and full-screen auto-focusing, it is no wonder this is one of the best professional cameras you can get.

If you are wanting to take videos, the A7 III shoots in 4k full-frame format. However, that 4K results in a cropped sensor and the rear LCD still lacks a touch to focus feature like the video-friendly Canon models.

The drawback, of course, is the price. It also weighs more than many mirrorless cameras. Other than the price itself, the other complaint would be about the battery life. Other than these two cons, this camera is as the top of the line as you can get for a mirrorless, full-frame camera.

DSLRs Cameras For Hiking

Smutwood Peak

DSLR cameras are the heaviest and bulkiest type of digital cameras so they’re questionable cameras for hiking. However, the build quality and components are a better value than mirrorless cameras as shoppers do not pay for a pricey electronic viewfinder. They’re also pretty durable and have been a favorite of professionals for decades now.

Canon Rebel SL3

Best Cameras For Blogging Rebel SL2
  • Megapixels: 24.1
  • Sensor: APS-C
  • Weight: 16 oz
  • Avg Price: $650 (With Kit Lens)

The small, lightweight Rebel SL3 makes for one of the most reliable and reasonably priced cameras available. Even though the Rebel is more geared towards beginners, the SL3 still incorporates the DIGIC processor, which is used in many professional cameras. Like other high-end cameras, the Rebel SL3 is complete with touchscreen capabilities, WIFI connectivity, as well as a highly effective live view autofocus sensor.

While it does have Dual Pixel AF in live view, it uses the outdated 9-point focus system. Overall, the Rebel SL2 is a well-built camera meant for beginner or casual photographers. It’s a great camera to get your feet with landscape photography and offers tremendous value.

Things to Consider When Buying a Hiking Camera

best cameras for hiking

The sheer number of cameras on the market today is overwhelming. Hours can be spent researching brands such as Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Sony, and Fujifilm. Even after settling on a brand, the question of which model to choose will still take up the better part of your day. We’ve found ourselves in endless debates about which camera to choose and in the past put off investing in a new camera for a long time.

For those just getting started, words such as aperture, mirrorless, shutter speed, and full-frame may be terms you are not too familiar. However, once you understand the basics, none of it is too complicated.  The key points lie in the type of camera you’d like, cost, photography style,  weight, and features.

DSLR vs. Mirrorless:

Let me start by saying that the camera market works in trends. When Canon initially launched the Rebel camera, it brought the DSLR “professional” digital interchangeable lens system to the masses. DSLRs reigned supreme for nearly a decade as the digital camera of choice. Now, with the introduction of the mirrorless cameras, a new trend has been set, and it seems the whole market’s focus has shifted to mirrorless.

What’s the difference between these two types of cameras? From the very beginning of photography, mirrors have been an integral aspect of making a camera work. Today’s digital cameras have improved a lot, but that doesn’t change the fact that a mirror is still at the very heart of most cameras. DSLR or Digital Single Lens Reflection refers to the fact that you look through the same lens as the camera’s sensor (what records an image). So, when you look through the viewfinder of a DSLR you are looking at a mirror in front of the sensor that processes the image.

When first put on the market, mirrorless cameras couldn’t hold a light to the old DSLRs in terms of quality. However, as improvements have been made, mirrorless cameras are now on par with DSLRs – if not better.

Since mirrorless cameras have fewer parts in the body, the cameras weigh less and can provide better speed. The only drawback when purchasing a mirrorless camera is the lack of available lenses and accessories. Until recent models, mirrorless cameras also lacked weatherproofing a pivotal detail to professional photographers. In 2020 all of that is left behind with a wide selection of quality lenses and weatherproof cameras.

There is a clear trend towards mirrorless, but it does mean you are looking at an EVF or electronic viewfinder, something that may not be the most excellent experience for some people. It’s also a significant strain on battery life as it is needed to power the display. One last thing when it comes to video on full-frame mirrorless cameras they crop the image due to sampling and an overwhelming amount of data coming from the massive sensors, which can make 4k footage a slight pain to record.


Photography is one of the most expensive hobbies out there; it is easy for enthusiasts to sink thousands of dollars not only into the camera, but lenses, support, and various other accessories. Most hikers should focus more on hiking gear rather than buying the most expensive, cutting-edge equipment. So it is vital first to determine your budget and set priorities.

Would you rather pay to go island hopping in Southeast Asia or blow your money on high-tech electronics? To further that point if you plan to earn an income on your blog you need to start viewing a camera as a business expense. When we are set to make a new purchase we like to think about the bottom line and what the ROI will be for us. In my opinion, far too many people are walking around with far too much in the name of travel blogging.

Many cameras also require the purchase of lenses, this needs to be kept in mind when purchasing a camera. The vast majority of cameras are sold in kits which include one lens and the camera body. These lenses used to be garbage, but many now offer a wonderful kit lens that hits the mid-range focal lengths. It also may be more advantageous to go with a lower model camera in order to afford an additional lens like a wide-angle or zoom. If you’re into adventure and landscapes consider the cost of a wide-angle lens.

Make sure to consider the final price of your camera package add the cost of the camera, lenses, memory cards, spare batteries, a camera bag, and a tripod. Perhaps, you can not afford the camera you thought you could when you add up the total cost.

Photography Style

When choosing a camera, you need to think about your photography needs. If it is landscapes, portraits, low light, or the night sky, each of these shots requires your camera to do very different things. For portrait photography and working in low light, you will need a faster aperture; in layman’s terms, a bigger opening to let in more light.

For other people, they may have no need to have a maximum of 1.2 aperture. For landscape photography, typically you would be wanting a camera with a wide-angle lens to get all the scenery into the frame.

These features barely scratch the surface of the various features which contribute to crafting your perfect shot. Regardless, it is important to know what kind of photographer you are to sort through what you need and what is unnecessary.


This is a broad category, but the primary point I’d like to stress is the video capabilities of a camera. Even if you do not have plans to be a vlogger or video maker, I’d still encourage every photographer to at least have a camera capable of recording video and to use that camera. 

Any camera as a bare minimum should record 1080p. Other great features come down to frame rates a camera can record in like 60p or perhaps 120? This refers to the number of images captured to create a moving image. Higher frame rate cameras allow for footage to be slowed down to a greater degree. This is a key component to the creation of buttery smooth shots now a key part of creating a beautiful video. Then there is image stabilization in which the sensor operates on small axis motors capable of reducing a shaky hand.

A lot of people believe they need 4k video recording capabilities. To this day, 4K is not a necessity for cameras and the simple fact is most laptops used by travelers are incapable of editing 4K video footage. To further this point if your video is destined for a digital world very few people are digesting the content on a large 4k TV and most computers do not have 4k screens.  Those that can edit 4k are still faced with the creation of video proxies and understanding the intricacies of editing, just another task to learn.

Compression vs. Resolution

To drive home this point, even more, the resolution is the hot word these days when marketing to the consumer. As cameras continue to push 4k you see “4K” in gold slapped on boxes of nearly every camera these days. However, resolution refers not to the quality of the video, but the quantity of the pixels.

For example, you could take the 4k from average consumer camera and compare it to 1080p on a professional camera and the professional camera would blow that consumer camera out of the water. Why is that? If the resolution is not all that matters to cameras what does matter? It comes down the compression, bit rate, and color science. More or less quality vs. quantity.

A high bit rate and compression mean that the camera can record more color values. More color values mean a better-looking image and less banding when the camera has an inability to register all of the various shadows and colors of an image. If you want to see a good example of what solid color space in a camera looks, check out our most recent vlogs shot on the Fuji X-T3.


Weight, as well as size, is important for all equipment when living the life of a digital nomad. Cameras, of course, are no exception. No traveler wants to be stuck with extra weight in their bag when gorilla trekking in a jungle or exploring the city streets with a full rucksack. As mentioned above, cameras are gradually getting lighter.

With the improvements made with mirrorless cameras, you can get a high-end camera weighing half of what DSLRs weigh. When you know what you want out of your camera and decide that you are not willing to carry around loads of bulky electronics, it is much easier to narrow down your choices. Personally, we travel with far too much, but we’re at that point in our travel blogging career.

What are the Metrics of a Hiking Camera?


The sensor refers to the light-sensitive chip in every digital camera that interprets how light is perceived to create a digital image. Sensors come in a variety of shapes and sizes and have the most direct impact on image quality. This is the most important aspect of a camera for travel in regards to the final image. Generally the larger the sensor the better the image. It allows for more information to be collected entering through the lens and eventually results in effects like a shallow depth of field.

There are many cameras that employ a cropped sensor. The result is a cropped image because all lenses are measured mathematically for a full-frame sensor – the same size as a 35mm film camera. So, when cameras employ a smaller sensor this results in a cropped effect on lens focal length.

It means 100mm on a FUJI X-T3 is the focal length of a 160mm lens. Therefore a full-frame camera is the go-to for landscape photographers, but many wildlife and sports photographers choose a cropped sensor. Think about which kind of photography you intend to shoot. Full frame sensors are generally more expensive and reserved for professional-grade cameras, so they’ll fetch a higher price tag.

FPS (Frames per second)

Best Travel Cameras

This is a very important aspect for many. It refers to how quickly a camera can shoot a burst of photos. With fast-moving subjects, you’ll want to capture that perfect moment. This may require a burst and a fast fps. This refers to how many photos the camera can take in a period of one second.

This is not the most important aspect; however, it is something to consider when comparing similar cameras. For those looking to get into wildlife photography, sports, or journalism a camera with a fast fps will help give that extra edge.


The lens is one of the most important aspects when shooting photography. You can have the best camera money can buy, but if you have a cheap lens you aren’t going to get those stellar shots. Many cameras opt for interchangeable lenses which allow for a wide range of focal lengths to get wide landscape shots and tight close-ups.

When shooting wildlife the far-reaching lens, or zoom is important. Lens distance is referred to as focal length. Focal length is measured in millimeters with a short focal length (<5omm) creating a wide angle image and a long focal length (135mm<) creating a tight/zoomed image.

When it comes to lenses generally wide-angle lens is excellent for landscapes (10-35mm), the mid-range is excellent for street photography (35-85mm), and long lens great for wildlife and sports (100mm). However, once a photographer understands the characteristics of each lens, they can use them in any scenario to achieve the desired effect. See the cheetah photos below.

[The two images above were taken from the same distance.]


Furano Ski Resort

Hiking can be brutal on just about everything. It’s why everyone talks about having the best backpack, boots, jacket, or pants money can buy because when they hike their belongings can go through hell. We’re big fans of spending our time outside and that means our cameras can be exposed to dust, heat, rain, fog, snow, and even ice. While a great camera for hiking doesn’t need to be indestructible a good build that is weatherproof ensures its survival.

Professional cameras are built to be weatherproof meaning they can handle the dust, dirt, and rain directly on the camera. I’ve personally carried my Canon camera through rainstorms without fear of it being ruined. There are also a number of cameras that are purpose built to hold up to the elements.

Hiking Photography Accessories

Adobe Lightroom

Best Travel Cameras

I rarely am happy with a RAW image right from the camera. Almost every image we like goes through a post editing process. Every image in this post has been edited to be crisper, brighter, and to bring out colors. We use Adobe Lightroom to edit our photos, which we pay $10 a month for.

If you are just getting started there are free photo editing programs and tons of free apps to edit your photos for social media. However, when you start to take your photography seriously you need to invest in a real program.

Post-processing of images has and will always be half the work when it comes to producing great photography. Even with film cameras, a photographer took time to choose film stock and carefully develop their film to produce the desired result.

Side note, don’t waste your money on buying some presets, especially if it’s a couple of hundred dollars. It’s one of the biggest scams to ever hit the photography world. Anyone selling these presets edit images individually and not with a preset. Presets are great for bulk editing, but you’ll likely have to tweak each image individually after a preset is applied. No image is created equal!

We don’t really use Photoshop, but if you want to add layers or other elements to your photos (like the milky way to a dark sky or a flock of birds in the background), Photoshop is your friend. You can learn the basics of photo editing on Lightroom and Photoshop on YouTube, Peter McKinnon has fantastic and free tutorials.

PolarPro VND Filter

Control over the amount of the light that enters the lens of a camera allows for greater photo manipulation. For landscape photographers and videographers ND filters have become commonplace in order to achieve lower shutter speeds and better images.

Previously that meant a wide range of filters for varying light conditions. Now variable neutral density filters allow for the strength of the ND to be adjusted with a twist.

PolarPro designs exceptional filters that are cut from quartz for superior optical performance and scratch resistance. Photographers can choose from a 2-5 stop VND or a 6-9 VND to enable exceptional control for photographs.


For long exposures, landscapes, night photography, or self-portraits, you’re going to invest in a tripod. Our latest tripod is the Peak Design Travel Tripod.

What makes this lightweight tripod so great? It’s compact and folds up incredibly small, lightweight at only 3.44 lbs, has amazing stability, and can fully deploy in under 10 seconds so you never had to worry about missing a shot. I also love that it’s mobile-ready, and has a special device to hold your cell phone on it, just in case you would rather take a phone photo!

At $600 it’s definitely not cheap, they also have a cheaper aluminum model for those on a budget. Because of the size and how small it folds up the Peak Designs tripod is the best hiking tripod on this list and also the best lightweight tripod for backpacking.

Spare Batteries


Don’t expect to charge your battery every night and you never know when you’ll have a day that just begs for you to shoot the whole day. There is literally no worse feeling than not being able to take photographs because your camera is dead.

Extra batteries have come in handy for us when we don’t have access to electricity. Think camping trips, multiday treks, or anything off the grid.

Where to Buy Your Hiking Camera

We shop for almost all of our photography needs on B&H Photo. They’re easily the best camera shop in America and have been working with professional film, video, and photography needs for decades.

They’re responsible for handling the equipment of major feature films, Pulitzer prize photographers, and everyday consumers like ourselves. Their support is tremendous and knowledgeable. On top of all that they offer free two shipping, so forget ordering camera gear on Amazon!

Thanks For Reading

50 Wonderful Things to do in Banff You Will Love Thu, 13 Aug 2020 10:41:00 +0000 Read more50 Wonderful Things to do in Banff You Will Love

If you are looking for the best things to do in Banff we have you covered! We visited this little mountain town a few years back and fell in love so much that we decided to move to the Canadian Rockies.

There’s really nowhere quite as special as Banff National Park. Whether it’s the winter or summer in Banff there is so much to do in Banff it’s impossible to get bored.

The mountains provide an endless playground bringing in millions of tourists a year. Hopefully, this guide will provide you with the information to choose the things you want to do while you’re visiting Banff!

The Best Things to do in Banff, Canada

Relax at Lake Minnewanka

Visiting Lake Minnewanka is one of the best things to do in Banff

One of the top things to do in Banff National Park is to enjoy Lake Minnewanka. Lake Minnewanka is a beautiful lake that is just a ten-minute drive away from the town of Banff. This lake is 21 km long and 142 meters deep, the largest in the Canadian Rockies!

In the summer, it’s a busy place to hike and go canoeing on, and in the winter, it’s a sight to behold. The mountains towering over Lake Minnewanka are seriously impressive all year round. Oh yea, and there’s also a Canadian resort ghost town under the lake.

Photograph Two Jack Lake

best things to do in banff

Just a five-minute drive away from Lake Minnewanka is Two Jack Lake. It’s another fantastic lake with Mount Rundle Views. Two Jack is one of the most photographed lakes in the Canadian Rockies, due to its proximity to Banff. However, in the winter it’s possible to arrive here with a travel tripod and be all by yourself.

Ski/Snowboard Big Mountain Terrain

Snowboarding at all of the SkiBig3 resorts was our primary reason for heading to Banff in the winter. SkiBig3 is a collection of three mountain resorts all within Banff National Park. You have Lake Louise, Banff Sunshine, and Mt. Norquay which are all fantastic and unique ski resorts. Skiing or snowboarding here is one of the best things to do in Banff in the winter.

Banff Sunshine

Things to do in Banff

I was standing in the middle of a massive chute watching Natasha’s snow rain down on me from the slope above. The run below me looked like a straight cliff and while standing I could touch the mountain, at least it felt that way. Banff Sunshine is a mountain that truly offers something to everyone from professionals right down to beginners. You can easily find yourself smack dab in freeride terrain that would be considered out-of-bounds in other resorts.

If you want to find a mountain with some seriously humbling terrain in-bounds then Banff Sunshine is the place to head. Jagged peaks loom high above alpine trees and the views are unparalleled. When you first arrive in the parking lot the mountain does not look like much as the base is simply a gondola station and one restaurant. In fact, to reach the true resort base guests must take a 15-minute gondola that delivers them into a sprawling resort that looks like it belongs in the Alps, not North America.

Things To Do in Banff Winter - Banff Sunshine Ski Area - Cameron Seagle and Natasha Alden

Banff Sunshine contains two expert only areas that require all riders and skiers to sign out with the ski patrol and carry an avalanche kit. Delirium Dive and Wild West areas feature massive cliff features, chutes, and some seriously steep terrain.

Don’t let the expert terrain detract you from visiting the resort as it also has a plethora of groomed beginner and intermediate runs. The resort has something for everyone and the base area makes for a perfect central point to meet after skiing the surrounding peaks.

  • Lift Ticket Cost: Adult – $109 • Youth – $85 • Child – $42 • Senior – $85 (Book Tickets Here)
  • Runs/Skiable Terrain: 145 runs • 3,300 acres
  • Favorite Runs: World Cup Downhill, Bunkers, The Shoulder, Wildside, Rolling Thunder, Tin Can Alley

Lake Louise Ski Resort

Things to do in Banff

There is arguably no ski resort in the world with a better view than Lake Louise Ski Resort, that photo above is what we’re talking about. In between runs screaming down groomers or tackling a bowl Banff National Park provides you some fresh air and stunning landscapes. We visited thirty resorts in one season and the views from Lake Louise were hands down some of the best in the world.

Lake Louise

It also happens to be one of the largest ski resort in North America with 4,200 acres covering four mountain faces. The terrain varies between beautiful groomers, challenging steeps, and expert level chutes. The longest run here stretches for nearly five miles so start working out your leg muscles now.

Banff Things To Do in Banff - Lake Louise Ski Resort - Natasha Alden Banff Things To Do in Banff - Lake Louise Ski Resort - Expert Terrain
  • Lift Ticket Cost: Adult – $104 • Youth – $79 • Child – $39 • Senior – $79 (Book Tickets Here)
  • Runs/Skiable Terrain: 145 • 4,200 acres
  • Favorite Runs: Brown Shirt, Juniper Jungle, Men’s Downhill, Saddleback, Sunset Terrace, and E Chute.

Mt. Norquay

Mt Norquay is the most digestible of resorts here and the least imposing for beginners/intermediates. It’s only a 10 minute drive from the town of Banff, making it a great option to go get some runs in and still have time in town. The resort has been in operation since 1926 and offers a number of activities asides from snowboard and ski. It’s also the only mountain that offers night skiing in the area and relatively small in comparison to the other resorts of SkiBig3.

While Lake Louise and Banff Sunshine can draw a decent crowd (still few lines) Mt. Norquay is a quiet mountain. You’ll have a hard time finding crowds here and it’s the perfect place to learn how to ski with a good ski school and affordable lift ticket. They also offer snowshoe hikes, tubing, and child care. The biggest plus to Mt. Norquay for us is the proximity to the town of Banff, only a 10-minute drive.

  • Lift Ticket Cost: Adult – $74 • Youth – $56 • Child – $29 • Senior – $56 (Book Tickets Here)
  • Runs/Skiable Terrain: 60 • 72 acres
  • Favorite Runs: Constellation, Norquay 90 Glades, and Lone Pine.

Catch Sunset at Vermilion Lakes

best things to do in banff

A great Banff summer and winter excursion is Vermilion Lakes. Vermilion Lakes is one of my favorite places to go in Banff for both sunrise and sunset. Mount Rundle, arguably the most famous mountain in the whole park towers over the lake creating an epic backdrop any time of the year.

best things to do in banff

It’s the perfect place to come early morning and enjoy your coffee, or travel to for sunset with a bottle of wine.

You can also take a canoe, kayak, or paddleboards out here and enjoy the water. The lakes are pretty calm and a great place for a chill ride.

Walk Around Johnston Canyon

Things To Do in Banff Winter - Johnston Canyon Frozen Waterfall
Johnston Canyon – One of the Best Things to do in Banff
Things to do in Banff
Johnston Canyon in the Summer

The Johnston Canyon walk is the best thing you can do in Banff in the winter or summer for free. In the winter it’s truly magical and has fewer tourists (but still busy). Have you ever stood on a frozen waterfall before? Neither had we until the Johnston Canyon hike. Due to the elevation of the region and the sub-zero temperatures of winter the waterfalls of Johnston Canyon freeze in time. It’s a pretty surreal experience and completely accessible for all.

As a tip, we suggest picking up some ice cleats in town if you visit Banff in the winter. Although the trail is well managed it can get icy and it’s better to slip everywhere on the trail – ours were very handy! Once you reach the end of the trail and the most impressive frozen fall you’ll probably find some ice climbers. If you’re feeling adventurous book an ice climbing tour yourself.

The summer is a completely different experience and nice to watch the waterfalls in motion. It is one of the easiest hikes you can do around Banff, with a well-maintained trail that is suitable for all ages. If you want to make a bit more of day out make sure to continue on to the Ink Pots.

Climb Mount Athabasca

Mount Athabasca looms over one of the most popular attractions on the famed Icefields Parkway, and sits right on the border of Banff and Jasper, but only a few get to see the view from the top. To reach the summit requires a long hike to a technical glacier crossing and then up an exposed face or couloir. The views are breathtaking in more ways than one. From the top, you can spot countless glaciers, icefields, and many of Alberta’s highest peaks.

The peak is one of many in the Canadian Rockies famous for reaching an altitude of 11,000 feet. Many climbers in the Rockies have the lifetime goal of summiting all 54 (58) of the peaks, and they are considered classic mountaineering objectives. At 11,453 feet in elevation with a massive glacier and convenient location, Athabasca proves to be a tremendous first “11,000er.”

You cannot attempt this on your own without mountaineering experience, it is a serious mountain. We did a three-day mountaineering course with Yamnuska and summited on the third day – the experience was epic. This is probably not for everyone, but definitely one of the more adventurous things to do in Banff.

Walk on Athabasca Glacier via the Ice Explorer

Things to do in Banff

If you’re not feeling a full-on mountaineering climb up Athabasca you can still go see the glacier, and even walk on it on the Ice Explorer. Here you can get some history around the glacier and experience the fun without much physical effort.

Walk on the Glacier Skywalk

best things to do in banff

Okay, this is technically in Jasper National Park, but it’s so close to Banff I had to include it on this list. If you’re already at Athabasca Glacier you may as well continue a couple of kilometers down the road to the Glacier Skywalk. Here you can step out on a cliff edge walk and see the glaciers around you and have views out of the Sunwapta Valley.

The Columbia Icefield Skywalk has views of wildlife, waterfalls, and fossils. It’s a fun family-friendly thing to do in Banff. However, in my opinion you can get the same experience by going on a beautiful hike in Banff National Park for free!

Enjoy Moraine Lake

best things to do in banff

Moraine Lake is the most popular thing to do in Banff, and arguably the most popular sight to see in all of Canada. This iconic lake is the picturesque picture of Canada (seriously, just Google image “Canada” and see what comes up). With the ten peaks rising high over the glacier waters Lake Moraine is certainly a Banff attraction to see.

Lake Moraine is about an hour drive away from Banff town, and only twenty minutes further than Lake Louise. With it’s rising popularity and millions of Instagram location tags you’ll have to arrive around 6 am to grab a parking spot between June and September.

best things to do in banff
Seeing Moraine Lake is a must do in Banff National Park

If you don’t get a parking spot you’ll have to either head back down to Lake Louise and fight for a parking spot there and shuttle in. If that is full (which it frequently is) you will have to try your luck at overflow parking 2km away and take a bus to Lake Louise and then get on another shuttle bus to Moraine Lake. It sounds simple, but in peak summer this whole process can take hours.

Just note that if you think you’re going to make your visit to Moraine Lake quiet and easier by visiting in the off-season you may want to think again. Moraine Lake Road closes between (approximately) October 10 to May 22. There road gets covered in snow and avalanche risk is high.

A visit in early October or Late May will provide you with the most promising parking situation and fewer crowds. Alternatively, you can snowshoe in the 11 km in the winter or bike in before the first snow falls.

Hike Around Moraine Lake

I’d say 90% of the people that head to Moraine Lake stay for an hour or so, take photos, and leave. But there is so much more to do at Moraine Lake than this. If you want an easy activity you can rent a canoe, but the more adventurous should consider a few of the hikes.

Things to do in Banff

The easiest one is the Consolation Lakes. This follows the path up the Lake Moraine rockpile and into the valley. This hike is only 6km roundtrip and has a 60m elevation gain.

Other hikes are Sentinel Pass, a 12 km moderate hike (732m elevation). The Tower of Babel scramble and Eiffel Peak hike are much harder and should be reserved for experienced hikers, but provide epic views over Moraine Lake.

Drive the Icefields Parkway

Icefields Parkway

The Icefields Parkway is one of the most beautiful road trips you can take in the entire world. The Icefields Parkway (Highway 93 North) connects Lake Louise with Jasper in Jasper National Park. The drive itself is stunning, but there are so many pull-offs along the way. Bow Lake, Peyto Lake, and Herbet Lake are just to name a few.

This drive is amazing both in the winter and summer, but be warned if you do it in the winter to allow extra time – roads can be icy!

To make the most of driving the Icefields Parkway I would start early (6 am) and allocate at least two days.

Taste the Gin at Park Distillery

best things to do in banff

The Park Disterilly is a hip Banff restaurant and distillery in the town of Banff. It’s great for lunch and dinner in Banff (but gets busy in the summer!).

This gin distillery has won multiple awards and has some delicious cocktails. I mean what can you expect from a place where the water comes from glaciers? It’s the perfect place to come with friends after a day out hiking or on the ski hill. They do daily free distillery tours (call to check times).

Enjoy a Beer at Banff Ave Brewery

If you’re not much a gin person then go down the street to Banff Ave Brewery. This brewery was opened by the same crew who opened the Jasper Brewing Co (Canada’s first National Park Brewery) after great success.

Located on Banff Avenue this two-story restaurant and bar serves up delicious food and great beer. It’s well worth a stop for anyone visiting Banff. Try to get a seat outside in the summer and watch life go by!

Have a Picnic!

best things to do in banff
A free thing to do in Banff!

A holiday to Banff is not a cheap one. Banff is a tourist town and prices are higher than many other places in Canada. If you go out to eat for every meal you’ll put a huge dent in your wallet. So one of the best things to do in Banff is enjoy a picnic!

I recommend grabbing some bread and cheese and a cooler and enjoy a picnic lunch (just remember to leave no trace). There are so many lakes and rivers to pull off by in the summer and enjoy a meal in the mountains.

If you really want to save money on your food to Save On Foods or Safeway in Canmore where prices are normal grocery store prices.

Climb Cascade Mountain

At the summit of Cascade Mountain
From the summit overlooking Banff

Cascade Mountain towers over the town of Banff and has been on every postcard of Banff National Park for years. It’s beautiful to look at, but you don’t just have to stop there!

Did you know you can actually climb Cascade Mountain? It will require work, a bit of scrambling, and a long 20km day, but the rewards are fantastic views over Lake Minnewanka and the glory of saying you summited Cascade! It’s not the most exciting hike you can do in Banff, but is easily accessible from the town if you don’t want to venture far.

Canoe on Lake Louise

things to do in Banff
best things to do in banff
Lake Louise – a must thing to do in Banff

Lake Louise is the other iconic lake that millions from around the world flock to Banff to see. It is certainly a highlight of any trip to Canada. Lake Louise, while not AS scenic as Moraine Lake is still pretty darn mesmerizing.

Lake Louise is another glacier-fed lake that sparkles bright turquoise blue under the sun. The mountains rising up around it provide the perfect backdrop to any photo.

Lake Louise is frozen solid from late October to early June, but in the summer you can take a canoe out and enjoy the fresh air. During the winter you can walk out on the lake, go for sleigh rides, and go ice skating.

Lake Agnes Teahouse Trek

best things to do in banff

The Lake Agnes Teahouse trek is a popular thing to do in Banff for visitors of Lake Louise. This is an easy to moderate hike above Lake Louise that is suitable for all visitors to Banff.

When you reach the top of the 7.6 kilometer (round trip) heavily trafficked out and back trail you’ll find a teahouse and stunning Lake Agnes.

This is an easy hike that can be done in under an hour and is an iconic thing to do in Banff. However, be warned it is a busy one!

Hike Around Lake Louise

To escape the crowds (and get better views) keep climbing to the Little Beehive and Big Beehive, Mt. St. Piran, or Devils Thumb. If you’re an experienced Scrambler you can keep going past to summit Mount Niblock (moderate scramble) or Mount Whyte (difficult!). See our favorite Lake Louise hikes here.

Stroll Through the Cascade Gardens


Walking through the gardens is one of the best things to do in Banff. to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea while you stroll through the beautiful garden. It’s located behind Park Canada’s building right at the end of Banff Ave. From the garden you get great views of Rundle and Cascade. This should go without saying, but don’t pick the flowers.

Soak in the Banff Hot Springs

Things to do in Banff Winter - The World Pursuit - Upper Hot Springs
Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Noel Hendrickson

Enjoying hot water in the cool air is one of the top Banff winter activities to enjoy. Don’t let the frigid Canadian temperatures detract you because there are plenty of ways to warm up around the Banff. Just outside of the Banff town lies the Banff Upper Hot Springs.

These hot springs make for one of the best places to relax those stiff muscles after a ski day. Just be warned afternoons can draw a crowd so head there in the morning for a more quiet experience.

Mt Norquay Via Ferrata

Want to get into the mountains, but have the safety of harnesses and a mountain guide? Mt. Norquay’s Via Ferrata is the perfect thing to do for those looking for a real adventure in the Canadian Rockies.

This is an assisted climbing experience up Mount Norquay. There are four different routes that vary in length and difficulty. Perfect for any visitor in Banff with many different options for families too.

Climb Sulphur Mountain

Still wondering what to do in Banff in the summer or winter? How about you climb a mountain just outside of town.

Sulphur Mountain is easily one of the most popular hikes in Banff National Park. It’s a beautiful hike up that provides visitors with astonishing views over the Bow Valley.

Due to it’s proximity to Banff town, and the fact that you can take the Banff Gondola up to the peak instead of sweating it out on the trail means that Sulphur mountain becomes very busy in the summer! In the winter a pair of crampons and some hiking poles will help you tackle the trail up in no time. You can read all about hiking Sulphur Mountain here.

Take the Banff Gondola Up Sulphur Mountain

The Banff Gondola is there for you if you want to get those amazing six mountain range views from the top of Sulphur Mountain without the climb up or down.

The Banff Gondola runs year-round and provides the chance to relax and hang over the trees.

The Banff Gondola is not a cheap experience at $62 Round trip. In my opinion, the gondola is great for those that are not physically able to do the hike. This may mean people with disabilities, the elderly, or large families.

If you are able, I highly recommend hiking up Sulphur Mountain. It’s not a hard climb and doable all year round. The beautiful view will feel much more rewarding! Either way you can’t travel to Banff and not take in the views from Sulphur Mountain. It’s one of the top Banff activities to do!

Hike to Helen Lake

best things to do in banff
Overlooking Helen Lake

Helen Lake is a beautiful lake along the Icefields Parkway. It’s far less popular than nearby Moraine Lake or Lake Louise. While the water is not glacier-fed bright blue it’s just as beautiful and quiet. Visiting here is one of the best things to do in Banff, Canada.

To get to Helen Lake you must hike in on a moderate trail for 6km (one way). The trail is well maintained and absolutely stunning with views of mountains and blooming wildflowers everywhere! Bring lunch here and enjoy the views. See the full hike report here.

Scramble Cirque Peak

Want more of a challenge past Helen Lake? Keep going once you reach the lake up up Cirque Peak. This is an amazing (yet difficult) hike that provides absolutely amazing views (some say the best in Banff).

It’s a tough steep climb, especially towards the top, and some of it can get a little sketchy, so this should only be attempted by seasoned hikers. You’ll likely find 50 or so marmots along the way. You can try asking them for directions if you get lost, but they probably won’t be much help!

When you reach the summit enjoy the vies and crack a beer – you did it! This whole circuit (Helen Lake+Cirque Peak) took us six hours roundtrip, but we are fast hikers. I would allocate at least 7-8 for this trip. See the full hike report here.

Head to Peyto Lake

Peyto Lake - best things to do in banff

Peyto Lake (PEE-toh) is a glacier-fed lake in Banff National Park. This is probably the third most popular lake to visit in Banff, after Louise and Moraine. The reason is its unique shape and absolutely mind-blowingly blue water.

Peyto Lake is easily accessible from the Icefields Parkway. To get a great view all you have to do is park and hike up an easy 10 minute path to the viewpoint. It’s the perfect place to come and enjoy the stellar Banff National Park views in both winter and summer. Read all the details about Peyto Lake here.

Get Those Mount Rundle Views

Mount Rundle is one of the most famous mountains in all of Canada and a top sight to see in Banff year round. It’s an icon to Banff and will make you feel incredibly small any time of day.

As mentioned before, Mount Rundle is best seen at sunrise and sunset. Besides Vermillion Lakes, my most favorite spot to see Mountain Rundle is the Mount Norquay Lookout (photo above)

SUP on Bow Lake

Right before you get to Peyto Lake you’ll spot Bow Lake on your left (driving from Banff Town). Bow Lake is one of the larger lakes on the Icefields Parkway and lies south of the Bow Summit. It’s a beautiful lake to stop by and take in the surroundings, but it’s even better when you can get out on the water. We love to take our inflatable Stand Up Paddleboards around Banff so that we can pull over and take them out for a paddle.

Spot the Banff Wildlife

Banff wildlife is active all the time. Apart from bears, you’ll find moose, elk, deer, owls, foxes, wolves, and coyotes here all year round. In the summer, it’s very possible you’ll catch a glance of a black or brown bear (hike with bear spray always).

I love spotting these animals all around the Bow Valley. Please remember if you want to pull over to take photos of wildlife to do so safely and make sure you are out of the way of traffic.

Hike C Level Cirque

Things to do in Banff
A fun hike in Banff National Park!

A short, but rewarding hike near Banff is C Level Cirque. C Level Cirque starts near Lake Minnewanka and Two Jack Lake, it’s a steady incline to the amphitheater which should only take about 45 minutes.

You can stop here, but the views over Lake Minnewanka start when you climb higher. Follow the trail around the amphitheater and up for about 45 more minutes until you reach the rock wall.

I love doing this hike when I am short on time as you can get it done in under three hours. It’s great for families and older visitors to Banff. This is a 9 km out and back trail which can get very busy on weekends in the summer.

Enjoy the Town of Banff

If you want a day of shopping, cappuccinos, and breweries stay in the Banff downtown area and enjoy a day of walking around. Banff Ave has tons of restaurants, boutique shops, and cheesy souvenir stores to entertain all. Just taking a morning to chill and walk around is truly one of the best things to do in Banff.

Hike Up Mount Bourgeau

Mount Bourgeau is a 2,931-metre (9,616 ft) tall mountain in the heart of Banff National Park. It’s easily accessible from the town of Banff and Canmore. Only a 10-15 minute drive to the parking area, which makes it a great thing to do in Banff.

Mount Bourgeau is an easy hike with no scrambling involved and provides amazing views over Banff. The only issue is it’s 21 km, so prepare for a full day out if you plan to summit Bourgeau. Nevertheless, if you want a full-on fulfilling hike in Banff summiting Bourgeau is easily attainable for the reasonably fit.

Check Out Bow Falls

Things to do in Banff
A must thing to do in Banff!

Bow Falls are a must see when in Banff. They are only a short walk away from the town and take you into magnificent nature. Depending on when in the winter you go to see them they may be frozen, but we’ve been lucky and seen the beauty of them half in ice and half water. There are nice walkways for visitors so they can view safely.

Be warned it’s one of the most popular things to do near Banff downtown so there can be quite the crowd here. Regardless, it’s a fantastic Banff family activity to enjoy!

Go Dog Sledding

Discover Banff Tours runs dog sledding adventures at Lake Louise and in Canmore. We’ve done this four separate times around the world and it’s always an amazing experience. What I particularly love is how quiet the ride is with only the sound of the dog teams steps against the snow.

Relax in Nature

We have an addiction to the post excitement high we receive in the mountains. After flying down a mountain on our snowboard or a hike nothing beats the feeling of calming our nerves in nature. There are a countless number of ways you can relax whether it be by a hot tub, on a bench, by a fire, or watching the sunset over the frost-tipped mountains.

Just kick back with the one you love and let the calming effect of Banff National Park wash over you. Nothing else can compare to this when visiting Banff.

Head to Canmore!

Things to do in Canmore

Okay, this isn’t really a thing to do in Banff, Canada as Canmore a 15-minute drive away. We may be biased to our home base, but we think Canmore is the bee’s knees.

Canmore is another mountain town just outside of Banff National Park. It’s not nearly as touristy or popular as Banff meaning it’s much more enjoyable. You can walk down the main street here without fighting through crowds and there are plenty of great restaurants, bars, and shops to venture into. The views are just as amazing as well. Make sure to check out The Three Sisters!

Go for a Bike Ride

best things to do in banff

If there is a style of biking you enjoy you’ll find an abundance of scenic places to get on a bike in Banff. It doesn’t matter your skill level either as there truly is everything in the area. Head up the Bow Valley Parkway to Lake Louise on a road bike for one of the best rides of your life. Or head over to Canmore’s Nordic Center for some thrilling trails, or take to the wild and explore some of the park’s amazing trails.

If all of that sounds too much hop on the Legacy Trail and ride to Canmore for some beers at the Grizzly Paw Brewery. Riding between the two towns is a great thing to do in Banff. Or just rent some simple cruisers and enjoy the scenery around Banff town, like Bow Falls or Vermillion Lakes.

Take a Morning Walk Around Johnson Lake

best things to do in banff

Johnson Lake is one of our favorites because it’s often overlooked by the more popular Two Jack Lake and Lake Minnewanka. Take a nice stroll around Johnson Lake and enjoy the mountain scenery. It’s a very easy hike that is an even elevation and makes for a great evening or morning walk as it’s not too far from Banff town and very close to Two Jack Lake campsite. It’s also one of the lakes least affected by wind making it a great place to SUP and swim in.

The trail works its way through the forest and offers some astounding views out over the lake back to Cascade Mountain looming high above. The lake is tranquil and a great place to go stand up paddleboarding or even take a swim if you’re brave enough. Keep an eye out for a rope swing!

Cross into Yoho National Park

Yoho National Park is the much less heard about sister to Banff National Park. Less than an hour’s drive from the Town of Banff will bring you to this beautiful park in British Columbia. Home to sites like the magnificent Takakkaw Falls and Emerald Lake, Yoho definitely deserves a few days of exploration. This might not technically be one of the best things to do in Banff, but given it’s so close you should put it on your list!

Enjoy Castle Mountain

Castle Mountains is like a shining stare that rules over the park standing tall for everyone to see as they drive down the Trans Canada. It’s worth stopping off at Castle Junction to admire the views by the Bow River and hang out for a few. There’s also a small Airbnb in Banff if you want to stay here to enjoy the views longer.

Ride the Bow Valley Parkway

The Bow Valley Parkway (Hwy-1A)  runs from near Vermillion Lakes to Lake Louise. It’s 50 km of amazing scenery that runs parallel to the Trans-Canada. It’s a two-lane road that is leaps and bounds quieter than the Trans Canada and offers cyclists a well-paved road to travel on. I’ve ridden the Parkway five times now and love it everytime. If you bring a bike lock you can stop off at Johnstons Canyon along the way for lunch and a hike.

Act Like a Cowboy on the Western Frontier

Have you ever watched City Slickers, Yellowstone, Heartland, or any western movie or show where cowboys and cowgirls saddle up their horse and ride deep into the wilderness and longed for that to be you? I can tell you I sure have. Did you know you can live out that dream in Banff National Park?

Banff Trail Riders offers a backcountry horseback experience in the esummer bringing guests deep into the backcountry. You may have seen the backcountry before, but I bet never like this via horseback! See the full details of our epic trip here.

Enjoy the Town of Banff Via Horseback

If you don’t have time for an overnight trip, Banff Trail Riders also offers visitors the chance to see Banff on horseback for just a few hours. It’s a great alternative to the overnight trip I mentioned above and will give you the desire to return! Seriously give it a go! It’s another one of the best things to do in Banff!

Enjoy Waterfowl Lakes

Waterfowl Lakes sit along the West side of the Icefields Parkway about 57kms north of Lake Louise. They are accessible right from the Icefields Parkway and are truly a beautiful sight to take in. These are among some of the best lakes in Banff. Being Glacial fed you can expect them to be bright turquoise blue in the summer, and you can snowshoe across them in the winter. If you have time consider the short hike to Chephren Lake as well.

Spend a Winter in Banff

things to do in Banff in the Winter

Banff is not just great in the summer, but perfect for an entire winter vacation. Seriously, it’s a winter wonderland here come December.

Where To Eat in Banff

Banff Sushi

We love sushi and we love a good deal so Banff Sushi is a slam dunk for us. The novelty of sushi train was definitely appreciated and brought us back to Japan as we nabbed tantalizing bites of sushi off the Canadian train engine. If you like sushi this may be one of the best deals in Banff.

Whitebark Cafe

The best Banff coffee shop serving delicious coffee and freshly baked treats. It’s the perfect post ski pick me up if you’re not into the apres ski scene!

Park Distillery

Check out the only distillery in a national park in North America. It’s super cool inside with large tables perfect to finish off a winter day in Banff with friends or family.

Nourish Bistro

This healthy cafe is the perfect lunch spot in town with reasonably priced lunch combos and coffee.

Bear Street Tavern

Winter activities often mean you’re burning plenty of calories so if you’re looking for a laid-back atmosphere and some tasty grub head to this tavern to replenish. You can find other great restaurants in Banff here.

The Grizzly Paw Brewing Pub

Our favorite post ski ritual is to check out the local brewery, something you can only find in North America. To find some of the best brews around go to the neighboring town of Canmore.

Things to do in Banff in Summer

Where to Stay in Banff


The first time we visited Banff we stayed at Elk+Avenue hotel in Banff which had a great location right on the main street and across from a grocery store. Rooms here are comfortable and spacious. 

Fairmont Banff Springs

This is easily the most luxurious (and expensive) place to stay in Banff. It’s situated in a secluded spot in the forest and provides guests with amazing views.

things to do in Banff


For apartment rentals in Banff consider looking at Airbnb. However, Airbnb’s in Banff don’t come cheap and you will need to book them well in advance. Especially in peak summer and around the winter holidays. You can read about choosing a good Airbnb hereHere is a coupon for your first stay with Airbnb!

A Few Banff Travel Tips To Know Before You Go

Download AllTrails

If you plan to do any hiking (including the hikes mentioned on this list) download AllTrails first. Alltrails gives you the latest review of a hike, as well as all the logistical information you may need. If you pay for AllTrails Pro you’ll also be able to download offline trail maps to your phone. We use AllTrails for every hike.

Consider Renting a Car

Being in North America your options for transport are limited. Most visitors to Banff will rent a car in Calgary as this is the easiest way to get around. Renting a car in Canada ensures that you can get to where you want to go on your own schedule.

Depending on the season of your travel car rentals in Calgary can be quite affordable. We’ve rented with Enterprise for less than 20 CAD a day in the winter. However, expect prices to rise during July and August.

In the winter, it’s best to get a car with winter tires so make sure to check with your car rental agency. If you do decide to drive from Alberta into BC these winter tires are mandatory! You can see road conditions here, which are super helpful between November and late April.

Check Rental Prices Here!
Other Transport Options

You may not feel comfortable driving in Canada and that’s okay! There are other options to get to and from Banff and around the town. However, they are limited so keep that in mind.

To get from YYC to Banff, the Banff Airporter is a good option and costs $138 (CAD) round trip.

Once in Banff, there is the Roam bus system to get around town and in the summer it runs to Lake Louise while in the winter it will easily get you to Lake Louise Ski Resort and Banff Sunshine Ski Resort.

In the winter, it’s best to get a car with winter tires so make sure to check with your car rental agency. If you do decide to drive from Alberta into BC these winter tires are mandatory! You can see road conditions here, which are super helpful between November and late April.

Buy a Park Pass

Anyone traveling into Banff National Park needs a park pass every day that they are there. Day passes for adults cost $10 CAD a day. If you are staying in Banff for an extended amount of time and have a jam packed Banff itinerary you may want to consider purchasing a Discovery Pass.

An adult Discvoery Pass cost $69.19 CAD for one adult. So if you are just one person staying a week it’s definitely worth it to get one. If you are two or more and staying for a few days a Group Discovery Pass at $139.40 CAD is the best option. It lasts for one year and is a cost effective option.

Dress for the Mountains

If I had a dollar for every time I saw a visitor wearing poor mountain clothes I would have, like $500. No, but seriously guys come to Banff dressed for mountain weather. That means packable down jackets and hats even in the summer.

The weather here can change at a moment’s notice and you don’t want to be underdressed. It’s extremely important to pack layers, thermals, and HIKING BOOTS.

Yes, hiking boots or shoes. If you plan to do any hiking while visiting Banff please do not show up in Converse shoes. It will not only make you uncomfortable and look like a fool, but it can be potentially dangerous if you attempt a mountain hike you are not prepared for. You can find my entire list of backpacking essentials here.

We Have an Entire Website on Banff!

We live in this beautiful area of the world and want to make sure you have an epic time in the wilderness. Check out The Banff Blog for more travel information.

Banff Blog 4

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Chase Sapphire Preferred Travel Credit Cards

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Plan Your Trip to Banff

Travel Insurance

We don’t travel without travel insurance and neither should you. You never know what can happen in a foreign country and it’s best to be prepared. World Nomads provides good short term coverage

SafetyWing is perfect for digital nomads. See our full review here!

Beach Packing List Sunglasses

Make sure to protect your eyes from the sun in Canada. There are a lot of options for sunglasses and everyone should own at least a pair. It’s best to make sure they do have UV protection for the health of your eyes. We made our first investment in quality polarized sunglasses with a pair of SMITH Optics Lowdown 2.

Danner Mountain 600 Mens Travel Boots
Hiking Shoes or Boots

If you’re wondering what necessities to bring to Banff then sturdy shoes are perhaps the most important thing you will need before you get to Canada. I love my Merrell Moab Ventilators and have been going strong in them for two years! Check out my other recommendations on women’s shoes, and we have a post on the best safari boots.

Best Down Jackets
Down Jacket

Down jackets pack up light and small so there is no reason NOT to have one in your bag. Seriously it could save your life in a bad situation. We wrote a whole post on our favorites (hint –Feathered Friends, Arc’Teryx Cerium LT Hooded JacketPatagonia Down SweaterREI Coop Down Jacket)

Packable Rain Jacket - Arcteryx Women’s Beta SL Gore-Tex Jacket
Goretex Shell

We’re building up a collection of shell jackets. We always carry one in our pack and they’ve come in handy a number of times. They are lightweight, durable, packable, waterproof, and windproof. We have a bunch of different shell jackets after several years, but my favorite right now is from Arc’teryx.

Best Travel Water Bottles

Please consider purchasing a travel water bottle before your trip! We hate to see one time use plastic bottles ending up in the ocean. The tap water is so good here – seriously please don’t be one of those tourist that buys plastic water bottles in Jasper. It’s a waste of money and plastic!

road trip quotes

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Travel During COVID-19 • What Travellers Need To Know Sat, 08 Aug 2020 20:36:20 +0000 Read moreTravel During COVID-19 • What Travellers Need To Know

It’s safe to say that no one would have predicted the current situation in the world with COVID-19, outside of a few epidemiologists and Steven Soderbergh (Contagion anyone?). The present situation feels a bit dire with millions of cases around the world and the loss of hundreds upon thousands of lives. What does this mean for travel?

In the past few decades, the travel industry has exploded. Times were excellent, and the travel industry has grown around the world to employ nearly 10% of the global workforce. Along with its massive economic impact, it has become a source of joy for millions more. That has now come to a halt.

The future of the industry remains to be seen, but we’re optimistic about a brighter future. A future of sustainable travel that relies on outdoor destinations, eco-friendly operators, and dispersal of travelers to new destinations.

For many, it’s still a little early to plan an international trip. However, it’s never too early to consider planning and many may still choose to visit a destination. With all of the uncertainty, travelers face new challenges. How to stay healthy? What are the new visitation rules? Will my travel insurance offer coverage during the pandemic? What’s a good destination to visit?

Where Can You Travel?

Travel restrictions are changing on a weekly, if not daily basis. A few destinations are open to all international visitors, but those are few and far between. Most are free for neighboring countries or their regional counterparts. At the same time, other countries have bans in place on individual visitors, such as US citizens. Americans have one of the weakest passports in the world.

There are many different laws and regulations in place, and they vary from country to country. Tahiti requires visitors to have RT-PCR three days before travel and then again four days after arrival in the country. Much of the European Union is closed to non-essentials visitors who are not citizens. Those that can enter the European Union may still be required to have a test three days before travel. The U.K. requires a 14 day quarantine period unless traveling from a “travel corridor,” which is a list of nations that have changed weekly.

Regulations and laws are always in flux, and it’s tough to determine what the future may hold. Try to plan trips if you do plan to travel in a short window. That way, you’re less likely to face changing regulations. Make sure to research the rules of the specific destination.

Check out this map from the International Air Transport Association that provides the specific travel regulations for countries. It’s worth noting that many of the travel restrictions have less to do with citizenship and more to do with the origins of the flight. That doesn’t mean short layovers will solve that problem, though!

Another helpful site has been Skyscanner, who is supplying all of the restrictions in a handy list based on your browser location. The last would be to check official government websites or tourism boards. Almost all have landing pages for the most up to date information.

Consider Local Travel

Bow Lake

Not all travel involves hopping on a flight or traveling to another country. Consider a trip to explore your region. With fewer visitors, there are deals to be had with many tour operators and hotels who have lowered their rates.

Local travel comes with a slew of positives too, and it’s far more eco-friendly with a smaller carbon footprint. First, it’s a great way to support local businesses that have fewer patrons and visitors.

The Latest Case Counts

Scottish Highlands - Getting Active and Healthy

John Hopkins University manages a live case map that is interactive and provides reliable information. You can also find an interactive map from Google. A simple way is to search the country’s name and “COVID-19 case count.”

Health and Hygiene With Travel

It goes without saying you’re going to be exposed to strangers when you travel. If you’re flying or in proximity to others, it’s a good idea to practice good health and hygiene habits. Here are some tips to keep your health.

  • Wash your hand frequently
  • Refrain from touching your face
  • Wear a mask
  • Sanitize surfaces such as your seat and tray table on flights. Most important is your smartphone!
  • Refrain from alcohol when flying
  • Drink plenty of water

How To Prepare For Flights?

best travel wallet - Long Haul Flight

Flying looks a lot different these days and it will likely remain so the foreseeable future. Airport security has changed with new policies to encourage social distancing and reduce contact. It’s simple things like presenting the ID to security instead of handing the documents or I.D. to security personnel. Travelers are allowed to carry hand sanitizer in the bag up to 12 oz now.

Airlines require passengers to wear masks while onboard, although enforcement is inconsistent with no consequences. The boarding process has also changed to reduce interactions and aid in social distancing. Delays at the start of the pandemic were frequent due to the increased disinfecting and cleaning in between flights. With time this has gotten better.

There are a number of airlines that have blocked the middle seats on flights to further ensure physical distancing, but that is not all airlines. That being said most airlines are undersold.

Current Airline Policies

What are Hotels, Hostels, and Airbnb Doing?

where to stay in banff

Many accommodation providers have implemented enhanced cleaning practices and that includes Airbnb thanks to local regulations. The major chains are open have implemented new procedures for check-in and room service. Here are some of the policies you can expect to find at hotels.

  • Temperature checks on arrival
  • Hand Sanitizer Stations
  • Masks in common areas
  • Regular cleaning of common areas
  • Spaced seating for social distancing in common areas
  • Contactless check-in
  • Mini-bars removed
  • Room cleaning on request
  • Disinfected remotes, phones, and frequently used surfaces.
  • Flexible booking policies

The policies vary from hotel chain to hotel chain. Our most recent stay was with Fairmont who did an exceptional job with the implementation of their policies and ensuring guest health.

Will Travel Insurance Cover Me?


Travel insurance providers are, for the most part, not offering any coverage of COVID-19 related medical charges. They do still provide regular coverage that can always offer some peace of mind. Several insurance companies have even stopped selling new policies. Here are a few tips to cover yourself.

  • When you book a trip purchase insurance that provides the ability to cancel for any reason.
  • We always advise that you make travel purchases on a travel credit card as many give increased protection and insurance.
  • Check travel government travel advisories as it often affects insurance coverage.
  • Double-check insurance policies before booking a trip

What If I Can’t Quarantine for Two Weeks?

Things to do in Maui - Airbnb

If you have plans for any international trip, prepare for a two-week quarantine. Many countries are requiring a 14-day quarantine for citizens and foreign visitors with substantial legal implications on violators. Regulations on quarantine change daily, and it’s possible to end up in quarantine due to contact tracing. If you plan to travel internationally, you should prepare for the risk of self-isolation.

When Do You Recommend Booking?

Laws and regulations change quickly in regards to coronavirus — most of the time, without prior notice. If you plan to travel, it’s best to do so on short notice. Plan your trip within one to two weeks before departure. It would be best if you also prepared to have a COVID test within 72 hours of your departure. Many destinations require proof of a negative test, and it can aid in your ability to travel.

Should You Travel?

what to pack japan

We do not recommend international travel quite yet unless you have a lot of flexibility and means. For now, domestic or regional travel is your best option. However, things do feel like they are improving or, at the least, that regulations and policies are more evident. The pandemic is one of the most uncertain times in the age of travel, and it will take time for some normalcy.

Travel Photography Camera Kit • How We Shoot Our Travel Photographs Thu, 06 Aug 2020 19:21:36 +0000 Read moreTravel Photography Camera Kit • How We Shoot Our Travel Photographs

We get a lot of questions about our camera kit for travel photography. Everyone has a kit that works for them, but over the years, we’ve become pretty happy with our well-tuned selection of items.

We’ve selected items for their versatility, most notable is our camera selection, a Fuji X-T3 with a 16-80mm F4 zoom lens that is equivalent to the classic 24-105. We have several different camera models we carry with us for various trips and photography styles.

Camera Bodies

Fuji X-T3

Fuji X-T3

We just made the upgrade to Fujifilm’s latest medium format camera and could not be happier. It’s likely the best ASP-C camera at its price point ever produced. For any photography enthusiast, the Fuji XT3 will literally check everything down your list of expectations for your ideal camera. This state-of-the-art mirrorless camera has a highly sophisticated autofocus function, due to its cutting-edge CMOS 4 sensor and X-Processor. Almost unheard of by its competitors, the XT3 can shoot up to 30 frames per second with its electrotonic shutter and 11fps with the mechanical.

For those wanting to shoot video, this Fuji camera also shoots in 4K 200mbps. There is little to complain about when looking at the XT3. The only things which could be improved are its battery life. Also, for such high-end video performance, it lacks image stabilization. However, they addressed those issues with the Fuji X-T4 that comes in at a higher price point, only worth it for video-focused creators.

Above all we love the ergonomics of the Fuji Xt3, we love the tactile feel, and that it reminds us of an analog camera. After several months of use now I can safely say it’s an absolute pleasure to use and the most intuitive camera I’ve ever put my hands on.

Canon 80D

Best Safari Cameras Canon 80D

This is our wildlife camera in our repertoire. It also happens to be a tremendous camera and one of the best mid-range cameras on the market. As a longtime fan favorite, the 80D provides outstanding subject tracking, continuous autofocus even when in video mode, and excellent low light performance. The Canon EOS 80D is still used by many photographers today, not only for its phenomenal image quality but also for its durable weather-sealed body. I have beaten mine into a pulp.

With its long body life and rugged exterior, this camera is sure to be working for you all throughout the day and be the perfect travel companion for years to come. Due to its age, the 80D does not shoot in 4K like most of the newer cameras on the market. It does, however, offer a mic input making the 80D more video-friendly. The Canon EOS is one of the most reliable, high-quality cameras money can buy. Once bought you will quickly see why this camera is constantly found on top-ten lists around the web.

Sony RX100 V

sony rx100 best cameras for blogging

We have the RX100 V, which has one of the fastest fps in the world for still images (24 images a second), it contains a one-inch sensor, and shoots 4k video. The built-in lens is also plenty fast enough opening to a 1.8F stop and it has image stabilization for video.

You can also gain full manual control with an ability to shoot RAW images even with the RX100 base model that retails for under $400. This produces terrific photos, and when it comes to compressed images on a blog or Instagram you’ll hardly notice the difference between them and a full-frame camera.

In my opinion, it is one of the best cameras for travel. You don’t need a ton of accessories just a memory card with a lightweight tripod and you’re done. To further the point it fits in a pocket, we picked this camera up because we can take it on hikes, snowboarding, and into sensitive areas without drawing any attention. It’s phenomenal and the amount of camera that Sony packed into such a small product is amazing. We’ve now owned about a dozen cameras all across the board and one of my favorite cameras has been this one.


Fuji Lenses

Fujinon XF16mm F1.4 R WR

Fujinon XF16mm F1.4 R WR

Fujinon XF 16-80 F4

Fujinon XF 16-80 F4

Fujinon XF 18-55mm

Fujinon XF 18-55mm

Fujinon XF 55-200mm


Canon Lenses

Canon EF-S 10-18mm

Canon EF-S 10-18mm

Canon EF 40mm

Canon EF 40mm

Canon EF 24–105mm

Canon EF 24–105mm

Tamron SP 150-600mm

Tamron SP 150-600mm

Camera Support

Quotes About Hiking

Peak Design Everyday Backpack

Peak Designs Everyday Backpack

This is an awesome daypack and backpack that works well for travel and everyday life. We love the gear we have from Peak Design and it’s all exceptionally high quality. Their Everyday Backpack provides a level of accessibility, organization, and quality we’ve seen in no other backpack so far. What makes it stand out is the backpack feels ready to take on everyday life in addition to your photography needs.

It starts off with the top access which uses a patented MagLatch technology that pretty nifty in use and makes for quick access. Access is not limited to the top as both sides open for quick access to your bag that can be section via padded interior sleeves similar to a camera bag.

The side pocket also comes with a plethora of pockets and storage that makes for easy organization. For travel, the tuckaway straps and integrated luggage carry system to make it easy to slip on top of a roller suitcase. The backpack is now my go-to travel backpack and makes it on every trip.

Lowepro Whistler BP 450 AW

Lowepro Whistler BP 450 AW

This is the latest addition to our collection of backpacks, and I couldn’t be more stoked on the bag. The camera bag is purpose-built for those who shoot photos and videos in the harsh elements, precisely winter conditions such as climb or ski. It’s one of the best backpacks for photographers, but it does come with a high price tag. Since it is designed for harsh winter elements, the build quality, and design are excellent.

I love that the bag opens from the backside that allows you to comfortably throw the backpack on the ground and reach for gear without fear of the bag tipping of getting gear wet. It also has side and front straps designed to carry a snowboard, skis, ice axes, or hiking/ski poles (massive win for our snowboard season)

Peak Designs Travel Tripod

Peak Designs Travel Tripod

After years of waiting, we finally got our hands on the coveted Peak Designs travel tripod. This baby is taking the tripod world by storm. Why? Because of it’s innovative and lightweight design making it perfect for traveling and packing up small. It’s definitely the best carbon fiber tripod for travel out there.

What makes this lightweight tripod so great? It’s compact and folds up incredibly small, lightweight at only 3.44 lbs, has impressive stability, and can fully deploy in under 10 seconds. Hence, you never had to worry about missing a shot. I also love that it’s mobile-ready, and has a particular device to hold your cell phone on it, just in case you would instead take a phone photo!

At $600, it’s not cheap; they also have a more affordable aluminum model for those on a budget. Because of the size and how small it folds up, the Peak Designs tripod is ideal for our outdoor and travel pursuits.

PolarPro Variable ND Filter

PolarPro Variable ND Filter

Control over the amount of the light that enters the lens of a camera allows for greater photo manipulation. For landscape photographers and videographers ND filters have become commonplace in order to achieve lower shutter speeds and better images.

Previously that meant a wide range of filters for varying light conditions. Now variable neutral density filters allow for the strength of the ND to be adjusted with a twist.

PolarPro designs exceptional filters that are cut from quartz for superior optical performance and scratch resistance. Photographers can choose from a 2-5 stop VND or a 6-9 VND to enable exceptional control for photographs.

LaCie Rugged 4TB USB-C

Macbook 15″ Pro Retina

Where to Buy Your Camera?

We shop for almost all of our photography needs on B&H Photo. They’re easily the best camera shop in North America and have been working with professional film, video, and photography needs for decades.

They’re responsible for handling the equipment of major feature films, Pulitzer prize photographers, and everyday consumers like ourselves. Their support is tremendous and knowledgeable. On top of all that, they offer free two shipping, so forget ordering camera gear on Amazon and putting more money in Jeff Bezos’s pocket!

Thanks For Reading

10 Helpful Things to Know Before You Travel to Scotland Wed, 05 Aug 2020 19:02:00 +0000 Read more10 Helpful Things to Know Before You Travel to Scotland

There are a few things you need to know before you travel to Scotland. With two amazing and historic cities in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and more opportunities for outdoor activities there is something for everyone in Scotland. As long as you don’t mind some unpredictable cloud coverage with a chance of rain.

We had more than just a wee bit of fun in the charismatic and stunning highlands of Scotland. It’s packed with history, stunning landscapes, great food, and charismatic locals.

It doesn’t matter if you are a regular traveler or first-time traveler these are a few things you should know before you travel to Scotland, the rest I’m sure you will figure it when you get there!

Traveling to Scotland for the First Time?

1. Just a Wee Drink

North Coast 500

There are two things you need to know about the people of Scotland. They are some of the friendliest people on earth and they like to drink. Don’t be surprised when you hear the classic line “oh, it’s just a wee drink” or “how ’bout a wee dram o’ whisky.”

Although, Scotch is of national pride and an amazing spirit it is not what the Scottish drink every day. The most popular drink these days is gin and beer. So, we got to make friends and relive our days of African safari with some gin & tonics.

If you travel Scotland you better try at least a little of their national drink just once.

2. Wow!

What to wear in Scotland

When you travel Scotland you should get used to saying the word wow if you are planning a road trip around Scotland! The rugged mountains that appear to be older than time itself are cloaked in thick heather that washes across the landscape in a sea of green and purple. In all the places we have traveled the Scottish Highlands is one of the most beautiful regions we have ever seen.

We weren’t prepared for the beauty of the highlands or the Isle of Skye and knew nothing about the landscape of Scotland before arriving. It only took an hour of driving out of Edinburgh before we were out of the car snapping photos.

3. Freedom to Roam

Scottish Highlands

One thing to know when you travel Scotland is there is no such thing as trespassing. Everyone has the right to roam along the countryside, including farms. The “freedom to roam” is the public’s right to access public or privately owned land for recreation.

This doesn’t include houses, gardens, or military bases, so don’t go squatting on someone’s porch, but it does allow people to enjoy the land and inland water for their own well being. The only stipulation is that you must do so responsibly and safely.

So, mind the sheep and close the gate!

4. Cloudy With a Chance of Sun

North Coast 500 Stags

Despite what you may see in countless photos and videos (we’re guilty) Scotland has some notorious weather. Expect clouds, rain, wind, sideways rain, fog, and the occasional sun. If you’re coming to Scotland for a suntan you may want to rebook your flights. It’s best you come prepared with at least a rain jacket and waterproof boots.

Forget the umbrella! Wind + Umbrella = Not Good If you want to know more we’ve got a packing post for Scotland!


Most beautiful cities in the world

There is a serious amount of Scottish pride these days. With a rich culture and the Scottish flag flying just about everywhere it’s impossible not to get into the Scottish mood.

6. Forget Fish & Chips

Scottish food Three Chimneys

The Atlantic Ocean supplies a copious amount of amazing seafood to Scotland. Fish and chips may a be a classic dish, but there is a lot more to food in Scotland these days than a fried piece of cod. Look for amazing smoked salmon, fresh oysters, langoustine, trout, scallops, and even sea urchin. We had some amazing meals on our Scotland trip. You can check out the best of our Scottish food here.

7. Beware the Midges

If there is one terrible, terrible, terrible thing about Scotland it is the bloody midges – and the Scots will agree! We’ve dealt with a lot of insects in our travels, but none as bad as midges (and yes that includes our year in Africa). They are tiny flying insects that are attracted to your nose, eyes, mouth, and every exposed piece of skin.

Oh, and they fly in swarms and they bite. If you run across a patch of these flying demons you will know it.

The best defense is some bug spray and clothes that cover your skin. We did see some photographers with these things that might be a worthwhile investment… We didn’t know if we should laugh or applaud them.

8. Aye Lassie and Lads

Things to know about Scotland

Loch, hill, ben, and glen are just a few names you’ll need to learn when you travel to Scotland. These aren’t names of people, but various natural features you’ll find throughout the country.

Lochs are what the rest of the English speaking world refers to as lakes. Hill or Ben can refer to a mountain, and glen means valley. Also, I’m convinced all pirate talk in movies is just a bunch of Scots. Aye, lassie!

9. There are a Few Narrow Roads

North Coast 500

Wondering how to travel in Scotland? Well, one of the best ways is to drive yourself! If you plan to drive through the Scottish Highlands or the North Coat 500 be prepared for some single track roads. The vast majority of roads in Scotland are one lane with a small passing area to allow to oncoming cars to pass.

These passing points are roughly every 400 meters or so to let oncoming traffic get through. The car closest to a passing point should be the one to yield. That does not mean crossing the path of another vehicle into the passing point. If the passing place is on your side of the road you move over, if it is on their side you wait for them to approach you.

10. and Shaggy Cows and Black Sheep

traveling Scotland

There are more sheep in the Scottish Highlands than there are people. In other words, there is a lot of sheep, like a ton, Scotland thank you for supplying the world with wool.

They also gave us an animal with probably the best hairdo in the world. The Highland Cow, ‘ighland coo’, shaggy cow, or kyloe. If you’re traveling Scotland spotting one of these iconic animals is an absolute must.

Transport Around Scotland

Driving on the NC500

Most trips to Scotland will start and end at Edinburgh Airport. The best way to travel around Scotland is with a rental car, especially if you’re traveling with a group. Driving in Scotland is no joke and it’s important to realize that before you rent a vehicle. For starters, the Scots drive on the left side of the road, with the steering wheel on the right.

Second, instead of stop lights and signs to idle at most of the roads in Scotland run smoothly because of roundabouts. Yes, roundabouts. Those are the circle streets you may get a wee bit nervous about driving on if you’re not used to them.

Third and most important – the roads on the North Coast 500 are often small single track roads fit for just one vehicle at a time. There are passing points every 400 meters or so to let oncoming traffic get through. The car closest to a passing point should be the one to yield. 

We traveled around Scotland for two weeks and paid about $300 for a car rental in Scotland, which was a pretty decent deal in my opinion! I generally like to check comparison sites so I can get the best prices.

My favorites to look at are:

Compare Rates

Internet in Scotland


If you want to stay connected while in Scotland I would recommend picking up a Sim card and purchasing data when you arrive. We personally purchased 12 GB of data for £20 with Three. Their coverage extended into patches of the highlands and allowed us to at the very least check our emails, Instagram, and Facebook each day. Other comparable telecom companies in the UK include O2 and Vodafone.

When is the Best Season to Travel Scotland?

High season (July-September):

Like most places in Europe, Scotland’s high season runs from July to mid-September. This is when you will find the best weather as noted above, but also crowds. Days are longer, the weather is warmer, and hotel and car rental prices are at their highest.

Shoulder Season (May-June and Late September-November)

We’ve traveled to Scotland during the shoulder season and loved it. The weather is cool, the leaves are orange and yellow, and the vibe in the air is wonderful. This is also when we’ve found great deals on car rentals and guesthouse. However, popular places like Glasgow and Skye were very busy. We saw sunny days, but also had a lot of those rainy Scotland overcast days.

Low Season (Late November-April)

The temperatures are cooler during the low season in Scotland and you stand a very strong chance of getting caught in a rain (or snow) storm. If you plan to travel to Scotland during this time you absolutely need a packable rain jacket, travel umbrella, and waterproof boots.

The upside is you’ll find low prices and low numbers of tourists. If you are in Scotland over the holidays make sure to take part in the festivals around the cities!

Where to Stay When You Travel Scotland?

Things to know about Scotland


We stayed in a few Airbnbs throughout Scotland and loved our time in them. Read more about choosing a good Airbnb here.

Kingsmill Hotel - North Coast 500 Accommodation

Kingsmills Hotel – Inverness

Pretty much every North Coast 500 road trip starts or ends in the highland capital of Inverness. Accommodation is limited for the demand, but those lucky enough to book in advance can score rooms at the Kingsmills Hotel. Kingsmill is one of the best places to stay in Inverness. The hotel offers wonderful service based out of a 17th Century residence.

North Coast 500 Accommodation

Natural Retreats – John O’ Groats

This is probably one of the coolest places to stay when it comes to accommodation in Scotland. These glass-faced self-catering apartments are located in the most Northernly town in Scotland, John O’ Groats, on the British Isle.

They come equipped with awesome features like a mudroom, a media hub, a large kitchen, a front porch, a coffee machine, a wood stove, and three full bedrooms making it perfect for families. Waking up to mesmerizing views of the Orkney islands is one of the best ways to start your day on the route.

North Coast 500 Accommodation

Old Drynie House – Black Isle

This was actually the first “true” bed and breakfast we have stayed at together (even after 60 countries!). It was a splendid experience and the character of a well run Scottish bed and breakfast makes it a must for anyone traveling the North Coast 500.

We had a lovely pink room with a fireplace, a sitting lounge, and it was even stocked with a nice selection of DVDs. The morning’s breakfast was beautifully served on lovely china in a group setting. The selection of fresh fruits, baked goods, and hot breakfast items was splendid. Having smoked Scottish salmon and eggs in the morning is a real treat when in Scotland.

What to Pack When You Travel Scotland

Cost To Backpack Europe: Edinburgh

Wondering what to wear in Scotland? The country’s weather is pretty notorious so it’s only natural that the question of what to pack for Scotland comes up a lot.

With that in mind, you should be prepared as you’ll end up spending much of your time in Scotland outside enjoying its beautiful cities and breathtaking landscapes.

Travel Insurance
traveling in Scotland

We don’t travel without travel insurance and neither should you. You never know what can happen in a foreign country and it’s best to be prepared. World Nomads provides good short term coverage

SafetyWing is perfect for digital nomads. See our full review here!

Rain Jacket

It should go without saying that the weather in Scotland can be a bit rainy, this is the most important item in your suitcase. You have two options for the style of rain jackets.

The first one we recommend is a classic outdoor rain jacket that is a solid choice for outdoor adventurers. The second option being a trench coat for those looking to maintain style while dodging puddles we have a post on the best jackets for travel.

Hiking/Daypack Backpack
traveling in Scotland

You’re going to need something to carry your belongings in while you’re traveling around the world. Even if you’re not doing extensive hikes you need at least something small for day trips. You can see all our other backpack recommendations below:

Best Hiking Boots

It’s wet in Scotland and you can expect a lot of boggy weather so packing a pair of good waterproof boots for hikes is crucial for protecting your feet. Good Boots or hiking shoes for Scotland are essential.

travel adaptor

Remember that Scotland uses the three-prong British plug. Make sure you have a universal travel adaptor as we have before you land!

Travel in Scotland

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