7 Drone Pilots Share How They Pack and Transport Their Drone Equipment

Packing for drone piloting jobs isn’t as easy as it might seem.

You often need to bring a lot of gear, but at the same time you don’t want to risk making your bags to heavy and impossible to carry – and you also need to make sure you pack things properly, so your drone, lenses, etc. don’t get damaged!

To improve how we pack and prepare, we have talked with 7 experienced drone pilots and asked them to share their best advice.

Read on and learn from their best tips and tricks (all 7 have years of experience, so they know what they are talking about!).

The 7 Drone Pilots

What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff everybody brings?

My top 3 things that I can’t go without when travelling are my drone ND filters, my DSLR camera and my noise-cancelling headphones.

One particular good tip I can give to anybody who is shooting drone videos is to always remember to tell a story with your shots, and the best way to do that in my opinion is to shoot both from the ground (with your DSLR) and from the air. Your ground shots help you establish a good idea where you are and what you are planning to show in your video, and in my opinion that helps your videos tremendously when it comes to telling a story, which I believe is one of the fundamentals when shooting videos both with our drones or regular cameras. So that’s definitely something that I believe more people should focus on.

I find useless drone accessories such as landing pads, especially if you’re travelling with a compact drone such as the Mavic Pro/Air or the Spark, because you can easily take-off from your palm and the landing pad just takes some extra space.

How do you bring your drone and drone-related equipment with you?

I have two backpacks – one for shooting and one for travelling. So depending on what I’m planning to do that day, I take a different bag. The one for shooting is smaller and more compact, it’s a backpack by K&F Concept, and it has plenty of different small pockets and compartments that fit all of my gear such as filters, batteries, car chargers, drone and DSLR + all of my lenses. So whatever happens, I’m ready to shoot at all times.

However, if I’m travelling, I definitely need to take a bigger backpack so I can fit all of my gear + my laptop, headphones and various chargers. I use a generic bag and I don’t know the brand, but for now it gets the job done 😉

One good tip is to always lay everything on the ground before you pack and try to figure out what exactly you’ll need for this particular shoot or travel, so you don’t bring extra stuff for no reason. That way you can definitely save up some space and not feel like you’re carrying too much stuff for no reason.

What are your top tips for other drone pilots?

This also connects with my previous answer a bit, but still – try to come up with a list of things you’ll need so you don’t bring too much stuff on your trips.

Packing light is essential for me – I only bring one or maximum two lenses for my DSLR, I only bring a set of ND filters and I don’t bother packing accessories which I know I’m not going to use a lot.

In the end, the most important thing is to capture great footage, and I see many drone pilots make the mistake of overthinking and overcomplicating everything. The whole experience should be a fun one, so try to simplify everything and you’ll get the most enjoyment out of every shoot.

What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff everybody brings?

In general, I travel light. The only extras I bring are multiple Micro SD cards. This is not due to needing the memory, rather that one can often go bad or not work correctly, leaving you stuck for that good shot or video.

How do you bring your drone and drone-related equipment with you?

I use multiple bags depending on the model and where I am traveling. The Phantom 4 series “stock” foam case is great – I used a Lykus backpack which that foam case fits into (for hiking). For my old P3 series, I used a Think Tank backpack.

For the Mavic Pro, I use the stock case (from DJI) quite often due to the small size. If I want to bring everything (all chargers and more), I use a Lykus Case which is shown in this review.

What are your top tips for other drone pilots?

Stealth is important when doing most piloting. Extras such as landing pads and too many batteries are not needed. If one is actually using their drones for pics and video, it does not take a lot of time in the air to get them!

This would not apply to those who are, for example, doing multiple outdoor drone flying classes…hands on. Nor would it apply to highly paid pilots who are on a real “shoot” with other paid employees, etc.

Since my flying involves mostly reviews and “art” (nice pics and vids with no income attached), what I bring matters only to myself.

The case should fit the application. I’ve often put the mavic bag inside a cheap canvas backpack along with other items and took my bicycle out to areas where I wanted a shot.

Some pilots walk around holding their drone for public view. This is typical in some crowded parks down here in Florida (I live in 3 different climates/areas). Again, IMHO, stealth is the idea behind not upsetting any members of the public and/or getting the shots you want. I almost never disturb other people in any way.

What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff everybody brings?

Besides my drone and its transmitter I add to my backpack couple of spare batteries and propellers. Second micro SD card, USB card reader Is also a must have. And of course a rain cover for the backpack is also included. Landing pad is welcomed when you need to takeoff/land on high grass.

Useless thing: FPV monitor sunshade for night flights 🙂

How do you bring your drone and drone-related equipment with you?

I have 3 backpacks. A dedicated one for my DJI Phantom drone and two universal one for FPV stuff.

  • FPV Airport backpack for racing drones
  • Smaller FPV backpack for racing drones
  • Airport Helipak quadcopter backpack for Phantom drones

All are from Think Thank Photo. I have dedicated bags for batteries and other smaller stuff

What are your top tips for other drone pilots?

If you have only one drone, purchase a dedicated backpack or case. If you travel a lot by car hard case is recommended over backpacks.
Always label your backpack with your phone number. A hidden GPS tracker is useful if its stolen.

What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff everybody brings?

An RX Bar! Flying a drone hangry (or doing anything hangry, really) is not something I want to do. An RX Bar is an awesome, healthy and delicious meal replacement!

Other than that, I really try not to overpack. There is so much drone gear to begin with (between memory cards, batteries, chargers, propellers, etc. that I want to focus on making sure I have the right gear to fly without it getting mixed up with unnecessary stuff. Keep it minimal and easy!

How do you bring your drone and drone-related equipment with you?

I keep my Mavic Air in a bag by Topo Designs. It’s pretty fashionable and has compartments for all my cords and cards. It’s a crossbody strap so I barely notice it when I’m hiking.

I love the Autel X Star because it actually came with a hard-shell case that is so sturdy when traveling, especially if I have to check my luggage.

I have a LowePro case for my DJI Phantom, which is soft backpack that’s not too bulky. To be honest though, I barely use the Phantom, X Star or any of my larger drones anymore just because they are so cumbersome! My ideal is a Spark or Air, where I can tuck it in my pocket!

What are your top tips for other drone pilots?

With so much to worry about when it comes to packing drone gear, only pack the things you need. I fall into the trap of throwing in random stuff into my drone bag “because I might need it” — things like chapstick or hair ties. Your drone flight will not be impacted if your lips are chapped, so don’t pack it! Stick to the basics and focus on the things you need — not the frivolous gear.

What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff everybody brings?

The top 3 things would be my drone, my camera (although pretty common now), and my handheld gimbal. I love making videos about the places I visit so those 3 things help me do just that.

Last December, I was in South Africa and visited a very nice Winery/Restaurant near Cape Town. When I saw their beautiful property I offered them to take pictures for them and make a video in exchange for a few nights in their Guest house. I ended up staying there for 4 nights and eating at the restaurant for free.

It’s hard to say if something is totally useless. What will seem useless to me might be useful to someone else. I mean, I often travel with a gimbal, many people would find that useless.

How do you bring your drone and drone-related equipment with you?

I carry my drone in a Manfrotto D1 backpack. bought it when I bought my Phantom 3. Now that I have a Mavic Pro I still use the same backpack but I have room left to put more accessories (batteries, spare propellers, filters) and other equipment (gopro, camera).

The great thing about this backpack is that it comes with 3 small “pockets” where you can securely put accessories inside.

Now that I put my Mavic Pro inside, I definitely have enough room, and for that reason I tend to bring more things that I actually need.

What are your top tips for other drone pilots?

There’s no secret, if you want to pack light you are going to need a small drone. But the batteries are also a major factor – and probably the biggest – regarding weight. So I would recommend to bring just as many batteries as you think you will need depending on how often you will be able to charge them.

What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff everybody brings?

Table/umbrella, Neckstrap and GPS tracker

I always bring with me a small camping table and an umbrella for the shade as I live in Australia and it is often quite bright outside. This allows me to see my screen as it is not always easy, even with a shade protector or sun hood.

I always carry a DJI neck-strap as it is really import during long flight sessions in order to avoid getting all the strain in my arms and hands. This allows me to be more accurate on my flighting motions with the way I hold the controller too.

Since crashing an expensive professional drone back in 2016 and not being able to recover it, I always use additional GPS trackers that I mount on the landing gears of the drone. I like Trackimo products for this as they are light weighted and do the job.

How do you bring your drone and drone-related equipment with you?

I am a big fan of the Manfrotto Aviator D1 drone backpack. It allows for multiple configurations depending on the kind of drone I am carrying and has extra room for additional accessories as well as food and bottles.

I love this bag as it allows be to move between different spots (between my rushes) without having to unmount everything on the drone and it fairly easy to organise with it’s compartments.

One could always use for room and extra space but with transportability in mind, it is perfect has I can easily carry my Phantom 4 Pro with 4 additional batteries, 1 controller, a few small sized accessories like filters, my iPad Mini for the live feed and still have extra room to store my neck strap/food/bottle. All in one extra comfortable bag that you won’t even feel even after walking a few miles!

What are your top tips for other drone pilots?

I always pack light personally (I don’t always carry my camping equipment) and stick to the fundamentals such as basic drone equipment, extra “fully charged” batteries (critical) and filters (essential). The rest is just fluff in my opinion but it all depends on your goals.

I always follow a checklist routine, to make sure I don’t forget anything (nothing more annoying than realising you’ve forgotten half your gear once on the spot…), triple check the charging state of my batteries, that I have enough SD cards…

The main thing that I see a lot of people not doing is just droning 101, they do not always follow a routine and a checklist!

What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff everybody brings?

Good gloves that still have a touch screen tip to operate screens. I have no idea why so many people fly bare-handed in cold weather.

Sunglasses for RC flying are also important. I personally have a huge problem with seeing well in bright light.

It’s good to have a quality backpack, especially if you want your laptop along, so I use a Deuter backpack for everything besides the drone. it has a padded laptop bag, good for editing on the go.

How do you bring your drone and drone-related equipment with you?

I don’t bother buying special carry bags for drones. I usually just use the box that it came in and transport it by car. Then again, I haven’t yet bought truly high-end drones, so perhaps then I will be motivated to spend more. The boxes my drones came in (DJI Spark, various small sports drones) usually have handles and molded spots for everything. So apart from that I only have the Deuter laptop bag. I don’t have to think much about where to pack things since it has a spot for everything.

What are your top tips for other drone pilots?

Secure the drone in your vehicle. I’ve threaded my rear seat seatbelts through the handles of the carry cases or boxes. It’s better than having them knock about in the trunk.

It’s also better to have one huge power bank rather than a whole sack full of spare batteries. An inverter for your car is also basically required if you want to fly all day in the field.

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