The Camera Bag
Gear,  Photography Tips and Techniques

The Balance in Choosing Landscape Photography Equipment: How Much Gear to Pack?

The Camera Bag

How much gear to bring for landscape photography?

The Paradox of Choice: Decision Fatigue

According to Oxford Languages, decision fatigue is the difficulty experienced in making quality decisions as a result of the number of decisions one needs to make. Every day, we’re faced with countless decisions and micro-decisions—while shopping, driving, emailing, and in all daily tasks. Research suggests that our minds have limited capacity for making decisions each day. This capacity, which I refer to as decision fuel reserve, is depleted with each choice we make.

With modern life and its increased decision-making opportunities—think online shopping with thousands of thumbnails to select from—our decision fuel reserve can quickly run out.

Less is More: Streamlining Your Gear

A common advice given is that the less gear you have, the better. The main reason behind this advice is decision fatigue. A photograph’s impact hinges on composition and light. It would be wise to reserve our finite brainpower for creative compositions and light. Landscape photography has granted me the precious gift of flow state, which is not achieved by deciding on the best camera body, lens, or ball-head to use. Instead, it comes from chasing and waiting for the perfect light or exploring my subject to better express my vision. Therefore, shouldn’t I conserve my decision fuel reserve for these creative processes?

Analyzing the Overpacking Tendency

Many photographers tend to carry more equipment than needed because they fear missing shots due to lack of equipment. However, if your goal is to create a unique visual interpretation of the landscape, there is no need to cover focal lengths from super-wide to super-telephoto. Landscape photography allows you to play with immobile subjects—allowing for infinite experimentation with composition. Deciding on and changing a lens takes time, and in this time, atmospheric conditions may change. By carrying less gear, you can be more agile and ready to capture nature’s unforgettable moments.

For example, consider this image I captured on a trail deep in the desert in 2015. The only equipment I had was a 12mm F.2.8 Zeiss Touit on an APC sized camera. It took me three hours to create the perfect shot with sharp branches in 30 seconds of exposure and the streaks of the clouds. Here, the equipment was completely out of the way—it was just me and my beautiful subject.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why is less gear often better in landscape photography?
    Having less gear can reduce decision fatigue, freeing your mind to focus on creativity and composition, and making you more agile to capture unexpected moments in nature.
  2. What is decision fatigue and how does it affect photography?
    Decision fatigue refers to the declining quality of decisions made after a long session of decision-making. In photography, this could affect your creativity and your ability to make optimal choices in composition, light, and perspective.
  3. How can I prevent decision fatigue in landscape photography?
    Streamlining your equipment and focusing on the creative process rather than the technical aspects can help you avoid decision fatigue in landscape photography.


The amount of gear to bring for landscape photography is not about quantity but quality—both of equipment and decisions. As we navigate the myriad decisions in our everyday life, it’s important to conserve our decision fuel reserve for creative exploration in photography, rather than being overwhelmed by gear choices.