Top tips for overlanding and external hard drives. Taking more and more photos? Shooting more video? An external hard drive is the answer but it needs looking after:
- Avoid extremes in temperature
- Keep covered away from dust
- Transfer files regularly
- Keep together with cables & laptop
- Do not lose!
In this post we look at why you might consider an external hard drive for your overlanding and camping trips, why your camera SD card is not enough and some simple tips on looking after your drive on the dusty trail.
Memory on the move
Thanks to modern technology we can now enjoy digital cameras with cards that can store thousands of images but is it wise to keep your eggs all in one basket? Overlanding demands photographs and video! It’s simply that kind of thing, not knowing what is around the next corner and being in different places all the time simply warrants stacks of images be it for social media or for your website.
Having the space and more importantly the backup is crucial for peace of mind and keeping your content protected.
Hard drives vs SD cards
It used to be the case that external hard drives had far more capacity than the SD card you put in your camera, while that is still the case you can get SD cards now that store thousands of RAW files so even though the drive has more space do you really need it?
For overlanding trips that are a single day or even a weekend then your camera card should suffice depending if you’re shooting stills or video and the volume of content you are creating. Longer trips are going to need more space which is where a hard drive comes in very handy.
Think a travel holiday and you are going to want to shoot anything and everything so a few hundred images a day is easily done. Multiply that by the number of days you are away and you can quickly rack up images into the thousands and then there is video footage too [if you are using the same camera].
SD cards fail, even the good ones can corrupt or simply stop working and if this does happen it will be on your last day when the card is full of content
Being able to sort these images by day or location helps tremendously when it comes to organising your files and helping you sort them when you get home and start uploading to your machine.
SD cards fail, even the good ones can corrupt or simply stop working and if this does happen it will be on your last day when the card is full of content you’ve been working hard for and shooting all week so a back up is crucial.
Care & maintenance when overlanding
Overlanding and external hard drives, not your typical office environment so a hard drive that is tough is going to be the order of the day, luckily there are a few to choose from like the LaCie ‘Rugged’ and the Sandisk G-Drive ‘Armor’ which are probably the most popular.
Overlanding can be a dusty business and dust can be a reall killer when it comes to electronics like hard drives and laptops particularly around USB ports and connection points, it pays to keep your drive, rugged as it may be well protected from the elements.
Heat can be another drive killer and we all know how hot a vehicle can get when parked in the sun, if you’re off for a hike or an explore take the drive with you.
Transfer files regularly, the SD card in your camera can fail at any time so transfer those files on a daily basis or by location etc to avoid any disasters, using the external file storage this way makes life way easier when it comes to uploading all of the files once you get home [if that is part of your workflow].
Keep the cable with the drive and carry a spare anyway, cables get lost, get damaged and can also fail [especially the cheap types].
Lastly and it might seem obvious but don’t lose the thing! External drives are small and are probably part of a large selection of photography and video recording gear to carry with you.
What we use
For card memory we use SanDisk SDXC Extreme PRO 128 GB 200 MB/s, UHS-I this gives us 4000 RAW files [lossless compressed] on the Fuji X100v. The 128gb card is backed up by a 64gb card and another spare 16gb just in case. In reality we’ve never used up anywhere near the full 128gb but we like to be covered in case a card fails.
For external memory we settled on the LaCie Rugged USB-C 2TB, the Sandisk was also a contender as well as a few others but the 2TB LaCie was a deal so it won, simple as that.
Overlanding and external hard drive – carrying one gives you peace of mind, any content creator going out for any length of time will have one in their gear bag and for good reason. Keep your external hard drive protected and get home with a mountain of stills and video safe and sound.