If you’re on Instagram, you’ve likely seen some of Chris Burkard’s images. He’s the outdoor and landscape photographer who has amassed over three million followers on Instagram. Based in Pismo Beach, California, Burkard is on the road working for a good chunk out of the year. To get those amazing shots, he has learned to put himself in unique situations. He has to be prepared to scale a rock face, hike a mountain or dive into the arctic ocean. “I’ve realized that it doesn’t matter whether I’m shooting skiing in Japan or surfing in Iceland, the next assignment is always just a few weeks away and usually requires a whole new set of skills,” Burkard says.
To stay at the top of his game (and in peak climbing, skiing, surfing, everything-shape) Burkard works hard to stay active. “No matter where I end up in the world with work, something from my gym bag comes with me. Training is critical and I’ve found that between swimming in the ocean or pool, climbing and a few stretch bands, I can condition myself for nearly anything.”
We caught up with Burkard to ask him what gear is always in his pack, whether he’s in Yosemite or Alaska.
Chris Burkard’s Gear
Black Diamond Stone Duffel 42
“I like using this bag due to the full front opening zipper. It allows me to access everything with ease when getting to the gym or on location. I feel 42 liters is the perfect amount for daily activities and even an overnighter if needed. I’ve used it as a camera bag, climbing bag and it almost always comes with me.”
AXXE Classic Wetsuit
These wetsuits are made in Japan and come in a variety of styles and thicknesses. Burkard prefers the 4/3 for most adventures. “Pretty much covers most water temperatures, unless you are in the Arctic,” he says.
DaFin Hawaii fins
Offered in a variety of colors and sizes, these fins are a necessity for any surfing, snorkeling or scuba diving excursions.
Speedo Vanquisher 2.0
The classic Speedo goggle works great in pools of any size.
Speedo Elastomeric Swim Cap
Silicone is much more comfortable than the classic latex. Pick from a variety of colors.
Speedo Nylon Solar Swim Briefs
“If you don’t swim in Speedo’s then you haven’t lived.”
SurfEars Ear Plugs
“Over years of cold water surfing I’ve developed a pretty heinous surfers ear…these are lifesavers.”
“Must have unit for any type of travel. I use this bad boy on planes, cars and pretty much anywhere I can sit for awhile. Best thing is it fits in the pocket.”
Burkard uses one that looks slightly different than this, with 50KG worth of resistance. He calls it, “pocket training!”
Reehut Single Resistance Band
“This is my secret weapon for car workouts, hotel rooms and pretty much everything else. These work incredibly well.”
Generic Athletic Tape
“Can’t tell you how many times I’ve used this for more than just climbing, but also fixing jackets, bags and sleeping bags.”
TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller
“I mean.. who doesn’t travel with a roller these days?”
Joshua Tree Climbing Salve
“Best on the market.”
Black Diamond Zone Harness
“Light, fast and efficient. I love it for gyms, granite walls and often find myself using it to get across a swollen Chilean river on a tyrolean traverse.”
Black Diamond Ultralight Chalk Bag
Made from ultralight dynex fabric, the bag keeps all your chalk in one easy-to-reach spot.
Black Diamond Aspect Climbing Shoe
“Best all arounder. Excellent for hard cracks but also comfortable enough for standing in during the day.”
Black Diamond 9.9 60-Meter Rope
Burkard calls this a “must-have.”
Black Diamond Brush Set
This 5-piece kit has all the brushes you might need to get bouldering.