To celebrate our wedding anniversary the missus and I recently packed our backpacks and headed for the central Drakensberg mountains. This was of course not a paid project but still a lot of fun and a good opportunity for some gear testing. 

I've been a keen hiker since my teens. For years hiking with a video camera has eluded me, mainly because of weight and budgetary (read "pocket money") restrictions. The action camera age has now changed all that. For our trip into the mountains I took my GoPro Hero 3+, two 16 GB microSD cards, three batteries, an extra battery back, a GoPro chest mount and an Ultra Pod compact mini tripod with a GoPro tripod adaptor attached. I used the GoPro for video only, shooting everything at 1080p/25.

Above: PowerMonkey Extreme

Initially I thought of leaving my Powermonkey Extreme power kit home due to its weight, but it found its way into my pack anyway and I'm glad I took it - I charged three GoPro batteries and my Android phone twice off a single charge on the Powermonkey!  For living out in the wild Powermonkey is a must-have. Thanks to the 'Monkey I never even used the GoPro Battery Bac I carried along.

The other star performers were the GoPro chest mount and the Ultra Pod tripod.

Above: The GoPro Chesty fits comfortably underneath your backpack harness and leaves your hands free during river crossings and when scrambling over boulders. 

Above: The Ultra Pod is very lightweight, has a handy length of heavy-duty velcro attached so you can fix it to tree branches and hiking poles, and doubles as a grip when you're shooting handheld footage.

The trip again highlighted the pros and cons of action cameras. They're ACTION cameras, made for capturing moving objects at close range. Anything further than you can throw a rock will show up microscopically small in the final footage. They also need power so you'll need a recharge solution when you're away from an electrical wall socket. 

But they're compact and lightweight. They'll take more abuse than you can and they don't mind getting rained on or jumping in a river with you - all things my fancy Sony FS-100 can't do.

So now that I have the gear, may I please have the 24 year old's physique back I had a few years ago...