Stripped down to the basics, there's really only a few items I find essential to bring with me while photographing wildlife with a handheld setup.
To have the highest chance at getting top quality wildlife shots, I fully recommend bringing all the gear you can. Load up the backpack with everything you think may be needed and most definitely bring a tripod. However, there are days where I'd rather explore new ground and scout more area, or split my focus between the simple enjoyment of nature and getting the shot, or even days when it's so humid the thought of carrying anything more than the requirements makes me not want to shoot.
For those days, I'm handholding my camera setup and leaving the hefty backpack and support equipment behind. The exception to that are these accessories that I can easily place on myself and are practically weightless in comparison. The items I share in this video are important enough that I always carry them on me no matter how stripped down I want to travel.
What photo items and accessories are part of your must-have kit when you want to leave the bulk behind? Let us know in the comments below.