Updated: Nov 29, 2019
There is no right or wrong plein-air setup. As long as it fit your needs and inspires you to just jump to you car and go to paint more - that all you need.
But, it does not mean that you can get whatever you want to have the entire comfort of your studio with you. Here is the list of things that you have to keep in mind when purchasing equipment for your setup:
1. Getting ready.
2. Getting to location.
3. On location getting ready to paint.
4. On location after you finish painting.
5. Time when you come back to your studio or home.
Why it is so important? Let's take a look at each item.
1. Getting Ready. Make sure when you decided to go to paint outside you are not spending hours and hours to pack. The time you should spend on getting your gear and start driving should be no more then 15-20 min. In my case, I spend majority of this time getting just water and some snacks. During the year my backpack is in my car ready to go. I will get it back to studio just to clean the brushes, reload, and to check for any bugs (especially ticks) in or on the bag.
2. Getting to location. You have to be as light as possible. Sometime you have to hike several miles to get to location. Sometimes you will be hiking and looking for right location not even realizing you walked a lot of miles. So the weight and compactness of your gear is VERY important. You should have everything you need to stay on location for at least several hours.
3. On location getting ready to paint. Let say you found a beautiful location and ready to setup. Again, time is very important. Make sure you can setup and start painting in 10-15 min. With my setup I'm ready to paint in less then 5 min.
4. On location after you finish painting. When you're done and ready to pack, the packing time should be minimized as well. Why? It is better to spend extra time to finish your painting instead of spending time packing up.
5. Time when you come back to your studio or home. And of course, when you get home after long day of painting all you need is to grab your backpack from your car and drop it in your studio. You will be exhausted. The only thing I would recommend - cleaning your brushes right away ($$$)
Here is the list of materials I have in my bag:
1. Military Backpack (you can find it on Amazon)
2. Plein Air Easel (ProlificPainter.com "Daytripper")
3. Plastic box for all paint tubes. About 8 to 10 tubes
4. Brush Washer (Pettite Brush Washer)
5. Brush Case with about 10-12 Brushes (Rosemary Brushes)
6. View Finder, GreyScale, PhotoFilter
7. Sketch Book and case with pencils and erasers;
8. Paper towel (not a roll but ripped pieces)
9. Trash Bag
10. Utility or hiking knife, flashlight, battery pack for my phone
11. Bug/tics spray
12. RayMar Panel Carrier. I have two 8x10 and 12x16