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My 6 Favorite Action Cam Accessories I Use Daily

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Virtually every day I use action cams to get shots for all assortment of things: In-Depth reviews, general posts, Strava pics, and even Instagram (ok, I suck at being daily there, The Girl is far better). Over on YouTube I’ve seen a lot of questions on what specific accessories I use often, or even what Micro-SD cards I use.  So I put a bit of a video together primarily for YouTube, but then decided to back it into a post here as well.  The theme is mostly GoPro focused, though the accessories are from a variety of vendors.

And in almost all of the cases they’ll work across the board with any action camera – not just a GoPro.  And not only that, but below I’ve linked a few other variants for people that may have Garmin VIRB or other cameras.

First though, the video:

With that out of the way, here’s my top six action cam goodies.

#1: GoPro 3-Way Pole – $54

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Yes, the price of the ‘three-way’ pole is actually $69.  Who says GoPro doesn’t have a sense of humor?  Now, lest you think I’m a huge fan of overpriced GoPro branded accessories, this is one of the handful of GoPro branded that I’ve bought multiple times.  And, in trying a cheap knock-off of this one, I can at least say the GoPro version is far more stable.

In any case, what it does: It’s part selfie-stick, part-tripod, part thingy you can jab into the snow or sand to get a picture, even underwater.  You’ll find it in my back jersey pocket on almost every bike ride – and it’s been there for years.  For example, this photo from 3 years ago? 3-way:

Or these underwater pics from a few years ago, whereby the 3-way was stuck down in the ground or sitting on an underwater rock using the tripod:

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The unit folds out into basically three core positions – tripod, long/short selfie stick, or stick in the ground.  Plus, you actually get a fourth position which is the secondary tripod that is the base portion removed (middle photo below):

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Now, the unit isn’t perfect. The reason I’ve had to buy multiples of them is primarily due to the last feature ‘stick in the ground’. This is designed for snow or sand where you can stick the base of the unit into the sand and have it hold itself up. Works great on a beach or snow. But in order to provide a ‘safety’ so it doesn’t break if you run into it, the unit can quick-release or snap off. This is great if you run into it, but if you grab it in a hurry it might leave the base of the unit in the ground.

In fact, that underwater pic above? I lose the pokey part of the 3-way on that photo – not realizing it till minutes later when the piece was long since buried under the ocean floor.  I think I’m on at least my third one now.  Still, I love it otherwise, and with being on the 3rd one I’m mostly learned my lesson on it.

In any case, it does appear to be on sale on Amazon for $54 right now, some $15 off (I don’t know why). Which basically means you can get a few gallons of ice cream at the grocery store with that cash instead.

#2: Dual Battery Pack with Charger for $21

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I think I have a battery and charging device fetish. I can spend hours on Amazon looking at things like 30-port USB charging stations. Perhaps it’s because I’ve got so many devices to charge, or so much stuff to capture. I’m not certain.

But what I do know is that for years I’ve used this random no-name company’s GoPro knockoff batteries and USB chargers.  What’s great about it is that you get two batteries…plus a dual battery charger all for $21.  Normally GoPro themselves charge $20 a battery, and the dual charger is like a million bucks.  Do note that it charges existing GoPro batteries (Hero 5/6 ones), just fine:

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And even cooler is that it has dual USB-C and micro-USB ports for charging, so you can swing either way and reduce the number of cables you bring.

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Or, you can be like me and just get this nifty multi-cable splitter thingy (2 pack for $11), which chargers almost everything I have except Garmin stuff (it has plugs for 1xUSB-C, 2xMicro-USB, 1xApple Lightning, 1xMini-USB). And it even charges concurrently. I find it great for travel and letting a bunch of stuff (slowly) charge overnight.

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In any case, the batteries work great on both GoPro Hero 5 and Hero 6 stuff, and they make up the bulk of my battery arsenal.  There was a time when the Hero 5 first came out that GoPro was blocking 3rd party batteries, but that time has long since passed (thankfully).

#3: GoPro Shorty – $39

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You know what happens when you take the threesome out of the three-way? You end up with someone getting shorted, or Shorty in this case. Basically, that’s what this is – it removes the bendy part of GoPro’s three-way pole above. It just came out this past fall, and oddly enough I’ve found it my new favorite running and swimming GoPro accessory.

Historically I’ve always just run with a GoPro handheld as-is.  No mount most of the time.  But the shorty is just small enough that it doesn’t add much appreciable weight while also giving me a good place to hold onto it.  And more important, it makes it a heck of a lot easier to wedge in unique places to get shots.  Plus, it allows me to get just a tiny bit more reach for the random selfie.

The unit has a small tripod base, as well as an extendomatic part. The extendo part gets you above the surface that just leaving a GoPro sitting on a table might otherwise capture in the frame.

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I haven’t really figured out any obvious downsides to it, in using it in the last 6 months or so.  I suppose aside from the price, it’s still kinda expensive and overpriced at what it is – but it works well, and I’m constantly taking it on runs.  I suppose if I were to nitpick I’d almost say the overbuilt metal thumb screw is a bit of a pain in the ass to undo compared to a cheap and typical GoPro plastic thumbscrew.  But given you can simply use your existing GoPro thumb screws instead, then it’s really a non-issue.

#4: DeKaSi Seeker Backpack – $66:

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Two summers ago I bought GoPro’s official branded backpack, the GoPro Seeker.  At the time it was heralded as a way to creatively hold a crapton of cameras, including built-on mounts for them, as well as pockets to hold the 3-way up properly.  And by and large it was good, but it was also highly overpriced at $170.  It had space for a hydration bladder…but didn’t bother to include one.

However sometime in the past year a copy-cat came out, the DeKaSi Seeker – for $66.  They even pay on Amazon for sponsored placement if you search for ‘GoPro Seeker’. They copied virtually everything about it (including the name), but actually made it better in a number of ways.  For starters, the zipper on mine didn’t die the very first week like it did on my GoPro bag.  But more importantly, it actually comes with accessories (unlike GoPro) – such as a three-way pole of its own (albeit, not the best one). It even has a random GoPro neck strap lanyard thingy in the bag. It’s like someone basically just threw a grab-bag of GoPro compatible parts in there.

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In any event, you’ll find me using the backpack all the time. It was originally designed to hold the now-defunct GoPro Karma drone, but I’ve put numerous other drones in there without issue.  Heck, this past summer in the Alps I stashed in there both an Airdog ADII drone, a DJI Mavic Pro drone, a full DSLR camera, a pile of action cams, a microphone, and even a full tripod attached to the side….and then I went mountain biking with it.

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The only downside is that the front GoPro mount on the left shoulder strap kinda sucks compared to the GoPro branded model.  With the GoPro Seeker you can also hook the GoPro Karma Grip Gimbal onto there, but the DeKaSi version doesn’t have that same spot with enough strength.  So if you have a Karma Grip and were planning to use these two together, I’d skip it.  For everyone else though, it’s an awesome and relatively slim backpack.

#5: GoPro Quik Adapter – from $9:

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In addition to charging devices, I’m also a sucker for anything that moves data faster. Especially if it fits on my keychain.  When the GoPro Quik adapter was first announced, it was kinda brilliant (and honestly, still is).  Priced from $9 to $29 depending on which port type, it plugs into the bottom of your phone/tablet and lets you transfer over videos super quick, instead of using WiFi.

I find this pretty useful in a few core cases:

A) A pile of big files, or really high resolution files
B) Where cellular service sucks and I’m already on WiFi and don’t want to disconnect from WiFi for a long time to download videos

If you’re only downloading a 20-40 seconds video – WiFi is no biggie.  But if you’re downloading 20-40 minutes worth of 4K footage, that’s beastly long and one little blip in the WiFi and the whole thing has to start over again.

The way this works is that you take your micro-SD card and plop it in the little reader.  Then from there you insert that into your phone.  GoPro makes three port variants: Lightening for iOS devices ($29), USB-C for newer phones ($10), and Micro-USB for older phones ($12). For no particular purpose, I bought all three. Though, I primarily use the iPhone version, which sits on my key chain most of the time.  Also note, those three prices seem to change almost daily on Amazon, plus or minus a few bucks.

The only nitpicking downside here is that you can’t just use this adapter as a general way to import any photos/videos to your camera roll (at least on iOS). It only works with GoPro’s app, but that’s mostly due to the way Apple has port/licensing restrictions.  Also, there are some folks on Android having issues with 4K/60 content and the newer content using the newer HEVC file formats on the Hero 6 Black, because the naming convention changed and GoPro hasn’t yet fixed it. Last communication from GoPro says that they’re working on it.

#6: The MicroSD Cards – from $40:

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I sit in a sea of SD cards.

Or rather, there’s a sea of them next to where I’m sitting. Even on my three month long journey to Australia I had probably 25-30 MicroSD cards sitting to the right of me at my desk.  As a general rule, I rarely re-use Micro-SD cards beyond a given device.  Specifically, I tend to put a 128GB or larger Micro-SD card into a given action cam, and then it ‘stays’ there, with me deleting files only when I get to the end of it.

There’s no logic for this, it’s just the way I’ve always done things.  Micro-SD cards are cheap, even for really good ones.  And for the last few years I’ve had really good results with the SanDisk Ultra UHS-1 128GB cards. It’s my go-to card that I buy piles of each time I’m in the US (cause they’re slightly cheaper there).

Now more recently when shooting on 5.2K/5.7K 360° cameras (Fusion and VIRB 360), I’ve been employing the 200GB variants of that, and even a single 256GB one too.  Why?  I hate running out of space.  And with the 360° cameras burning through about 9GB per minute, it’s easy to do so before ya know it.

Now some people subscribe to the theory of smaller SD cards for redundancy or in case you lose it or something.  But here’s the thing: I’ve only once had a feeling that I had a bad Micro-SD card, but even that was an isolated drone incident on a prototype drone.  So it could have been something caused there.

For me, I’m far more likely to lose SD cards because I’ve got too many.  So I’d rather have everything on one card I can find easily. I then stick a few extra Micro-SD cards inside SD to MicroSD card converters inside my wallet in the little coin holder. Sorta like a college student might with condoms.  I find you never know when you might get yourself in a pickle and need an extra SD or MicroSD card, and this is two birds with one stone.

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In any case – there’s plenty of places around the web that do speed testing and all sorts of things on SD/MicroSD cards, but the dirty truth is no GoPro or Garmin action cam today comes even close to hitting the threshold write speeds for even 4K/60 or 5.7K RAW video.  So I wouldn’t fret too much about that.

In short, here’s the full listing of linkage:

#1: GoPro 3-way Stick: $54
#2: Dual Battery Set with Charger: $21
#3: GoPro Shorty stick: $39
#4: Seeker Backpack: $66
#5: GoPro Quik Adapter: $10-$29
#6: 128GB & 200GB MicroSD Cards: $41+

With that – there ya go – all of the action cam goodness I use daily!  If you want to know more about my more general photography stuff (DSLR camera, sliders, etc…), then hit up my full photo post here, where I get into tons more detail on those pieces.

Thanks for reading!

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42 Comments

  1. gingerneil

    That multi way USB charging cable is awesome! I have mostly micro USB, but the odd C (ie gopro) and Lightning. We use a 6 port charger in the kitchen, but even with 6 ports, have to keep moving things about across different connectors. I’ve ordered a 2 pack – one for home, and one for the bag alongside my power bank. Perfect! 🙂

    • Yeah, it’s an awesome little cable. I had gotten one like it a couple years back at a tech conference sitting in a booth. That one had an old school iPhone/iPad adapter and more (found it! link to amzn.to)

      But this one is perfect – I use it daily, it’s actually sitting off to the side right now charging a few Edge devices. And it’s funny, since it doesn’t support data sync, I actually like that. It means that I can charge things without a gazillion prompts on my laptop for inserted devices.

  2. Olly

    Hi Ray,
    just tried to find the dual charger.
    For me the link leads to an empty page at Amazon Germany.
    From pictures etc. it looks like this one: link to amazon.de
    Some users report poor performance of the batteries. What’s your experience with them?
    Best,
    Olly

    • Looks about the same. I haven’t had any issues with the batteries, in fact, I’d actually say they perform marginally better than the stock GoPro batteries (likely because they are actually have a tiny bit more power in them). I use them interchangeably with whatever is charged. At present in the GoPro I’ll be heading out for a ride this afternoon with, it’s the PowerExtra ones. Yesterday it was the stock GoPro ones.

    • Olly

      Ok, thx!
      I’ll give them a try. Most complaints are about their low temperature performance. Too sad that spring has arrived finally and I can’t test/compare them at 0 °C level 😉

    • Throw them in the freezer overnight, that should give a fair insight in their cold weather performance.

    • Olly

      Well, after a few days and usages I think there’s something wrong with them. After charging is compete I power on my Hero6 and it reports 87-88 % capacity. No matter if charged by their own dual charger or in Hero6. If plugged again charging LEDs lit for a second and then off. So the batteries’ electronic stops cycle too early I guess.
      And they last shorter than original GoPros although due to higher capacity they should last longer. Maybe linked to 87% issue.
      They had several unload/charge cycles already so they should have reached their max. capacity already. Going to send them an email.

  3. Marco

    Hee Ray, do you use any wearable gimbal for the GoPro? Or what would be you’re choice if you would want to use one?

    • Rich

      Hey, I was wondering about this – have you ever tried a gimbal, Ray?

      I finally upgraded my action cam to a GoPro 6 a few months ago to go skiing / snowboarding with (with my family including to one 4 and one 7 year old) and to take to the Swiss Alps when I go there with some friend in June. I’ll probably use it on most bike rides for safety logging, too*.

      But the one accessory I bought was a gimbal and although I don’t have an a/b test I do have some smooth footage of runs and me following my children’s first skiing runs.

      I have previously had a Kodak PlaySport and a bullet cam that attached to my Archos 605 (with actual spinning HDD!) to compare this footage to ann the gimbal-ified footable does look smoother.

      Although am I the only one that misses the bullet cam format for actually wearing on your helmet?

      Cheers
      R

      * I have a friend who recently got car-doored. The charming driver then started to swear at said friend, blaming him for possibly scratching his mirror as there wasn’t near enough space for said drive to try to overtake. I’d like to the video, but it’s currently in the hands of the police…

    • Yup, I do use gimbals – though not generally wearable ones.

      My two main gimbals are:

      Feiyu Tech G5 (primarily use it with the VIRB Ultra 30)
      GoPro Karma Grip (primarily use it with GoPro Hero 6).

      Today for example I was filming some stuff on the bike and used the Hero6+Karma Grip Gimbal.

      Btw, my reviews of both here:

      GoPro Gimbal: link to dcrainmaker.com
      FT G5 Gimbal: link to dcrainmaker.com

    • Rich

      Thanks for the reply and.. ah yes, so you do ;).
      For some reason searching failed me, which I suspect was a spelling mistake on my behalf.

    • No worries, I can’t spell the name half the time either.

  4. Amateur

    It’s difficult to choose only 6 favourites accessories. In my opinion the shorty is too short. I prefer the Polarpro Trippler as my go-to pole+tripod. It looks like the Shorty, but it’s as long as the 3-way (from 18 to 70 cm), it has rubberised grip and you can use it with gopros, smarthphones and dslr cameras.

    My favourite list could be:

    1. Polarpro Trippler
    2. Dual battery charger with battery
    3. Chest mount
    4. Bite mount with Floaty
    5. Gopro handlebar/seatpost mount
    6. Roll up case

    Extra: I don’t consider microSD card as an accessory because I only use one.

  5. Ian Marchant

    Hi,

    Anyone got any particular experience with multiport travel USB chargers? Whats currently recommended etc.?

    Just back from hols and we had

    3 Mobiles (One Quick Charge Capable)
    3 Tablets
    Action Camera
    Running Watch

    Kids are now getting to the point that they will have more and I can’t carry enough chargers and lead to keep up with it all next time. I am thinking of perhaps one of the 8 or 10 way units but don’t want to end up with something not worth the money.

    • Mark

      Just the other day I bought a small 4 port charger from ravpower off amazon. It’s not exactly travel – it sits on my desk. It’s maybe 3″ x 4″ x 0.75″ (75x100x15-20mm). It uses a standard power cord – the double rounded end like Sony and Microsoft both use for PS4/XB1, and it’ll take 100-240VAC in so doesn’t need a transformer.

      Charges my Pixel 2 XL in about 30 minutes with a pair of BT headphones plugged in too.

      Was gonna buy an Anker cause I’ve had great luck with their batteries, but this was a good bit cheaper.

    • Mark R.

      I recently bought the Anker 5 PowerPort+ 5 via Amazon link to amazon.co.uk

      Input is 100-240V via a 2 pin socket, taking a standard figure of eight mains cable so great for foreign travel.
      Output is 1x USB type C & 4x 2.4Amp USB PowerIQ ports.
      It’s a little bit heavy (~210 grams) as it has a metal case but so far really like it. I use the Type C for GoPro dual battery charger then standard USB for phone, Garmin and a CamCaddy 2 Universal charger.

      Based on this one I wouldn’t hesitate to get Anker’s 10 port version if I needed to charge more devices.

    • Ian Marchant

      Sounds good. Will take a look

    • Yup, I use the exact same one as Mark as well (US linkage: link to amzn.to). It’s great because it’ll power my MacBook or Windows laptop via USB-C, and then four other random things at full amperage. And it’s super lightweight for travel.

      I bought a few actually. One in the kitchen, one in the office, one for travel.

      I will note that the first batch I got from Amazon France were all bad, the USB-C port wouldn’t power my Macbook or really anything. However, Anker replaced them and all was good.

  6. Joel

    Micro SD to Lightning for the iphone – link to amzn.to

    Direct to camera roll / photostream. Works great. Mainly use it for DJI Spark and Yi Action cam video transfers. Then can always pull the footage into GoPro’s app if needed.

  7. Mark H

    Hi Ray,

    Looking at your underwater selfie, I was wondering if GoPro made any underwater remotes. I figure since they have a mic for voice recognition, a simple clicker would carry pretty well through the water a la clapper. And then dolphins would be able to take selfies too!

    • No, I think the challenge there is RF (Bluetooth primarily) via water doesn’t work more than about 2 inches or so. 🙁

    • Mark H

      That’s why I was thinking something audible to make use of the better sound transmission through water and the on board voice (noise) recognition.

      If worse comes to worse, just have a waterproof loud speaker enunciate “Take a photo” or whatever the GoPro recognizes.

  8. Mark H

    And another question: how do you find the long term durability of the keycain microSD card reader?

    I have two in front of me here that have both died, one that’s working intermittently, and others I’ve long since thrown away. All are different brands, three or four purchased retail, and others freebies that came with an SD card.

  9. Stephan

    Ray, have you had issues with the SanDisk Ultra card you linked? I don’t see it on the “GoPro compatible” list…I had an issue with the Karma Grip a while back (USB connected wouldn’t go away), and GoPro blamed it on my SD card. A non-sanctioned SanDisk, apparently.

    • No problems at all (and I’ve bought more of them than all of my Amazon accounts can count).

      Non-sanctioned cards are a huge issue though in the card world. I’ve even seen some solid fakes come through from various companies that have included MicroSD cards in their products in the past. And even on Amazon, fakes happen quite a bit. It’s a core reason I’ll only buy MicroSD/SD/etc cards on Amazon if fulfilled directly from Amazon without any 3rd party involved.

  10. Ian Marchant

    Sounds good. Will take a look

  11. Nicklas

    On the topic of losing SD cards – I got a couple of these and I love them. Also, thanks for the countless of hours of research you have saved me! Keep it up!

    link to amazon.com

  12. Brad

    I love to know about one other “accessory” – what software you use to edit Go Pro footage? So far I’ve found Go Pro’s editing software for PC frustrating to use, and footage file size too big to run on my iPhone or iPad.

    • I definitely don’t use GoPro’s software on the computer. 😉

      I use Final Cut Pro X, and occasionally Adobe Premier Pro.

      I do however somewhat sparingly use GoPro’s Quik software on the phone for super short sub-30 seconds social media type snippets.

    • Brad

      Thanks!

      I got a Hero 6 based 100% on your reviews (sourced from Clever Training). I tried to get the Go Pro computer software to work and it’s pretty much garbage. I would use iMovie on my iPad, but there’s not enough space for the footage.

    • Thanks for the support Brad!

      Yeah, to be honest, if there’s not enough space for iMovie, then you’ll quickly run into the next problem: Not enough space to transfer the footage over to the iPad (since you have to do that to edit it, you can’t do it on the unit itself).

      Don’t feel bad though, my iPad is in the same conundrum. Every time I have to update it…I’ve gotta find a bunch of stuff to delete before I can move forward. Sigh…

  13. Steven

    For editing videos, what settings do you use for export to YouTube? I end with reduced quality that’s hard to watch.

  14. Maddy

    Minor typo “Dakasi” instead of Dekasi (or DeKaSi). Can’t imagine to have this amount of SD cards, crazy!

  15. Hi Ray

    You say that you stick an SD card in a device and leave it there. Does that mean that you always transfer files using the device usb cable?

    I find that it is so much quicker transferring on USB 3 that I always take the card out of the device and transfer using a USB 3 card reader – so much quicker.

    (this is using Virb Elite and Virb 360 cameras which unfortunately are not USB 3).

    • Most of the time for GoPro cameras I take the SD card out and put it in a reader, transfer to an external drive, and then put it right back in again.*

      For Garmin VIRB cameras, I use the cable because out of habit it ensures all the extra files go along (even though if I did the card they do as well).

      *Wouldn’t it be cool if GoPro allowed you to simply connect USB-C to USB-C an external hard drive and offload that way? Just like Skydio does with their R1?

  16. Gennaro

    I have basically the same as Mark and Ray (1 USB-C and 4 normal USB) but RavPower rather than Anker. It’s awesome, I think the Anker will be as good. I also have several similar blocks (all ravpower), 4 and 6 porta but no usb-c. I have one sitting at work and three in different rooms of the house, all with cables attached. Also one 4 ports in the car with lighter plug. So basically I never need to think about cables.

  17. Nacrim

    Any chance that you know where one can still get the DeKaSi Seeker backpack? It seems like it is gone everywhere in the world o.O, finally legal problems with GoPro?

    • Hmm, you’re right, I can’t seem to find it either. Sometimes things come and go for inventory reasons.

      But in this case, if I look at my Amazon order history, I can’t even click on the specific SKU anymore in the order receipt (usually you can, but it shows as not available). Dang.