Using A GoPro For Travel With Kids

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So, you are thinking of getting a kids Go Pro or a Go Pro for family travel?  I’ve shared here some of the practical experiences we have had in having a Go Pro for Kids and is basically the information  I WISH I had read before I forked out for the absolutely highly recommended GoPro HERO5.

Oh yeah, spoiler alert, we bought Go Pro Hero 5!

I am not a tech-savvy person, and before buying this particular model of Go Pro I did loads of research online and bought a number of different accessories that, after numerous videos and blogs, I was convinced I needed.  Did I actually NEED them?  Read on, I might save you some money!

Using A GoPro For Travel With Kids
The Go Pro is great for little hands

So You Want To Buy A Go Pro For Kids

I have to be honest, I am a pretty frugal parent, and also not very tech-savvy – so when I started considering a kids Gopro, it was a pretty big deal.

In short, kids these days are far more tech-savvy than their parents, and they see the world differently.  I want the best for my kids.  I thought having access to the latest technology was pretty important.  On the other hand, Go Pros are several hundreds of dollars and that seemed like a big investment for a kid’s action camera!

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Using A GoPro For Travel With Kids
The Go Pro creates unique memories in awesome places.

What Are The Pros Of A GoPro For Kids

Go Pros Are Sturdy And Durable

The Go Pro is an action camera.  It is designed to experience a bit of rough and tumble.   Now, obviously, there is a limit to what you can do to a Go Pro and have it survive.  I will say that we’ve had a kids Go Pro for about 4 years and it’s survived a decent amount of kids rough and tumble.

Go Pros Are Little And Compact

When we were considering our Go Pro (for kids, but also for family travel) I could not believe how small it was.  It fits in the palm of my hand.  Turns out because the Go Pro is little; it is perfect for small hands and nimble fingers.

Go Pros Are Waterproof And Go Underwater

Hands down this is my favorite feature.  This is what the kids use the Go Pro for most.  They love taking the camera into the water and taking goofy pictures of themselves swimming.  They also like taking pictures of marine life when we are snorkeling.

Go Pro For Kids
Climbing up on rocks with the Go Pro

Go Pros Can Take Some Funky Pictures

It is true that kids see the world differently than adults.  The Go Pro really helps with that.  There are a number of different angle lens settings, including a really wide-angle lens.  I know that there are people out there that don’t like the wide-angle lens but my kids and I love it.

You Can Mount Go Pro Cameras 

One of the major positives of a Go Pro Camera is that they are little and they are mountable.  That means that if you have the right accessories you can clip it onto your hat, shirt, backpack strap, or bike handles.  I am not exaggerating when I say that the options for mounting a Go Pro are only limited to what you can buy.  In terms of a Go Pro camera for kids, having a mount on their hat means that they can take photos without having to carry the camera.  You know how kids get tired of carrying cameras – now your problem is solved!

Go Pro For Kids
Filming his own YouTube adventure

You Can Take A Kids Go Pro Everywhere

Seriously, the Go Pro is so small you can take it everywhere.  It easily fits in the bottom of my purse or handbag and is a lot smaller than my phone.  Although I still have my phone with me as well … because you know… it’s my phone!

Film Footage Can Be Very Steady

Honestly, I have not encouraged my kids to take much footage with the Go Pro.  However, if you film with a gimble, you will find that the video comes out of high quality and not at all wobbly!

Using A GoPro For Travel With Kids

What Are The Cons Of Getting A GoPro For Kids

Go Pro Cameras Are Not Point And Shoot

Point and shoot cameras are the best cameras for kids.  In my experience, that is not what a kids Go Pro experience is like.

A Go Pro Camera For Kids Requires Learning

If you are not very tech-savvy and your kids are younger, be prepared to do some learning.   It’s probably ok for teens!

I think I am a fairly typical 40-something mother.  I manage with new technology, but I don’t embrace it.  I’m a bit of a dinosaur, but if given a push and some time, can capably learn.

In short, I can’t just watch one or two tutorials on how to use something and then go out and use it.  Especially not when most of the time my traveling companions are curious, active, and impatient.  There is simply no time to “play around” with the settings.

GoPro For Kids
He was taking pics of the people on the other side of the Valley

SD Cards Can Quickly Fill Up 

Again, related to the settings, make sure you have the film and photos on lower resolution settings or you will find you fill up the card very quickly.

Someone Needs To Edit All The Video Footage (Or not!)

Again this depends on your kid’s age.  Don’t get me wrong, I love to encourage the kid’s creativity and autonomy by them making little videos. On the other hand, they have been known to film 20 minutes of their feet with a strange little commentary.

As a busy mother of 3, I find myself needing to delete to make space.  So keep in mind you have to manage the kids Go Pro (unless they are older).

Go Pro For Kids
Oops! See the finger! other than that, a lovely picture for our family album. (walking in the Daintree Rainforest)

 Battery Length

 One downside, I think is the battery length.  You need a spare (or battery pack) if using a lot and out exploring with limited charging facilities.

Voice commands are COOL

We love that the voice activation allows family pictures which we don’t always get.  However, while the voice commands are a definite bonus of a Go Pro for kids, you might also find that it doesn’t work that well with the kids.  They don’t speak particularly clearly and that makes the voice commands difficult to use.

Kids Go Pro
Bamboo rafting in Thailand. It’s great to have a waterproof camera for activities like this one.

Tips Before Letting The Kids “Go Pro”

Ha-ha is that a verb, “to Go Pro”?  Probably in this day and age yes, it’s a verb and that is why I have let my kids have our family Go Pro.  Ok, the photos aren’t the most beautiful, but they are learning important technology skills.

I recently became a single mum after the devastating death of my partner.  Our family had the Go Pro, a Drone, plus a DSLR camera, and our iPhones.  As a single mum of 3 kids, I have only got so many hands and attention.  Most of the time I only take my iPhone on outings as the DSLR is another thing to carry.  Therefore in this world of too much tech, I am happy for the Go Pro to be the kids’ camera.

Kids Go Pro
The kids love using the Go Pro at water slides

Shall I Call It The Children’s Go Pro

At the moment my kids are aged 10 and 7.  Our family Go Pro is still very much “the family’s” and not the kids Go Pro.  I can see that changing soon, as my daughter gets older.  When she is older I look forward to giving her responsibility for the camera.  This means that, yes, she will be looking after an expensive piece of equipment.  I think that this is a part of growing up.

Discuss Being Responsible Before Giving The Kids A Go Pro

The Go Pro for kids is NOT a toy.  If we wanted to get them a toy kid-friendly action camera we could have.  There are a few on the market (eg, VTech Kidizoom, which is made specifically for kids. It is supposed to be an action camera for younger kids (4-9 years old).  Or there is the AKAMATE Kids’ Action Camera that even comes in different colors and is waterproof like the Go Pro for kids.

Learn What Settings Are Best For The Kids Go Pro

Definitely make sure you set the camera settings in a way that you don’t end up with massive amounts of photos or footage.

Consider Planning Photos In Advance

With its voice activation, there are some cool pictures you can get as a family.  Have a family brainstorm about some of the things you could do together.

  • Using a mounting attach the camera to a tree branch or even the top of a playground (be creative!) and lay on the ground looking up.  Or lay in a circle, with your heads touching!
  • In a reversal of the picture above, stand above the camera in a circle.
  • Walk towards the camera, step by step.  It makes a good family shot, especially if the little kids are running ahead.

To Make The Go Pro Sturdier, Keep The Frame On The Go Pro

The Go Pro has a frame which is used for mounting it on the various Go Pro accessories. I personally keep the frame on the camera at all times as it can protect the camera from bumps and drops.

pros and cons of a kids Go Pro

What Go Pro Accessories Do You Need

GoPro The Handler Floating Hand Grip 

This floating hand grip is good for land filming (keeping your hand steady) and if you should drop it in the water (as the kids do) the orange end of the handle comes to the surface, making it easy to locate.  This is a great GoPro kids accessory.

The Go Pro Handler Floating grip is also marketed as the GoPole Blobber.

The Dome Port

Firstly, the Dome Port is not a GoPro product.  It is a split housing that works with your GoPro camera and sits in front of the camera lens. When used on the waterline, the camera, located inside the Dome Port photographs what is above the water’s surface while reconstructing a “virtual image” of what’s below the surface.   I understand that the Dome Port is responsible for many of the very cool water pictures you see on Instagram.

Don’t think that you are going to just pop on the Dome Port and start taking “to die for” pictures.   It needs a lot of practice.  The port itself is pretty huge and also a quite fragile-looking piece of equipment.  We have carried it in its box and packaging to date – which measures 8inches (20cm) x 7.5 inches (19cm) x 5.5inches (14cm) high! (That is a lot of space in a suitcase or backpack.)

There are Dome Port carriers on the market and while I wouldn’t rush in and get one immediately, certainly consider that they will reduce the space in your bag a bit.

We have been looking at this particular Dome Port on Amazon.

Practice how to use the Dome Port BEFORE you go on holidays or are at that gorgeous destination.  Learn how to keep the lens clean – or be prepared to Photoshop the images.  It was hard to get a clear shot for me.

This shot we got in Fiji is amazing, but it took a lot of work!  It took maybe 50 shots, and a few by-passes with the kayak, all the while mumma was jumping neck high waves.  It is not easy to get the perfect shot.

Accessories We Purchased But Don’t Use Much

Scenelapse 360-Degree 

Scenelapse spins up to 360 degrees in 60 minutes and you use it to take panorama photos & video.  I thought it would be ace to set it going and then play with the kids. We haven’t done a successful photo yet!

PolarPro StrapMount

We bought this strap mount as it was multipurpose and could be used on a backpack, scuba BCD, life vest, Camelback, etc.  Additionally, the quick-release plate lets you quickly remove the camera.

Another great device that we haven’t quite worked out how to use.

GoPro Casey Carrying Case

gopro for kids

We purchased the Casey which is an amazing carry case.  It is weather-resistant and in a semi-rigid shell.  The case includes a custom compartment which means that I ended up storing DSLR lenses in it as well as Go Pro accessories.

It does keep all your GoPro pieces in one place, but on the negative side uses quite a lot of space in the bags, especially alongside the Dome Port.

However, most of the time I just pop the GoPro, attached to its  GoPro The Handler Floating Hand Grip into an old sock, and pop it at the bottom of my backpack or bag.  The actual case is too big, with too much unnecessary stuff

What’s The Best Go Pro For Kids

So… did I mention earlier that I am not tech-savvy? Oh, I did…?

Yes, that’s right I am a normal Mumma who finds tech overwhelming.  I am not going to make recommendations here about what is the “best Go Pro for kids”, because quite simply there are loads of buying guides out there that explain the different types of Go Pro cameras.  As with many families, budget is an important consideration, and how much you want to spend on your kid’s action camera!

In short, older kids are going to enjoy more functionality.  They are, presumably, going to be more reliable (and not lose or damage it).  Smaller kids (like those under 8 years old) don’t need all the functionality and really just want to play.  I seriously think you don’t have to spend a lot of dosh (money) to get a good Go Pro for your kids.

As I said, we have a Go Pro Hero 5, and it is functional and sturdy.  If and when I buy a new GoPro for kids, then likely I would get the Go Pro Hero 7 as I understand that it has a better screen.  I don’t know about the kids but one of the most challenging things for me is that lack of a screen or finder to work out what I am taking a picture of!

The Best Go Pro For Kids
Dome port shot in the Mossman Gorge, notice the water drops on the Port lens.

How Much Tech Do You Need

When on holiday we need to make an active decision about which tech we should take.  Is the destination appropriate for drone or more action-oriented?  Would it lend itself to great photos with our Canon 6D?  Obviously, if there is underwater action involved, the GoPro is a no-brainer.

However, in making decisions like these it changes our family holiday into something a little less spontaneous and this was something less enjoyable about our 2017 trips.  In 2018, our year of scaling back and simplicity, I tend to just take the iPhone 7 plus so I can whip it out and snap a picture while capturing the moments that make childhood so special.  And – gasp – often I leave the phone in the car so we can be fully present in the moment.

I do love using the Go Pro when traveling but I don’t like dealing with all the footage later, and I think that’s something to consider.

The Best Go Pro For Kids
I always feel happy when we use the Go Pro with the floating handle on outings like this.

 

What’s The Verdict – Go Pro For Kids

If you have the budget, and the inclination to learn to use a new camera, then a Go Pro for kids awesome.  I would suggest a GoPro, not another type of action camera that has less functionality and quality.

To date, our Go Pro has held up well in the hands of my kids.  We have some great pictures to show from our travels, documented through the eyes of a child!

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Using A GoPro For Travel With Kids

 

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Travels with Kids

7 comments

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  • Such a handy read. I’ve got a GoPro Hero5 and don’t use it enough. Mainly because of the impatience of the little people – they are only up for one round of photos and video. I usually use my iPhone 7 for rushed pictures and video. We did get the GoPro out for some shots at the beach and in the pool on our last holiday though. I’m yet to edit them and see the full results! I might look into the GoPro holder for smoother footage #fearlessfamtrav

    • Yes that is it. Little ones can only be photographed for pretty limited times… and not with a mother saying “wait, i have to figure out these settings!” So it hasn’t worked particularly well for us yet.

  • I’ve been ummming and ahhhhing about a GoPro for too long. I tried the Akaso on our trip to Iceland, thinking it was a good alternative, but I was really disappointed with the photos (video fine). But maybe that’s because I haven’t taken the time to learn the functionality. Maybe one day I’ll treat myself to a GoPro….. #fearlessfamtrav

    • And that’s the whole thing, as a parent with kids… who has time to learn functionality. At least that is my take home message. (I hope!)

  • We love our GoPro although probably don’t use it enough! It comes into its own in/on water, when we’re hiking or when we go skiing. Thanks so much for joining #fearlessfamtrav this time around.