Copy and back up photos and videos from SD card as a backpacker without a notebook

There are 4 weeks of backpacker holidays on Bali ahead of us. To save weight we travel without Macbook and Co., but with drone and camera equipment.

But what is the most reliable way to back up the files from the SD cards on the way?

Small, lightweight helper for fast data backup

We found our solution to this problem in the WD My Passport Wireless Pro 4TB.

The external hard drive can copy files from SD cards via an integrated SD card reader. All it takes is the touch of a button. In addition, the external hard drive can also accept files via wireless connection, which we simply don’t use ourselves. This is because, in my opinion, no data transfer is as fast and secure as via high-speed USB 3.0 connection or directly via integrated card reader.

With dimensions of 12.6 x 12.6 x 2.4 cm and a weight of 450 gr. it fits well into our travel backpacks. The device is about the size of a Discman, so it doesn’t take up too much space in your luggage.

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Backup even in the jungle without electricity

The special thing about this external backup solution is the integrated 6,400 mAh battery, which allows us to copy files to the hard disk for up to 10 hours. This enables us to make backup copies of our drone recordings and photos even after days without power supply, thus creating space on our SD cards again.

The integrated battery is, despite the sufficient runtime, still small enough to be taken on board by any airline without any problems and does not add unnecessary weight to our backpacks in our luggage.

Quick backup of the SD card (with a little practice)

The device has two rectangular buttons. While the first button turns the hard disk on and off, the second button controls the copy process from the SD card. If we press the SD card button long, the contents of the memory card are copied to the hard disk.

Depending on how the hard disk was previously configured, either the complete contents of the SD card will be transferred to a new folder on the hard disk 1-to-1, or alternatively only those files will be copied that have been newly added to the SD card since the last backup. This differential transfer mode sounds good at first, but there are some dangers.

If files are transferred from several SD cards from different devices, the backup logic can get confused and possibly not backup data because a similar file with the same name has already been backed up.

Thus, those who back up their SD card to the hard disk and then format the memory card run the risk that the next backup process will not back up the photos created after formatting, as the numbering of the photos might start from zero again.

Some similar experiences of other users can be read in this thread: https://community.wd.com/t/backup-of-multiple-cards-creates-a-mess/216040/25

For this reason the differential transmission is not acceptable for us. We back up the complete contents of our SD cards to a new folder every day. This way the external disk does not get mixed up with the SD cards from two DSLRs and the video drone.

Due to the use of the 1-to-1 copy mode, we naturally use more memory than actually necessary, which is why it only makes sense for us to use the 4TB variant. In order not to run out of memory too quickly, we delete any duplicates manually from the hard disk via iPhone app.

No matter which way we choose, once the data transfer has been initiated, the four status LEDs on the upper side show the progress of the copy process.

Dust and waterproof – if you put it in a plastic bag

The only drawback of the “WD My Passport Wireless Pro 4TB” is the lack of protection against water and dust, which would be of interest during a backpacking trip in tropical climates. As a workaround, we simply pack the hard disk in a sealable plastic bag, as it is also used for liquids in hand luggage. Problem solved.

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Another option, but more expensive: Gnarbox

The GNARBOX 2.0 SSD is a robust backup device for professional users who need a reliable way to back up their files on site. Unlike other storage solutions, it is able to manage files without a laptop thanks to its compact design and powerful integrated backup functions.

With an internal SSD with up to 1 TB storage capacity, one SD slot, two USB-C ports, the GNARBOX saves time and is a reliable companion.

Link to Gnarbox (Amazon Affiliate Link)

All the links in this text are Amazon Affiliate Links, and by clicking on an affiliate link I will earn a percentage of your subsequent Amazon purchases. However, this circumstance does not influence the background of my product recommendation. This product recommendation is independent, honest and sincere. 

Bei allen genannten Links handelt es sich um Amazon-Affiliate-Links. Durch einen Klick auf einen Affiliate-Link werde ich prozentual an Euren darauf folgenden Amazon-Einkäufen beteiligt. Dieser Umstand beeinflusst aber nicht die Hintergründe meiner Produktempfehlung. Diese Produktempfehlung erfolgt unabhängig, ehrlich und aufrichtig.