YouTube Gear List

Have you ever thought about creating YouTube videos? Not sure what gear to get? This post details my YouTube gear list for my archaeology and booktube channels to help you determine what might work best for you.

I’ve organized it based on the following functions: camera, audio, tripod, lighting, and software for video production.

In general, I tend to choose options that are easy to use, cost-effective, and travel well.

Note on Affiliate Links

In this post, I use affiliate links for many linked products (see my Affiliate Disclosure for more information). If you click on one of my affiliate links and buy the product, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost. Thanks in advance for your support 🙂

YouTube Gear List


A camera of some sort is needed to capture video. Currently, I keep my operation simple and use my iPhone 14 Pro.

Sometimes folx like to have two cameras if they teach something and want to show two shots. Personally, if I needed a 2nd camera I would either borrow my husband’s iPhone or use my photography camera (Fujifilm X-T20 w/18-55mm lens).

iPhone 14 Pro (~$1000+) – I shoot in 4K Cinematic mode, and I’m happy with the video quality. Also, I use it as my phone so I appreciate the multi-functionality.I’m happy with my current camera setup.Sony ZV-E10 (~$800)- All-around popular mid-tier choice.

Sony a7c (~$1500) – All-around popular upper-tier choice

Sony ZV1 (~$700) or more compact Sony ZV1F (~$500) – Popular for vlogging and on-the-go filming.

Canon EOS-R10 (~$1000) – Good for vlogging and shaky footage.

Sony ZV-E1 (~$2200) – Full-frame vlogging camera with interchangeable lens.
MacBook Pro (~$1700+) – I used my computer camera to see myself as I recorded my first few videos. I still use this camera if I’m recording on


Audio quality increases when you keep a mic as close to you as possible. I started off by stringing a lavalier mic under my shirt, which worked well for my sit-down videos. I recently changed to a DJI Wireless Lav Mic, which is super easy to use and I can finagle it under my shirt.

Other options include mounting a mic to a boom pole outside your video shot.

Some folx opt for an external audio recorder and sync it up with the video in post-production. I might explore that down the line.

DJI Wireless Lav Mic (~$330) – I can finagle this under my shirt if I’m wearing a loose sweatshirt. The sound quality is excellent, and I can connect it straight to my iPhone. It will also be handy when travelling. N/ARode VideoMicro (~$50) & Rode Video Mic GO II (~$100) – Popular camera-mounted options that can also be put on a boom.

Shure MV88 (~$200) – Popular USB mic.

Rode Video Mic Pro (~220) – Popular mid-tier mic.
Boya Lavalier Mic with wires (~$15) – I just put this under my shirt and connect it straight to my iPhone.


When using a smartphone or a camera, you usually need a tripod to mount the device and keep the shot steady and stable.

I had two tripods at home; they didn’t work for me. One was a flexible off-brand gorilla tripod, which wasn’t stable. The second was a random standard tripod that was really hard to center and level. I ended up going with two slightly more premium options.

Peak Design Travel Tripod (~$380 or ~$750 depending on material) – I got the Carbon Fiber version, and it’s super easy to deploy. I also invested in the Mobile Creator Kit, which really secures my phone when filming.

Peak Design Mobile Tripod (~$80) – I really enjoy this little tripod, which magnetically attaches to my phone’s back. It’s easy to take around and shooting when travelling.
N/AJoby GorillaPod tripods (~$15-$180) and Manfrotto tripods (~$19-$200) are popular options for video. They both have versions for smartphones, cameras, travel, etc.N/A


I mainly rely on sunlight, a small dimmable LED light, and my happy light for my lighting.

Lighting is quite important in enhancing video quality. Many creators use a light stand, dimmable LED lights, and soft boxes for their lighting setup.

I hope to learn more about lighting in the future and keep optimizing my lighting.

Aputure AL-MC RGBWW Mini (~$90) – I prop this up nearby my camera setup to try to create some extra dimension when I film. This is super travel-friendly and doesn’t require a cord to work, but it needs to be charged.

Verilux HappyLight Luxe (~70) – I bought this as a tool to help manage my depression, but it turned out to be a nice light for filming. It’s the size of a thin tablet so easy to transport, but it needs to be plugged into an outlet to work.
Perhaps an Aputure setup.Aputure is a premium lighting brand and quite popular.N/A

Software for Video Production

I use a few programs to enhance the quality of my videos. The chart below shares what I use, why, and how to get the best deals on these programs.

Pro version
video editing – A-CutI never properly edited videos before creating my archaeology channel. Descript made it feel accessible as it was pretty much like editing a Word document. Also, the sound quality is excellent using Studio Sound! It makes creating subtitles and transcripts for all my videos super easy. If I have questions, I pose it on their Discord page, and the community there is supportive and encouraging. While Descript is not as robust as Adobe Premiere Pro (which I sometimes use for my booktube channel) for my ) or Final Cut Pro, it makes it easy to start and keep going (especially with the A-cut). I have a video editor now, but I still do the A-Cut myself in Descript.Monthly or Yearly Plans:

– Paying annually vs. monthly saves you 20%

– Creator version discounts for students, educators, and non-profits

– There is a free trial to test the Pro version

– Not aware of discount codes.

Epidemic Sound
Personal Plan
royalty-free background music and sound effectsI was shocked at how much of a difference music made, even in my first videos. I’m keen to learn more about sound design.Monthly or Yearly Plans:

– Paying annually vs. monthly saves you 44% on the personal plan and 50% on commercial plans

– For a free trial of Epidemic Sound, click here

– It’s worth looking for a coupon/promotional code if you decide to continue after the free trial (I don’t have a code yet).
(Teams version)
graphic creationI use Canva for graphics and various b-rollMonthly or Yearly Plans:

– Paying annually vs. monthly saves you 16%

– Educators and schools can get Canva for Education for free

– Not aware of any discount codes
Pro version
record video featuring guestsThe video and sound quality are quite good, especially compared to Zoom recordings. My video guests have found it easy to use too. Their customer service is also quick to resolve potential issues.Monthly or Yearly Plans:

– Paying annually vs. monthly saves you up to 21%

– It’s worth looking for discount/promo codes (I don’t have a code yet, but you can use any code you find with my affiliate link).
Free Version
organize video production workflowNotion helps me organize my workflow and communicate with my team. While I use the free version, I will upgrade to the Plus or Business version as I build my team.Monthly or Yearly Plans:

– Paying annually vs. monthly saves you 16-20%

– Free version is very robust

– Students and educators can get the Plus plan for free

– Might be worth searching for promo codes
GoGeek Plan
website hostingI have a blog post on this website for each YouTube video I create, including the video, full transcript, and relevant links. I’ve used SiteGround for this site for years, and while pricier than other options, the service and quality make it worth it.Normal rates range from $14.99-39.99/month

SiteGround offers heavily discounted introductory offers (~80% off) if you pay for your contract period upfront. I suggest starting with the bare minimum plan you need and lock in the rate for 3 years. When it comes to renewing, consider upgrading to the next tier for a discounted rate (might have to chat with customer service about this). Whether you upgrade or not, you get the best renewal discount if you lock in for the maximum years possible and pay the lump sum).

– Not aware of promo codes, but worth a check on the SiteGround site.
NordVPNcyber security while travellingIn the past, I would use free VPNs when travelling; however, I decided to pay for a reputable service. When editing videos and accessing various account info when travelling, I want to ensure my data is secure. NordVPN offers a cost-effective and easy-to-use solution for my computer and smartphone. Monthly and Yearly plans range from $3.49-16.49/month

– There is a free trial.

– They run a lot of deals so lock in for as long as you can.

– Definitely search around and check for the best deal. Here is my affiliate offer for NordVPN (but go with the best price you can find!).

personal organizationI’ve been using Todoist as my personal to-do list since my graduate school days. I love that entering items and putting in dates is seamless, especially for recurring items. While I’ve paid for the Pro version for years, the Beginner (aka free) version is a great place to start and offers a lot.Monthly or Yearly Plans:

– Paying annually vs. monthly saves you $1-$2/month

– Discount codes are not common, but the free version is a good place to start before paying for a subscription

YouTube Training

Prior to February 2023, I had no experience making videos on YouTube. I was overwhelmed by a lot of information by perusing YouTube videos on how to do YouTube. I decided to enroll in the Part-Time YouTuber Academy (PTYA) – Accelerator Version.

PTYA curated the necessary information I needed to get started and a host of other helpful resources. I enrolled in the Accelerator Version for one year (March 2023 – March 2024) to get video/channel feedback, answer my burning questions, and better connect with others. Starting in March 2023, I will have access to the self-paced Academy Version, which I imagine will be helpful too.

While I don’t think you need PTYA to get started on YouTube, it certainly helped me get a strong start and rapid improvement in the quality of my videos.

Closing Thoughts

Starting and staying consistent with YouTube is both a challenging and rewarding experience. Especially in the beginning stages, having easy-to-use and cost-effective gear makes things a lot easier. I’ll keep this post updated as I iterate on my system, but feel free to drop any questions or comments below!

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Smiti Nathan

I’m an archaeologist that travels around the world for both work and pleasure. I have a penchant for exploring ancient and modern places and the people, plants, and foods entangled in them. I write about archaeology, travel, and productivity.



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