Backing-up Photos while Traveling

We take quite a few photos on the road and since our camera has a single SD card slot, I like to make a backup of our photos at the end of each day. Should a SD card fail it is at most a day out of a holiday rather than the entire journey lost.

I also take photos in RAW format which means a holiday normally requires in excess of 100GB per backup set in storage.

In the past I used a laptop to move the photos from camera to two external portable hard drives, but as the camera gear gets heavier and cabin luggage limits remain constant I looked to a smaller form factor solution.

This is my setup:

  • Android Smartphone
  • Powered USB Hub
  • SD Card Reader
  • USB OTG Cable
  • 2x Portable Hard Drives
Card Reader, USB hub, 2 * Hard Drives and Android Phone.


I use the ES File Explorer File Manager app (free) to manage my files (three screenshots from my workflow).

The ES File Manger app turned into bloat ware to the point where I decided to get rid of it. These days I use the Files Manager app by Asus Computer Inc.

Since I shoot in Canon RAW, I also needed an app that can display these files and I chose Photo Mate R2/R3.

Screenshot – RAW Detail in Photo Mate R2


Important to note that:

  • The hard drives needs to be formatted in FAT32 (a utility to format large drives as FAT32 is required).
  • The USB hub must be a powered hub as the phone cannot supply sufficient power to the drives.
  • The phone does not charge in this mode, so sufficient battery power is required.
  • Phone must have USB OTG (on the go) support.