For Travel Backup SD cards without a Computer!

April 01, 2022  •  2 Comments

Hey Everyone! Today I'm talking about a topic that I've been trying to perfect for the last couple of years.  Backing up my SD cards without using a computer. Why you ask? Well when traveling especially if I'm only going for a few days up to a week or so I would like to do so without my computer.  It seems the only thing I use my computer for is backing up my SD cards to an external hard drive. Especially if your Laptop is your main computer what would you do if it got stolen or damaged? I've got a large trip for me coming up in a couple of months that I am going to be so busy traveling and taking photo's and video that I won't have time to do anything but photograph eat and sleep.  Most of my trips are like this .  Go,Go,Go!  I want to see and photograph all I can and then edit when I get home.  Taking a bulky computer with me just to backup an SD card seems like a waste of time , space and weight.  So for the last couple of years I have tried different things but always come back to using my computer.  The first thing I tried was a small Windows based tablet.  I could get my cards backed up but the tablet was so weak that it couldn't do anything else except browse the web.  So I quit using it.  I tried a wireless SSD that I could plug my card into and it would backup my card and I could access my files via WIFI.  This worked but was very slow and costly.  The unit cost a few hundred dollars and it was clunky.  This year I'm going to try something new. Actually two things.  The first is that since I have been trying this ,IOS (Apple devices) have come up with a filing system.  So I can plug in a hub via lightning port and copy files from SD Card to SSD drive. The other is a small file sharing hub/server that you can transfer SD card to SSD drive without having the IOS device plugged in.  It copies everything off of the SD card into a Time Stamped folder on the SSD,  Then you can access the hub via your IOS device and edit photo's with your iPhone or iPad.  These two methods are the ones I'm going to use on my upcoming trip. Then I can choose a photo to edit if I want to to put on Social media while I'm gone using my iPad or iPhone and LightRoom the mobile version. Let me explain how I plan to employ these two methods.  

First Method.  Using iPad/IOS filing system to transfer info from SD to SSD.  First you will need a hub that contains a SD card slot and a USB slot or USB C slot so you can connect a SSD drive to your hub and plug in the SD card at the same time.  The hub I purchased from Amazon has both of these slots and some more micro SD , HDMI, and another USB slot.  It has a lightning connector because my phone I use and my iPad both use the same slot.  I have an iPad Mini 5 and a iPhone SE 2021 version.  I could uses either of these to do the transfer process.  Its real simple you connect everything to the hub ( SD card and SSD drive) and hook the hub to the IOS device.  Then you go to the file app on phone or iPad and the different drives will be shown.  You can go to the SD card and find the file that has your photos in it and copy that file.  Then you can go to the SSD drive and either copy directly to the drive or create a file and name it with the date and paste the file you copied to the SSD drive.  I did a test run last night with a SD card that had 92 raw files from my Sony A6500 and it took about 3 min.  One thing to note is that when you first hook up your hub it might take a min or so for the devices to populate depending on size.  I hooked up this 64 gig card and it populated pretty fast but a 1 TB Drive took a few min to populate.  I think the iPad was scanning the disk and it just took a while to get through the 1TB.  But after they populated it was easy to backup the SD card.  Now I shoot one card per day.  So my original SD card is one copy and the copy I put on the SSD drive is the second copy.  One copy will go on checked baggage and the other will go with me on the plane when I go home.  I put a fresh newly formatted card in my camera for the next day.  SD cards are fairly cheep and I can use one or two per day and fresh ones on the next day.

The next option is the RAV Power File Hub wireless travel Router. There are Four things you can do with this device. (1st) its is a backup battery source.(not a large one at 6700mah battery) (2nd )it can act as a wireless router from a wired ethernet cable or (3rd) it can be hooked up to wireless intent say at a hotel and be a secure WIFI with another layer of security. You don't have to subscribe to some sort of VPN service. With this device you can do many things but the main thing I want to do with it is (4th) backup my SD cards.  To use you simply Plug in your SD card and your SSD drive hold in the transfer button for 5 seconds and the device will copy everything off of your SD card to your External Drive into a Time Stamped File.  You can then access your files via WIFI and edit them on your device.  This is pretty cool .  The very cool part is that its only 60 bucks.  There are fancier devices that can do this but they can cost up to 800 dollars for a 1TB drive one that they don't even make anymore.   The draw backs are that transfer times of data are not as fast as a laptop.  But it's not terrible. Maybe only a minute or two longer from SD to SSD.  But you can choose what hard drive you want to go to by hooking up any drive you have to it. So it's versatile . The size of this device is small at 4.4 X 3 X .9 inches weighing only 7 ounces. 

I will be taking both of these devices with me on my trip. That way I will have a backup if something goes wrong with one of the devices.  But they are so small compared to Laptop and charging cord. This system of backing up my files and being to access them wirelessly to edit one or two while I travel should work great. I am testing as we speak but you never know until you use it in the field for the first time. I will let you know how it goes. So until next week Get out and shoot!








Hello there. Nice article.
Hope your trip was good. Any updates which version worked for?
Have a great day!, oh maybe it was an Aprils fool thing. got me
I was contemplating of buying the RAV Power File Hub to use on my next trip. Have you returned from your trip using the device? I would love to know your experience with it and the pros and cons of using it.
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