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Running With Your GoPro: Which Mounts Are Best?

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I’m kicking off a series of posts called “Running With Your GoPro.” My friend Liam recently asked me for some tips for running with a new GoPro he bought. And, after thinking about it, I realized that I get a lot of questions about what mounts to use, what settings are best, how to frame a shot, etc. so I think it’s high time to write a post about what I like, how I shoot and edit and generally what works for me. Keep in mind I’m not a professional by any stretch of the imagination. I am an enthusiast and I get lucky a lot, but I’ve learned some things along the way as well.

Assuming someone bought you a GoPro and/or you bought yourself one, you’re a runner and you want to know how to carry it during a training run or race, you’re in the right place.

So, without further preamble, here’s my guide to the GoPro mounts I use when I run (or not) and why I like them:

Typical photo taken with the Chesty while running.
Typical photo taken with the Chesty while running.

GoPro Chesty

While I like the Chesty because it fees up my hands, I find that the bouncing from running makes all of the pictures blurry. And even if I’m shooting video, I find that I can’t “flatten” the video enough to keep from getting nauseous during playback (more on that in another post). While the Chesty isn’t great for running, I do find it great for hiking or just walking around. Pro tip, if you’re using the Chesty, make sure to have a little extra padding under the camera mount, I got fairly chaffed running with it in the summer (with just a T-shirt) but was fine in the winter (with a pullover on over my T-shirt).

GoPro Wrist Housing
GoPro Wrist Housing

GoPro Wrist Housing

I bought and returned this mount after my first run with it. The housing wouldn’t let me position the camera in such a way that I could get good photos or video while running, and it just wasn’t comfortable. If I was a SCUBA diver and looking to capture photos under water, I bet this would be perfect.

Photo of my wife (far runner) and our friend Catherine taken with the GoPro Head Strap.
Photo of my wife (far runner) and our friend Catherine taken with the GoPro Head Strap.

GoPro Head Strap

I use this mount every once in a while, usually in cold weather when I’m wearing a hat (as someone with a shaved head, I find the strap can get irritating). I was pleasantly surprised at the lack of blurriness in the stills. And while the video tends to be a little shaky, it’s no so bad that it can’t be flattened in post production. The negative about this is on a long run the camera can start to feel a little heavy; you also need to remember that where ever you look, that’s what you shoot/record. Lastly, it’s hard to turn the camera on and off and change from video to still while moving. I like the head strap for 10Ks at the most.

When people see a GoPro on the course, you never know what they'll do and you can get some super fun pics.
When people see a GoPro on the course, you never know what they’ll do and you can get some super fun pics.

GoPro Three Way

I like this one. I like how compact it becomes and the fact that you can extend it from 7.5 to 20 inches. Extending the pole fully gets a nice perspective shot of the race (and sometime you can capture people behind you making funny faces). What I don’t like about this mount for running is that the extensions are “pre determined” meaning that there are only so many combinations you can choose. What I love about this is that it has legs that you can unscrew from the bottom and set up a tripod at the start or end of races rather than having to stand there holding the camera.

Kara Goucher taken with the GoPole Reach from 2 inches off the ground.
Kara Goucher taken with the GoPole Reach from 2 inches off the ground.

GoPole Reach

This is my “go-to” mount. I’ve carried it in races from 3Ks to marathons and captured some of my best video and stills with it. I’ve used it to capture videos and stills from above my head, down by my feet facing both forward and backwards. It extends from 14-40 inches without any restrictions – meaning, you can choose any length within that range. The locking mechanism works by twisting the sections of the pole in opposite directions – the only bummer is that it can be hard to twist the aluminum if you’re wearing gloves without any grippy stuff on them, or you’re super sweaty. Pro tip: I’ve compensated by putting about an inch of black Gaffer’s tape at the top of each section and it’s worked like a charm.

IMG_5308.JPGMy Hand

As basic and simple as it sounds, I’ve found that carrying the GoPro in my hand is sometimes the best option. I can point it in any direction, I can turn it on and off at will. I can change from video to still whenever I want and I can easily tuck it into a SpiBelt and forget about it for a while. I’ve never enjoyed having to carry anything in my hands while running and have had to train myself to use most of the mounts I listed about. But if I just carry it in my hand, I can put it away and forget about it for a while.

I’ll update this post as more mounts are released that work for running, but at present, I think this list is pretty accurate for what’s out there.On the subject of photography while running, I’ve put a post together with some of my favorite GoPro photos. You can find it here.
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4 Comments

  1. Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I'll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.

  2. I've been back and forth about whether to get a GoPro for months. I'm not sure whether I want to spring for it. Are there any affordale, still good quality competitors? I will say one of the things I love about your site, is all the photography and video. I'm leaning towards a purchase of some kind. Any advice?

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