Shopping for a drone pilot this holiday season? Check out our list of must-have drone accessories and gift ideas. Whether you’re shopping for a first-time flyer or a veteran pilot, these products are sure to please the drone-lover in your life.
Piloting a drone can be as exciting as it is perilous. Trees, waterfalls, rocks: They’re fun to fly around, but a total bummer (and sometimes catastrophic) to fly into. To avoid a premature and possibly permanent grounding, be sure to keep plenty of spare and replacement parts handy, especially props and additional batteries. Depending on where I’m flying, sometimes I’ll even bring additional hardware pieces, like motors or arms. My general rule is: If it can fail or fall off, always pack a spare.
Protective Case or Backpack
Let's face it: Being a drone pilot isn't cheap. Even so-called "beginner" drones tend to require a fairly substantial investment. If you're looking to protect that investment, we recommend a protective hard case.
Popular brands like Nanuk and Pelican feature huge catalogs of drone hard cases, each with options that will safeguard your drone and drone accessories from just about every conceivable threat or hazard: weather, drops, etc. They even offer watertight cases that will float if they somehow end up in water.
Both companies offer drone-specific cases that’ll support just about every drone model under the sun, or you can purchase a separate foam insert and cut it to fit your gear needs.
Beyond the adrenaline and the thrill, one of the great things about going on an adventure is capturing the endeavor on film. And if you are looking to snag some shots from the sky, be sure to bring the right accessories to bolster your drone’s performance. Chief among those camera accessories are drone filters, which can enhance footage and allow you to shoot in different types of environments, weather, and light levels. Brands like Freewell and PolarPro offer lots of drone lens-filter options for various flyers, while drone manufacturers like DJI also make filters specific to their vehicle’s specifications.
By now, you’ve probably gleaned that “adventure” is kind of synonymous with “danger,” in that adventures have an inherent risk factor built into them. If you’re concerned about your drone’s well-being, consider some additional safety measures, like prop guards or even an emergency parachute.
For pilots who frequently fly in more treacherous terrain, a drone pad makes an excellent gift. Drone pads provide a safer and more stable launching and landing pad than their environment might provide.
Warning lights are another worthwhile safety measure that make a great gift. Products like the Strobe Anti-Collision Light from Lume Cube allow pilots to fly their drone safely at night—while also observing FAA guidelines.
(Not) Breaking the Law
Something we (and the legal department) thought you should remember is that while flying in the United States, be sure to observe all federal and local aviation laws. There are plenty of ways to protect your drone, but the only safeguard against a hefty fine is to not fly where you’re not supposed to. OK, sorry about the buzzkill—adventure on!
That’s our list for must-have drone accessories and gift recommendations. Did we forget anything? Let us know in the Comments section, below.