Survive Tough Assignments with This NBC News Producer’s Gear

Whether you’re a foreign correspondent in a harsh climate or a local news multimedia journalist reporting on extreme weather, the news cycle can bring you to inhospitable conditions for days or weeks at a time. NBC News supervising producer David Douglas opens his go bag for us and shares why he doesn’t want to be caught lacking.   

“Being prepared is the difference between a good day and a really bad day,” Douglas said. “If you are not warm, if you are not dry, if you can’t see what you’re doing in the dark, if you can’t recharge your devices? Your day becomes so much more stressful, and frankly, pretty miserable.”   

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Watch the video above and read about Douglas’ must-have survival gear below.   

Rechargeable batteries

  • Large rechargeable batteries can charge a laptop a few times.   
  • Wireless batteries can charge phones. 

“You might be away from outlets for eight to 10 hours, and these things can become real lifelines for you,” Douglas said. 


  • Free up both hands, rather than hold up a phone’s flashlight. 
  • Provide extra light for early-morning or night-time shifts.   

Get those nutrients in

  • Powdered greens (for days without vegetables)

Douglas acknowledges that powdered greens mixed in water “tastes pretty gross,” but “there have been places where the only thing I’ve seen for days is fried food. Having something like this can come in handy.  

“If you’re not drinking enough water, eating good food or getting nutrients, it’s going to be really hard for you,” he said. “A lot of people make it through their days on caffeine. That doesn’t work for me.”  

Stay warm and dry

  • Extra-puffy down jacket 
  • Two raincoats, in case one fails   
  • Rain pants

“When I was reporting on local television, … I learned very quickly some fast ways to end up miserable: being wet and being cold,” Douglas said. “So those are things I never wanted to be.”  

Be mentally prepared

Douglas advises that early-career journalists prepare for when the breaking news cycle and TV news production feel overwhelming and the job feels impossible.  

“You feel like you are not cut out for this? Lean on your colleagues, lean on your friends,” Douglas said. “You end up finding a rhythm that works for you, and it’s different for everyone. It happens at a different pace for everyone. So just run your own race and your own success.”  

Gallery: David Douglas Versus the Elements