If you’re in the market for the best camera backpack to take all your photography gear with you on your next epic adventure, then we’ve got you covered with the best backpack options and all the criteria to consider before making your purchase!
Buying a camera backpack can be one of the more difficult experiences a photographer might face in the retail arena.
The market is flooded with camera backpacks and new innovations are making it harder and harder to choose the right one for you.
The best camera bags out there are multi-functional, sturdy, and reliable and you can expect to spend a couple of hundred dollars to keep your camera safe.
However, your camera gear shouldn’t be compromised, so investing in a camera backpack that fits all your photography gear and will last you many years is imperative.
Here is a look at some of the best camera backpacks available today with some insight into what could make this the best backpack for you.
After you’ve invested a small fortune purchasing the best travel camera to perfect your photography skills it’s important to protect it with a great camera backpack.
Of course you need more than just a bag that fits a body and a bit of accessories. So what is the best camera and lens backpack? That’s what we set out to discover!
Let’s look at camera bags that are taking the photography world by storm. We are talking, sleek design, versatility, and innovation, and most of all, comfort.
Peak Design Everyday Backpack
Lowepro Whistler 350 AW ii
Wotancraft Nomad Backpack
Lowepro Freeline BP 350 Aw
Langly Multi-Pack Globetrotter
F-Stop Dalston 21L Urban Camera Backpack
LowePro ProTactic 450 AW II
Manfrotto Manhattan Mover 30
Just as the name suggests, this is an Everyday Backpack. You can easily transform it for uses beyond carrying camera gear without losing any of its organisational potential.
The bag includes three flex-fold dividers that are a revelation. No more floppy foam dividers that never seem to quite line up!
Internal space has been utilized to the max with stretchy internal side and top pockets and slip pockets for a wallet or passport. On the outside, you find side pockets that easily hold a water bottle or tripod.
The Peak Design Everyday Backpack is ultra-comfortable and the vented quick-drying mesh back padding ensures breathable comfort, a must on long, hot days.
The bags are compatible with most body types thanks to the shoulder straps that pivot at axial points giving quick access to the side panels.
Peak Design makes contemporary simplistic bags like no other. The outside is minimalist with no dangling cords or tethers making it sleek and irresistible.
They also come in four muted colors: black, charcoal, midnight, and ash.
The roll-top and magnetic tote handles give the Wandrd Prvke a more urban feel and the black, blue, and green colors are right on-trend.
The chunky hardware also gives the bag some added personality but is in perfect harmony with the minimalist aesthetic of the rest of the bag.
The interior is fully customizable with removable camera cubes. The front flap is also covered in pockets, begging the question “do I have enough things for all those pockets?”. The expandable roll-top will add another 5L to your capacity, perfect for last-minute items like a jacket or snacks.
The clamshell design of the Wandrd Prvke is great for organization, and the easy access side panel allows you to quickly grab your camera on the go. The cubes are also easy to remove and customize to make the Wandrd Prvke a great all-around bag.
The fleece-lined tech pocket is great for personal items you need quick access to, and the hidden passport/cash pocket in the back is a favorite feature if you want to keep your valuables close to you.
We’re going to let you in on a little secret. This bag is so good, we own two of them!
Lowepro sticks to their iconic soft folding dividers with the addition of two removable pocket dividers for smaller items like a GoPro.
The CradleFit compartment with top access also holds a 13-inch laptop.
The Lowepro Whistler 350 bag offers top and body-side access and you can easily store Standard DSLR & Pro mirrorless cameras with multiple lenses.
The bag is designed for robust outdoor use so accessing some of the compartments might take slightly more effort, but this ensures your photography equipment stays well protected.
It is, however, super simple to convert it from a camera bag to an outdoor bag with enough room for plenty of alpine gear.
The Lowepro Whistler 350 AW ii is one of their more attractive bags with two high visibility orange straps at the front.
The compression straps also allow for the attachment of gear like skis or a snowboard, something you won’t often find on a camera backpack. It can support up to 100kg in weight!
The bag’s compact size makes it perfect for a mirrorless camera and multiple lenses.
The bag has tons of fun pockets and hidden compartments that might take some time to figure out but will prove to be super convenient in the long run.
It might look a little clunky, but the padded back is very comfortable, as are the wide shoulder straps.
The aluminum bars in the back help to keep the shape of the bag and secure a comfortable fit. Buying the additional waist strap could help shift up to 80% of the weight to your hips, a crucial bonus when carrying heavy photography equipment.
The bag is slightly tricky to figure out in the beginning but with tons of expandable space, it is a great camera bag for traveling. With many hidden compartments and little pockets for SD cards and other goodies, this bag is a treasure trove of organisation.
The bag looks world removed from traditional camera backpacks, and Wotancraft explains that they wanted to create a bag that looks like a nomadic bag. Job well done!
The vintage brass buckles and distressed camo look add tons of personality to the bag. There are also no visible zippers or flaps making the bag extra safe.
Flaps are sealed with magnets making zippers and compartments undetectable. The roll-top adds a lot of extra space, and the bag is designed to facilitate traveling with your gear, i.e. packing clothes and cameras all in one backpack.
The interior divider on the Lowepro Freeline is revolutionary. It is a three-tiered shelving system that snaps flat and is removed easily to turn the bag into a daypack.
It fits a 15-inch laptop in the back laptop compartment and a removable gear pouch sits in the bottom to organize your cables and chargers.
The side flaps also feature memory card pockets and deep pockets for miscellaneous items.
The bag is one of only a few that stands upright, a feature one often neglects to consider. The side access panels are easy to open thanks to smooth zippers and smart angles.
It is one of Lowepro’s most beautiful bags with minimal detailing and muted branding. The adjustable straps at the front have large buckles that give the bag a little urban twist to break the overall corporate design.
The shoulder strap has an in harness phone pocket on the front that should quite frankly become a standard on all backpacks. It keeps your phone, keys, or cards safe and instantly available.
The side zipper opens to reveal removable dividers so you can custom curate your compartments.
The top flap gives you access to the main compartment and a few small organizational pockets.
The Thule Aspect backpack is a great basic backpack with two easy access points allowing simple access to your camera without the need to take off the bag.
The camera bag is sporty looking with relatively large branding and fun turquoise accents. It only comes in black but the material has an attractive woven design for added texture.
There aren’t many surprises with the Thule Aspect, but one super handy characteristic is the mesh pocket on the hip belt. It is the perfect spot to pop your lens cap in to always have it within reach.
The Langly Multi-Pack Globetrotter is one of the best camera backpacks if you need to carry a ton of camera bodies and lenses.
It can fit one camera body and 10 lenses comfortably but the compartments can easily be adjusted to fit your preferred configuration.
The laptop sleeve sits at the top and fits a 16-inch laptop and there are seven external pockets and plenty of zip pockets on the inside for smaller items.
This bag is perfect for someone who needs access to a lot of photography gear, quickly and easily. The front completely zips open to expose the whole inside of the bag. There is also a top zipper for items you might need to grab on the go.
The material is completely waterproof because when you are carrying this amount of camera equipment, you do not want to leave anything to chance!
The bag is effortlessly cool and comes in two stylish colors, black and forest green. The vertical straps on the front add some unique detailing to it but the bag’s shape and overall feel lend it a “safari chic” aesthetic.
This is a great bag for an urban explorer carrying their core gear and a few essentials.
It’s great for a mirrorless camera and lens backpack but could fit a smaller DSLR camera body comfortably. There is also an expandable roll-top if you need to add a few last-minute things.
F Stop has made a bag that is simplistic in nature and great for an on-the-go schedule.
The camera is accessed through a large zipper on the side but there is no flap. The bag rather splits open at the side to reveal the camera compartment, making it better for smaller cameras than bulky full-frame gear.
The F-stop Dalston backpack is bold and not afraid to make a statement. It comes in a vibrant orange color or a more muted aloe green and the interior is bright blue.
Roll-tops are increasingly trendy and this bag will fit right in in a chic urban environment.
The LowePro Protactic is an organisational dream with multiple conversion options with enough room for a full camera kit with multiple bodies, lenses, a drone, and smaller accessories with ease.
The front flap also has clear pockets for easy organization of loose items.
The front has a SlipLock system for hooks and tabs and multiple attachment points, great for adding extra accessories like a tripod or bottle pouch.
The bag is one of the heaviest bags on the list, but the robust removable hip belt works wonders to ease the load. The ActivZone targeted support system focuses on your shoulder blades and lumbar area for optimal comfort.
The LowePro Protactic 450 AW has four access points making it one of the most accessible bags on the market. The front clamshell design allows for full access to the main compartment, the top offers partial access, and two side panels zip open and can be accessed without taking the bag off.
The bag has a futuristic design and the SlipLock system on the front with horizontal attachment points add some extra grit. The hard shell at the top serves a valuable purpose but also enhances the futuristic aesthetic.
This backpack comes with a Flexi Camera Shell divider that provides much more structure than a standard foam camera cube.
It is also removable, converting your bag into an everyday backpack. There is a laptop compartment and a tablet compartment in the front and an expandable water bottle holder on the side.
You can fit multiple lenses and a DSLR camera as well as a drone and multiple accessories.
It is a great DSLR backpack for traveling. The main access point is in the back, and you would always need to take the bag off to grab your gear.
You can get to some camera gear from the top but this would also be hindered if you decide to pack some personal items in that compartment.
Thus, it is a great travel camera bag for carry-on luggage if you don’t need to put your camera away every few minutes. The laptop and tablet compartment is also in the front for easy access.
The bag is sleek and modern with a rectangular shape. It only comes in black and has minimal details on the exterior. It doesn’t shout “camera bag”, something you would want to consider when frequently traveling with your camera gear.
Choosing the best camera bag can be a challenge. If you haven’t already decided on which is best for you, or you enjoy the thrill of the shop, take the following criteria to heart as you consider which camera pack is best for your needs.
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Camera bags come in all shapes and sizes and chances are you will need multiple to fulfil all your needs.
Some bags are better for the active photographer while others are best suited for long-distance transportation and passive use.
A sling bag or messenger bag is great for quick day trips and for travel photographers with only one or two lenses and a single body.
However, a camera backpack is the best of all worlds and will serve multiple purposes.
Camera backpacks range from around 15L to around 50L, the average being 25L to 30L. It is great to get a bag that is expandable with the addition of a rolltop if you are traveling a lot.
Most bags also come with clip-on capabilities allowing you to add a tripod to the bottom or to the side, a water bottle to the other side, and sometimes even straps at the front for holding down items.
Assess your needs and the likelihood of you using these features, because extra straps could also be a nuisance if you know you will not use them. Then a more compact design would suit you better.
The more capabilities a bag has, the heavier it is, that’s an unavoidable fact. Rugged material weighs more and compartments also add weight to your bag.
So grabbing the toughest bag might not be the most sensible choice for you.
Not all bags come with waterproof material, and a lightweight sporty bag could offer just as much organizational potential as a robust adventure bag.
READ MORE: Need something for general adventures, not just photography? Check out our new guide to the best travel backpacks on the market!
This is probably the most important aspect of purchasing a camera bag. Most backpacks come standard with foam inserts that attach to the bag with velcro and allow for multiple storage configurations.
It is also important to remember that your camera gear will expand and change over time and you need a bag that will change along with that.
Also, look into how many extra little pockets and side pockets the bag has because you are bound to have lots of bits and bobs that need to be stored.
Batteries, filters, sd-cards, and lens caps are the first things to go missing if your bag doesn’t have multiple storage options.
Camera equipment is not light by any means, and even just a DSLR body and a lens can weigh a few kilos.
You will be carrying around this bag for hours on end and this weight, along with the weight of the bag, can become very uncomfortable to carry.
Look for a bag that, at the very least, has proper padded shoulder straps that are wide enough to not dig into your shoulder.
A waist belt is a great addition to especially large bags and can shift a massive part of the weight to your hips instead of your back.
It is great if the waist belt is removable as you won’t always be carrying around upwards of 10kg in your bag.
They do make bags more clunky so being able to take it off when you pack light is a great feature.
A padded back panel will also add to the comfort factor and some bags have metal bars that help significantly with your posture.
As bags become more complex, the ease of use sometimes goes out the window. Tons of configurations and pockets might seem like a good idea but how much time are you willing to spend optimizing the bag for your needs?
It is great if you don’t need to take the bag off to access the camera, but these access panels often limit your configuration capabilities.
Clamshell designs allow you to fully open the front flap to the main compartment, and the possibilities are endless for organising.
However, with these, you must take the bag off to access anything which could not be the best in all conditions.
Look for a bag that offers multiple access points and a divide between camera gear and personal items if you plan to use it as a travel backpack.
Zippers are also the first to go so thoroughly test all the zippers and ensure they are smooth as butter.
Will you be taking your camera backpack on a ski trip or deep into the jungle? Or will you simply be zipping around the city or carrying your camera to a concert?
Weatherproofing seems essential but it is not in everyone’s budget and the need for it isn’t always there, but a bag that is water-resistant could be a good middle ground to keep moisture out.
It could add a lot to the weight of the backpack when sometimes a rain cover would do just fine.
It is good to look at abrasion-resistant materials as your bag will be in use for many years and you want it to stay in peak condition.
If you are looking for a weather-resistant or water-resistant bag, also look for reinforced zippers that keep out moisture and dust.
This is the most personal part of buying a camera backpack and there are no hard and fast rules.
Today, camera backpacks are becoming more friendly for everyday use and can be converted into standard backpacks too.
Some bags don’t even resemble a camera backpack anymore and values form over function.
If you opt for a chic bag over a traditional-looking bag, make sure it still has all the functionality of a good bag, and don’t be blinded by a cool design.
READ MORE: Find a suitable travel tripod to take with you on your next trip with our expert buying guide!
Companies are constantly trying to outdo each other with unique features to their bag. Roll-tops are all the rage right now as is innovation on bag inserts.
Other great features include hidden passport pockets for safety, space for attachments, key hooks, a tripod holder, and a laptop compartment.
Again, this all comes down to personal needs and what you want from your camera backpack.
All in all, buying a camera backpack is a deeply personal matter and you won’t always get it right on the first try.
Over time, you realise what you want to carry with you and what your travel needs are.
A bag like Peak Design Everyday Backpack is one of the best travel camera backpacks as it hist the mark in nearly every category.
Organisation, style, and fit are all above the rest, but it is still up to you to assess what your bag needs to offer you in the end.
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