In this guide, we’ve rounded up 10 of the best camera backpack options to help protect all your camera gear on your next outdoor photography journey. No matter you are looking for the best dlsr camera bag for travel or hiking, we have you covered.
You’ll learn: How to choose the right camera backpack that best suits your need, and some of the best options out there.
How to Choose the Right Camera Backpack?
Presently, there is a huge selection of camera backpacks available in the market, making it difficult for you to determine which one is most suitable for you. When you are choosing a camera backpack, it is important that you make these considerations before you buy:
Different subjects may require different photography equipment. If you know beforehand what you will be shooting, you will know exactly what to bring for your photography outings, and therefore, what kind of backpack you need.
For instance, if you are shooting city life, you will need a camera backpack that allows you to be highly mobile, as well as provides easy access to your equipment, such as a backpack with easy side access.
On the other hand, if you are planning to shoot wildlife or scenery, you should get a large camera backpack that is specially built for hiking. Such a backpack can store larger lenses, and it comes with outdoor-friendly features such as adjustable harnesses and waist-belt, and hydration reservoir to enable you to trek longer distances.
Location and Duration
The locations and durations of your photography outings are also important considerations for choosing a camera backpack. If you are going on a backcountry excursion for a few days, you will need a camera backpack that has enough storage capacity for carrying food and sleeping gear. For day trips, a small versatile backpack that can store your tablet, water bottle, and snack should suffice.
If you are traveling to your shooting location by air, it is essential that you get a camera backpack that fits in the carry-on compartment. You do not want to keep your equipment in your check-in baggage, for fear that it may be mishandled. Look for a camera backpack that is specially made for air travel. There are many backpacks which are specifically designed in accordance with international flight regulations. They can easily pass as on-hand luggage and be stored safely underneath your seat.
If you are planning to take photographs while you are hiking, mountain climbing, or biking, make sure you choose a camera backpack that is suitable for the activity. Outdoor activities typically expose your camera to more risks, and therefore, you need to get a backpack that provides maximum protection. The perfect camera backpack for a relaxed sightseeing tour will be one that is comfortable to carry, and provides convenient access to your equipment and enough storage capacity. Be careful though, some All Weather features might not be configured well enough to cover all your needs. You should inspect the materials of each camera backpack choice in order to determine how well they would fare against difficult weather.
Best Camera Backpacks 2017
Now that you know how to choose the right camera backpack, let’s take a look at some of the best options that are currently available on the market.
Best Budget Camera Backpacks under $100
1. AmazonBasics Backpack
Material: Nylon and plastic
Shipping weight: 2.69 lbs
Storage: SLR or DSLR cameras and accessories, and laptop.
The AmazonBasics camera backpack is a black backpack that is made of durable nylon and plastic, and it features an orange or grey interior.
It measures 14.5 inches by 6.1 inches by 11 inches, and it comes with many compartments, pouches, zippered pockets, and straps for storing both big and small camera equipment. Its adjustable and heavily-padded shoulder straps, and wide chest and waist straps make it comfortable to carry, and ensure that it will be securely attached to your back while you are on the move.
The interior of this camera backpack is well-padded to provide maximum protection. It also has adjustable cells to accommodate a unique group of camera accessories.
- It offers excellent value for money, very affordable, and it provides excellent durability and functionalities.
- It is small enough to fit nicely in the carry-on compartment in airplanes, while offering ample storage space for a lot of photography equipment.
- Its compartments and straps provide suitable storage for all kinds of items, including tripod, umbrella, light jacket, raincoat, notebook, manuals, USB drives, memory cards, batteries, and others.
- This backpack even has a rain cover. If you choose the one with the orange interior, you will find that it is easier to search for things in dim light.
- Also, the fact that this camera backpack looks like an ordinary backpack can keep you and your camera equipment safe.
- The only complaint that you may have about the AmazonBasics camera backpack is that its zippers may not look as fancy as the ones found in more expensive camera bags, but they work well nonetheless.
2. Altura Photo Backpack
Item weight: 3.9 lbs
Storage: Two DSLR cameras, laptop, and photography accessories
The Altura Photo Backpack is an all-in-one camera backpack that is constructed from durable materials to provide high levels of durability and protection, as well as comfort and style. Its main compartment can be customized to meet specific requirements.
It can store up to two DSLR cameras, four to six lenses, a flash, and other photography-related items. It can also contain a laptop with a width of up to 13 inches and a 10-inch tablet, and it has a flip-out boot and support strap to keep a monopod or tripod securely fastened.
The Altura Photo camera backpack also comes with an ergonomic shoulder harness and strong waist belt to provide good support and weight distribution to enable you to shoot for long hours. A 3D padded back enhances breathability and comfort in warm weather, and a rain cover offers protection on a rainy day. It also has a mesh side pocket for storing a water bottle or other things that you need to keep close at hand.
The exterior dimensions of this backpack are 13 inches by 18 inches by 7.1 inches, and its interior dimensions are 12.5 inches by 17 inches by 5.5 inches.
- It is more expensive than the AmazonBasics backpack, but it is still considered a low-end camera backpack.
- It is well-worth the extra money, because it is built to last a long time.
- It is made of water-resistant nylon, and its straps and harnesses are expedition-grade and heavily stitched.
- It is also suitable for air travel, because it is TSA carry-on compatible.
- The rain cover can also serve as a theft protection layer, which is a nice feature.
- Its zippers may not look as fancy as the ones found in more expensive camera bags, but they work well nonetheless.
3. Lowepro Flipside 400 AW Pro
Item weight: 3.52 lbs
Storage: Two cameras and accessories
The Lowepro Flipside 400 AW camera backpack has internal dimensions of 10.63 inches by 5.91 inches by 16.73 inches and external dimensions of 11.93 inches by 9.96 inches by 18.11 inches. It comes with a manufacturer’s limited lifetime warranty.
This camera backpack can hold a Pro DSLR camera with lens attached (300mm f/2.8 and below), extra camera body, four to six extra lenses, and accessories. It has a padded, adjustable camera compartment for flexible storage and organization of gear, as well as a front storage panel for keeping extra accessories and personal items.
A Hideaway Tripod Mount is available to securely fasten a tripod to the backpack, and SlipLock attachment loops can be used to increase storage capacity. The Lowepro Flipside 400 AW backpack also features ergonomic contoured shoulder straps and waist-belt with padding to distribute weight evenly and provide maximum comfort, as well as side access for extra security and easy access to gear.
It also comes with an all-weather AW cover to ensure that your gear will be protected from the elements.
- It is a great option for professional photographers.
- It is a high-performance backpack that is specially designed for easy access, added security, and all-weather protection.
- Its back-entry compartment enables you to access your gear easily when you are setting up and gives you extra security when you are on the move.
- It is the ideal camera backpack for a traveling photographer who needs to store expensive equipment safely, and yet be able to access equipment quickly to capture a shot anytime.
- It has limited external storage, and it does not come with a rain cover.
4. Lowepro Photo Hatchback 22L AW
Material: 600D polyester, 200D polyester, nylon, polyurethane, and air mesh
Item weight: 2.2 lbs
Storage: DSLR camera, two to three lenses, flash, and 11-inch laptop or tablet
Measuring 11.42 inches by9.25 inches by 19.88 inches externally, the Lowepro Photo Hatchback 22L AW backpack is a well-constructed camera backpack that can double as a daypack.
It offers a good number of compartments and pouches, as well as Velcro pads, adjustable straps, and zippers. It can store a DSLR camera with attached lens of up to 105mm, as well as a lot of accessories and personal items.
The interior of the backpack is well-padded to ensure that your gear will be safe. It has body-side, hatchback, and upper compartments to provide easy access to your photography equipment, as well as a removable padded box for customizing your kit and easy removal to convert the backpack into a daypack.
To deliver optimal comfort, the Lowepro Hatchback 22L AW offers multiple adjustment points to facilitate custom fitting via shoulder and waist straps. SlipLock attachment loops are available to increase comfort and carrying capacity. This backpack also provides protection from the elements with an all-weather AW cover.
- Suitable for photographers who are active walkers.
- It is lightweight, but highly durable.
- It is made of the highest quality materials, and its individual parts are stitched together very well.
- Very versatile and customizable, and it is the perfect size for storing many items without feeling heavy.
- It does not provide better access to its contents than a messenger bag
- It will be ideal if it has two or more extra pouches.
Camera Backpacks for Prosumers
1. Lowepro Whistler BP 450 AW Camera Case – Best Camera Backpack for Outdoor Shooting
Material: Fabric and nylon
Item weight: 7.28 lbs
Storage: Pro DSLR camera, three lenses, and accessories
The Lowepro Whistler BP 450 AW camera case has external dimensions of 12.2 inches by 11.89 inches by 22.52 inches and internal dimensions of 9.53 inches by 6.54 inches by 15.75 inches.
It is a highly durable all-season backpack that is specially designed for use in the wilderness, giving extra protection against rain, snow, sand, and dust.
It features a 450-denier nylon exterior with TUP face coating, Duraflex hoops, Nifco side-release buckles, and a Hypalon base, and it is gray in color, with bright orange accents.
Other than your camera, lenses, and accessories, this backpack can also hold a pro tripod, skis, poles, snowboard, or other equipment, and still give you easy access to the main compartment. It comes with hinged, body-side access as well as many useful pockets. Its internal frame and attachment points provide a solid platform for your equipment.
To deliver maximum comfort, this backpack offers padded shoulder straps, waist belt, and a chest connector. The shoulder straps are made of a breathable material, and they can be easily adjusted. Extra straps can be hidden in the attached elastic loops.
- Has passed extreme testing, and it is one of the most durable camera backpacks available in the market.
- Excellent backpack for shooting in the backcountry
- Not the best option for photographers who do not have to be in constant motion or need to move through rough terrain.
- It is also heavier than many other camera backpacks.
2. Think Tank Photo Airport Essentials – Best Travel Camera Backpack
Brand: Think Tank
Material: Polyester, nylon, and air mesh
Item weight: 4.7 lbs
Storage: Standard DSLR camera, four to six standard lenses, 15-inch laptop, iPad, and accessories
If you are looking for a camera backpack that is specially made for air travel, the Think Tank Photo Airport Essentials may be the right choice for you. Measuring 18.8 inches by 12.5 inches by 9.7 inches, this camera backpack meets the requirements for carry-on baggage.
It can store a standard camera body with a 300mm-lens attached. It features quick-access pockets for storing both a laptop and tablet, and a top pocket for keeping boarding passes, as well as three handles for easy placement and retrieval in and from overhead bins. This backpack also comes with a light, adjustable, and contoured harness to offer extra comfort and lumbar support.
To ensure that you will get the perfect fit, it provides a sternum strap with adjustable height. The versatility of this backpack is further extended with the inclusion of a removable waist belt, monopod or tripod mounting system, seam-sealed rain cover, and a water bottle pocket at the side. If you want increased functionality, you can use the Think Tank Photo Airport Essentials with the manufacturer’s Pro Speed belts.
- An excellent backpack for air travel, because it meets global carry-on standards, and it can fit nicely under the seat in front of you
- Comes with a great lock system that is easy and quick to lock and unlock.
- Has removable dividers to enable you to organize the storage of your photography gear.
- It is not big enough to store a large camera body.
3. Lowepro Flipside 500 AW Pro – Affordable All-Day Comfort Camera Backpack
Material: 100-percent fabric
Item weight: 4.4 lbs
Storage: two or three DSLR cameras, three to five extra lenses, tablet, and accessories
With dimensions of 12.7 inches by 19.9 inches by 11.7 inches, the Lowepro Flipside 500 AW camera backpack can store one pro DSLR camera with grip attached to a 500mm-lens, one or two extra camera bodies, two to four extra lenses, flash, monopod or tripod, three memory cards, other accessories, tablet, and personal items. It comes with a zippered front compartment that allows easy access to your tablet, accessories, and personal items, as well as body-side access for extra security.
Additionally, it has a back-entry compartment that enables you to easily access your gear when the backpack is turned to the front. The backpack’s contoured shoulder straps and padded waist-belt distribute weight evenly and provides a high level of comfort. It also offers a patented all-weather AW cover to ensure that your gear will be properly protected from the rain, sand, and dust, as well as a Hideaway Tripod Mount system for securing your tripod externally.
- Excellent camera backpack for carrying big pro DSLR camera equipment for outdoor shooting.
- Comfortable to carry for long hours, even if you have heavy gear in it.
- Its secure main compartment ensures that your photography equipment will be safe.
- Quite inconvenient to use, because it requires you to turn it around to the front to gain access to your gear.
- Its back pocket is not lockable.
- It is not a very affordable backpack, but it gives you good value for your money, considering that it allows you to carry a lot of gear and provides good protection.
4. MindShift BackLight – Best Compact but Spacious Camera Backpack
Material: Nylon, UltraStretch mesh, and air mesh
Item weight: 1 lb
Storage: two DSLR cameras, four lenses, 15-inch laptop, tablet, and accessories
With exterior dimensions of 11.4 inches by 20.3 inches by 7.9 inches and interior dimensions of 10.2 inches by 19.3 inches by 5.9 inches, the MindShift Backlight camera backpack can contain one DSLR camera with 400mm-lens attached, one DSLR camera with 70mm-lens attached, two extra lenses, six filters, one 15-inch laptop, and one tablet, and it still has enough room left for one or two more lenses and other accessories.
Additionally, this backpack features adjustable dividers for storing large telephoto lenses, webbing rail for keeping MindShift accessories, monopod or tripod mounting system on the front or side, side compression straps that come with SR buckles, and two water bottle pockets. It also has ergonomic zipper pulls that can be easily gripped with frozen fingers or gloves.
- A traditional front-loading backpack can get dirty or wet when it is placed on the ground. The MindShift Backlight is specially designed to eliminate this problem. With a rear-panel compartment for storing photography gear, it makes it possible for you to access your equipment without having to take it off. You can conveniently change your lenses or take a quick photo just by spinning the backpack to the front with the waist belt still secured. This backpack also offers lumbar support and air channel on its back panel to ensure that it will be comfortable to carry all day long. It also has a seam-sealed rain cover that can also be used as a ground cover. The Mindlight Backlight is an excellent camera backpack in every aspect, from construction to functionality, and it is also aesthetically appealing.
Best Camera Backpack for Ladies
1. Kelly Moore Pilot Backpack
Brand: Kelly Moore
Material: Canvas, leather, and brass
Item weight: 6 lbs
Storage: one camera body, 10-inch lens, extra lens, laptop, and accessories
The Kelly Moore Pilot camera backpack is a great backpack for photographers who wish to look stylish while carrying their gear. It is actually a unisex backpack. Its neutral colors allow you to match it with any clothes.
This backpack features a drawstring closure, which makes it easy to access the contents of the backpack. It comes with a camera basket that can be removed to transform it into a travel bag or overnight bag. Inside the bag, you will find a basket with five removable, adjustable, padded Velcro dividers that create several sections for storing camera gear, as well as a larger divider for covering the basket. Additionally, there are two internal pockets and front pocket for keeping memory cards and credit cards. A zipper pocket at the back of a laptop sleeve provides storage for a laptop.
- If you want to get a camera backpack that does not look like a camera backpack, the Kelly Moore Pilot backpack may be the right choice for you. It is not only a good-looking backpack, it is also very durable since it is made of tough and durable canvas. It is also a flexible backpack that can be used for different occasions other than shooting. With the large divider on top of the basket, you can organize your things better. Place your clothes and other personal items on top of it to separate them from your photography gear.
- One of the problems you may find with this camera backpack is that the leather belt straps that are used to fasten the bag can be difficult to fasten and unfasten.
2. National Geographic NG 5160
Brand: National Geographic
Item weight: 3.4 lbs
Storage: DSLR camera, two lenses, and accessories
Despite its retro appearance, the National Geographic NG 5160 camera backpack is actually a very well-designed and well-constructed backpack. It is quite sizeable, measuring 13.4 inches by 8.3 inches by 17.7 inches, and it is quite lightweight. On the outside, it features an olive-green durable synthetic fabric with a rough weave that is similar to canvas, while the inside is thoroughly lined with soft fabric.
This backpack consists of two compartments that are divided by a zipped partition, which can be removed if you want to store larger items. The camera compartment can contain a medium-sized DSLR camera, two lenses, and some accessories, and the upper compartment can be used to store more accessories or personal items. The backpack also comes with two large side pockets and a strap for mounting your tripod, as well as a laptop compartment.
- The National Geographic NG 5160 is a stylish camera backpack that offers excellent durability. It also provides enough compartments and pockets to store all kinds of photography gear. However, it is actually not a very spacious backpack. The camera compartment is quite shallow, and the upper compartment is a little small. You may have to do some squeezing to pack all your gear into this bag. Also, this backpack has so many pockets, buckles, Velcro patches, and straps that you can lose items quite easily.
- Although it looks like it is made for adventurers, it is not a good backpack to bring on a hiking trip. Its back panel is not ventilated, and its shoulder straps are constructed too close together. The rough fabric is bound to chafe your neck when the backpack is heavy. As such, it lacks the practicality most users are searching for in a backpack belonging to this category.
Professional Photographer’s Choice
1. Pelican 1510 Case
Material: Copolymer polypropylene and stainless steel
Item weight: 13.6 lbs
Storage: two cameras, four lenses, and accessories
The Pelican 1510 is specially designed to store professional photography equipment. This case is made of high-impact copolymer polypropylene, and therefore, it is close to indestructible. It is also water-tight and dust-proof to ensure that your expensive professional photography gear will be properly protected. It measures 22 inches by 14 inches by 9 inches externally and 20.2 inches by 11.4 inches by 7.5 inches internally, and therefore, it will meet most airlines’ carry-on requirements.
Some of the useful features that come with this case include stainless steel ball-bearing wheels, retractable extension handle, double throw latches for easy opening, reinforced padlock protectors, and single layer padded dividers. It is equipped with an Automatic Pressure Equalization Valve system that balances pressure inside to keep water out. The Pelican 1510 case is offered with a manufacturer’s lifetime warranty.
- The main benefits of the Pelican 1510 case is that it provides excellent safety and durability. It is also easy to use because of its simple design. Due to its small size, it can be easily carried, even in buses or other types of transportation.
- This case is very heavy, and it may not wheel well on every surface. Additionally, it can make a lot of noise when you are moving it around.
2. Tenba Roadie II Hybrid Roller
Shipping weight: 11.64 lbs
Storage: two cameras, six to eight lenses, and accessories
The Tenba Roadie Hybrid Roller case can contain a large pro DSLR camera, a HD video or medium-sized camera, a 17-inch laptop, and a lot of accessories. It is made of high quality materials that have great resistance against impact and wear and tear. It comes with a quick-deploying harness that allows you to carry it comfortably when it cannot be wheeled on certain surfaces, such as stairs or sand. It offers padded handles to ensure comfortable carrying.
- This is a camera case that can last a lifetime. It can keep all your expensive photography equipment safe, and enables you to transport them comfortably.
- It may be expensive, but it will be well-worth your investment.
After reading all the reviews about the camera backpacks above, you should know which one you wish to buy. It is advisable that you do some comparison shopping to find the right camera backpack and always carefully read verified customer reviews to get a good idea of how others see the product you plan on buying.