As an experienced travel photographer, I have used several different camera backpacks during my travels and know exactly what you need to look out for before choosing yours.
We have reviewed and tested 23 different camera backpacks to make this list of 11 best-of-the-best and any of these options is a safe choice.
Here are the 11 best camera backpacks on the market now.
Our Top Recommended Camera Backpacks for Travel
1. Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW II
On a list of the best camera backpacks, the Lowepro ProTactic simply can not be left out. This is a well-built travel backpack and it is one of the strongest on this list. It has a sleek black look that allows you to use it for way more than just your travels.
It is significantly heavier than other similarly sized camera bags, although this is due to the top flap which provides extra protection for your bag. It is very comfortable to wear, with thin shoulder straps and a detachable hip belt.
The Lowepro ProTactic AW II also comes with several PALS accessories that you can use to carry a water bottle, a tripod, or any other camera accessories you have outside the bag.
It is very easy to use with top access, two side flaps, and a back panel that zips open.
- The semi-hard shell provides great protection for your travel camera bag.
- This bag has highly customizable dividers and pockets.
- There are multiple access points for greater ease of use.
- It comes with a built-in rain cover.
- This pack is quite unassuming and can fit almost anywhere.
• This is a pretty heavy bag at 2.7 kg.
2. Nomatic McKinnon 35 Camera Bag
This is a top choice if you’re a travel photographer that wants to carry all you need in a single backpack. It is a bag that was engineered with travel photographers in mind as it allows you to keep all your camera equipment extremely organized.
This bag has one main camera compartment, as well as side access which you can use to quickly grab your camera gear without opening the main compartment.
The Nomatic McKinnon 35 Camera Bag has a 35L size, so you should easily be able to fit one or two camera bodies, a couple of lenses, a mirrorless camera, a laptop, hard drives, and even possibly a drone.
It is made with a hip strap to help ensure the weight is evenly distributed, and you can easily take it off if you don’t need it anymore.
I like that the McKinnon backpack also comes with a McKinnon camera cube pack, which is a padded day pack that allows you easily carry your camera and lens safely within or without your bigger backpack.
- This is a great bag for keeping all your gear flexible and well-organized.
- You have easy access to all your stuff with the main compartment and side access.
- This bag also has a separate side pocket big enough to fit a tablet, a 15-inch laptop, and a few documents.
- It can be expanded up to 42L to help fit any extra clothes or gear that you have.
• This is a pretty large backpack, weighing roughly over five pounds without any gear in it.
3. WANDRD PRVKE Lite Photography Bag
The PRVKE (pronounced “Provoke”) looks quite different from the regular thick-cased and rigid camera backpack. It was designed to be a bag that holds other bags, with the rear opening revealing a top and bottom compartment.
It is one of the most comfortable camera backpacks you can get due to the load of padding in the back as well as the smartly designed shoulder straps.
There are many compartments and pockets inside the bag as well as a great laptop sleeve. If you want to enjoy this backpack to the highest degree, then you should use it with the WANDRD camera cube, which is a compact padded case that fits perfectly into the bottom half of this bag.
- This backpack is expandable.
- It has some great padding that makes it very comfortable.
- The compartments provide easy camera access.
- The internal camera bag ensures your gear stays safe and also gives you an extra carrying method.
• The dividers and pockets are not enough to securely store more than one DSLR camera body with the lenses.
4. Lowepro Whistler Backpack 350 AW II
The Lowepro Whistler comes with some amazing features including soft folding dividers as well as two removable pocket dividers where you can easily fit smaller gear like a GoPro or a mirrorless camera.
This bag also has a Cradlefit compartment where you can fit a 13-inch laptop.
What I like about this travel camera bag is that it was specifically designed to be used outdoors, so you might not find it as easy to access your gear inside the bag, but you will be assured that all your stuff stays safe.
This is a very attractive bag with two high-visibility orange straps located at the front of the backpack. The bag’s compression straps allow you to attach gear like a snowboard or skis up to 100kg in weight, which is a feature that you won’t find in many other camera bags.
- This bag’s shoulder strap provides great support to help in carrying heavy loads.
- There is a lot of storage space for keeping the camera gear.
- You can access your gear without putting it down by flipping it with the waist straps.
- The material is weather-resistant and it has a rainfly pocket.
• There is no laptop compartment as this bag was built mainly for camera gear with little to no space for other items.
5. MindShift Gear Backlight 26L
This is a great camera backpack for multi-day trips where you need to pack more than just a camera or a couple of lenses because it has about 9L of space for other items apart from your camera gear.
You can easily fit a DSLR camera body with several zoom lenses into the main compartment, and there is an extra padded compartment where you can fit a tablet and a 15-inch laptop.
It also comes with some generously padded shoulder straps as well as great back ventilation, which makes it a great choice if you will be traveling to a warm region. This bag also comes with a sternum strap and padded waist belt to provide you with extra support.
I found this travel camera bag was designed very intelligently so you can have quick access to the back panel without taking it off. This means you can easily grab or store your camera without much hassle.
- The Mindshift Gear Bag comes with dedicated lens pockets.
- Excellent padded straps and ventilation make a long hot day more tolerable.
- It has a dedicated laptop compartment.
- There is loads of room for non-camera hiking gear.
- It comes in just one color.
- Is not waterproof.
6. Shimoda Explore V2 30 Water Resistant Camera Backpack
This backpack is one of the best camera backpacks in terms of its combination of great aesthetics, excellent materials, interchangeable camera Core Units, and shoulder straps.
The Shimoda Explore V2 30 comes from a long line of Explore packs that have served as the first choice for many travel photographers.
The bag has all the great weatherproof materials that you need without any aggressive or traditional outdoorsy-styled branding. It has a very refined look and is still very fashionable even when you’re not on a hiking trip.
- Materials are highly durable and weather-resistant.
- Flexibility is provided by the large range of camera Core Units.
- It has a great suspension system which is very comfortable and adjustable.
- The side pockets can be a bit difficult to use.
- The camera Core Units are sold separately.
7. Think Tank Photo Streetwalker Pro V2.0 Backpack
What I love about this bag is that it does not look like your traditional camera backpack. It has a highly functional yet simple design that ensures you can walk around with loads of photography gear without anyone noticing that it’s a travel camera bag.
It comes with some heavily padded shoulder straps to ensure you stay comfortable as well as velcro-attached dividers that can be used or removed based on your need for a bigger space or your preference.
The Streetwalker Pro V2.0 has a two-column internal pouch that can fit up to two full-frame cameras. It also has a space where you can strap a tripod or even a device up to ten inches.
- This backpack can contain two full camera bodies with the lenses attached.
- It also has pad-lockable zips and a wide storage capacity.
- The bag comes with optional tripod straps.
- The dividers are quite thin.
- This bag can hold a 10-inch tablet or device but not a laptop.
8. Brevite Jumper Photo Compact Camera Backpack
This is a pretty lightweight and small bag so you can easily lug it around all day. It has very comfortable shoulder straps, even when the bag is fully loaded, as well as back padding that ensures you stay comfy throughout your hike.
The bag comes in eleven different colors, which gives you a great variety to choose from. Even though this backpack is on the smaller side, you can still fit a good amount of photography gear in it.
You can squeeze in a camera, drone, laptop, and about four lenses and still have some space to spare for smaller items.
This bag is very functional and still has a high appeal to fashionable people. Its material and fashionable colors help it rank significantly higher than other bags at a similar price point.
- It has front access, top access, and side access so you can easily reach your gear.
- This bag is stealthy and helps you keep your camera kit safe and secure.
- The front pocket is great for organizing accessories.
- It does not have great support and comfort.
- The outer fabric tends to collect dust.
9. Manfrotto MB MA2-BP-BFR Advanced
The sleek design of this backpack as well as its excellent features is what makes it such a great camera bag. It is big enough to hold a large camera body, several lenses, devices, and your other personal belongings.
The camera compartment is padded and it utilizes a slim-tech protection system, keeping the camera concealed and close to your body for extra security. It is made of tough, high-performance materials to ensure the bag remains durable throughout its use.
The Manfrotto MB MA2-BP-BFR Advanced also comes with loads of space in the upper compartment where you can store your personal belongings.
It is designed to be highly versatile, easily transforming from a camera backpack into a laptop backpack or even a daypack.
- The removable pouches are a great addition.
- It is very comfortable and fits all your belongings easily.
- The bag comes with a rain cover for wet weather.
- It does not have a water bottle pocket or cup holder.
- The waist straps are pretty big and clunky.
10. Peak Design Everyday Backpack
This is a great backpack for everyday use and it can quickly transform into the kind of bag you need while retaining all its amazing functionalities. It has three flex-fold dividers instead of the regular floppy foam ones that hardly ever line up.
The Everyday Backpack also comes with stretchy internal top and side pockets, as well as slip pockets to ensure the space is maximized. It also has external pockets that can easily hold a tripod or water bottle.
This backpack is very comfortable, made with quick-drying mesh back padding to ensure good ventilation even on a long hot day. The bag is very sleek, without any dangling tethers or cords to ensure that you have a simple and very efficient bag.
- The velcro dividers allow you to arrange items anyhow you like.
- It has a quick-release camera strap.
- This bag comes with loads of room for non-camera gear.
- It does not have a small back or top pocket.
- The laptop sleeve can not fit larger computers.
11. TARION Camera Backpack Waterproof
The TARION backpack is well known for space, as it can accommodate a full DSLR camera body with several lenses and a laptop.
There are several pockets within the main compartment where you can store camera accessories as well as two separate compartments that you can merge into one to store big equipment.
This bag also comes with a side access zip to allow you easily reach your gear inside without taking it off. It also has a special side strap and side pockets where you can attach a tripod.
This backpack is also highly weather-proof and it does a great job protecting your camera equipment from dust and moisture. It is one of the best camera bags at securing all your gear.
- Made with weather-resistant and shockproof material.
- Comes with an additional rain cover and water-repellent outer material.
- The straps are super comfy and make it very easy to carry all your load.
- The lockable zippers are only on the rear end, but not on the sides.
- The adjustable sections held with velcro are not very durable.
How to Choose the Best Camera Backpacks
When you want to choose the best camera backpack for your trip, there are a couple of factors you need to consider. These include:
The amount of items that the backpack can contain is very important as you want a bag that can hold all your belongings at once.
Most camera backpacks range from around 15L to about 50L, although most are between 25 to 30L. You could also get a bag with an additional roll-top for extra space if you really need it.
All travel photographers know the pain that comes with having to lug heavy equipment over a long distance.
Adding a super heavy bag to all the gear would make for a very uncomfortable experience, so you want to ensure you get a backpack that is light enough to ensure you stay comfy and very mobile during your trip.
This is one of the most important features that you should look for when choosing a camera backpack.
You want to ensure that the bag has enough pockets and access points so you can comfortably store your gear in the bag and easily reach them whenever you need to.
Having extra little pockets and side pockets is great because you usually have a few small items to keep.
Your comfort while hiking is of the utmost importance, and you want to ensure that your back and shoulders are as comfortable as possible.
The best way to do this is to get a bag that fits you comfortably and distributes the load evenly through waist straps, chest straps, or any other innovative methods.
The fabric of your backpack goes a long way in determining how much of an effect the elements have on your belongings.
You might have to go through regions where the bag will be scratched, brushed, and banged and you want to ensure it remains durable and keeps your items safe.
Materials like canvas and other synthetics are widely used in camera bags due to their durability and water resistance.
Ease of use
As travel photographers, we always have to be ready to get amazing shots. This means you need quick access to your camera and ease in accessing the other compartments of the bag.
Unfortunately, a lot of the backpacks being produced today are quite complex, so you want to ensure whichever one you get has multiple easy access points and can easily be maneuvered.
While you’re out hiking, traveling, and taking photos, you want to ensure that all your equipment stays safe from any form of weather condition. So come rain or shine, the weatherproof coating on your bag keeps all your gear protected from the elements.
This feature is primarily down to personal preference, and there is a wide range of colors and designs that you can choose from. Getting a good-looking backpack is never a bad idea, and it’s great when you want to use it for more than just a camera backpack.
Bag companies continue to add new and innovative features, and your choice here will depend on your personal needs and what you want to get out of your travel camera bag.
It might take you some time to get the features you really need, but there are many bags with some very helpful features that you can choose from.
You will want to keep the size of the backpack in mind, especially in relation to the size of your camera and lenses. You also want to consider the other accessories you’ll be carrying along and the size limit for airlines (if you are traveling by air).
One of the factors that put many of the bags on this list above others is that they are more than just camera backpacks.
Instead of having to drag along several bags for your trip, you should be able to rely on this camera backpack to transform into an everyday backpack anytime you’re not heading out with your camera.
The price of the backpack tends to be the final authority over whether most people get it or not. You should note that high-quality camera backpacks will cost you a fair bit, although it should not make you have to break the bank.
You can get some great options within whatever budget you have, but ensure you get a bag with the features you need.
Do You Really Need a Camera Backpack?
If you want to get the best out of your trip as a travel photographer, then you really need a camera backpack. The benefits you stand to gain from owning one can’t be overlooked.
Not only do they offer great protection for your camera and other accessories but they also ensure that you can carry several belongings all at once. Camera backpacks have a lot of space and several compartments where you can organize all your belongings with ease.
What is the Difference between a Camera Backpack and a Regular Backpack?
The main difference is that camera backpacks are produced with features that specifically aid the transport of cameras and their accessories, while regular backpacks are produced for general use.
Camera backpacks are made with special compartments and pockets to help you store your camera and accessories safely, and they also usually have comfortable straps that spread the weight of the load evenly.
Camera backpacks are also created to keep fragile materials safe, so they generally offer more protection to your gear than regular backpacks.
What Else Do We Consider When Choosing a Camera Backpack?
Before you choose to buy a camera backpack (especially online), you should take some time to read the reviews of other people that purchased that bag.
Learning from the experiences of other people that needed travel camera bags for their travels is the easiest and best way for you to make the right purchase decision.
You get to find out about the bag’s specifications, advantages, and disadvantages, as well as how to get the best out of that specific backpack. There are tons of reviews online that you can learn from to ensure you make the right choice.
One of the things you should get out of people’s reviews is how their package met them. This refers to whether the bag got to them in a bad condition, had a few parts missing, or was perfectly delivered.
You also want to be aware of any extra shipping costs that you might have to pay, as this could play a significant part in the overall price.
And if you plan to use the bag in a few days, you also want to ensure that it will get to you in time by noting the average amount of time it takes to ship the backpack.
Even if we have recommended the best backpacks with great durability, it is always good to have a backup. You want to ensure that your bag has a warranty in case it goes through any significant damage.
Some brands offer a few years of warranty while others offer up to a lifetime guarantee. Getting a durable backpack with a great warranty is the best way to go.
No matter how you look at it, the most well-known brands usually make the best products.
In the world of camera backpacks, this is very true as the most popular manufacturers are also the designers of some of the best and most highly functional camera backpacks on the market.
You can do a bit of research before buying a backpack to find out about the manufacturer and their level of popularity among travel photographers.
Our Number 1 Pick!
There are some great options on this list of the best camera bags, but my personal favorite is the Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW II.
Out of all the travel camera bags that I have used, this is the best camera bag and the most complete choice. Not only is the build a 10/10, with thick well-cushioned dividers and a semi-hard shell top flap, but it also has an amazingly sleek design.
This backpack is strong, durable, and still offers a high level of comfort. I was surprised by how customizable it is and how easily it can fit as an everyday backpack.
The combination of its great build, sleek aesthetic, large capacity, ease of use, and unique features make this my go-to camera backpack and the undisputed top on the list of the best camera backpacks.
1. What Does a Good Camera Bag Need?
What a good camera bag needs depends on your requirements. Only you can determine whether you need a rugged waterproof bag, or something small and super stylish.
This is why you must first know the factors to consider when choosing a backpack and then fit your requirements accordingly.
2. How Do You Carry a Heavy Camera?
The best way for you to carry a heavy camera is by using a camera backpack. This will allow you to carry all the heavy camera gear anywhere you go without much hassle.
Camera bags come with special features to ensure the weight is evenly distributed across your body and you feel comfortable.
3. How Do You Attach a Camera Bag to a Backpack?
To attach a camera bag to a backpack, you will need some accessory straps. These will allow you to simply clip the camera bag onto the backpack without impeding your range of motion.
Last update on 2023-09-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API