- Buyer's Guide
The Best Camera Backpacks Buyer’s Guide 2018
Camera backpacks need to tick a lot of boxes: they have to provide comfortable carrying, along with quick access to your gear and suitable protection for a variety of equipment. Our Buyer’s Guide for the Best Camera Backpacks covers a range of situations, from urban to outdoor photography and different user needs, whether you just require the basics for a few hours of city snapping or have to haul a host of gear along with enough personal supplies to last several days in the wilderness.
[Last updated August 2018]
Another wallet-friendly option that fits one to two DSLRs and three to four lenses, with further storage for accessories or personal items. The water-repellent pack also holds a tripod externally.
Affordable and versatile, this pack features customizable interior organization and fits an SLR with attached lens and two to three extra lenses. Exterior and interior pockets accommodate additional accessories and personal items, including a padded laptop sleeve for your tech. Plus a raincover adds protection when the storm clouds start rolling in.
Merging form and function, this pack is designed to hold your gear safely and in style. The bag provides dedicated space for a DSLR or CSC camera with an attached zoom lens, as well as two additional lenses and some extra accessories. A tripod can be carried externally, and there’s also space for a 15″ laptop and personal items such as a phone, wallet and keys.
The Pacsafe Camsafe V17 Anti-Theft Camera Backpack combines easy access with discreet security features such as lockable zippers, eXomesh slashguard, an RFID-blocking pocket and Carrysafe Slashguard strap. The top compartment is handy for storing personal items, while the removable camera compartment can be accessed conveniently from the side. The pack also offers a rear sleeve that fits up to a 13″ laptop or can double as hydration bladder storage.
The sleek city-friendly styling of this pack isn’t going to attract unnecessary attention and alert people to its contents, a feature photographers are sure to appreciate when hauling expensive equipment. The external pockets are useful for quick-access items such as cables, chargers and EDC, while internal padded sections for a laptop and iPad will keep your tech protected. Camera gear is accessed through the back of the pack by unzipping the back panel clamshell-style, along with top access for your most frequently used gear.
The ProTactic 350 AW is a feature-rich pack that offers four access points for conveniently and quickly getting to gear. It can hold one to two cameras and up to six additional lenses. There’s also space for a 13″ laptop, tripod attachment points, a raincover and a removable waistbelt. For further functionality the pack also includes five modular accessories to tailor your carry to changing needs.
When you need to carry a little extra gear but still in a bag that’s compact enough for carry-on purposes, the Pro Runner BP 350 AW II will do the trick. The pack holds a DSLR with attached lens, four to five additional lenses, and a range of tech including a 13″ laptop, 10″ tablet and a Wacom type tablet. A choice of pockets as well as a removable accessory case keep smaller items organized, while the waistbelt boosts user comfort for heavier loads or can be removed when not required.
Customizable interior organization, top and front access and multiple pockets makes the Niko Pack Backpack a handy hauler for a range of camera setups. The weatherproof construction helps keep your precious kit safe from the elements, while exterior straps secure a tripod and an interior padded sleeve fits a 15″ laptop.
*This pack has now been updated to the Niko F-Stop
Available in two sizes (21L and 31L), the versatile WANDRD PRVKE Pack serves as a camera bag, EDC bag or travel bag depending on your needs. Three access points make it easy to reach your gear, from the rolltop and clamshell access to the quick side camera access so you don’t miss that great shot. The bag can be paired with an optional WANDRD camera cube (or you can use your own) and there’s plenty of pockets to organize camera accessories, small EDC and travel items. The durable, weather-resistant construction embraces urban and outdoor settings alike, while the comfy build helps support the load on the go.
Burton are all about boarding so it should be no surprise that you can attach a snowboard to this pack. Alternatively, slot in a tripod instead or use the straps for attaching other items such as a jacket. There’s no shortage of internal or external pockets for keeping everything in its right place, including a handy insulated pocket, and the internal camera compartment has adjustable padded dividers to suit different gear setups. The camera compartment also has a convenient detachable cover to help keep your equipment protected without needing to zip the bag up, so you can access it quickly as needed. The pack’s adjustable harness also comes in useful for accommodating different users’ torso lengths. Check out our road test for more details.
The Loka UL is aimed at photographers who want to remain agile on the go without carrying a heavy bag. Weighing in at just 1.2kg, the 37L pack provides top and rear access, plus abrasion-resistant and weather-resistant construction to handle a range of adventures.
Flexible storage makes the Alpha Pro a handy option for carrying camera gear and some personal items. The pack holds an SLR and up to four additional lenses, with space for extra gear such as a laptop, outer layer, and camera accessories. The attractive aesthetics and sturdy build also make this a versatile pack for alternating between urban and outdoor settings.
Thule’s Covert DSLR Rolltop Backpack deftly handles photography and day-to-day carry needs thanks to a highly adaptable design. The removable camera pod keeps photography gear safe and easily accessible through a side opening. There’s also a zip-out divider allowing you to alternate between two compartments or one main compartment as required. And with plenty of pockets and dedicated storage for a laptop and tablet, your gear will stay tidy and at the ready whenever you need it.
Having to take your pack off to access your camera equipment is far from ideal – more often than not, that awesome shot opportunity is long gone by the time you’ve got your gear. MindShift Gear’s rotation180° Panorama prioritizes quick access through a nifty rotating design that enables you to swing the beltpack out from the main body of the pack in order to access the contents quickly, without needing to take the pack off. Check out our drive by for more details.
Plenty of pocketing, modular dividers, external tripod attachment, a dedicated laptop compartment, a rain cover, stowaway shoulder straps and a choice of full access to the main compartment or half access to the top or bottom of the contents while keeping the other half unexposed – the Bumblebee is buzzing with convenient features all packed in a sleekly stylish design.
With its compact form and comfortable suspension, the Lotus works just as well in crowded urban settings as it does in the outdoors. The 32L volume is a handy size for everyday or overnight use, with rear panel access keeping camera gear safe on the go.
The front panel of the Reload 30L can be laid out flat to give easy access to the camera gear in the main compartment, with a range of internal and external zipped pockets for keeping small items in order. The pack’s padded laptop section accommodates 17-inch laptops, while the front and side straps can be used for tripod carry – or strap a snowboard on the front and a tripod on the side if you’re planning to shoot sweet shots in the snow.
The Vinta S-Series Travel Camera Backpack adapts to casual and more formal environments alike, with a sleek and durable design that can roam the city streets or further afield if required. The removable inserts can be tailored to suit changing gear needs, with a removable Field Pack also included for further organization. The bag fits up to a 15″ laptop and offers a choice of top and back access for conveniently and quickly getting to your gear.
Peak Design’s innovative Everyday Backpack excels in both everyday and photography use. FlexFold dividers and a variety of pockets let you easily organize gear on the go, complemented by dual side access and top access. The pack can expand when you need to carry a little extra, and comes in 20L and 30L options. Smart enough for the office and tough enough for outdoor use, the bag includes a durable weatherproof build and one-handed closure system for versatile and convenient use.
The Tamrac Anvil 27 Pro Camera Backpack offers a range of features to keep gear within easy reach, including a wide-opening clamshell-style main compartment, dedicated laptop compartment, and quick-access exterior pockets. A tripod can be securely attached to the exterior of the bag, and the included raincover provides handy protection against the elements.
If you need a camera backpack that doesn’t advertise the fact you’re carrying expensive camera equipment, Filson’s Photographer’s Backpack is a suitably understated choice. Padded construction and internal dividers keep your gear safe and the zip to the pack’s padded top section and laptop sleeve is concealed to help dissuade opportunistic thieves.
The Lowepro Pro Trekker 450 AW is a comfortable and durable choice when you need to carry large loads. The pack includes an adjustable harness for a more tailored fit, front-loading access with adjustable dividers, a stowable tripod holder, laptop sleeve, and hydration-ready side pocket. In addition, the lid can be removed and worn as a waistpack for carrying the essentials.
Inside Line Equipment’s Ultimate Photographers Bag-MKIII merges everyday carry with camera carry, featuring a dedicated weatherproof camera compartment with adjustable dividers, a quick-access front pocket for items such as cables or chargers and a rolltop main section for clothing, food and other personal items. A padded section on the back is large enough for a 17-inch laptop, while tripods and light stands can be carried using the side compression straps and pockets, and external webbing allows additional gear to be attached as needed.
The flexible and protective butterfly access in this pack makes it a great choice for photography in restrictive spaces or inclement weather. Adjustable interior organization accommodates a variety of gear setups, while a tripod and other accessories can be attached to the exterior of the pack.
The understated ONA Camps Bay Camera Backpack is a great option for photographers who want to carry camera gear in low-key style. The pack helps avoid unwanted attention, while offering configurable organization for a DSLR with attached lens as well as up to seven extra lenses, a 17″ laptop and personal items.
A premium offering from ONA, the Clifton Camera Backpack offers chic style with handcrafted full-grain leather construction. The pack fits up to a 13″ laptop, with removable inserts to keep camera gear safe on the move. Use the bag as a camera pack or take out the inserts to convert it into a stylish everyday bag for work or play.