Camera equipment is some of the most challenging gear to carry. Often heavy but fragile, it requires a camera bag to provide protection from shocks and the elements, supreme access to your kit when you need it most, and comfortable carry in the field for long stretches.
Our Best Camera Bag finalists put the focus on ticking all these requirements. But which finalist really sets an example, going above and beyond to elevate the category? Pick your top contender below.
Boundary Supply launched the initial Prima system on Kickstarter in 2018. But since then they’ve integrated a range of updates to enhance the system yet again. Featuring improved Hypalon for greater scratch resistance. Redesigns to the shoulder straps and waist belt making for a comfier, more breathable carry experience. The pack’s main storage area now has increased expandability, with a lighter framesheet for reduced carry weight. And the Verge Case can now partner with the Prima pack waist belt for hip carry. The system’s travel, photography and day-to-day versatility remains strong, with bluesign® fabrics and manufacturing saluting a sustainable approach to construction too.
Moment make some of the best smartphone lenses around and have built up a strong community of photographers and filmmakers. So it makes sense they’d want to help that community carry their gear, while still enjoying the freedom to roam in pursuit of that next epic shot. And that’s what the Moment Rugged Camera Sling enables. Available in 6L and 10L sizes to suit different gear setups, it’s a bag streamlined for functional, active use. Crafted with NorthPak (a tough and waterproof fabric made from 100% recycled polyester fiber and film) and water-resistant YKK zippers, it keeps gear well protected from the elements. Not to mention organized and safe from bumps and scrapes thanks to well-padded and customizable organization, with zippered storage for accessories. And it’s thoughtful on the comfort front too, featuring a padded wingback panel that hugs the body, a wide and padded ambidextrous shoulder strap, and a stability strap for secure carry during active use.
With adventure photography, things are likely going to get a little rough. But the NYA-EVO Fjord 36 is ready for it, with a burly and weatherproof build to handle the elements and demanding use. Made with a polyurethane-coated 210D nylon ripstop fabric, rugged Hypalon base and YKK AquaGuard zippers, it’s prepped for adventure but also includes a raincover for even greater peace of mind. The main compartment has top and rear access, with a removable internal separator to divide personal items and camera gear. The pack provides a variety of pockets and attachment points to organize gear and accommodates three sizes of NYA-EVO’s Removable Camera Insert. And since camera gear can get heavy fast, they built the pack accordingly with an aluminum frame that transfers the load to the hips, ergonomic shoulder straps, and a quick-drying padded back panel. Carry-on-friendly and adaptable for a variety of adventure activities and trips, it’s a handy gear hauler for photography and beyond.
Peak Design set the bar for a daily/photography hybrid with the Everyday Backpack. Now they’re raising it even higher with the Everyday Backpack V2. The pack integrates extensive user feedback to enhance its functional design even further, with updates such as increased pocketing, widened top and side access, redesigned shoulder straps for improved comfort, durable UltraZip external zippers, and sleeker MagLatch hardware. It also gets a style update too with a more rounded silhouette, creating a stylish urban-friendly pack that suits everyday use but easily steps up as a discreet and understated camera bag. Top access and dual side access makes reaching your gear a breeze, with customizable dividers and plenty of pockets to organize your setup just the way you like it. And its weatherproof, 100% recycled 400D nylon canvas shell does the job of protecting gear when the weather turns.
It’s safe to say NOMATIC know a thing or two about designing travel bags. And that Peter McKinnon is pretty handy with a camera. So when a well-experienced travel carry brand and a renowned photographer team up, things are going to get exciting. The NOMATIC McKinnon Camera Pack is a collaborative design that finds that sweet spot between photography and travel use. Allowing you to adjust loads courtesy of customizable dividers, an expandable design (from 35L to 42L), and external carry straps. And dual compartments make it easy to separate personal gear and camera equipment. When it comes to reaching gear easily, the pack has you covered with quick side access to a camera and full clamshell access to all your photography gear. Add in a range of features to enhance carry comfort, including aluminum stays, load lifters, a sternum strap and removable waist belt, and you get a highly well-rounded pack for photography and travel needs.
One of the best ways to protect camera gear from unwanted attention is to look like you aren’t carrying any in the first place. With its clean exterior and urban streetwear aesthetics, the HEX Ranger doesn’t look like a camera bag. But look beneath the surface and you’ll find plenty of photography-ready functionality. The clamshell main compartment gives ready access to gear, with customizable padded dividers and a choice of pockets to tailor setups to changing loads. Multiple access points including dual side access and top access keeps gear close at hand, along with quick-access pockets for smaller photography and EDC essentials, external-access laptop storage, and bottom straps for a tripod or outer layer. The pack’s water-resistant build helps protect gear from the elements but is also boosted with an included raincover. Padded shoulder straps and a padded and ventilated back panel keep the load comfy while you’re on the move. And for travel ease a luggage passthrough allows for convenient carry on rolling luggage.
Founded in 2005, Think Tank is a brand committed to helping photographers carry better. Designed by, with and for photographers, their thoughtful and practical approach to bag design results in pieces like the Retrospective Backpack 15. Top and rear panel access lets you easily retrieve and store camera equipment, with a zippered security lid under the flap that can tuck away for quick access while working out of the bag. You’ll also find dedicated storage for up to a 15″ laptop and separate front storage for personal items, making it a versatile pack for photography and travel use. Think Tank beef up the carry comfort with padded shoulder straps, a padded back panel with extra padded lumbar support, an adjustable sternum strap and a removable waist belt. Made from DWR-coated cotton canvas with an included raincover, the pack sheds the elements while also offering up an understated heritage vibe that moves discreetly between everyday and travel environments.
Designed with the urban photographer in mind, the Think Tank Urban Access 15 combines city-ready style and camera-ready access. The pack’s dual side access provides quick access to gear on the go, with full clamshell rear access throughout the main compartment. A front tripod mounting system balances the load without interrupting access to the rest of your gear. The pack offers dedicated storage for 15″ tech (a 13″ laptop option is also available), customizable dividers for camera gear, and additional pockets to organize accessories and EDC items. The bag is made with a DWR-coated 500D 2-tone poly tech-weave fabric and extra-durable base for enhanced abrasion resistance. The sleek, urban-friendly silhouette suits formal work settings and leisure use alike, making it equally versatile for professional photographers and downtime enthusiasts.
Taiwan-based WOTANCRAFT created the Nomad with a simple goal in mind: design a travel-ready camera bag that didn’t look like a camera bag. A pack focused on discreet security, with no obvious pockets or zippers. The bag offers 15L of padded storage for camera gear and 10L of expandable storage for personal gear. Flexible side access and rolltop access lets you reach gear throughout. However, while the bag does have side pockets and concealed pockets, the design is intentionally elusive with zippers and pockets hidden under the hood to thwart opportunistic thieves. Made with water-repellent 500D Cordura N66 Nylon canvas, the bag is designed to hug the body for better weight distribution and can be paired with an optional waist belt if desired. The brand’s love of vintage military gear is also evident in the bag’s ruggedly utilitarian aesthetic, allowing it to blend into a variety of travel photography environments and age well with use.
The Action X series is Shimoda’s action sports workhorse. Designed for photographers who need to carry a lot of gear yet still be agile and embedded in the action. It features an adjustable harness to achieve a perfect fit, and removable belt to quickly streamline the bag for urban or event situations. A removable helmet holder, TPU ski compression straps and newly revised side-access system with YKK splashguard zippers round out the adventure-ready features. In addition, it has an expandable roll-top with quick access zipper, and side access when you need that lens rapid-fire. Burly, reliable and built with hard-earned smarts.
WANDRD are no strangers to creating rugged, adventure-ready bags with photo slant. But the WANDRD Fernweh is their most boundary-pushing bag to date, designed to merge backpacking and photography. The pack has a six-point adjustment system for comfort. Available in two frame sizes, two shoulder strap sizes and two hip belt sizes, the bag can be tailored to your ideal fit. The shoulder straps and hip belt are removable and interchangeable and the shoulder strap height is also adjustable too. Four access points to the main compartment keep gear close at hand when you need it, including top-loading, front clamshell, and rear panel access, plus quick side access for a camera. Decked out with plenty of organization options including pockets, attachment points, a laptop sleeve, a hydration bladder sleeve, and more, the bag keeps gear secure on the go but easy to access when required. Rounding off this highly capable adventure photography bag are four grab handles and a luggage passthrough, as well as a weatherproof 420D ripstop build backed by a lifetime guarantee.
Camera gear is weighty enough without adding a heavy bag to the mix. So London-based brand Instinct created the Pro Camera Sling as a lightweight alternative to large, bulky bags when you just need to carry a smaller setup. The weatherproof yet light and durable bag is made with X-Pac VX21 fabric and YKK AquaGuard zippers and weighs just 0.55 kg. The versatile design can be carried cross-body or around the waist and features a comfy and ventilated shoulder strap with custom moulded Wave Cushion for efficient pressure distribution. But the brand tips its hat to even greater carry flexibility, as the bag’s shoulder strap can also convert to a camera neck strap. And if you don’t need to carry camera gear, simply compress the bag down and it doubles as an everyday or travel bag.
Lowepro designed the Fastpack Pro BP 250 AW III with travel efficiency in mind. Dedicated storage for camera equipment, personal items and a laptop keeps your gear tidy while still remaining accessible throughout the trip. The camera storage features two-stage access, enabling quick side access for grabbing a camera on the go or alternatively full access to reach all the gear in the compartment. A water-resistant build and included raincover provide protection from the elements, with ergonomic shoulder straps, a padded back panel, sternum strap and waist belt taking care of carry comfort.
Tenba created their Shootout range of outdoor photography backpacks with three key criteria in mind: comfort, durability and versatility. The 32L Shootout Backpack sucessfully delivers on all fronts, merging the comfort of a trekking pack with a rugged build for outdoor use and a design that suits a large professional photography setup but looks sleek and understated enough for urban shoots too. The pack features Pivot Fit™ straps that automatically adjust to different shoulder shapes, along with a ventilated and padded back panel and a sternum strap. It’s built with water-repellent nylon and a TPU coated base for extra water and abrasion resistance. An additional handy feature is the reversible raincover that can reflect heat or alternatively help the pack blend in for more discreet carry. Designed with functional access in mind, the pack offers quick side camera access, a front full clamshell opening, plus rear laptop storage. Merging function, comfort and adaptable aesthetics, it’s a solid performer for professional use.