Top 5 | Best Camera Bags
No two photo shoots are exactly the same. Different locations and different gear requirements necessitate camera bags that are fit for purpose, while offering flexibility and peace of mind. Whether you’re after an outdoor adventure companion or an understated option for urban photography, these top 5 best camera bags are worthy of your consideration. Discover how each finalist excels in its own way and cast your vote for your category champion.
If you are in the market for a well-built camera pack that isn’t just for camera equipment but can also store gear for your adventures, check out the Atlas Athlete Camera Backpack. With a comfortable harness, even under a heavy load, this bag is an excellent option for any backcountry adventure. The Athlete provides the ability to choose a frame size, so photographers of any size are outfitted with a comfortable pack. Built with top-notch materials, the pack’s interior and exterior were created to keep everything inside protected, even under the harshest conditions.
The bag can expand from 20L to 40L, allowing the user to use the pack for both quick day trip outings and longer multi-day trips. Even at full-size loadout, you can use the Athlete for your carry-on while flying. Each side of the pack has a zipper so you can access the interior quickly if you need to grab something inside.
One of the best features of any Atlas pack is the ORIGAMI CAMERA CORE. This core allows you to adjust the size of the camera area without needing to purchase multiple camera cubes. When at its full size, the Athlete can fit a drone, full-frame camera with a 70-200 lens attached, and several other lenses. If you are just out for a short day trip and do not want to pack all your gear, you can use the pull tab in the camera core and shorten the space, allowing for just a camera with a few lenses. The harness system on the Athlete pack holds and distributes the weight of a full pack exceptionally well. Even with wearing the pack for hours, there is no discomfort.
Atlas provides plenty of options to help customize your pack; from extra hip belts and straps to more dividers, you will be able to bring all the gear that you need for your adventure. Most packs have a removable belt, but Atlas takes it one step further, allowing you to add additional belts to fit your carry options.
If you are looking for a simple pack for carrying your camera gear around a city or to the zoo with your family, this pack may be a bit overkill. But suppose you are someone who is looking for a camera pack that you can take mountaineering, snowboarding, climbing, or really any other activity. In that case, the Athlete is a fantastic option to look into.
Over the years, we have seen a plethora of camera bag companies pop up. But Atlas knows the space well; with both professional adventurers and photographers on staff, they are really creating a solid pack for the adventure/sports market. The pack is extremely well thought out. The Origami Camera Core is innovative in a tangible way that functions well.
Accommodates both camera equipment and personal gear
Innovative Origami Camera Core for flexible organization
Expandable from 20L to 40L
Tough enough for outdoor/backcountry use
If the words ‘modular’, ‘storage’ and ‘waxed canvas’ get you giddy about a bag, then you need to check out WOTANCRAFT. The minute you open a WOTANCRAFT package, you are met with a beautifully designed bag. Using a vintage military aesthetic WOTANCRAFT designs each of their bags with a unique approach, creating a lightweight and durable camera bag. The Pilot Backpack is no exception. The lightweight 500D Cordura fabric is perfect for keeping this bag lightweight even when loaded out and is 10x stronger than the standard waxed canvas. Utilizing a weatherproof coating on the pack with YKK weatherproof zippers, the Pilot will keep all your gear nice and dry and protected in any environment.
The Pilot is 20L as a stand-alone bag, but WOTANCRAFT has created several modular options to attach to this pack so you can build it out for whatever adventure you have in mind. The pack can increase to 36L of storage with all the additional modules.
The Pilot features a “Kangaroo” flap on the front of the pack. This area is designed to hold either a jacket, shoes, or add-on modules. The main compartment is accessible from either side of the pack, so you have that option if you prefer to grab your gear from sling-type access.
The pack’s exterior utilizes a MOLLE attachment system. So even if you want to use any other pouch or MOLLE system you already own, you can customize the pack to your needs.
The WOTANCRAFT Pilot is a perfect bag for creators with different needs for different shoots. If you want to run light and carry just the bag, you can do that. But if you need extra space, the modules are quick to attach while keeping your gear secure if you are traveling in not-so-secure areas. The pack does not have any massive logos or other branding items that scream “Expensive Gear Inside.” If you love a beautifully designed bag, value quality materials, and enjoy that vintage look that waxed canvas provides, be sure to check out the WOTANCRAFT Pilot.
Attractive vintage military aesthetics
Hard-wearing and weatherproof materials
Convenient dual side access
Versatile for photography, travel and everyday use
Can be paired with optional add-on modules to suit changing loads
Shimoda Designs showed up in the adventure camera bag market with their Explore series several years back. Since then, they have solidified themselves as top camera bag designers. The Explore series offers some of the best camera bags on the market and is back with a V2. Well thought out, functional, and comfortable, the Explore series maintains the harness system that sets Shimoda apart from all others while adding more organization than V1.
Built for photographers who are out in the elements and want to protect their gear, the ripstop fabric is durable and highly water-resistant. The Explore series has multiple pockets and storage options so that you can carry all the equipment you need.
The Shimoda Explore V2 is a perfect pack for photographers in the travel/landscape market. With pack options including 25L, 30L, and 35L, buyers have good options to choose from and have the ability to use these as carry-on bags for travel. With the redesign of the Explore series, Shimoda sets a clear distinction between the Explore and Action X series. One of the huge ways Shimoda sets itself apart from other camera pack companies is the female-specific straps contoured to fit the female form.
As for the organization, the Explore V2 has an extensive collection of pockets on the bag. From stash pockets on the harness and waist belt to more internal pouches and pockets. When out in the field, it is nice to have a variety of places to store your gear and separate it for organization, and this is a nice feature on the Explore V2. The pack has two side pockets, one that has a stowable mesh pouch for your tripod or water bottle, and the other side that has a small filter pocket. The camera cube is accessible from both side access and from the back panel. The Core Units from Shimoda have a zipper flap that allows the user to access the camera area from the side or keep it closed and gear more secure if you do not need to access equipment from the side.
The ripstop nylon material is strong and waterproof, and if you find yourself in a monsoon, the pack comes with a rain cover for that added protection and peace of mind.
If you are looking for a high-quality bag that is perfect for traveling or landscape shooting and will keep your gear protected, check out the Explore V2 series for your next pack.
Versatile for travel and landscape photography use
Comfortable harness system with adjustable torso height and specific strap options for men and women
Useful range of pockets for adaptable organization
Side and rear access points
Tough, weather-resistant build for adventurous use
If you are in the camera bag world, you are no stranger to the NOMATIC x Peter McKinnon Collection. The original bag won last year’s Carry Awards. This year they are nominated again for their Everyday Camera Backpack. Built with the same materials and the same well-thought-out layout, this is a great bag for anyone who wants a great backpack that can transform from an everyday bag to a camera bag using their ladder system to customize the layout of the main compartment.
The Everyday Camera Backpack is a 25L camera bag aimed at urban and daypack photographers. As previously mentioned, the bag utilizes a unique ladder system that allows the user to customize the camera and everyday sections. You can run the bag as strictly a simple bag but easily adjust the camera space to hold a single DSLR with a lens or adjust the area to fit a camera body and multiple lenses.
The pack is made of a heavy-duty waterproof tarpaulin and has several attachment points on the front and sides to allow the user to hold jackets or tripods. Two magnetic side pockets are sized to fit a 32oz bottle or a tripod. The interior of the pack has several small organizational pockets and a laptop sleeve that can hold up to a 16″ laptop.
The Everyday Camera Backpack does not provide any side access to the camera compartment. The camera cube is only accessible via a clamshell opening on the rear. That said, there is a full access pocket you could place a camera in if you need to get to it quickly.
The bag’s straps are comfortable and thick, so it still feels comfortable if the pack is loaded with camera gear. The EVA foam backing feels comfortable and breathable when carried at length and has a luggage pass-through, making this bag perfect for a carry-on pack while traveling.
This pack is a good contender with the other everyday camera packs on the market and is a good option if you like the NOMATIC aesthetic but do not want to carry their 35L camera pack. The Everyday Camera Backpack is perfect for photographers looking for a well-built pack that is sleek and usable.
Functions as an everyday bag or a camera bag
Unique ladder system for customizable organization
External attachment points for securing additional gear
Tough, weather-resistant build
Are you a fan of X-Pac? Do you want a camera bag that will take a beating and resist rain, snow, and dust? Check out the Compagnon Element. At 30L (with a 12L roll-top), this pack is a fantastic and durable option no matter what you want to shoot.
The layout of the camera compartment can carry quite a bit of gear; you can fit several DSLR bodies with lenses and a drone inside and still have some room. The bag’s interior is built to strictly be a camera bag and has both side and rear access to this compartment. If you need space for other items like a jacket or pouches, the 12L rolltop is perfect for extras. The front panel has two pockets; one is built to carry notebooks, pens, and chargers, while the larger one behind is sized to fit a small tablet. The laptop compartment easily fits a 15″ MacBook with a bit of room, so a 16″ should fit no problem.
The Compagnon Element doesn’t feel like a 30L bag while carrying it. This is due to the CarryLite Ergo system that Compagnon has developed. Some of the features of this system are the no-edge seam cushioned straps, a weight-supporting hip belt, and a ventilated back panel to help keep you cool.
The pack’s exterior utilizes Dimension Polyant VX21 fabric, which has become extremely popular over the years. This fabric is lightweight, waterproof, and highly abrasion-resistant. So you can take this pack to Mordor, and it should last through everything you can throw at it. Not only is the fabric high quality, but the zippers are also weatherproof, which will help keep your gear safe and secure.
One of the great parts about the Element is that it does not blast “Camera Gear”, which is very nice to be a bit more discreet when you are out traveling in places where you might be targeted for theft. The Compagnon Element is an excellent pack for creators, with space to carry all you need for small to large projects and room for a laptop and other editing gear; the Element can be a bag you can bring to the studio or out in the wild.
If you are looking for a great durable bag for some short travel trips or just to carry a decent amount of gear, check out the Element from Compagnon.
Separate storage for camera and personal/travel gear
Durable weatherproof build
Side and rear camera access
Comfortable carry through CarryLite Ergo system
Discreet “non-camera” aesthetics
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