Photo credit: Andrew Neel
Photographers are a particular bunch. And that’s a good thing. When scrutinizing their work, they’re often not happy with anything less than what they perceive to be a perfect photo. They apply the same level of scrutiny to the gear they use. This, of course, includes the cameras and lenses they use as well as the editing software and hardware. Yet there is a common thread running through the photography industry, especially the so-called amateur enthusiast that the gear you shoot with is now SO good that you can achieve superb photos using even a few years old iPhone. So does the same principle apply to camera bags? And more specifically, does the same idea resonate when looking at some of the best camera backpacks in the world.
The answer to the question posed above is a resounding no. The camera accessory market and in particular, the market for camera backpacks have improved the quality and innovation behind its products tremendously over even just the last five years. Not too long ago, when you went shopping to buy a high-quality camera backpack, you didn’t have too many choices. But in the year 2020 (sounds like the future, right?), there are tons of fantastic new brands that have stepped up to produce some genuinely great camera backpacks for both professional and amateur photographers.
If you’ve landed on this page, you’re likely already looking for a camera backpack specifically. With that in mind, I’m not going to compare the different types of camera bags you could buy. These, of course, include shoulder camera bags, sling camera bags, holster cases, fashion camera bags, pouches, rolling cases, fitted cases, and hard cases.
If you’re looking for a camera backpack for a wide variety of uses, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve been an aspiring amateur photographer for nearly 20 years, and I’ve gone through my share of camera bags. Since subsequently switching to the camera backpack style of gear toting, I’ve also been through a lot of camera backpacks, both good and bad. And even within this sub-category of camera bags, we can drill down even further to define your particular use cases when it comes to hauling your DSLR or Mirrorless cameras around.
Perhaps you’re looking for a camera backpack that’s a mean street warrior. Something that serves as a great backpack to carry enough gear to last you a long photo-walk in the city but also has a laptop compartment for those mobile editing sessions. Maybe you’re a professional that needs to have an incredibly versatile camera backpack for shooting weddings? Or perhaps you’re looking for something lightweight, sturdy and security-conscious as you bring your camera backpack on travel adventures around the world. (Don’t worry we’ll all travel again after this COVID-19 mess is gone). Or perhaps you’re a hardcore outdoor photographer who endures not only long hikes and backpacking excursions but also the inclement weather that comes with being outdoors and you need a waterproof camera backpack that’s as rugged as the terrain and landscapes you’ll be photographing.
Below is a list of what I believe to be the best camera backpacks that money can buy, but if you’re not what criteria you should be judging these bags by, skip to the bottom of the page first. There I’ll elaborate on some of the requirements you should consider when making your choice.
1. Manfrotto - Manhattan Mover 30 Backpack for CSC, DSLR, Mirrorless Cameras
Italian company Manfrotto is well known in the photography world for the quality craftsmanship and innovation that goes into their products. Although they are better known for their lineup of tripods, Manfrotto has gone on to create an incredible set of camera bags to suit almost any need imaging enthusiasts and professionals may have. Amongst that set of camera bags is a lineup of over twenty camera backpacks. The Manhattan camera backpack mover-30 is a bag whose namesake should give you a clue as to what Manfrotto envisioned as the primary purpose. It’s a city slicker. Designed for city commuters and photographers, the urban and square look makes them a perfect companion for your street photography needs.
The Manhattan camera backpack is designed with flexible and removable dividers to comfortably carry a premium CSC camera such as a Sony A9 with a standard zoom lens and hold up to 3 additional lenses, including a 70/200 mm lens. Additionally, the top of the backpack has enough room to carry a second DSLR or Mirrorless body OR a DJI Mavic drone. It also features two padded compartments allowing you to carry up to a 14-inch laptop and 10-inch tablet. One nice feature I like about this bag is that it’s designed to be an urban warrior. The primary material is designed to be tear-proof and scratch-resistant, and the bottom of the bag, which is the part that tends to get the dirtiest, has been coated with a unique material to aid with more natural cleaning. Like with many camera bags available on the market, the external shell of the bag has been treated to make it water repellant and also comes with an additional rain protector shell in case of a major downpour. Like with many of Manfrotto’s camera backpacks, this is a bag you won’t be embarrassed to wear. It’s been designed to look as good as well as it functions.
Fits in most carry-on luggage compartments
Includes External tripod connections
Laptop and iPad compartments
Includes a rain protector
Model: Manhattan Camera Backpack Mover-30
Material: Synthetic Fabric
External Dimensions: 29 x 17 x 44 cm
Number of Lenses: 6
2. Peak Design - Everyday Backpack 30L
Winner of multiple design and photography awards, the Everyday Backpack V1 from Peak Design is a camera backpack that perhaps rises above the rest. But before I describe its myriad of features, be aware that it comes in both 20L and 30L sizes. It’s also not exactly a conventional camera backpack. You’ll see what I mean in a moment. Designed and developed by engineers and photographers, the Everyday Backpack is suited for a lifestyle that involves ever-changing gear and ever-changing environments. The MagLatch system at the top of the bag allows for super quick access to your equipment. It’s unique in the sense that it’s essentially designed for one-handed, no-look, silent use. The Peak Design bag also includes a DUAL side-loading system via two weatherproof side zips.
On top of that, this bag provides massive external capacity with a tuck-away strap system and expandable side pockets. With a dedicated sleeve for up to a 15″ laptop, tablet, documents and a super clean aesthetic, there’s lots to love here.
FlexFold dividers provide for endless internal storage configuration
Extra-comfy shoulder straps that pivot at axial connections to provide maximum comfort
Made of Weatherproof 400D nylon canvas shell.
Premium weatherproof zippers
Inner side panel pockets
Drone carry comparments (DJI compatible)
Dual side access to gear
Tuck-away waist strap
Brand: Peak Design
Model: Everyday Backpack
Includes 1 key tether and 4 external carry straps
3. Thule - Aspect DSLR Backpack
While this Thule camera backpack is billed as sort of a mid-range product, its feature set and quality construction lead me to believe that it punches way above its weight so-to-speak. If I had to use one word to describe this camera backpack, it’s versatility. The customizable storage easily allows for the fitting of a full-sized DSLR along with a drone and a variety of lenses. Add to that a terrific laptop and tablet compartment with plenty of protective padding. And if that’s not enough, you also get plenty of personal storage for your gear, batteries and more. Did I mention a metaphorical boatload of extra pockets everywhere? There are even zippered hip belt pockets for quickly retrieving small accessories like a lens cap. And don’t worry, the hip belt is completely detachable for those times you simply don’t need one.
Can carry up to a 15.6″ laptop plus iPad in dedicated compartment
Did I mention tons of zippered pockets?
Padded shoulder and hip straps for extra comfort.
Model: 9-in-1 Beard Trimmer MGK5280
Battery run-time: 100 minutes
4. Endurax - ShellX P01 Extra Large Camera Backpack
I’m not going to lie; this is a beast of a camera backpack. Designed for the rugged outdoors, including some hardcore hiking, the Endurax ShellX P01 is spacious enough to fit two pro-sized DSLRs or mirrorless cameras + 6-8 lenses, and many additional accessories including DJI drones. Unique to this large camera backpack is a hard PVA shell to provide a massive layer of protection for all of your gear. With a bag this size, you can easily fit a 17″ laptop inside as well. While the backpack is not fully side accessible, there is a multifunctional side pocket that can store a ton of accessories.
Additional mesh pockets also allow for tripod or water bottle storage. Of-course, with a backpack as large as this one, the expected wear-proof standing pad allows for the bag to stand on its own and adds a layer of protection. If you want the ultimate in photographic gear and drone protection while hiking or trekking up some mountain, consider the Endurax ShellX PO1.
Tons of storage
Hard front shell for extra protection
Fits up to a 17″ laptop and 10″ tablet
Quick access top Pocket
Special detachable propeller pad for your drone’s propellers.
Model: ShellX P01 Extra Large Camera Backpack
Water resistant polyester
5. Tarion - RB-02 Camera Backpack
Founded in 2008 in Berlin, Germany, Tarion is a relative newcomer to the camera gear market. In that time, they’ve developed a line of high-quality tripods, lighting, monitors and sliders. Alongside that impressive product collection, they’ve also moved into producing some of the most beautiful camera backpacks in the world. What I love about Tarion’s bags is that they’ve not been afraid to experiment with both form and function. This much is evident across their lineup, but particularly striking in the form of this RB-02 Camera Backpack. This high-capacity and multifunctional backpack can hold up to 2 DSLR sized bodies + 3-5 lenses. The entire bag is rated as IPX5 waterproof, and the side-access zipper allows for rapid access to your primary camera body.
This camera backpack is jammed with features including some very nice anti-theft clips and zipper technology. Make sure to check out all the features below.
Side access compartment
Additional rain-cover included
Removable padded dividers
Weather, dust, scratch proof.
Top compartment large enough to fit a sweater or jacket
Tripod or monopod storage
Model: RB-02 Camera Backpack
6. Hex - Glacier Camo Back Loader DSLR Backpack
As a company, Hex may not have the same renowned name and pedigree as other photography-only camera bag makers on this list. That said, it would be a mistake to underestimate their prowess and dedication to quality when making camera backpacks. With plenty of experience in other consumer bag products, Hex brings their A-game with this stylish and camo-design fuelled DSLR backpack. Constructed out of water-resistant materials (900D polyester), you won’t have to worry much about the weather when carrying your precious photography gear on your back. The padded and fleece-lined compartment features removable partitions to store all your camera gear. The backpack also features an air-mesh back, adjustable side water bottle pocket and plenty of space with a total volume of 20L.
Fast access via top opening into main compartment.
Fits a 15″ laptop in seperate padded component
Exterior phone / tablet pocket
Side tripod straps
Durable non-skid bottoms
Model: Glacier Camo Back Loader DSLR Backpack
7. Miggo - Agua Versa Backpack 90
The Agua Versa Backpack 90 from Miggo may not be as spacious as many of the other world-class camera backpacks you’ll find. But if you’re looking for a small to mid-size camera backpack with more versatility than most, you’ve stumbled upon a truly unique product. With a rough capacity of one DSLR sized camera body and 2-3 lenses, it indeed won’t be carrying your entire studio setup. But there’s a reason for its relative diminutive nature. This camera backpack can be configured as a conventional backpack, a slingback with a cross-body strap or a backpack with straps crisscrossing the wearer’s chest. This effectively makes this bag a 3-in-1 solution for various camera gear toting applications.
With an IPX3 water-resistance, you’ll likely never need to worry about any of your gear so much as getting moist. One thing I love in the recent design trend of camera backpacks is that they’re making much more generous use of zippers to secure each of their compartments and pouches. This also holds of the Agua Versa Backpack 90. But what I genuinely consider to be the piece-de-resistance of this camera backpack is the integrated USB panel with a built-in cover that can provide connectivity to external devices an power sources.
Built-in top handle
Pass-through panel for mounting to rolling luggage
Integrated USB panel
IPX3 water resistance
Access to primary compartment is through a zippered panel with an upward opening
14.5″ laptop can be stored in padded compartment
Model: Agua Versa Backpack 90
Exterior Dimensions: 11.42 x 18.9 x 6.3 inches
8. Lowepro - Freeline Camera Backpack 350 AW
Some days you just have to sit back and marvel at the level of thought and engineering that goes into product design. There’s good reason this Lowepro Freeline Camera Backpack is on the more expensive side. The patented QuickShelf divider system not only gives you an incredible amount of diversity in terms of how you can divide the storage in your backpack but also allows for a 3-level shelf. Combined with dual-side access panels, you can reach almost every piece of camera gear with a quick zip and pull. A really genius design from the folks at Lowepro, bravo! The Freeline model also comes with a variety of other reasonably standard high-end camera backpack features.
Laptop compartment for up to a 15″ machine.
Made of water resistant nylon 66 exterior
Tripod straps at the front of the bag.
Washable hair trimmer
Model: Freeline Camera Backpack 350 AW
9. Sony - Alpha DSLR Camera
Not until recently have the major camera manufacturers gotten very serious about some of their accessories. But with the ever-eroding revenues and profit in their camera business units, giants like Sony and Canon have started to look elsewhere. One of those places is in the accessories business. Thus, I present to you a first-party camera backpack from Sony, specially designed for their Alpha range of mirrorless cameras.
Enough room for a full-sized Sony camera body + 4 lenses.
Padded laptop compartment for laptops up to 15″
Front, side, and rear pockets for batteries, accessories, cables, and more.
Tripod or monopod straps on the side.
Model: Alpha DSLR Camera Backpack
Exterior Dimensions: 13 x 19 x 9.88 inches
10. Manfrotto - Advanced Befree Backpack for DSLR / CSC Cameras and Drone
Now in its second generation of iterative design, this Manfrotto backpack is immense value for the dollars you have to shell out. With large rear access to your camera gear, this backpack is large enough to hold your DSLR or Mirrorless kit and your personal belongings. That means a full-sized camera body, six lenses and still more space for a 15″ laptop and 10″ iPad. One of the things that have sometimes bothered me most about most camera backpacks is that they only offer one way to mount your tripod. That’s where this backpack differentiates itself. You can carry your tripod in 2 ways. Either attach it with a side strap or protect it further with the expandable tripod pocket. There’s plenty of versatility and convenience in this finely crafted camera backpack.
Strap connector for standard trolley or luggage handle.
Internal tripod compartment
Rain cover included.
Model: Advanced Befree Camera Backpack
External dimensions: 32 x 19 x 45 cm
11. F-Stop - Dalston - Roll Top Camera Backpack
Its name inspired by the busy streets of London’s Dalson area, this camera backpack from manufacturer Dalston is definitely designed to be an everyday carry item with enough space for one DSLR or Mirrorless body + 2-3 lenses. The unique rolling top provides rapid access to your camera gear, but that’s not the only access point. The Dalston also has dual-side access weatherproof zippers and a 15″ padded compartment for laptops and tablets. The removable and padded main compartment features five dividers that can provide a great deal of versatility when choosing which photography gear to bring with you. But aside from all the features, this elegant camera backpack boasts its best attribute is its impressive, sleek and slim design. Stylish is not nearly complimentary enough to describe this bag.
Waterproof zipper mechanism
Made of Ripstop Nylon with TPU laminate
Padded back panel provides space for up to a 15″ laptop.
Reinforced carry handle
Exterior Dimensions: 18.9 x 11.4 x 6.3 inches
12. Langly - Simple Camera Bag Set
Without a moment of hesitation, I would say that this is a professional-grade camera backpack. Its size belies its purpose. If you’re looking to haul a studio setup or heading out into the field with a requirement to use a wide selection of lenses and multiple camera bodies, this rugged yet beautiful camera bag might be your jam. With a waterproof body fabric for extreme weather resistance and enough space to hold up to eight lenses and a single camera body, it’s a beast. But don’t take my word for it, just check out all the features.
Massive internal storage
Waterproof body fabric with YKK zippers
Dedicated sleeve for 15 inch laptop
Ventilated shoulder and chest straps
Available in three colours including Black, Forest Green and Coyote Beige
Model: Simple Camera Bag Set
External Dimensions: 18″ x 14.5″ x 8″
13. Case Logic - SLRC-206 SLR Camera Backpack
Yes, it’s another black camera backpack that perhaps not the most stylish thing ever conceived has plenty of fantastic features landing it on this list. This is a robust and accessible bag designed to keep pace with the needs of today’s professional and amateur photographers. So how does it accomplish that? Let’s start with the fact that it can fit up to an SLR body with an attached lens, a DJI Mavic Pro and additional lenses and accessories. It features a unique internal hammock system designed to keep your camera body and attached lens off the bottom of the case, which is where most camera gear damage can occur. The water-resistant EVA base also allows this camera backpack to stand without needing to lean on anything. Large enough to fit even a 16″ Macbook Pro, the padded compartment has plenty of space for a tablet as well.
Unique hammock system provides additional protection for your camera.
Water resistant EVA base
Adjustable internal dividers
Four accessory pockets
External straps and hooks hold your tripod.
Brand: Case Logic
Model: SLRC-206 SLR Camera
External Dimensions: 31.9 x 20.3 x 43.2 cm
14. Manfrotto - Advanced Camera Backpack Compact 1
The Italian manufacturer once again hit it out of the park when it decided to design this fantastic camera backpack. Developed for the everyday photographer who wants to carry just enough gear to get the shot, but not be weighed down, the Manfrotto Compact 1 is perfectly sized and also correctly priced. With a zippered top compartment and an insert for holding a mirrorless camera and up to four lenses, it’s a perfectly serviceable camera backpack that you can feel comfortable will suit many of your needs. Multiple inner pockets and dual, side, and stretch pockets will store a water bottle and the base of your tripod. There’s little surprise that this more-than-capable compact camera backpack is one of Manfrotto’s top-selling bags.
Padded compartment fits a 13″ macbook pro or 12.9″ iPad pro.
Reinforced top strap handle
Adjustable shoulder pads
Breathable mesh back panel
Made of water-repellent, ballistic nylon
Additional rain-cover included.
Model: 9870-100 Vacuum Trimmer
Battery run-time: 90 minutes
15. BAGSMART - Water Resistant DSLR Camera Backpack
Reminiscent of the square backpack design you would see in old British War movies as the Queen’s infantry would trot across some distant battlefield, the BAGSMART Large Camera Backpack is designed to hold a lot of camera gear. While the fashionable exterior design won’t scream, “HEY… I’M A CAMERA BAG, COME STEAL THE STUFF INSIDE!”, it will discreetly say, “Hey, I’m a nice looking backpack.” With room for a DSLR or Mirrorless class body and 3-6 lenses, there’s plenty of additional space for the usual gamut of camera gear accessories. The one unique feature that is not often found in other camera backpacks is the semitransparent zip cover that prevents the camera and your other gear from dropping out when the back panel is opened—a very nice, user-friendly touch.
Seperate padded compartment for up to a 15.6″ inch laptop
Water resistant polyester makes up the majority of the camera backpack body
Extra rain cover comes standard
Heavily padded shoulder pads provide additional comfort
Model: Water-Resistant DSLR Camera Bag
Exterior Dimensions: 30cm x 19cm x 40cm
16. Vinta - Type II Forest Camera Backpack
Photographers can be a bit rough on their camera bags. After all, they’re often put into positions where they are traversing rugged terrain, fighting for a spot amidst a crush of other photojournalists, or simply exposed to the elements. So when a bag manufacturer puts a lifetime warranty behind their product, that’s something to be noticed. Not that this particular camera backpack needed anything else to call attention to itself. Just look at the damn thing. It’s absolutely, positively gorgeous. And what’s even better about it is that it can not only serve as a camera backpack but also a tremendous general-purpose or travel backpack. The TYPE-II Forest Backpack has room for up to two full-sized camera bodies and 4-5 lenses.
Luggage sleeve on the back for easy travel with a rolling suitcase
Waterproof coated twill construction
Leather wrapped handle
Expandable side pockets
Fits up to a 16″ laptop
Model: TYPE II – Forest Backpack
Exterior Dimensions: 16.75 x 11.5 x 6.25 inches
17. Tarion - Camera Bag Backpack with Hard Shell
Available in two colour combinations including the above pictured golden and black configuration, the other being a lovely silver and black combo, this TARION camera bag backpack is one of the more flexible and feature-laden camera bags I’ve ever come across. First, the unique combination of the rolltop and hardshell is not often seen anywhere, which provides a level of versatility and toughness most camera backpacks can’t touch. Maybe at this point, you’re wondering what the point of a rolltop is? Well, my young upstart, the rolltop space, is simply an expandable area that provides an additional 7L of cubic volume space. It also allows for you to tote around a much more compact backpack than you usually would.
This camera backpack has been designed from the ground-up for photographers of all stripes. Whether you’re an amateur, aspiring pro, or a seasoned vet of hammering away at that shutter button, there are lots of features you’ll appreciate in this backpack.
Weather, dust, scratch proof camera bag.
Laptop compartment holds up to a 15″ laptop.
Will hold up to 1 camera body + 3-5 lenses
Breathable airmesh padding on the shoulder straps improves comfort
Model: Camera Bag Backpack Large
Capacity: 18.5 L
18. Thule - Covert DSLR Rolltop Backpack
Until recently, I was unaware of what the RedDot Award is. That is until a company sent me a watch for review, which happened to be the recipient of said award. Now I know that it’s a reasonably prestigious design award that is usually reserved for consumer products whose overall design meets the highest standards of aesthetic and functional design. The Thule Covert Rolltop Camera backpack is also the recipient of a RedDot Award. And with just cause, I might add. This awesome bag will fit up to a DSLR body with attached lens + 2 lenses + a drone.
Additionally, the spacious rolltop design allows for storage of personal items and a secure and padded compartment also provides for plenty of space for up to a 15″ Macbook Pro. With one-side quick-access to your gear and plenty of internal and external pockets, it’s no wonder Thule has been selling this bag since 2014. It’s a keeper!
Durable and water resistant Oxford material construction
Zip-out divider separates top and bottom shelves.
Origami inspired divider system will fold around the smallest and largest pieces of your photography gear
Model: Covert DSLR Rolltop Backpack
Exterior Dimensions: 17.7 x 7.9 x 21.3 inches
19. Lowepro - Slingshot Edge 250 AW Camera Case
I know what you’re going to say. This isn’t a backpack. That’s true. It’s more of a one-shoulder sling-bag. Nevertheless, I felt compelled to include this truly remarkable Lowepro camera sling bag here. Why? There’s just so much to love. First, it’s relatively compact, and for photographers that never want to miss the shot while still protecting their camera from the elements, the side-access pocket is lighting quick to get to. The body-side access to the main compartment is also designed to deter theft while you’re on the move. The front of the bag has a dedicated spot for your phone, cables, and other small essentials. Just don’t expect to haul too much gear around. This bag was designed to carry a full-sized body with attached lens + space for 1-2 more lenses OR a small drone.
Made of N100 Nylon with UTS coating.
Rotate sling to front, unzip side access pocket and quickly grab your camera to shoot.
Fit up to a 10 inch iPad in the dedicated compartment.
Model: Slingshot Edge 250 AW Camera Case
Exterior Dimensions: 10.51 x 6.14 x 18.9 inches
20. Endurax - Camera Backpack Waterproof for DSLR
With plenty of room for almost all your photography gear, this durable and reliable bag from Endurax uses an external PVA front armoured panel to give added protection to your camera gear. Designed to hold a full-sized camera body plus 5-6 additional lenses and a laptop, there’s plenty of space for even the most extreme camera gear fetishists. Affordable, comfortable, and with plenty of modern features, don’t miss out on this backpack.
Fits up to a 14″ laptop
Ventiliated back padding for added carrying comfort
Padded shoulder and chest straps
Made of high-density polyester material
Model: Cmera Backpack Waterproof
21. Langly - Alpha Compact
I know the brick colour of the Alpha Compact camera backpack from Langly won’t be for everyone, but luckily it comes in a stylish slate and cement option. After all, I needed to throw in a bit of colour amidst this sea of black camera backpacks that have made their appearance on this list. With that said, the Alpha Compact is quite a remarkable little bag. Its real standout feature is the fact that it can transform itself to accommodate nearly every photography scenario. The water-resistant body and waterproof zippers offer robust weather protection, and the strong interior inserts will easily fit any DSLR body plus up to five additional lenses. The upper compartment is designed to hold your personal gear and accessories, and a padded compartment running the length of the backpack can accommodate a 15-inch laptop.
Removable, modular camera and accessories insert.
Zipper expandable side pockets to secure tripods.
Ventilated shoulder and chest straps
Chest attachment for additional back support
Model: Alpha Compact
Exterior Dimenions: 16.75″ x 11.75″ x 6.5″
22. K&F Concept - Camera Backpack
I had not heard of the K&F Concept brand before venturing out to research and try some of these backpacks, but now that I’ve gotten my hands on one, it might just very well be one of my favourite camera backpacks I’ve ever tried. With its large capacity and a myriad of features such as storage for a 15″ laptop, plenty of independent pockets and compartments, and excellent breathability and water resistance, this is a great, lightweight camera backpack for almost every photography adventure. Given is quality, it’s also surprising how affordable it is, giving it A+ marks for the value it provides. Probably its best feature is a see-through compartment that allows for a quick glance at what accessories are immediately on-hand.
Made of water-repellant and tear resistant 840D high-density nylon
Ergonomic shoulder straps
Can hold up to 2 camer bodies + 4 lenses
Includes an external rain cover
Brand: K&F Concept
Model: Camera Backpack
Exterior Dimenions: 16.75″ x 11.75″ x 6.5″
23. Lowepro - Whistler BP 450 AW Pro Grade Outdoor Adventure Camera Backpack
Before we start, I’m going to go ahead and award this camera backpack the shameful award of the longest and entirely unnecessarily long name. I suppose keyword product title stuffing is par for the course in today’s retail environment, so I’ll just have to accept that aside from that marketing flaw, this is a nearly perfect camera backpack. That said, it’s designed for the outdoor hiker/adventurer/skier and not for dense urban trotting. As Lowepro describes it, this backpack, named after the world-famous ski resort, was “born on the side of a mountain”. Its designers had one goal, to create a camera backpack that could withstand the most extreme outdoor elements and keep your still camera and video gear safe and functional.
Includes multiple heavy attachment points to secure all types of gear
Extreme weather protection through expandable wet-gear pocket and all-weather cover.
Model: Whistler BP 450 AW XL
Exterior Dimenions: 12.2 x 11.89 x 22.52 inches
24. Manfrotto - Pro Light Camera Backpack Bumblebee-230
You’ve probably noticed that I keep coming back to the Manfrotto brand during this exercise to find the world’s best camera backpacks. That can be attributed to the fact that their camera backpack lineup is quite possibly the strongest in the world. As we’ve moved down this list together, you’ll also notice that I’ve been featuring more technically sophisticated gear designed for the professional market. This backpack from Manfrotto is definitely designed for serious photographers. Shaped like its name, this large, bumblebee-like backpack is designed for outdoor shooters that want to carry a significant amount of camera gear while carrying something designed for long-term comfort. The bag can easily hold a full-sized camera body + 5-10 lenses depending on whether you’ve got a 400mm lens attached to your body.
Where this camera backpack truly shines is the thought put into how to distribute weight across your entire body to make it as comfortable as humanly possible. There are tons of other features here, but I’ll let you discover them in the list below.
Breathable back & harness for comfort
Tuck-away strap system to secure almost any sized tripod
Waist-level lens pouch for quick lens changes.
Fits in most carry-on luggage racks
Custom designed dividers can fold out of the way or wrapped around your equipment for added protection
Custom compartment can fit almost any size laptop
Includes a rain cover that also serves as a UV protector to keep your camera gear as cool as possible
Model: Pro Light Camera Backpack Bumblebee-230
Exterior Dimenions: 12.6 x 10.24 x 20.87 inches
25. Think Tank - Photo Urban Access 15 Backpack
This model from Think Tank is another modern and decidedly urban take on what a modern and stylish camera backpack should be. It’s got a lot of the same bells and whistles that high-end camera backpacks come doled out with, but also manages to look something somewhat civilized and at home in an urban setting. With a good deal of space, this bag will fit a full-sized Mirrorless or DSLR plus six to seven additional lenses.
Can accomodate up to a 15″ laptop
Mesh organizational pockets are revealed behind zippered sides
A tuck-away panel to support the base of a tripod or monopod which is strapped along the front of the bag
Removable sternum and waist straps help distribute weight more evenly
Made of durable wether-resistant nylon and polyester
Brand: Think Tank
Model: Photo Urban Access 15 Backpack
Exterior Dimenions: 13.39 x 20.47 x 9.06 inches
What to Consider When Buying a Camera Backpack
Like with many consumer products, there’s a wide range of build quality amongst camera backpacks, but the good thing is that all the bags you’ll find on this list meet a level of build quality you’re not likely to be disappointed with. This is probably one of your most important considerations. Has this bag been built to last? Will the straps fall apart or start to show visible signs of wear and tear at the seams? The last thing you want is for a camera backpack carrying thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars worth of camera gear to fall apart mid-shoot.
Another valid consideration when it comes to the build quality of a camera backpack is what materials its primarily made of. Some materials are naturally more durable, while others are included for their water-repelling features. Depending on what you believe will be the most common uses cases of hauling around your backpack, you might want to consider trade-offs such as weight vs. durability.
Comfort & Fit
One of the main reasons for buying a camera backpack is its unique ability to haul a lot of camera gear for a long time. So it would be somewhat foolish not to consider the comfort of how a camera backpack feels on your back. Are the shoulder straps wide enough to not dig into your body. Do the straps have enough padding? Through the design and placement of its internal compartments, does the bag distribute weight evenly as much as it can? And finally, does the bag have waist straps to help distribute a load of your bag more evenly throughout your body?
A lot of photographers opt for a camera backpack as large as possible. The thought process here is that they don’t want to be left out in the cold without the crucial camera body or lens they’ll need on a shoot or in a particular situation. But don’t forget to consider how often you’ll need something so substantial. Perhaps you’re more of an urban photographer that needs to squeeze into tight spaces on crowded transit. Or you simply don’t want to carry around something massively bulky and prefer something more minimalist and inconspicuous.
Sure, everyone has a budget they’d like to fit under when it comes to buying a camera backpack, but like with many things in life, you get what you pay for. But of-course some bags are still better value than others. So when comparing features, build quality, ease of use and many of the other criteria I’ve set out here, keep the overall cost of each bag in the back of your mind as you’re shopping.
Like with almost all bags and luggage, camera backpacks are rated by their overall volume capacity in Litres. This rating should give you a pretty good idea of how much gear a camera backpack can easily haul. But remember, that often it’s not simply about the overall capacity. It’s about the design of the internal compartments and clever use of space. Consider what you’ll be carrying most often. One or two DSLR or mirrorless bodies? How many lenses and in what sizes. Will you need your bag to have an individual laptop or iPad compartment? Perhaps you’re a drone photographer who needs a particular space for your drone? All good things to keep in mind when evaluating the capacity of a camera backpack.
Weather Sealing / Water Repelling
Some adventure and wildlife photographers go through some of the most gruelling weather to get the perfect shot. In many cases, they need a backpack that’s not just waterproof, but one that will keep their gear and batteries relatively warm. Decide just how often you’ll be caught out in bad weather, and this will help steer your purchasing decision.
Looks and Aesthetics
There are three concerns here. First, what kind of environments will you be shooting in. Do you need something that is inconspicuous and will blend into the surroundings? Second, is that not a factor at all? All you want is a beautiful camera backpack that doesn’t look like it was designed in the 70’s! And third, perhaps you’re going to find yourself in an environment where you’re worried about advertising the fact that you’re carrying around a lot of expensive gear on your back.
Ease of Use
This is a big one, and I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that if you’re not considering how easy and practical it is to use your camera backpack, you need to do some more thoughtful review of your bag requirements. Will your camera backpack allow for getting your gear out quickly, easily and safely? Does it have extra pockets allowing for easy access to your accessories? Does it have extra handles so you can grab it quickly in a pinch? Does it have a small footprint when opening and closing?
These days, camera backpack manufacturers are adding many fantastic features that truly make their bags stand out from their competitors. Things like body side access, body-side access only, dual side access, rain covers, built-in solar charging, built-in UBS battery charging and more are just the start. Consider what extra niceties you’ll want to have in your bag.
Try as you might, you won’t always be able to avoid slipping, falling or simply bumping into someone or something while carrying your camera backpack. For those occasions, you’ll want to know that your camera gear is safe. As a result, it’s good to consider what level of internal and external padding your camera backpack comes with. Just remember that you may be forced into a trade-off between bulkiness, mobility and the safety of your gear.