The Best Camera Backpacks You Can Buy

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

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.

Key Features

  • Fits in most carry-on luggage compartments
  • Includes External tripod connections
  • Interchangeable dividers
  • Laptop and iPad compartments
  • Includes a rain protector
  • Water repellant


  • Brand: Manfrotto
  • 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 v2 20L

Peak Design - Everyday Backpack v2 20L

Winner of multiple design and photography awards, the Everyday Backpack V2 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.

Version 2 of this camera backpack improves upon the first generation in the following ways:

  • Improved harness system with new swivel points that makes it easier to move the shoulder straps
  • Improved comfort in shoulder straps
  • Improved material on the back of the shoulder straps to improve durability
  • Magnetized luggage pass-through which is an improvement over the velcro straps in version 1
  • A new velcroed slot behind the back panel to allow a removable hip belt

Key Features

  • 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 compartments (DJI compatible)
  • Dual side access to gear
  • Tuck-away waist strap


  • Brand: Peak Design
  • Model: Everyday Backpack v2 (20 L)
  • Dimensions: 11.81″ x 22.24″ x 8.27″
  • Weight: 3.75 lbs

3. Thule – Aspect DSLR Backpack

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.

Key Features

  • Can carry up to a 15.6″ laptop plus iPad in dedicated compartment
  • Did I mention tons of zippered pockets?
  • Sternum strap
  • Padded shoulder and hip straps for extra comfort.


  • Brand: Braun
  • Model: 9-in-1 Beard Trimmer MGK5280
  • Battery run-time: 100 minutes

4. Endurax – ShellX P01 Extra Large Camera Backpack

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.

Key Features

  • 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.


  • Brand: Endurax 
  • Model: ShellX P01 Extra Large Camera Backpack
  • Water resistant polyester

5. Lowepro – Freeline Camera Backpack 350 AW

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.

Key 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


  • Brand: Lowepro
  • Model: Freeline Camera Backpack 350 AW
  • Weight: 2kg

6. Sony – Alpha DSLR Camera

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.

Key Features

  • 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.
  • Integrated rain-cover.


  • Brand: Sony
  • Model: Alpha DSLR Camera Backpack
  • Exterior Dimensions: 13 x 19 x 9.88 inches

7. Langly – Simple Camera Bag Set

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.

Key Features

  • Massive internal storage
  • Waterproof body fabric with YKK zippers
  • Front-loading compartment
  • Dedicated sleeve for 15 inch laptop
  • Ventilated shoulder and chest straps
  • Available in three colours including Black, Forest Green and Coyote Beige


  • Brand: Langly
  • Model: Simple Camera Bag Set
  • External Dimensions: 18″ x 14.5″ x 8″

8. Case Logic – SLRC-206 SLR Camera Backpack

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.

Key Features

  • 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

9. BAGSMART – Water Resistant DSLR Camera Backpack

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.

Key Features

  • Separate 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


  • Brand: Bagsmart
  • Model: Water-Resistant DSLR Camera Bag
  • Exterior Dimensions: 30cm x 19cm x 40cm

10. Vinta – Type II Forest Camera Backpack

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.

Key Features

  • Luggage sleeve on the back for easy travel with a rolling suitcase
  • Waterproof coated twill construction
  • Waterproof zippers
  • Leather wrapped handle
  • Expandable side pockets
  • Fits up to a 16″ laptop


  • Brand: Vinta
  • Model: TYPE II – Forest Backpack
  • Exterior Dimensions: 16.75 x 11.5 x 6.25 inches

11. Tarion – Camera Bag Backpack with Hard Shell

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.

Key Features

  • Weather, dust, scratch proof camera bag.
  • Laptop compartment holds up to a 15″ laptop.
  • Waterproof zippers
  • Rain cover included.
  • Will hold up to 1 camera body + 3-5 lenses
  • Breathable airmesh padding on the shoulder straps improves comfort


  • Brand: Tarion
  • Model: Camera Bag Backpack Large
  • Capacity: 18.5 L

12. Lowepro – Slingshot Edge 250 AW Camera Case

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.

Key Features

  • 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.


  • Brand: Lowepro
  • Model: Slingshot Edge 250 AW Camera Case
  • Exterior Dimensions: 10.51 x 6.14 x 18.9 inches

13. Endurax – Camera Backpack Waterproof for DSLR

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.

Key Features

  • Fits up to a 14″ laptop
  • Ventilated back padding for added carrying comfort
  • Padded shoulder and chest straps
  • Made of high-density polyester material


  • Brand: Endurax
  • Model: Camera Backpack Waterproof

14. Langly – Alpha Compact

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.

Key Features

  • Removable, modular camera and accessories insert.
  • Zipper expandable side pockets to secure tripods.
  • Ventilated shoulder and chest straps
  • Chest attachment for additional back support


  • Brand: Langly
  • Model: Alpha Compact
  • Exterior Dimensions: 16.75″ x 11.75″ x 6.5″

15. K&F Concept – Camera Backpack

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.

Key Features

  • Made of water-repellant and tear resistant 840D high-density nylon
  • Ergonomic shoulder straps
  • Front pocket
  • Can hold up to 2 camera bodies + 4 lenses
  • Includes an external rain cover


  • Brand: K&F Concept
  • Model: Camera Backpack
  • Exterior Dimensions: 16.75″ x 11.75″ x 6.5″

16. Lowepro – Whistler BP 450 AW Pro Grade Outdoor Adventure Camera Backpack

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.

Key Features

  • Includes multiple heavy attachment points to secure all types of gear
  • Extreme weather protection through expandable wet-gear pocket and all-weather cover.


  • Brand: Lowepro
  • Model: Whistler BP 450 AW XL
  • Exterior Dimensions: 12.2 x 11.89 x 22.52 inches

17. Manfrotto – Pro Light Camera Backpack Bumblebee-230

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.

Key Features

  • 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


  • Brand: Manfrotto
  • Model: Pro Light Camera Backpack Bumblebee-230
  • Exterior Dimensions: 12.6 x 10.24 x 20.87 inches

18. Think Tank – Photo Urban Access 15 Backpack

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.

Key Features

  • Can accommodate 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 Dimensions: 13.39 x 20.47 x 9.06 inches

What to Consider When Buying a Camera Backpack

Build Quality

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? 

Unique Features

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. 

Gear Protection

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. 

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