Whether you are a disappear-into-the-jungle-for-days kind of photographer, or more of a Sunday amateur, then you are probably looking for something entirely different to carry your camera around with you.
The person that stands on a crater to photograph an eruption will need different gear to the person snapping butterflies in the local meadow. We have laid out the differences and summed up the features to make your life easier, so read on as we look at 10 of the best camera backpacks on the market in 2019.
Different backpacks for different styles
Camera bags are usually designed with certain hobbies in mind, so here are a couple of things to think about before purchasing your new toy:
- Great Outdoors – If you are going to be taking natural landscape shots, it is possible you will be on the trail for days at a time. You will need to look for something with comfortable straps and made from a water-resistant material. The better packs will come with a waterproof cover for extra protection for your technology, while you should be looking for extra features like a water bottle holder, or perhaps one that is hydration pack-compatible.
- Urban – Forget trail packs with all those dangling compression straps and hip belts getting in the way. Leave your things in the hotel room for the day and go lightweight, with only the photography essentials for a day of urban exploration.
- Discreet – Some camera backpacks just scream look at me, I’m a camera backpack! Which is not a good thing if you are taking it somewhere a little bit dangerous. Think the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, for instance. If you do not want people to know you are carrying around a lot of expensive camera equipment, then buy a pack that is designed not to look like it is full of expensive camera equipment. They have those now.
The professional pack
If you are a professional photographer, I will not belittle you by telling you what kind of pack you need. If you are an aspiring professional, lend me your ears! The top camera backpacks will usually have space for 2 DSLR cameras, 4 to 6 lenses depending on their size, as well as room for all the other bits, such flash assemblies, extra batteries, chargers, a drone, tripod, laptop, tablet and pretty much anything else you could possibly need to take a photo and make some money from it.
The multipurpose pack
Designed with the amateur in mind, these backpacks will normally hold one camera and a couple of lenses, but will always have an additional (sometimes larger) compartment for other items you may need throughout the day. Take your sun cream, towel and head to the beach, or pack that book, your lunch and go to the park, knowing all the while your camera is on hand if you need to take that all-important shot.
- Different backpacks for different styles
- 1. Evecase Extra Large Professional
- 2. Vanguard Havana 41
- 3. Thule Aspect DSLR Backpack
- 4. Case Logic SLRC-206
- 5. Lowepro Tahoe Backpack
- 6. Altura Photo Camera Backpack
- 7. Beschoi DSLR Camera Backpack
- 8. Case Logic DCB-309
- 9. Manfrotto MB MS-BP-IGR
- 10. Endurax Waterproof Camera Backpack
With some packs you are able to completely remove the padded inserts, turning it into a regular backpack that can be used for anything you like. So, let’s have a look at them.
We are beginning this list with a bang, in the form of this masterpiece from Evecase. The bag features a water bottle and tripod holder, a 15.6” padded laptop sleeve and a waterproof cover to go along with a higher number of external and internal pockets than I can even to count to.
The foam dividers in the pack keep your camera and accessories safe and compartmentalized. I love that you can then remove all those foam dividers, and what you have is a pack with sudden roominess, and a versatility that makes it useful for school, hiking, work or travel.
The main compartment is on the upper part of the bag, and can house one DSLR camera with 2 – 4 lenses, depending on their size. The smaller bottom chamber can fit your other DSLR, along with another 2 lenses. An awesome choice for the serious photographer.
There is something that just says I am going to the beach with the Havana 41. I am not sure if it is the sandy color of the pack, or the way it hangs casually from your back, but this laid back pack from Vanguard ticks all the right boxes for me.
It can hold a 13” laptop and comes with a waterproof cover. It has a padded insert in the lower section that will hold a DSLR and 1-2 lenses, along with your flash assembly and a few other bits and pieces.
The designers of this bag firmly have in mind that you will be engaging in other recreational activities (maybe swimming at the beach), providing ample space in the main compartment for storing your daily essentials (like a towel to dry yourself).
This is a basic, but very well-thought-out pack, with a side pocket for quick camera access. I also like the little mesh pockets on the hip belt, something that is often lacking in backpacks in this category. It just makes life so much easier to be able to slide that lens cap away to get your shot. Or to take whatever is in your hands, quickly out of them, just in case you need them for that all-important photo.
It has a padded sleeve that runs along your back for a 15.6” laptop or tablet and a decent-sized top compartment with a few separate pockets for storing other non-photography-related items.
This is a pretty cool pack from Case Logic. First you have the EVA foam base, a solid waterproof platform that enables the bag to sit upright, no matter where you put it. It is also shock resistant and highly durable.
The top of the pack houses a smallish, easy-to-use zipper, which when opened up reveals a surprisingly large chamber for your DSLR with lens attached. And not just any lens. Try your longest zoom lens and I bet it still fits!
The design is such that the lens sits in a hammock vertically in the bag, meaning you can rearrange the foam dividers in the main pack to allow larger lenses to protrude through the bag.
This is one very cool, very lightweight pack. I think I will go and buy one.
Being very clever, the people at Lowepro have gone ahead and designed a sporty, lightweight backpack, that can either transport your DSLR camera, or your small drone. It is specifically designed with the DJI Mavic Pro and the DJI Spark in mind, so keep that in yours before you purchase this product.
What else? Not much really, just the basics done exceptionally well, which is all you can ask for. A discreet padded sleeve for the tablet, a customizable lens compartment to go with wonderfully comfortable straps. A great choice for those looking to get out and explore the world.
If you need room for other stuff, to go along with your photography gear, then you may need to look elsewhere, because you will not find any in this backpack from Altura. This pack lives and breathes photography, but you will find space for both a 13” laptop and a 10” tablet.
If you need the ability to carry 2 different cameras, up to 6 lenses, a flash assembly and a tripod, then this could be the bag you are looking for. Additionally, it is made of a water-repellent grade of nylon and comes with a detachable rainproof cover, just in case the weather turns ugly.
This is a similar-yet-slimline version of the Altura above, in that it is a photography purists backpack; plain and simple. The feature-packed nylon waterproof bag will hold 1 or 2 DSLR cameras and has space for 4 to 6 lenses, depending on their size.
As with a lot of these packs, the interior compartments are movable and therefore removable, making this a useful all-round day pack as well, given that you unzip into just one large compartment. There is a sleeve designed to fit your 14” laptop as well.
Another dual camera-carrying classic, this pack can hold up to 3 lenses as well as your flash and 14” laptop (up to 15” Macbook). It comes with a weather hood that fits snugly over the backpack to provide extra protection when you are at the mercy of the elements.
There are no bells and whistles on this pack, just a good camera bag, well made.
With an eye on fashion and keeping with the times, this lovely lightweight pack from Manfrotto ticks all the right boxes. It has a spacious main compartment that lends the bag a world of versatility, being useful for so much more than just photography.
I love that you can take it away with you for the weekend, and nothing else is required. Camera, check. Toothbrush, check. Change of clothes, check! The photography compartment is on the small side for all you lens collectors out there, but if you are a minimalist who wants to look cool, this may be the pack for you.
You are going to turn a few heads when you unsheathe your camera from this Endurax backpack, a company where innovation seems to be king, for you will pull the camera out of your main backpack from a sliding drawer. And this drawer just so happens to be a detachable mini shoulder bag for short expeditions.
It is sleek and fashionable and you will attract attention. The pack also comes with room for a 15.6” laptop and has external space for either a tripod or water bottle.
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It is impossible to pick only one backpack from the above list and make it the winner, because they are all useful for different things.
The professionals among us will need space for more gear, the outdoors enthusiast will need a more comfortable carrying experience and a waterproof pack, and so on. With that in mind, here is my pick of the bunch, based upon what the backpacks will be used for: