How to choose the best camera backpack

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A camera backpack will allow you to protect and comfortably carry lots of camera gear over a long period of time as well as giving you fast access to your gear. Whether you are a pro photographer heading out into the backcountry or a traveller who wants to carry camera gear as well as a laptop.

I spent a lot of time trying to find the right camera backpack. Here are some points to consider when picking the best camera backpack for your next your photography adventure.

  • Size
  • Comfort
  • Look
  • Material 
  • Compartments

Firstly you have to decide what you want your camera backpack for. Are you looking for a day pack, a camera backpack to take travelling or a backpacking camera bag?

Size 

Size is probably the most important feature as it will determine what sort of camera backpack you will chose. Are you going to be using the backpack for day hikes, if so you need enough room for water, food and spare clothes. Alternatively if your primary focus street photography you would perhaps prefer a smaller backpack. When choosing a camera backpack you need to consider that the the bag is the right size to carry all your camera gear but not too large that you end up taking lots of gear that you don’t need.

Comfort

Comfort is crucial when choosing a camera backpack. It may be the best backpack in the world in terms of fitting everything you need but if it doesn’t sit comfortably on your back and allow you carry it for an extended period of time, what good is it? 

Look

How your backpack looks could be a factor in what other people think is inside. I predominately use my backpack in the backcountry, where crime is not even a consideration. However, if you are a street photographer and shot in cities, you may wish to consider a backpack that doesn’t draw attention to itself. 

Again, your subject will determine what sort of camera bag you need. If you are shooting wildlife, you are likely to want a bag that has neutral colours, while a colourful bag could be useful in a mountain environment to aid detection if lost or injured.  

 

Material

For me, the material is a vital component of picking a camera bag. I need my camera gear to be protected from the elements. Whether that is rain, snow, sand, dust, cold or heat. Camera bags are made from a range of materials, some brands use natural fibres (canvas, leather, cotton etc) while other used hi-tech materials such nylon. Natural material gives off a traditional feel, think jungle adventurer or war correspondents. While the latter offers higher performance, they are usually lighter and water-resistance.

Compartments

Finally, you need to consider the compartments of your chosen backpack. Do they suit your needs in terms of camera bodies, lenses, filters, tripods etc. Most camera backpacks have adjustable compartments, meaning you can change the layout of your camera bag, adding and taking away sections to suit your needs. 

What are you going to shoot?

Knowing what you want to photograph is the biggest step you need to take to understand which camera backpack is best for you. Your subject is going to dictate which lenses and camera gear you are going to bring with you on a shoot, for different subjects bring different requirements and challenges. As I am more focused on travel, hiking and camping in the backcountry I will focus on camera backpacks that suit these needs.

These are the best camera backpacks I have found, including the one I am currently using.

Lowepro Flipside Sport 10L AW Camera Backpack – Lowepro Orange


This is a brilliant little camera bag and one that I have used in Canada, France and the UK. It is the perfect camera bag for a short day trip. This lightweight photography day pack is sleek and minimalist design, yet it is perfect for outdoor and action sports photographers. Designed to offer body-side access, allowing you quick access to the gear you need. The Flipside Sport 10L also includes space for a 1-litre camelbak. You can buy this bag here.

Manfrotto makes brilliant camera bags and the D1 for the DJI Phantom is no exception. I have been looking at buying a drone for a few months now and when I finally have enough money to do so, this is the bag I’ll buy to house my DJI Phantom. The pack easily carries a drone, remote control, accessories, plus it has room for an additional camera and tripod. You can buy this bag here.

MindShift Gear TrailScape 18L Backpack (Charcoal) – Currently Using

This is the bag I currently and will use on my travels to Canada and New Zealand.  The MindShift Gear TrailScape 18L is a bloody brilliant camera bag, allow plenty of room for all my camera gear as well as my MacBook Pro. As an outdoor photographer, I need a bag that allows me to carry not only camera gear, but a change of clothes, food and water and also be comfortable enough to carry for long periods of time. Sadly this bag is not available, at present, on Amazon through their UK store but you can check it out here. 

The links in this are affiliate links. This means that if you kindly buy anything using these links, I’ll earn a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you. 


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