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The 20 Best Camera Backpacks for Your Next Adventure

best camera backpacks

Lowepro FreeLine BP 350 AW / Photo by @lukepearsallphoto

Regardless of whether you’re a professional photographer looking to snap the shot of your career at one of the most picturesque places you could ever visit or if you’re just a hobbyist that enjoys taking scenic pictures out and about, you most definitely need a good camera backpack to suit your needs.

This is an integral part of this career choice simply because it can easily make or break your experience overall. Nobody wants to wear an uncomfortable hunk on their backs only to find that even after all that struggle, they can’t fit all of their necessities in it regardless.

This is why for today we decided to provide you with a comprehensive list depicting what we would consider to be the top 20 best camera backpacks that will make your journey all the more enjoyable.

But before we get into all of that we should properly assess what you most need to look into regarding camera backpacks. So, without further ado, let’s start with the basic question that’s on everyone’s mind as they first start looking for their camera backpacks to begin with, aka:

What to Look for in a Camera Backpack

Everyday Backpack Zip

Peak Design’s Everyday Backpack Zip / Photo by @babastroumf

Getting the best bang for your buck always depends on how you plan to use the backpack in the first place and most importantly the type of equipment that you carry around on your back all day long.

This is why when you’re searching for a proper camera backpack you need to keep in mind the following parameters:

The Size

NOMATIC McKinnon Camera Pack 35L

NOMATIC McKinnon Camera Pack 35L / Photo by @petermckinnon

When it comes to the overall size that you want to go for it again all depends on your own preferences and needs really. If you need extra room for your camera accessories then you will definitely look into buying a camera backpack that has multiple pockets to the side of it.

At the same time, maybe you want to carry around your laptop as well. This is another important part that you can’t forget about when looking into buying the best backpack for you.

What about your tripod? A lot of photographers could never leave their house without it and that’s a major fact that you need to keep in mind.

Last but not least too large of a size can also be bad for you. If you travel a lot by plane, you should know that they don’t necessarily allow for the largest backpacks to go through without a proper amount of checking out which can even result in you losing a lot of time as you’re getting ready to go.

Since the backpack will usually be measured in liters you need to keep in mind that a 15L might not necessarily be enough for you while a 40L is most definitely going to be enough but it may also be cumbersome to carry on your back all day long.

The Weight

Manfrotto Advanced Active Backpack

Manfrotto Advanced Active Backpack

Since the actual camera can end up weighing quite a lot by itself, especially considering all the equipment that it may come with, we highly recommend going for a lighter backpack overall since this will make it a lot easier to carry it around all day long.

We recommend not going for anything above 2.5kg or 5 pounds in total. Just make sure you don’t sacrifice your equipment’s safety through this, a heavy backpack is a hassle but an unprotected one is just asking for trouble.

Outdoor vs Urban

Manfrotto Befree 3-Way Live Advanced

Lowepro Pro Trekker series / Photo by @thurstonphoto

If you’re an outdoor type of a photographer then you will want to go on hikes a lot and this can really test your patience if the backpack isn’t willing to work with you.

On top of that you can easily fall over and hurt yourself but more importantly if the padding isn’t enough, you can easily end up with a broken camera in no time.

But at the same time if you’re in the city you will definitely want to go for something smaller and lighter since you’re pretty much bound to travel a lot and the less room your camera takes the better.

Versatility

Lowepro Camera Bag

Lowepro Camera Bag

You are buying a camera backpack meaning that it’s specifically meant to protect your camera but that doesn’t mean that that is its only real use. Instead, always make sure that your backpack is versatile enough to be used as a travel backpack as well where you can carry all of your gadgets or your things in.

Pricing

Let’s be honest here, the price will always be a major factor when you’re picking anything new from the shop. The good part here is that most camera backpacks are pretty affordable, although there are several ones on the market that can really break the bank.

Make sure that you get your money’s worth regardless of what your budget is, and never look back on an acquisition thinking that you spent too much. Quality is usually pricey but worth it on the long run.

Construction

As mentioned previously, you want to sacrifice some of the backpack’s lightweight for the sake of improving its overall sturdiness. Nobody wants to slightly tap their backpack on the side of the table and find all of their lenses in half.

On top of that you need to keep in mind water resistance and of course, the cost of it all. The more durable materials will definitely cost you more but they’re well worth it at the end of the day.

Comfort

Pro Trekker BP 550 AW II

Lowepro Pro Trekker BP 550 AW II / Photo by @roiegalitz

As far as general comfort goes you need to make sure that the hip pads are soft enough to not be cumbersome, although keep in mind that the bigger they are the heavier your bag will be. So, just find that perfect balance between sturdiness and comfort and you’ll love your backpack with all your heart.

Discreetness

There are plenty of people out there that would love to snatch your camera right off of your back and that’s a fact. Because of this you need something that looks discreet enough so as to make sure that they don’t know what exactly you’re carrying around on your back.

Customization

Everybody loves personalized items and that’s a fact. Regardless of what piece of equipment we’re talking about, having your very own unique model is always better than having the generic one that everybody else has.

So, always look for a backpack that will be fully customizable to suit your needs. This might be a bit pricier but just remember, the more you spend the more you’ll get out of it.

Types of Camera Bags

Think Tank Retrospective Backpack

Think Tank Retrospective Backpack / Photo by @hello.mikee

Let’s end off this segment with a little intro to every type of bag you can get your hands off:

  • Backpack – the most common type of bag out there. It fits within most of the requirements above although weight wise this might not be the best choice out of all of them
  • Roller Bag – This is very similar to the backpack except you roll them on the ground as opposed to carrying them on your back
  • Shoulder Bag – As the name implies, this one’s specifically meant to be carried around on your shoulder, hence its smaller size
  • Messenger Bag – Basically they’re just larger versions of the shoulder bag as they can easily reach your hip
  • Holster Bag – This is one of the smaller options as it is usually just attached to your chest harness or your belt
  • Backpack Insert – This is where you put everything that isn’t the camera itself, hence why it’s such a small utility item

But alas, now that you know all there is to the camera backpacks let’s just jump right into our number 20th pick for our favorite camera backpacks as of 2021:

20. Manfrotto Bumblebee-230 PL Camera Backpack

Manfrotto Bumblebee-230 PL Camera BackpackIf looks could kill then we’d already be dead after seeing this picture because hot damn, this is one stylish looking backpack. Besides its looks it’s also extremely useful as well, it is very lightweight and on top of that you can fit plenty of equipment in it without ever running out of space.

19. MindShift Gear Backlight 26L Outdoor Adventure Camera Daypack

MindShift Gear Backlight 26L Outdoor Adventure Camera Daypack

If you want a camera backpack that can easily double as an ordinary backpack as well then this is definitely up there as one of the best choices for you. The padding makes it very comfortable and despite its relatively heavy weight it can still be used for long hikes if you need it for that.

18. TropicFeel Shell 22L – 40L Backpack

TropicFeel Shell 22L – 40L Backpack

The best part about this product is the fact that it can easily be customized to make your experience all the better with it. Regardless of whether you’re talking about the size of it, the attachable addons or the expandable pouch that you can add to its lower part, this is a very useful backpack to say the least.

17. Brevite the Runner 18L Backpack

Brevite the Runner 18L Backpack

Commonly referred to as “The Runner”, this backpack is the perfect choice for you if you want something small that can fit your camera and a few of its addons as well.

It’s definitely not the largest backpack out there but it definitely does its job right especially considering its price tag.

16. Monarc Settra Duffel 40L Backpack

Monarc Settra Duffel 40L Backpack

The largest backpacks are usually the best for when you’re looking to travel a lot and you need to carry around a ton of equipment with you. This is especially true for Settra and on top of that this is also an environmentally friendly product that mother nature will love you for using.

15. Morally Toxic Valkyrie 25L

Morally Toxic Valkyrie 25L

The medium option of this backpack is honestly one of the best bangs for your buck that you can get. It is relatively expensive, yes, but at the same time it is fully customizable and on top of that it just looks downright awesome.

14. WANDRD PRVKE 21L Travel and DSLR Camera Backpack

WANDRD PRVKE 21L Travel and DSLR Camera Backpack

This is a great option for those looking for a flexible and very comfy backpack that they’ll be able to carry around all day long. The price is also relatively affordable considering the amount of features you get from it.

It is overall a very minimalist and sleep backpack that we honestly recommend a lot if you’re just looking for something trusty that you can always rely on

13. Bagsmart Camera Backpack

Bagsmart Camera Backpack

This is a great choice for you simply because of how much you can get for your buck. Most people believe that you need to spend a lot of cash to get the best item available but this right here is a perfect example of the fact that you need to look for the best as opposed to looking for the most expensive item.

On top of that you get plenty of extra security features on it and let’s not forget about the massive compartment on the back that can easily take a 15-inch laptop in it.

12. Chrome Niko F-stop Camera Backpack

Chrome Niko F-stop Camera Backpack

If you want to deter any possible thieves from grabbing ahold of your backpack then this might be the best choice available since it’s pretty much one of the stealthiest EDC backpacks you can get your hands on.

Let’s not forget about the reflective strips which make traveling around during the night all the safer and on top of that plenty of small compartments which all offer you enough room to store all of your equipment and more into.

11. Gitzo Adventury 30L Camera Backpack

Gitzo Adventury 30L Camera Backpack

This is a rather large alternative that is meant for you to travel around with a lot. It can hold a lot more than most other options on this list while at the same time not being the heaviest backpack in the world.

Just make sure that you keep that weight in mind as it can still end up being a bit too heavy if you really pack it up to its limit. 2kg definitely doesn’t sound like much but it adds up really quickly.

10. Thule Aspect DSLR Backpack

Thule Aspect DSLR Backpack

This is a great choice since it is very lightweight, weighing in at only 1.4kg, and on top of that it’s also fully waterproof with enough room for you to also store a drone inside.

If that doesn’t sound good enough for you then you might need to look again because this option also comes with a hip belt which makes it all the better for traveling around safely.

9. Lowepro Fastpack BP 250 AW III

Lowepro Fastpack BP 250 AW III

If you’re looking for something even smaller and more compact then this might be the better choice for you. On top of being relatively easy to move around it also comes with a padded hip belt and enough room to store both a 13in laptop and a tripod as well.

8. Lowepro Pro Trekker BP 550 AW II

Lowepro Pro Trekker BP 550 AW II

While definitely one of the most expensive and heaviest options on our list, we still have to rank this so high up because of its incredible utility level.

It has a ton of carrying capacity and even though it is very heavy it is also one of the comfiest options on this list because of how much padding there is on it. Just remember, that price tag of almost $400 really isn’t going to pay for itself.

7. Manfrotto Advanced2 Befree Backpack

Manfrotto Advanced2 Befree Backpack

Coming back to a more affordable model right here, the Manfrotto is most definitely the type of a backpack that you get into if you want your equipment to be safely secured at all times.

On top of that it’s both water and wear-resistant and it does have quite the storage capacity to say the least, all at a relatively affordable price tag.

6. Think Tank StreetWalker Pro V2.0

Think Tank StreetWalker Pro V2.0

Yet another smaller and more compact option right here, what makes this one stand atop all the other picks so far is most definitely the fact that while it is relatively small it does come with plenty of room (enough to store up to 6 lenses) and a ton of padding that is sure to please your back during long hikes.

5. Vanguard Alta SKY 51D

Vanguard Alta SKY 51D

Going back to the sturdy and heavy we’ve got one of the best options on the market, the Vanguard Alta SKY. It is one of the highest quality backpacks we’ve ever gotten our hands on, you can literally instantly feel the difference when you touch it for the first time.

On top of that it’s very easy to access your equipment in it although it is almost 3kg when empty so definitely keep that in mind.

4. Tenba Shootout 14L Slim

Tenba Shootout 14L Slim

While definitely quite expensive all things considered, this is still worthy of being so high up on our list simply because of its incredibly tough and lightweight composition.

On top of that you can store multiple tripods in it which is always great to see, with the only real downfall of this being that there’s no room for your laptop in it.

3. Nomatic McKinnon 35L Camera Bag

Nomatic McKinnon 35L Camera Bag

This is a heavier but still overall very useful camera bag that will always suit your needs. It is very flexible and easy to organize, McKinnon really outdid themselves with this camera bag for sure as there aren’t that many bad things that we could add to tarnish the reputation of this beauty right here.

2. Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L

Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L

If you’re looking for a really pretty backpack that will just make you look better by comparison then this right here might be the best choice for you.

The side flaps are very easy to access on it and the overall design choice is by far one of our favorites. Everything is perfectly divided inside as well so you’ll never get any questionable scratches on your expensive lenses from there being too much friction around the inside of your pack.

1. Lowepro ProTactic BP 350 AW II Backpack

Lowepro ProTactic BP 350 AW II Backpack

While this is by far the best option we can think of, we still have to agree over the fact that the accessories can be a bit too pricey for the common everyday aspiring photographer.

But hey, if you can handle that price tag then you’ll be getting yourself the absolute best of the best here. It looks amazing, it has plenty of awesome accessories to choose from and on top of that you can also store your drone in it.

Conclusion

With that being said we hope that you got the info that you needed so that you don’t just end up buying the first camera backpack that you see on the market. Every one of the products we mentioned above has its advantages and its weaknesses, just make sure that you choose the best one for you personally before actually making the acquisition.

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