15 Best Camera Backpacks of 2021 [For ALL Budgets!]

Written By:
Bradley Williams
/
Last Updated:
November 24, 2021
Find the best camera backpack as we review the top 15 camera backpacks on the market right now and learn how to choose the best one that fits your needs.
best camera backpacks
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If you’re on the hunt for the best backpacks for cameras then you are in the right place!

We know how confusing it can be when trying to sift through the thousands of options out there and that’s exactly why we created this exhaustive guide.

When we first started researching into buying a camera backpack for ourselves, I had almost no idea what I was looking for.

But, after extensive research, we found what we still think is the best camera backpack out there for our needs.

The backpack you settle on might not be the same one that we bought since we all have different preferences.

Use our guide to figure out exactly which sort of product will fit your personal needs, and then check out the reviews of the top 15 camera backpacks on the market right now. Get ready to find your dream camera backpack!

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How To Choose The Best Backpack For Cameras

Just as you wouldn’t rush out to buy the very first camera you see without doing your research, the same goes for camera backpacks. You’ll need to think about its size, weight, material, and more.

Just check out this breakdown below to see what you should be paying attention to when choosing the perfect camera backpack:

1. Size & Weight

Camera backpacks come in various sizes and capacities and therefore vary in weight too. You’ll want to think about the size of backpack you need based on the type of camera you have and the accessories you typically bring with it. 

For professionals with several accessories, you may want to go for a larger bag to have more room for extra lenses, batteries, even drones and other equipment. Bear in mind though that typically, the larger the bag, the heavier it will weigh.

While for plane travellers, aside from considering more compact options, you should also bear in mind the carry on size limit from airlines (usually around 22 x 35 x 56 cm, including handles and wheels).

2. Compartments

Compartments should also be near the top of your considerations list. You can find bags with varying compartment sizes and quantities. Think about the size of your camera and accessories to determine which size and number of compartments you need to look for. 

Remember, you’ll likely need to store cables, extra batteries, the camera body itself, lenses and more. Some bags come with specialist compartments for particular items to keep them best secured and safe.

Think about whether you’ll want to store some items externally for easier access and also about how easily you can access the compartments, in general, to ensure you always get the shot in time.

If you’re unsure of what size compartments to choose, you can also find bags with adjustable compartments that can be custom fitted to your items.

3. Material And Durability

A good quality material for your backpack is important and it should be strong and durable. Be sure to eye not only its outside material but also its interior, bottom, straps, and padding. Always make sure the seams are well sewn and rugged.

It’s pretty important to choose a waterproof and dustproof bag. Look for a bag that offers shock resistance if you think you’ll need it, although this is always nice to have.

4. Waterproof

As mentioned, a waterproof bag is definitely the best option to look for. You never know when you might get caught in the rain, plus waterproof bags also provide protection from accidental spillages.

Also, think about the bag’s seams and zips since moisture can still seep through these and reach your camera and accessories. Some bags guarantee that their seams and zippers are waterproof too.

5. Comfort

Camera backpacks can be single or double strapped. Double strapped backpacks are typically larger, and sometimes have waist straps for extra support.

Smaller single strap bags are great for those only wanting to bring a few accessories, smaller cameras/lenses, and generally lighter loads. However, with only one strap you might find that these bags place more strain on your shoulder.

With single strap bags, it’s fairly easy to access all compartments without taking the bag off which you will have to do with a double strap bag.

15 Of The Best Camera Backpacks

 1. Lowepro Protactic 450 - Best Overall Camera Backpack

 Lowepro Protactic 450 Backpack

Weight: 2.7 kg

Dimensions: 36 x 22 x 52 cm

Capacity: –

Laptop Compartment: 15 inch

First up is Lowepro’s double strap Protactic 450, probably the best travel camera backpack – thanks to its armoured body and thick padding, both your camera and its accessories are securely protected inside.

It’s a great backpack for camera gear as it’s made with flexible dividers for a more snug fit for all your gear.

Designed with Activzone technology and a convertible utility belt, this bag’s just perfect if you’re looking for comfortable backpack camera bags. It ensures comfort for both shoulders and waist even after long hours of wearing.

Protactic 450’s cradle fit pocket can securely store laptops up to 15 inches so it could also make the best backpack for laptop and camera use.

This bag is the perfect companion for use anywhere and everywhere as it comes with a protective all-weather cover, a utility pouch, bottle and tripod holders, and two quick to lock straps.

The Protactic 450 is easily our top choice for camera backpacks and it’s really worth at least taking a look – just click the link above.

Pros of the Lowepro Protactic 450

  1. Adaptive, flexible dividers
  2. Multiple zipped pockets for smaller accessories 
  3. All weather cover protection against rain, sand, and even dust

Cons of the Lowepro Protactic 450

  1. No side access to the main compartment

2. Tropicfeel Shell - Best Camera Backpack (if you don’t mind spending a little extra)

Tropicfeel Shell camera backpack

Weight: 1.5 kg

Dimensions: 19 x 30 x 51 cm

Capacity: 22-40L

Laptop Compartment: None

If you want only the very best camera backpack for travel, then check out Tropicfeel’s Shell Backpack. As long as you’re prepared to spend a bit more, this bag is arguably one of the best investments you can make for your camera and gear (this is my camera backpack!).

Really, the Shell isn't particularly geared towards cameras exactly, but more as a general backpack. But what sets it apart is how well it expands from its smallest 22L capacity to 30L, and all the way up to 40L – this makes it ideal to bring along wherever you go and use it for practically any activity or occasion.

Along with the bag itself, you also get a camera cube. The camera cube includes velcro dividers so you can securely keep your camera snug and protected inside the bag.

You can of course remove the camera cube entirely but it’s nice to have the option of double protection for your camera.

Plus, the Shell backpack is designed with a hip belt and an adjustable sternum strap for better distribution of the load. 

What makes me adore this brand even more is how they make their products from recycled waste.

I looked high and low to find the ideal backpack with camera compartment before settling on the Tropicfeel Shell. I can honestly say I’ve had no complaints with the product and I’ve never felt more reassured that my camera is safe and secure.

Pros of the Tropicfeel Shell

  1. Expandable capacity - great as an all-round backpack
  2. Sustainable product and brand
  3. Weatherproof material
  4. Great support through its straps and belt

Cons of the Tropicfeel Shell

  1. No built-in laptop compartment

3.  CADeN Camera Backpack- Best Budget Camera Backpack

CADeN Camera Backpack

Weight: 1.13 kg

Dimensions: 44 x 32 x 16 cm

Capacity: 80 kg (straps)

Laptop Compartment: 15.6 inch 

The CADeN Camera Backpack is the perfect camera bag for those wanting an affordable yet quality product. It’s a medium sized backpack that would do just fine housing the majority of people’s accessories from three extra batteries to a 15.6 inch laptop.

It’s made of waterproof material so your gear is protected from any sort of moisture. It’s also lightweight and scratch-proof for optimum protection.

The inner padding is removable and constructed with multiple layers for shock protection and improved durability. 

Just like more expensive brands, CADeN’s backpack has adjustable shoulder straps made with comfortable memory foam and breathable outer mesh. 

It also features a sleek single front pocket, side mesh pockets for bottles or umbrellas, and an outside buckle to hold your tripod.

You get all this, within a high-quality backpack, for a fraction of the price asked for from other brands – really worth checking out via the link above.

Pros of the CADeN Camera Backpack

  1. Fantastic price compared to other similar backpacks
  2. Very durable inner padding and straps
  3. Waterproof

Cons of the CADeN Camera Backpack

  1. Handle material could be improved

4. Peak Design Everyday Backpack

Peak Design Everyday Backpack

Weight: 1.32

Dimensions: 51 x 33 x 20 cm

Capacity: 12-20L

Laptop Compartment: 16 inch

A good camera backpack for everyday use is the Peak Design Everyday Backpack. With its expandable capacity design, you can carry up to 4 lenses along with your camera body.

It has three Flexfold dividers that can hold and secure your camera and lenses as well as a hidden tripod carry strap on its exterior. 

It has side body access on both sides – the perfect everyday backpack since it’s constructed using a weatherproof material with MagLatch hardware for added security.

Pros of the Peak Design Everyday Backpack

  1. Weatherproof outer material
  2. Compatible for luggage carry – perfect for travel
  3. Secure latching

Cons of the Peak Design Everyday Backpack

  1. A bit pricey

5. Tenba Solstice

Tenba Solstice Backpack

Weight: 1.25 kg

Dimensions: 22.86 x 27.94 x 48.26 cm

Capacity: 20L

Laptop Compartment: 13 inch

For travellers, a lightweight camera backpack like the Tenba Solstice might be your best option. Although light, this backpack has a really spacious internal pocket that can fit up to six camera lenses.

Aside from the main internal pocket, the bag has several other pockets and compartments for small items as well as front compression straps for bulkier things like a blanket or sleeping bag. 

The Tenba Solstice features rear access for its main pocket for convenience and tripod or bottle storage on the side. There really isn’t much more you could need that this backpack doesn’t have!

Pros of the Solstice

  1. Large capacity – can fit up to six lenses
  2. Multiple pockets and plentiful storage 
  3. Rear camera access

Cons of the Tenba Solstice

  1. Straps can’t be adjusted nor tucked away
  2. Outer material isn’t waterproof 

6. Tenba Shootout 

Tenba Shootout Backpack

Weight: 1.45kg

Dimensions: 20.32 x 22.86 x 45.72 cm

Laptop Compartment: 10 inch (tablet)

Tenba Shootout is another great camera bag to consider if you’re looking for a bigger capacity bag for extra lenses that also protects your gear from theft. 

You’re able to secure your gear in a way where it must be released from the rear of the bag which is up against your back – no way for pickpockets to get access to your equipment from behind. 

Its straps are adjustable to the wearer’s shoulder and body for better comfort. Plus, any material touching the body is designed to ensure good airflow and prevent sweating.

The bag features a tripod holder on the top. A unique feature that makes this bag suited for outdoor shooting or hiking is its 10 inch tablet holder which doubles as a slot for a hydration bladder with a max capacity of almost three litres. 

Pros of the Tenba Shootout

  1. Made of weather resistant material
  2. Compatible with hydration bladder
  3. Medium capacity – not too big, not too small

Cons of the Tenba Shootout

  1. No laptop compartment but it does have a tablet slot

7. Vanguard Alta Fly 55T

Vanguard Alta Fly 55T Backpack

Weight: 3.86kg

Dimensions: 34.62 x 54.94 x 21.92 cm

Laptop Compartment: 14 inch

For professionals who love to travel and are looking for a quality backpack, check out Vanguard’s Alta Fly 55T. It’s made to last for years – thanks to its water and scratch resistant, durable materials.

Its three point security system is what makes it the best for travel – no more worrying about easy to open zippers while you’re walking around.

Designed with pull out straps, you can use it either as a trolley or a backpack – whichever way suits your needs best at the time. It’s definitely one of, if not the best travel camera backpacks for both protection and security.

Pros of the Vanguard ALTA FLY 55T

  1. Three point system for maximum security
  2. Well padded and fully customisable
  3. Works as a trolley or a backpack

Cons of the Vanguard ALTA FLY 55T

  1. Waist strap is not padded
  2. Wheels aren’t removable

8. Vanguard VEO Select 

Vanguard VEO Select Backpack
source

Weight: 1.66kg

Dimensions: 33.97 x 20.64 x 51.28 cm

Laptop Compartment: 15 inch

Vanguard’s VEO Select backpack can be worn both as a backpack and a shoulder bag with its main compartment featuring various access points – top, side, and full rear access allowing you to reach whatever you need with little effort.

Importantly, it’s also very comfortable to wear and carry thanks to its padded shoulder straps and tuckable harness. Not only is your gear protected, but so are you – forget about a sore back or shoulders.

This bag is a suitable size for plane travel and can be secured atop a suitcase. Plus, the material at the bottom of Vanguard’s VEO Select is scratch and water resistant.

Pros of the Vanguard VEO SELECT

  1. Two carrying options – backpack and shoulder bag
  2. Affordable compared to other similar camera backpacks
  3. Carry on compatible

Cons of the Vanguard VEO SELECT

  1. Strap quality could be better

9.  Think Tank Photo Urban Approach

Think Tank Photo Urban Approach

Weight: 1.3kg

Dimensions:  28 x 46.5 x 18 cm

Laptop Compartment: 15 inch

For mirrorless camera users, you’ll definitely want to think about Think Tank’s Photo Urban Approach backpack. Designed especially for mirrorless cameras and gear, this bag has a pretty huge capacity – it can hold 1-2 camera bodies and up to 8 extra lenses!

While it has an impressive capacity, this backpack is made to be slim as well as professional looking. On top of all, it’s constructed with premium quality materials to ensure comfort when wearing and durability overall.

Think Tank’s bag can be used as a carry on bag and has a handle that you can use to secure it to your luggage. 

Pros of the Think Tank Photo Urban Approach

  1. On the affordable side
  2. Includes a rain cover and a bottle pocket
  3. Suitable as a carry on bag 

Cons of the Think Tank Photo Urban Approach

  1. Limited for only mirrorless cameras – not suitable for DSLRs
  2. Tripod pocket is tough to stretch

10. Lowepro Freeline

Lowepro Freeline Backpack

Weight: 2 kg

Dimensions: 29.3 x 20.8 x 48.7 cm

Laptop Compartment: 15 inch

The Lowepro Freeline has a stylish, minimalist look and the body is made of a high-grade, rugged material that protects from weather and abrasion. 

The main compartment is uniquely designed with a divider that you can unfold to form a 3-level shelf for organising your gear. Or, you can lay it flat by snapping it into place. It also includes secure storage for laptops of up to 15 inches. 

Plus, it features lateral dividers for perfect fits for smaller accessories and it has dual side access to the main compartment. All this makes the Lowepro Freeline an amazingly versatile bag that can be used again and again for years to come.

Pros of the Lowepro Freeline 

  1. Water & abrasion resistant external material
  2. ActivZone back panel for even support and comfort
  3. Unique, clever interior design and additional dividers

Cons of the Lowepro Freeline 

  1. Heavier than other bags

11. Manfrotto Advanced Tri Backpack

Manfrotto Advanced Tri Backpack

Weight: 1.27 kg

Dimensions: 33.02 x 25.91 x 45.97 cm

Laptop Compartment: 15.4 inch

The thing we love about great camera backpacks is their versatility – a quality the Manfrotto Advanced Tri Backpack has to the max.

This backpack can be worn in three different ways – as a backpack, a sling bag, or in an X setup where you can still access the main pocket without removing it.

It has multiple pockets in different sizes for different accessories, side zips for main pocket access, and a small tripod strap on the front. 

It also comes with a rain cover for when you need it. There’s really not a scenario where the Manfrotto Advanced Tri backpack isn’t the perfect companion for a shoot.

Pros of the Manfrotto Advanced Tri Backpack

  1. Can fit up to two DSLRs
  2. Multiple carrying options 
  3. Includes rain cover

Cons of the Manfrotto Advanced Tri Backpack

  1. Straps are pretty thin

12. Burton F-stop Camera Backpack

Burton F-stop Camera Backpack

Weight: 2.3 kg

Dimensions: 65 x 30.5 x 19 cm

Capacity: 28L

Laptop Compartment: None

The Burton F-Stop camera backpack is another option to consider if you’re looking for a simple bag with practical features.

Designed for both professionals and beginners, it comes with padded and customisable internal dividers. The backpack has multiple external pockets including one on the side for convenient access. 

Just a heads up for laptop users though that it doesn’t come with a specialist laptop compartment – you could use the stretchy front pocket but you won’t get the same level of protection as you would from other bags with a laptop compartment.

It does however feature an external vertical carry system to be used with tripods and other similarly shaped gear.

Made by explorers for explorers, this bag is designed to be comfy after long hours of use with an adjustable shoulder harness and a waist harness to divide the weight uniformly across your upper body.

Pros of the Burton F-Stop

  1. Padded and customisable internal dividers and pockets
  2. Tripod compatible 
  3. Adjustable, cushioned shoulder straps 

Cons of the Burton F-Stop

  1. Not waterproof – you’d have to buy a cover separately
  2. No laptop sleeve

13. USA Gear DSLR Backpack

USA Gear DSLR Backpack

Weight: 1.08kg

Dimensions: 45.69 x 30.51 x 20.29 cm

Laptop Compartment: 15.6 inch

If you’re on the hunt for the best DSLR camera backpack without an eye watering pricetag, check out the USA Gear DSLR Backpack. This product matches other more expensive competitors with its quality and features. 

It has a spacious interior for your camera and customisable, padded dividers for any accessory. Or, you can also choose to remove them entirely.

You can also place your mobile phone and smaller accessories in its top compartment and up to a 15.6 inch laptop in its padded laptop pocket.

Plus, the USA Gear DSLR Backpack comes in various, colour accented designs to choose from. Check out which version suits you best via the link.

Pros of the USA Gear DSLR Backpack

  1. Good price
  2. Strong, quality zippers
  3. Customisable interior
  4. Available with bright outline exterior colours and full-coloured interior

Cons of the USA Gear DSLR Backpack

  1. Straps are a bit too long 
  2. Dividers are very minimal; too thin 

14. Lowepro Trekker

Lowepro Trekker Backpack

Weight: 3.7 kg

Dimensions: 35 x 24 x 62 cm

Laptop Compartment: 15 inch laptop and 10 inch tablet

If you want the best camera backpack for hiking, take a look at the Lowepro Trekker. With all its thoughtfully designed features, this could be the best camera hiking backpack for any hiker.

It features ergonomic shoulder straps, an adjustable sternum strap, and a waist belt to fit any body size and type and distribute the weight of your gear.

It may look a bit bulky but it’s no problem if you need to make it more compact since it can be converted into two smaller bags to suit changing needs.

For organisation, it has internal padded pockets for a 10 inch tablet, mobile phone, and a 15 inch laptop. Externally, it has tripod straps as well as side pockets.

Check out this fab hiking camera backpack through the link to learn more.

Pros of the Lowepro Trekker

  1. Converts from one big bag into two small ones
  2. Tripod straps & two side zip pockets
  3. Laptop and tablet compartments

Cons of the Lowepro Trekker

  1. Pricey

15. TARION Pro Camera Backpack

TARION Pro Camera Backpack

Weight: 1.76 kg

Dimensions: 28.5 x 19 x 41 cm

Capacity: 16.5 L

Laptop Compartment: 15.6 inch

TARION Pro’s 16.5 litre camera backpack can carry up to five extra lenses together with one camera, and a 15.6 inch laptop.

The main compartment has several pockets for accessories and its two separated compartments can be converted to one if you need to store bigger equipment like handheld stabilisers.

Conveniently, this bag has a side access zip for easy access without the need to remove your bag. It’s also designed with side pockets and side straps for a tripod.

Not only is this backpack sturdy, durable, and large in capacity but it also protects your equipment and accessories against moisture and dust. This high performance backpack is definitely worth considering.

Pros of the TARION Pro Camera Backpack

  1. Affordable
  2. Water repellent outer material and additional rain cover
  3. Shockproof & weather resistant material

Cons of the TARION Pro Camera Backpack

  1. Lockable zipper on rear but not on side

Camera Backpack FAQ

What Is The Best Camera Backpack?

There’s no one answer to this question. The best backpack for you will likely be completely different to someone else’s ideal product.

It depends on what size you need, the type of camera you have, the number of lenses you want to bring, where you’ll be taking it, and more.

To discover the best camera backpack for your personal needs, check out our section above on How to Choose the Best Backpack for Cameras.

How can I protect my camera in my backpack?

Aside from choosing a quality camera backpack that offers good protection with the perfect padding thickness, remember to always keep your camera lens cap on.

Ensuring that your bag is properly zipped is also paramount as even a small opening can allow sand, dirt, and moisture in. Additionally, make sure that your bag’s dividers securely fits the camera and accessories.

You may also want to consider camera cubes – they’re like mini camera backpacks with customisable pads but smaller in size and go inside your backpack for a more snug fit. 

What should you carry in a camera bag?

This actually depends on every person – a pro photographer may need to bring more compared to a newbie or someone who does photography as a hobby. If you belong to the latter, your camera body, memory cards, extra batteries, lenses, lens cleaner, a soft cloth, and a tripod or a mini tripod can be enough. 

While for professionals, they may bring additional accessories and equipment such as a reflector and a light meter. Whether you’re a pro or not, it’s always advisable to keep a rain cover ready in your bag.

Why do you need a camera backpack?

Although some cameras already come in a case, camera backpacks usually provide better protection for your camera and its accessories, especially in transit. It’s also unlikely that you’ll be able to carry everything you need in a case alone.

Camera backpacks have plenty of space and several compartments to securely keep every piece of kit separated from each other. 

Which Camera Backpack Will You Go For?

With so many choices, it can feel overwhelming to have to actually make a decision and purchase your bag. Fret not though – every product listed in this article has been chosen due to its great quality and functionality.

If we had to pick just one product, it’s the Lowepro Protactic 450 that wins the best all rounder backpack.

If you don’t mind spending a bit more, then definitely check out the Tropicfeel Shell for a quality, premium camera backpack.

For savvy photographers who love a bargain, you can’t go wrong with the CADeN Camera Backpack.

Do you have any other recommendations?

Drop a comment below, I'd love to hear your ideas!

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