If you're passionate about improving your travel photography, then a proper camera backpack is a must-have.
But let's face it, there are a LOT of choices out there.
And the truth of the matter is this ... there isn't a single BEST backpack to suit everyone.
That's why we wanted to put together a guide that gives you an overview of not only the options, but also why each one might be good for your final travel packing list.
As well as offering a number of backpacks for different budgets; to help those not looking to break the bank.
And don't worry, all of these top picks come with hundreds (if not thousands) of trusted reviews.
Let's get stuck in!
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.
Here's a breakdown of what factors you should be considering ...
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 travel 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 22cm x 35cm x 56cm, including handles and wheels).
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, GoPro/other action camera, 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.
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.
As mentioned, a waterproof bag is definitely the best option to look for, especially if you're packing for somewhere like Ireland, which has very unpredictable weather. 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. This was key for us in our search; after all we spent a lot of money on our blogging camera and tend to visit a lot of wet and rainy locations. So all picks below are designed for use in all kinds of weather.
Camera backpacks can be single or double strapped. Double strapped backpacks are typically larger, and sometimes have waist straps for extra support. If you're packing for somewhere like Bali and you plan to do a lot of hiking to epic picture spots, then this is important.
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.
Weight: 2.7 kg
Dimensions: 36 x 22 x 52 cm
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 helps make this a great laptop backpack too, securely storing laptops up to 15 inches.
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.
Weight: 1.5 kg
Dimensions: 19 x 30 x 51 cm
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, so it's an eco-friendly, sustainable backpack choice.
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.
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, and a top choice as a backpacking gift.
Dimensions: 51 x 33 x 20 cm
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 and other accessories like a DSLR camera gimbal.
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.
Weight: 1.25 kg
Dimensions: 22.86 x 27.94 x 48.26 cm
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!
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.
You might also like: Best Anti-Theft Bags For Travel
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.
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.
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.
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 travel 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.
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.
Weight: 2.3 kg
Dimensions: 65 x 30.5 x 19 cm
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, a light meter, maybe even a vlogging microphone. Whether you’re a pro or not, it’s always advisable to keep a rain cover ready in your bag.
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.
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!
Other gear reviews:
Leave a comment
Let us know what you think!