September 23, 2023


Safe Travel USA

Best Camera Backpacks 2022

When you picture a backpack for your camera, you probably imagine an industrial monstrosity of a bag that’s bulky, heavy and uncomfortable. Traditionally, these backpacks were mainly designed with the singular focus of carrying a lot of camera equipment—other considerations like style and comfort were completely overlooked. In recent years, however, there’s been a bit of a renaissance when it comes to these design woes and now, the best camera backpacks are shockingly convenient, highly configurable and often quite comfy. Plus, many are no longer one-trick-ponies and can be used in all types of backpacking scenarios.

Whether you have a camera with several spare lenses or a simple point and shoot and want a bag that does double duty as an overnighter, there’s a camera backpack out there for you. We’ve rounded up seven bags that are fully equipped with all the bells and whistles of new camera bag designs from brands like Peak Design, Wandrd, Nomatic, Tenba and more. Check out our top recommendations along with some advice for how to shop for the right bag for you.

Best Camera Backpack Overall

The Everyday Backpack Snaps Closed With Magnets


Peak Design’s Everyday Backpack is the most versatile and well-designed bag you’re likely to see, and it looks sleek and stylish, to boot. It’s a top-and-side access design, so if you’re used to unzipping the front and exposing the bag’s innards, that won’t work here. Instead, you can reach in from the top or sling the bag around, unzip the side and pull out what you need.

The bag’s most notable feature is its heavy use of magnets to help keep things closed and streamlined. The top flap, for example, has a set of four ladder-like clasps; you can clip it closed on whichever rung works best for how much stuff is packed inside. But a strong magnet helps you close it with almost no effort.

Likewise, side pockets (great for tripods, water bottles or your phone) magnetically snap closed. When you’re not wearing it, even the shoulder straps automatically lie flush thanks to a set of magnets. In addition to entry from the top, both sides completely unzip to give you access to anything stored inside. The entire interior is one big volume, but Peak includes a few Velcro “shelves” that let you organize the bag any way you like. Each shelf has origami-like pop-up dividers, so you can elegantly arrange bodies, lenses and other accessories and still have a lot of space left over to store clothing and other travel essentials.

The bag has a truly impressive array of pockets and storage nooks, including deep laptop and tablet pockets. Peak also took care in the small touches that show the brand really understands what makes a bag a joy in day-to-day use—the bag has a slew of loops and straps for securing accessories, and you can use some of the loops to “lock” the side access doors in place—handy if you only want to open the bag on one side and keep the other side secure from accidental openings or theft.

But by far the bag’s best feature is an accessory called the Peak Design Capture Clip—it’s an optional gadget that screws on securely to the front of the shoulder strap and lets you hang your camera within easy reach, detachable at a moment’s notice via a quick-release button. It is truly a game changer for photo hikes and other situations where you want your hands to be free but your camera instantly accessible, and still easily mountable on tripods that use the Arca-style quick release plate. Don’t get the backpack without the capture clip.


  • Tons of space for non-camera gear
  • Velcro dividers to arrange however you’d like
  • Quick-release camera strap


  • Laptop sleeve doesn’t fit larger 15-inch computers
  • Lack of a small back or top pocket

Best Camera Backpack For Lots Of Gear

ProTactic Can Handle Multiple Bodies and Lenses Plus a Drone

Lowepro has been making camera bags for a very long time, and its expertise shows in this modular, highly customizable bag that is designed to accommodate substantial loads. You enter from the back, which unzips to give you access to the entire interior in one fell swoop. It includes the typical array of Velcro dividers, so you can arrange your gear however you like.

Lowepro also gives you three other entryways–from the top and both sides, though the side doors only let you reach the items on the bottom half of the bag. Even better, the overall ballistic nylon design is augmented by an armored hard shell in front, rendering it especially rugged for camera gear and even a fragile drone (it’s designed to ferry a model like the DJI Mavic 2 Pro or DJI Osmo+). You can slide in a laptop up to about 15 inches, and the outside adds a few extra quick access pockets including a tripod receiver.

Headed out into the rain? There’s an integrated waterproof cover that lives in a zipped compartment under the bottom of the bag, but unfurls in moments to give you thorough protection from the elements. Lowepro really wants you to buy into the ProTactic’s family of accessories, though; you can add a bag designed for a water bottle or small accessories, as well as a utility belt quick-attach straps that mount to attachment points all over the bag.


  • Highly customizable pockets and dividers
  • Hard shell design keeps everything inside safe
  • Built-in rain cover


  • Optional pricy add-ons
  • Outer shell is rigid; may become uncomfortable after a few hours

Best Travel Camera Backpack

Wandrd’s Bag-Within-A-Bag Design Is Insanely Convenient

Most camera bags look more or less alike—thick cases with rigid structure and padding—but the Prvke (pronounced like “provoke”) is different. It’s more like a bag designed to hold other bags, and as weird as that sounds, it totally works. Here’s the deal: The rear-opening Prvke opens like a clamshell to reveal two main compartments, top and bottom. The bottom half of the bag is designed to accommodate Wandrd’s Camera Cube, which is a compact padded case (with its own shoulder strap) embedded with Velcro dividers that house your camera and lenses. You can easily pull it out and carry it around on its own, like the luggage version of a Star Trek shuttlecraft, or you can leave it docked in Prvke’s hanger bay. Not only can you open the Camera Cube and get to the insides after opening the Prvke’s back, but a side door lets you get into the Camera Cube as well, so there’s no downside to the bag-within-a-bag design. It’s a gloriously handy solution, and makes the Prvke almost worth its weight in gold for that one feature alone.

But there’s so much more. The Prvke is one of the more comfortable bags you’ll be lucky enough to encounter thanks to generous padding in the back—something that most bag makers seem to neglect—along with comfy and smartly designed shoulder straps. You can also carry it luggage-style via a pair of straps at the top that stick together via a magnet. And there are a wealth of pockets and compartments inside, along with a generous laptop sleeve.

And then there’s the roll top; unclasp the Velcro and unroll it to get access to the interior through the top or stuff extra stuff inside; completely unfurled, the roll-top adds an few liters of extra storage, effectively hiding a much bigger bag inside a smaller bag.

If the Prvke has one Achille’s Heel, it’s the modular nature of the system. Photographers will absolutely want to get the Photography Bundle (or add the Camera Cube separately) because on its own, the Prvke can’t really accommodate cameras and other fragile gear.


  • Internal camera bag keeps it safe and adds an additional carrying method
  • Generous padding creates comfortable wear


  • Not enough pockets or dividers to properly store and secure lenses and more than one camera body

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Best Camera Backpack That’s Also a Suitcase

Nomatic’s Single Bag You Can Carry Gear And Clothes In

Nomatic famously made this bag in partnership with photographer Peter McKinnon, and it’s thoroughly infused with the sensibilities of someone who actually uses a camera travel backpack on a day-to-day basis. Unlike most bags, which single-mindedly house your camera gear and other electronics, this bag can do it all, serving as a camera bag, carry-on bag and overnight bag for clothes and toiletries. As long as your travel needs are modest–it won’t carry a week’s worth of stuff–this might be the one and only bag you ever need to travel with again.

The bag does so much. It’s a double clamshell, opening in both front and back. In back, you get access to a spacious interior volume with a slew of Velcro dividers, along with mesh pockets and a laptop sleeve. This compartment can fit a staggering amount of gear, or you can store gear in part of the bag and use a divider to hold clothing in the rest. Flip it over, and the front reveals a second storage space with mesh pockets and a compression strap to tamp down your clothes. Need a little more space? You can unzip the front to substantially expand the interior volume, much like a carry-on suitcase.

For easy access to your camera, there’s a side access door on one side; the other side has a pocket that expands into a tripod anchor, and it snaps closed with the help of a magnet–very cool. Every part of this bag feels premium, rugged and made with love. It’s truly a joy to use. All that said, the case itself feels a little weighty before you put even the first piece of kit inside; it’s made of a rugged but heavy tarpline material, but that’s mitigated by the fact that for short trips, it’s the only bag you need.


  • Doubles as an overnight bag with plenty of space


  • Most expensive bag on our list
  • Heavy

Best Camera Backpack That Doubles As A Day Bag

A Roll-Top Bag That Can Carry Your Camera Or Just Some Clothes

It’s hard not to fall in love with Tenba’s DNA 15 backpack. This snazzy-looking bag is a backpack version of the brand’s popular messenger bags, and it brings some real innovation to the camera backpack space. It offers two main entryways: a front-access door at the bottom of the bag and a roll-top opening atop the backpack. The roll top is easy to manage; it’s secured with a magnetic clasp that opens and closes with a flick of your hand. Roll it down when you’re not carrying a lot, or unfurl it to add several liters of extra internal volume.

But here’s where it gets interesting; the bag comes with a customizable padded insert that holds your camera and lenses (with adjustable Velcro dividers, of course). It fits both in the bottom compartment and in the top, so you can place your camera gear in whichever part of the bag you like, and use the other half of the storage for clothing or other accessories. Traveling without your camera? Remove the insert entirely and use the bag as a day bag or overnight case. The design is reminiscent of Wandrd’s Camera Cube, but it isn’t designed to be used outside the bag on its own the way you can with the Wandrd bag.

Tenba also includes a sleeve for laptops up to about 15 inches along with a few other handy conveniences, like a suitcase passthrough, tripod anchor and water bottle pocket. It also comes with a reversible rain cover, silver on one side to reflect away sunlight, and black on the other.

  • Pros: roll top design instantly adds more space, versatile pockets, built-in rain and sun cover
  • Cons: might be too large for one day out, heavy while empty

Best Camera Backpack For Hiking

Safe Way To Bring Your Camera To The Great Outdoors

MindShift Gear Backlight 26L Outdoor Adventure Camera Daypack

This backpack is the ideal marriage of a daypack for your hiking essentials while out on the trail and a camera backpack that safely and effectively totes around your gear to take pictures of the scenery, your friends and your family. As far as camera potability, the MindShift Gear bag can fit equipment in one of two standard combinations starting with a standard-size DSLR. After that, you can toss in a whopping four to six standard zoom lenses and a flash, or two large mirrorless cameras and five to seven more lenses, according to the brand. Aside from all of that camera space, there’s a total of 9-liters worth of volume for personal items like water bottles, snacks, an extra layer, sunscreen and a few first add items like bug spray and band-aids.

The bag has a crafty design that gives you access to the back panel without having to take it off. This features lets you grab or stow your camera quickly, whether that means accessing it for the perfect timely photo opp or getting it out of a sudden rain shower. There’s also a dedicated compartment for a laptop up to 15-inches long


  • Plenty of room for non-camera hiking gear
  • Dedicated lens pockets


  • Not water-proof
  • Only available in one color

Best Camera Backpack For Large Lenses

For Every Zoom, Wide-Angle And Short Telephoto Moment

This camera backpack almost has more pockets than we can count. Those pockets are large enough to fit a hooded 18-55mm lens, a 70-300mm zoom, 600mm F4, a long lens and three additional lenses, according to one reviewer. It has access from the top, sides and rear so you can grab exactly what you’re looking for without wasting time searching and sifting through your many lenses and accessories. There’s also a “bonus” rear pouch that’s big enough to fit a drone, if that’s your thing, or even a tripod if you’re going to be setting up somewhere while out with your gear. One of the many pockets has a built-in rain cover that envelopes the entire pack, making it instantly water-proof, and shoppers say it’s “heavily padded” in the straps and along the panel that sits against your back for a comfortable and supportive experience while you’re lugging your equipment around.

“Its extremely versatile as the Velcro inserts can be rearranged or removed entirely to make one large pack,” another shopper added, giving it customizability that isn’t common among camera backpacks.


  • Plenty of pockets for different sized lenses
  • Rain cover
  • Comfortable straps


  • Pricy
  • Pack is heavy all on its own

How To Pick The Right Camera Backpack For Your Needs

There are plenty of camera backpacks out there to choose from, so it can challenging to know which will suit your needs and lifestyle best. There are a few factors to consider:


As you can tell from our list, you can spend quite a bit of money on a high-quality camera backpack. You can find a few great ones for just under $200, but most tend to cost a fair bit more. There’s a reason for that price premium; a lot of engineering goes into high-quality camera backpacks, along with rugged designs and smart padding. If you’re on a budget, it’s worth waiting for a sale at a retailer like Amazon, Dick’s or B&H where these bags are plentiful and holiday sales can result in deep discounts.

Storage And Protection

What type of camera are you using? Do you like to carry more than one camera body at a time? Do you need space in the bag for larger lenses or multiple attachments? Are you a drone specialist or someone who’s going to haul a tripod around? How about the other things you’ll need while out if you’re hiking or using the backpack as a carry-on while flying? Consider how much space you’ll need, how adjustable the compartments will need to be, and how much padding or rigid protection the bag should have.

Build Quality

Any DSLR camera—especially when you factor in lenses and other accessories—is going to be expensive, so you want the bag that’s carrying this precious cargo to be one that will protect your stuff adequately. Check out the stitching and gauge whether it’s substantial enough to support your load. Likewise, is the material thick and sturdy? Are the zippers tough and reinforced? Is the inside padded to prevent delicate lenses from banging against one another? Remember that often, you get what you pay for when it comes to camera bags.


Whether you’re going to have this camera bag on your back for hours at a time or just in spurts, chances are it’s going to be on the heavier side, so you’ll want it to be comfortable. Look for a bag with straps that won’t dig into your shoulders and is designed to smartly distribute the weight of the bag. The rear panel should have some padding and sit comfortable against your back as well. Some bags add even more options that take your aching muscles into account.

Something to watch out for: Some camera bags are heavy even before you put the first item inside, so decide if a bag that’s heavy while empty has enough other advantages to be worth it on the trail—not to mention how much weight you’re ultimately willing to carry.

Frequently Asked Questions About Camera Backpacks

Can you use a regular backpack as a camera bag?

We’ve certainly seen some people creatively carry camera gear in ordinary backpacks—using t-shirts and sweaters to wrap and protect gear, for example—but this is something we heartily discourage. Investing in these professional-grade cameras and accessories is something you do when you’re serious about photography, whether for professional reasons or because of a passionate hobby you’ve picked up. Respect that investment with a bag that has the padding, protection and compartmentalization to keep your gear safe, secure and easily accessible when you need it.

What gear and accessories should I carry in a camera backpack?

It’s lovely to think that all you need to take great photos is a camera and some knowledge of how it all works. But generally makes sense to carry some common accessories to poise you for success when you’re in the moment trying to take a great photo.

If you have a DSLR or mirrorless camera, for example, we recommend carrying spare, fully charged batteries and perhaps an extra memory card. There’s nothing worse than setting up for a beautiful shot and realizing your battery is toast or your memory is full (if you’re using film, then have some spare rolls on you).

If you’re anywhere amidst dirt or dust, pack some tools for cleaning your lens, such as high-quality lens wipes, a blower brush and microfiber cloth. One thing you should never do is reach for the edge of your shirt—cotton and other fabrics are far too course and can easily scratch the delicate lens.

A tripod might add extra weight, but there’s no substitute for a level, shake-free shot. Some mini and collapsible options make carrying a camera support much simpler, and they’re worth looking into. Finally, a waterproof cover for your bag is always a good idea. Rain, no matter how many times you check the weather report, can be unpredictable, and the last thing you want is to be caught in a downpour with a few thousand dollars worth of camera gear.