These Sturdy Camera Backpacks Are The Key To Keeping Your Gear Protected On The Go

A good camera backpack is the key to successful photography on the go — but it can't be just any old bag. To capture high-quality images and ensure that you don't get tired quickly, you need one of the best camera backpacks — one that's specifically designed to hold camera gear. Here are a few things to consider when picking one out:

  • Capacity: Camera backpacks vary widely when it comes to how much gear they can hold. The options on my list can all accommodate a camera body and at least one lens, while some fit as many as four or five lenses (and one option can even hold a second camera). Also, consider whether you want room for extra items like snacks, a change of clothes, a laptop, or a tablet.
  • Comfort: Whether you're strolling around town or hiking in the woods for days, having a bag with soft, comfortable straps and proper ergonomic cushioning will make a huge difference.
  • Durability: A good backpack should have durable fabric, strong stitching, and robust zippers and buckles to ensure it can take a beating. You'll probably want a bag that offers some water-resistance, too — even better if it comes with a fully waterproof cover.

Below, I've made a list of the best camera backpacks based on these factors. Whether you're an amateur hobbyist or a seasoned pro, there's something on the list for you.

1.The Best Overall: A Versatile DSLR Camera Backpack

Lens capacity: 3 to 5

Tripod compatible: Yes

What's great about it: With high-quality materials, plenty of compartments, and a midrange price, this is one of the best DSLR camera backpacks out there. It is lightweight yet comprehensive, with plenty of room for all of your gear, including some of the bulkier video camera models. It's constructed with durable, water-resistant fabric and strong, top-grade buckles. It also comes with a waterproof rain cover to keep your gear fully protected. Best of all, it has a dedicated sleeve that fits up to a 15.6-inch laptop.

What fans say: "Wonderful backpack! I recently used this camera backpack for a week long exploration of Iceland. I used it on a daily basis in a variety of conditions, from downpours to sandy beaches. As a pro photographer I have a lot of gear [...] I had a total of 30 lbs of gear and never got back fatigue as I have with other backpacks."

2. The Best Under $50

Lens capacity: 3 to 4

Tripod compatible: Yes

What's great about it: This super popular pack, which has more than 1,800 reviews on Amazon, is one of the best camera backpacks under $50. It's affordable yet still high-quality, according to customers. It can fit three to four lenses, two camera bodies, a laptop, and extra accessories — it even has special side straps for a monopod or tripod. It's not quite as water-resistant as the first choice, and the material probably won't last quite as long. Still, you get a lot of the same great features at a significantly lower price.

What fans say: "I thought because of the price it couldn't possibly be as good as other name-brand bags I've owned. Well since then I've taken this bag on dozens of trips, both domestic and international, and I'd buy it again in a heartbeat. I've been on long hikes (well, long for me, 5-10 miles) with it fully loaded and it's just as comfortable and functional as packs that cost 4 times as much [...] I highly recommend this bag for both pros and hobbyists."

The Best For Hiking

Lens capacity: 2

Tripod compatible: Yes

What's great about it: While lots of bags can be taken on hikes, this bag is specifically designed for it, making it one of the best camera bags for hiking you can find. It's not just a camera bag — it's a full-on outdoor trekking pack that features dedicated compartments to fit high end, professional camera gear. That means that in addition to your equipment, you can bring a sweatshirt, snacks, water, sunscreen, and other provisions. There's even a compartment for a camera body with an attached lens so you don't have remove your it every time you take your camera in and out. It has a side zipper for easy access and an all-weather cover to protect your gear from rain, snow, and other elements.

What fans say: "I climbed up vertical limestone mountains (often resting it on the sharp rocks), hiked in rainforests, hiked up a 12,200 ft (3,700m) mountain/volcano filled w/ dirt and gravel all over, had it on the beach, and rode a motorbike for 11 days. I crashed my bike twice, causing the bag to fall off and roll all on the asphalt and dirt. Not only was the bag unscathed, but the contents (laptop, camera) were in perfect shape. The bag never tore. ... The shoulder straps were amongst the comfiest I've had."

The Best For Airline Travel

Lens capacity: 1 to 2

Tripod compatible: Yes

What's great about it: This sleek water-resistant bag, which fits perfectly under an airplane seat and makes a great carry-on personal item, is one of the best camera backpacks for airline travel. It has a chic aesthetic that doesn't look like a camera bag, making it less attention-drawing and thus a helpful anti-theft measure. It's built with a blend of strong nylon and faux leather with soft shoulder straps that reviewers say are comfy and ergonomic. Plus, it has a slide-out design that makes your gear simple to access.

What fans say: "I'm a traveling wedding photographer, and I've used multiple different camera backpacks throughout the years. This backpack has been perfect! It's been a great carry on option for flights, with lots of space for chargers, wallet, etc, as well as my laptop, hard drive, and camera + lens. For a wedding day, I use this backpack to carry my camera body, 70-200, 35, and 85 lenses. I also have my batteries, charger, and multiple cards. It's such a great alternative to those $250+ bags, and in my opinion, just as wonderful!"

The Best Small Pack

Lens capacity: 2 to 3

Tripod compatible: No

What's great about it: If you're looking for a small, super low-profile option, this minimalist camera backpack is a great choice. It's ideal for those occasions when you only want to bring the bare minimum and don't want to mess around with a big, bulky bag. It's made with high-quality materials and plenty of padding on the inside to keep your gear safe. The water-resistant backpack has enough room for a standard DSLR camera body with one lens attached and up to two more lenses in the main compartment. Additionally, it doesn't have space for a tripod but it does fit up to an 8-inch tablet and several accessories.

What fans say: "Just big enough for my A7ii and Sony 24-105mm, another smaller lens and a few accessories. Comfortable, appears of quality build."

The Best Hardshell Backpack

Lens capacity: 3 to 5

Tripod compatible: Yes

What's great about it: This extra rugged hardshell camera backpack is perfect for scenarios where you may be knocking your gear around a bit or subjecting it to extra wear and tear. It has a shock-proof exterior with a hardshell case for extra protection and a waterproof rain cover. The easy-access roll-down top means you don't have to unzip the whole thing every time, and the inside is full of soft, ergonomic padding. Best of all, fans say it's comfortable to wear, even for long periods of time.

What fans say: "The straps are very comfortable and the backpack is padded for comfort when you carry it. It even has area on one side that you can store a small tripod or monopod. This camera bag/camera backpack is a winner! You won't regret buying it"

7. A Great-Looking, Weather-Resistant Canvas Backpack

Lens capacity: 3 to 5

Tripod compatible: Yes

What's great about it: I personally prefer canvas camera backpacks like this one that feel smooth and malleable, instead of the standard styles which can feel thick and bulky due to all the padding. Made with durable canvas that's water-repellent and equipped with a rain cover, the interior of this backpack features padded lining for shock-proof protection. The back and shoulder straps are also padded for comfortable wear, and the bag itself can hold a camera body, up to five lenses, and a 14-inch laptop (or smaller).

In my experience, canvas is a durable material that can really take a beating, making it ideal for photojournalists or other folks whose bags see a lot of weather elements. The only drawback is that canvas can feel a bit heavier than some other materials. Still, this option has a cute vintage look and comes in your choice of green or khaki.

What fans say: "I am so amazed by this camera backpack. When I was shopping, I looked at so many bags and decided on this specific bag. I love the color, the quality, THE PRICE, and the style of the bag. I can carry it around on a daily basis and I even plan to travel with it. It’s the perfect size!"

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