According to professional photographers, there are four main things you need to consider when choosing a camera backpack for yourself:
1) What are you going to shoot?
The first step is to know what you are going to shoot, because different settings and subjects possess their own challenges for photographers. Your subject is what will determine what gear you need to bring along with you.
2) Where are you going and how long will you be there?
If you’re headed out for an extended period of time, or will be shooting during early mornings or late evenings, then you’ll need a larger backpack to accommodate extra lenses. For a multi-day trip, you’ll probably want a camera backpack that functions as a regular backpack too.
3) How will you get to your destination?
If traveling on an airplane, you’ll want a camera backpack that fits in a carry-on bag. Camera gear is very fragile, so putting your camera in a carry on bag should always be the first option.
4) What will you be doing?
Finally, do you have activities planned that will require you to run, move around, or otherwise exert physical activity? Or will you be leisurely walking on a trail? Knowing the activities planned can help you be prepared with a backpack that is appropriate for the situation and comfortable for you.
Even if you answer these four questions, you may have a difficult time finding the right camera backpack. Luckily for you, we’ve done some of the research for you, and we’ve found a number of excellent backpacks for camera for a variety of situations:
Best Urban Camera Backpack
Going to be roaming the busy streets of your favorite city in Europe? Are you finally venturing to the “Big Apple” for the first time? If so, you need our best urban camera backpack:
Urban Approach Backpack
- Fits 1 medium to large Mirrorless body with lens attached.
- 1-3 additional lenses; Up to an 8″ tablet.
- Specifically designed for Mirrorless gear.
- Dedicated compartment for up to an 8″ tablet.
- Stretchable side pockets for a water bottle or flash.
Designed to hold a small camera, as well as a 15” laptop, or a 10” tablet, the Urban Approach Backpack is perfect for storing your most valuable items while exploring the big cities around the world.
Specifically designed for urban travel, the stylish backpack can comfortable fit 1-2 medium to large mirror-less bodies with lenses and extra 5-8 additional lenses if needed.
High-density nylon and durable water-repellant coating protect the camera and lenses in the event of a sudden summer thunderstorm and the abrasion resistant material provides maximum comfort so you can wear the Urban Approach Backpack all day long without any issues.
Best Outdoors Backpack
Perhaps you’re not someone who likes to spend his or her time in the big city. Maybe you like full immerse yourself in the wilderness to get away from civilization. If this sounds like you, then look no further for the best outdoor camera backpack:
MindShift Gear Rotation 180 Panorama Daypack
- 9.8” W x 19.7” H x 8.3” L (25 x 50 x 21 cm).
- 9.8” W x 8.2” H x 5.1” L (25 x 22 x 13 cm).
- Compartment for storing travel gear and accessories.
- Quick access to gear while wearing your backpack.
- Hydration reservoir pocket.
When you’re on the trail, you need to be able to grab your camera in a flash. With its’ patented “Rotation Technology”, the MindShift Gear Rotation 180 Panorama Daypack provides instant access to your gear without having to ever take off the pack.
This includes the separate camera pack attached directly to the backpack. Within five seconds, you can have your camera or binoculars out to explore and capture the moment.
Priced at $199.95, this pack isn’t cheap by any means, but it’s durable, versatile, and perfect for the rugged terrain and elements in the wilderness.
Carry-On Camera Backpack
When traveling long distances, it’s best to play it safe rather than sorry. This means you should bring your most important valuables on a carry on bag, instead of putting them in a luggage bag you’re checking. A carry-on bag needs to fit specific criteria to be approved as a carry-on (think size, weight, etc.) and we think we’ve found the perfect brand:
Airport Series by ThinkTank
- International and US carry-on size for most carriers.
- DO check with your airline carrier for current requirements.
- Strong rear lock & cable secures entire bag to a fixed object.
- TSA-approved combination zipper locks secure main compartment.
- Front lock & cable secures laptop, keys or other other items.
Technically, we aren’t recommending a specific bag. Instead, we’re recommending an entire brand. ThinkTank has an “Airport Series” with a number of carry-on camera backpacks based on your individual needs.
The Airport Essentials™ enables you to fit as you can expect – the bare essentials. The Commuter™ fits in most overhead compartments, and the Accelerator™ is the largest carry-on bag of the bunch.
All of the backpacks in the Airport Series are specifically designed for airport travel, and while they aren’t ideal for travel once you get off your flight, you can bring another back along and transfer the camera to that pack without any issue.
Few things are worse than losing or damaging your camera while you travel, so protect your camera with a high-quality camera backpack.
Always remember to read reviews before making any purchasing decision and use our guide above to figure out which camera backpack is right for you.
Traveling is a truly beautiful thing and having a camera backpack ensures you’ve got a camera there to catch all the memories you don’t ever want to forget.