8 Best Camera Backpacks for Photography

best camera backpack

Purchasing a new camera backpack for photography can feel overwhelming. It is one of the most important pieces of equipment you will own and will come with you on every shoot. With so many options on the market, where should you begin?

best camera backpack

Firstly, don’t rush your decision. Make sure to do plenty of research and consider the type of photography that you do and the equipment that you carry regularly.

To help you on your way, and in no particular order, here is a selection of backpacks that are well worth your consideration.

1. Lowepro Whistler BP 450 AW II

This offering from Lowepro is a bag that I used for several years, so I can attest to its quality. It can hold a mirrorless or DSLR camera body alongside several lenses.

best camera backpack

There are separate, well-designed pockets to hold accessories, and it comes with a waterproof cover to protect it from the elements.

Key Features:

  • All-season professional camera backpack with space and support.
  • MaxFit divider system allows additional, organized space.
  • CradleFit sleeves can accommodate a 15” laptop.
  • Attach additional gear to the side, such as a tripod.
  • All-weather cover to protect gear from the elements.
  • Top pocket to hold phone, ID, and includes a key leash in zip pocket.
  • Spacious front pocket that expands to fit clothing.
  • Sturdy waist belt and includes a belt pocket.
  • Price: £379.00.

2. F-stop Tilopa 50L DuraDiamond

F-stop is an innovative company that has been making camera backpacks since 2006. Their bags feature internal camera units (ICU). These are separate inserts that hold camera bodies and lenses and can be changed out at will depending on how much gear you need for a particular trip or shoot.

best camera backpack

I am a proud Ambassador of F-stop and currently use their Tilopa 50L, and it is everything I need in a camera backpack. Excellent weather-proofing, innovative design, and depending on the ICU used, it can hold all the gear I would ever need for a shoot.

Key Features:

  • Duradiamond fabric. This stronger, lighter, and more weather-resistant material is exclusive to F-stop.
  • Lightweight T6 aluminum hardware strengthens critical carry and attachment points.
  • An improved organizer panel includes a drop-in laptop sleeve and multiple pockets.
  • Woven-in welded zippers for improved weather resistance.
  • Tubed pulls enhance dexterity for gloved hands.
  • Large zippered top pocket offering 3 liters of storage.
  • Padded shoulder straps and waist belt for added comfort when carrying heavy loads.
  • Price: £339.00 (not including ICU).

3. Think Tank Airport Accelerator

Think Tank is a company that produces great quality camera bags, primarily designed for the traveling photographer. This particular bag is Think Tank’s largest carry-on backpack and is made to meet most international airline carry-on requirements.

best camera backpack

It can hold a substantial amount of gear such as 2 mirrorless or DSLR camera bodies, a 600mm lens unattached, a 17” laptop, and a 10” tablet.

Key Features:

  • Cable lock and locking YKK Fuse zippers to protect your gear.
  • Fits up to a 17” laptop and 10” tablet.
  • Contoured adjustable harness with lumbar support.
  • Height adjustable sternum strap with elastic pockets.
  • Robust handles on three sides for easy overhead lifting.
  • Mesh interior pockets.
  • Tripod/monopod mounting system included.
  • Seam-sealed rain cover included.
  • Price: £299.00.

4. Lowepro Lens Trekker 600 AW III. 

This bag from Lowepro is designed to fit a pro DSLR or mirrorless body with a long telephoto lens attached, such as a 600mm F4.

Its purpose is not to carry a selection of lenses, but this backpack would be ideal for wildlife photographers who are going on a shoot that requires just a single, long lens.

best camera backpack

Although it is designed to carry just a single long lens, there are pockets for accessories and personal gear as well as a tripod attachment.

Key Features:

  • Excellent protection for long, heavy lenses, specifically 600mm prime.
  • Lowepro’s ActivLift System harness, designed for load-lifting support.
  • Customizable fit with high-quality padding and even weight distribution.
  • Interior built with shock-absorbing foam for ultimate protection for large lenses.
  • Tripod mounting system which can be removed when not needed.
  • A drop-down zipper provides full access to gear with two memory card pockets.
  • Cinch straps to secure a jacket, tool, or personal gear to the pack.
  • All-weather cover included for protection against the elements.
  • Price: £289.00.

5. Shimoda Explore V2 30

The Shimoda Explore V2 30 is a very well-made backpack that has been designed with the traveling landscape photographer in mind but would be equally suitable for macro enthusiasts.

Its size meets the strictest EU and Asian carry-on regulations, making it a perfect companion when transporting your gear overseas.

best camera backpack

The V2 30 is big enough to carry a mirrorless or compact DSLR and is stocked with numerous travel-smart features such as a hidden passport pocket, lockable zippers, and a luggage pass-through handle.

Like the F-stop bag featured above, this bag is compatible with core units that can be changed out depending on how much gear is required.

Key Features:

  • International carry-on compatible and travel-friendly designs and features.
  • Luggage pass-through handle, a base handle, and dual access document/book sleeve.
  • Side opening option, ideal for quick, under-the-arm access without removing the pack.
  • Three adjustable torso height options to ensure a comfortable fit regardless of body size.
  • Core Unit Modular Camera Insert System provides shockproof protection to your valuable camera gear. These are purchased separately so that the buyer can choose the size that best fits their needs.
  • Tripod and water bottle pockets on both sides.
  • Price: £280.00.

6. Manfrotto Pro Light Front Loader

This backpack from Manfrotto is designed for the photographer on the go. It can hold a DSLR or mirrorless body with an attached lens plus another camera body with a lens attached, and depending on the size, 3 more lenses, a laptop with space left over for personal items.

best camera backpack

As the name suggests, this backpack opens from the front and features a fast access panel to one of your cameras when fast reactions are required.

Key Features:

  • Durable ripstop nylon shell.
  • Breathable EVA foam back panel.
  • Protective Hypalon details add durability to key stress points.
  • Front access interior.
  • Zippered side opening for quick access to camera.
  • Side trolley strap.
  • Price: £149.00.

7. Peak Design Everyday Backpack

This award-winning pack from Peak Design has been built around access, organization, expansion, and protection. Its stylish, sleek design looks minimalist but it has a large external carry capacity made possible by a versatile tuck-away strap system.

best camera backpacks

It is available in two sizes, a 20L and larger 30L. While not ideal for photographers who use large prime lenses, the design of the internal dividers makes it possible to carry a tele-zoom lens such as a 70-200mm, in addition to a camera body and smaller lenses.

Perhaps not ideal for wildlife photographers who use long lenses, but for macro and landscape photographers, this pack is well worth considering.

Key Features:

  • Flexfold dividers to improve organization of camera gear.
  • Top and side access via a single weatherproof 270-degree ultra-durable zip.
  • Weighs in at just 1.55kg including dividers.
  • Externally accessible sleeve that holds a 15-inch laptop.
  • Waterproof internal storage for SD cards and other accessories.
  • Comfortable to carry due to breathable, quick-drying mesh back padding.
  • Waterproof bag with a 900D bottom liner for protection from the elements.
  • A quick-connecting stowable sternum strap for added comfort.
  • Price: £189.00 (20L).

8. Thule Covert 32L

Perhaps the most versatile option on this list, the Thule Covert is a robust 3-in-1 backpack that can be used as a travel bag with or without camera gear.

Inside the main bag is a removable camera pod that can be worn as a sling or shoulder bag that stores your camera gear. There is a side opening to the pack allowing direct access to camera gear without having to remove the bag.

best camera backpack

In the back panel, there is space for a laptop and additional compartments at the front of the pack to store other accessories. It is a versatile design and can be used in several different ways depending on your purpose.

Key Features:

  • Quick access to camera gear via the side opening.
  • Plenty of room due to the 32-liter capacity.
  • Removable inner compartment that is fully unzippable.
  • Magnetic front pocket zips for security.
  • Lots of storage space for accessories and a laptop compartment.
  • Lined and adjustable shoulder strap for added comfort.
  • Side pocket that will hold a large water bottle or tripod.
  • Luggage pass-through panel to attach to rolling luggage.
  • Roll-top closure offers protection and expandability.
  • Price: £259.99.

In conclusion

Ultimately, your choice should reflect your own personal needs and shooting style, but you should prioritize features such as comfort, durability, organization, and size to ensure that your gear is kept safe, secure, and easily accessible.

Finding the right backpack can truly enhance your nature photography experience, allowing you to focus on what really matters: capturing stunning images. Good luck with your search!

Visit Ben's website

Ben Hall is one of the UK’s leading wildlife photographers with many international awards to his name. His images are widely published throughout the world, he has has co-authored two books and runs wildlife photography workshops in the UK and overseas.

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