A good camera backpack is more than just a way of moving around your gear. Great camera backpacks shield your stuff from the elements, organize things for efficient setup and takedown, and in general, they make photographers and videographers lives a whole lot easier. Sure, you could just use your old Jansport, but if you throw your $900 camera and $300 lenses into a bag that offers no protection and drop it or even bang it against something, you’re in a real bind. A camera backpack is insurance against your future mistakes and for your future success. For people who value their gear, having the right bag is critical.
Some factors to consider here are: the amount of space you need, how much protection you want, whether you want a sling or a backpack, and how much weight you can stand to carry.
Here’s the Top Ten best camera backpacks you can find.
1. Amazon Basics: Functional, Affordable, ‘Basic’ally Great
Holding two small DSLR camera bodies, three or four lenses, and small accessories, the Amazon Basics backpack offers a lot of bang for your buck. The outside of the backpack has two side pockets– ideal for the little things like a remote, cellphone or memory card case.
The interior is lined with foam for extra protection for your precious gear. There’s a strap inside that allows one to keep their bigger items nice and snug.
The back-straps are heavily padded for those large loads. There’s even a chest strap (sure you look like a nerd, but these distribute the weight off your shoulders). In theory, you can fit a 13.3 inch laptop in it, but it’s very snug. There’s definitely better bags if you want to bring your PC or Mac along for the ride.
Price: $26.96 (10 percent off MSRP)
- Many pockets allow holding variety of things like batteries, remotes, and memory cards
- Virtually weightless yet decent build quality
- Excellent price considering the quality
- Straps have great cushioning
- Chest strap allows one to distribute weight
- A few users complained of top handle ripping out due to weak stitching
- Bag may be too small for some as a primary camera bag
- Some DSLR models may not be sufficiently protected due to bag’s small size
- Large tripods may not be stable on bag when moving around rapidly (or hiking)
2. The Altura Sling Backpack (Perfect for Hikers)
For those carrying less weight and are more of the swingin’ slingin’ kind, the Altura Sling offers an affordable and stylish solution. This long-lasting travel bag is designed with the photographer on-the-go in mind. It holds a DSLR (or DSLR-sized camera) along with a standard zoom lens and/or flash unit. One of the biggest perks: you can access your gear easily while walking, just swing the bag around.
The interior has adjustable, padded dividers, and it’s a vibrant purple (chic!). The exterior allows fast access to the goods, and even has a monopod or tripod foot holder to allow you to strap one along for the ride. That said, it’s not recommended to lug anything but a small tripod or monopod in this configuration.
One nice benefit about this bag: the manufacturers offer a 90-day 100 percent satisfaction guaranteed warranty. So, if you have any issues, you can send it back.
Price: $34.99 (33 percent off MSRP)
- Optional use of extra strap helps with stability when hiking
- Great quality great
- Ample configuration options
- Some users love accessing the backpack from the back
- A few users complain of issues with stitching, a common issue in this price range
- Large cameras (full-frame) may not be able to wear a battery grip and fit
- Lack of velcro at the top of the pack limits security in upper area
- Backpack is accessed through the pack which is awkward for some users
3. USA Gear ‘Tank’ Backpack
This backpack is a beast. It’s capable of holding a DSLR, three or four lenses, a large accessory, a laptop, a small accessory, and a tripod all while looking like something that is bulletproof (It’s not). It comes with a rain cover and it has a luggage handle slot so you can let it ride on top of your luggage (like if you’re taking it to the airport).
Users praise its large size, ease-of-access to camera (it allows side and front access), and hefty shoulder straps. One owner of the bag stated in his Amazon review that he dropped the bag from almost three feet, fully loaded (over 21.5 lbs) and “nothing was broken or even moved.”
Note: The max laptop size is 15.6 inches and some users have complained that thick older laptops don’t fit.
- Plenty of handles and nice shoulder straps
- Many users praise side access of camera for convenience
- Well-built and attractive look
- Many pockets, large size, and soft-foam backing ensure comfort and versatility
- A few users complain that after long stretches of daily use, the backpack is structurally compromised
- Single strap on back of backpack isn’t that stable for a tripod
- One user said backpack is clearly made for men in terms of length and strap length
- Laptop sleeve does not offer much protection
4. Evecase Convertible Backpack (For The Student Photographer)
For those who want a camera backpack with the flexibility to become a school backpack, the Evecase Convertible may be the choice for you. Boasting many standard camera backpack perks such as the ability to hold one DSLR and two lenses, a rain cover, and two side pockets, this camera backpack lets you have it all. On top of that, it’s one of the best looking bags on this list. If you squint right, it almost looks like a Herschel bag.
The bag is divided into two halves. The top layer is “open” storage so one can put a large accessory there, an iPad, or anything that doesn’t need a lot of security. The bottom layer is for the camera and lenses and includes the removable foam padding. If one removes this and the separator between the top and bottom layer, voila! The camera backpack becomes a school backpack.
- Strong material, classy unisex appearance
- Many users praise excellent value of bag
- Waterproof cover is high quality
- Good construction and flexible partitioning
- Straps can become uncomfortable after long intervals
- Buckles can make accessing things difficult
- Some complain drawstring is unnecessary
5. Lowepro Slingshot 202 Backpack (For The Swingin’ Crowd)
Lowepro is the gold standard for camera bags so while this backpack maybe on the pricey side, it looks sleek and will last a long time. It fits a small DSLR or mirrorless camera with an attached kit or zoom lens, three or four extra lenses or extra flashes and accessories. It can hold a small tripod. There’s also a “SlipLock” attachment loop that expands the carrying capacity by adding compatible pouches, cases, and bags.
Like other sling backpacks, it allows for one to rapidly swing it around their body to quickly access their gear. The bag also comes with a cover to protect it from rain and two built-in memory card pockets, on the inside lid of the main compartment for convenient access.
Price: $69.95 (6 percent off MSRP)
- Ample pockets, extremely durable, well thought-out design
- Side flap works effectively
- Sling permits for rapid access
- Comfortable to wear and allows easy access to gear
- Fully loaded, backpack is on the weighty side
- Big enough to hold DSLR with battery grip
- Tripod flap is a nice touch, but it’s not big enough for all tripods
6. Case Logic Camera & Laptop Bag (The Ultimate Warranty Backpack)
With a warranty the length of a mortgage (25 years), this backpack will last you. The interior is fully customizable allowing one to move around the foam inserts as they please. The bag also has a unique hammock system which suspends the camera above the bottom of the case, meaning that it’s that much safer from a hard drop. Keep your laptop in tow as well (up to 17 inches).
There is foam on the inside of the lid to help protect your laptop screen, four pockets for keeping small items, and a side hook-n-loop to hold one’s tripod. The base is waterproof and lets the case stand up on its own.
All in all, this is a very strong choice for a laptop and camera backpack. While it’s on the expensive side, the quality is concomitant with the price.
- Durable, thoughtfully designed, and has a rigid, waterproof base
- While thick, height isn’t overly tall; wearable by either man or woman
- Memory foam is a nice touch
- Easy access to camera from top of the bag
- Mesh covered straps are breathable.
- Laptop compartment offers ample padding
- Rain flap could be useful
- Carrying handle is lower quality and less durable than rest of bag
- No waist strap
- Camera hammock isn’t that big, some users may have issues with access
7. Lowepro Fastpack 350 DSLR Camera & Laptop Backpack (For A Safe Everything)
The Fastpack 350 fits a DSLR or smaller with a grip with a big lens attach, two or three extra lenses, or a flash unit. You can also bring a 17 inches laptop along; it has additional padding for your PC.
It has a padded camera compartment with full 180-degree access and adjustable internal padding. The side entry is always a handy feature, allowing you to get at the bag from different angles.
It has a built-in pocket for holding your memory cards and the shoulder straps are contoured to help distribute weight evenly. They’re also made with Dryflow fabric to help improve their breathability. The mesh side pocket is a nice extra touch- letting you put a little something extra in one of the side pockets.
- Plenty of space for accessories with thorough padding
- Many pockets for memory cards, batteries, and other small accessories
- Laptop is easy to slip in and out
- Camera compartment access can be awkward
- Not enough velcro side panels to modify shape of interior
- No place to attach a tripod or monopod
8. AmazonBasics Convertible Rolling Camera Backpack (The ‘No More Backaches’)
It’s a rolling case, camera backpack, and airplane carry-on all in one. While a rolling backpack isn’t for all users, those with heavy loads know the massive strain caused by heavy gear, and the massive relief provided with the option to roll your stuff. And these are no dinky wheels; they’re rollerblade-quality so you know they’re smooth.
This robust bag holds a 17-inch laptop, a full DSLR with attached lens and has 11 additional configurable compartments for things like chargers, batteries, filters, and more lenses.
It also has a side strap for a tripod and includes a rain cover.
- Many users praise value for build quality and large size
- The handle is extra long (21 inches) meaning it’s great for a tall person
- Rolls easily and smoothly, allowing user to carry less weight
- Excellent padding with configurable interior
- Side strap to hold tripod/monopod
- Some users complain of having to wiggle down the telescoping handle
- Backpack itself on the heavy side at nine pounds
- Large size means bag is not only heavy, but bulky
9. ‘The Trendy’ Manfrotto Camera & Laptop Backpack
Manfrotto is a legendary camera brand and it’s one of the best looking backpacks of the bunch. This street medium backpack holds a DSLR with attached zoom lens, has a padded back panel, and internal laptop compartment (big enough to hold a 15 inch laptop). The shoulder straps are adjustable. It’s praised for how well built it is and its solid construction.
There’s also a tripod attachment and chest strap, but some users complain about their quality. If one is looking to carry more weight or anything but small tripods, the Case Logic SLR bag (number six on this list) is a better choice.
- Backpack has many pockets
- It’s light and good-looking
- Many users praise the backpacks comfort, durability, and look
- Not the biggest bag, only fits a basic camera set, 15 inch laptop
- A few users feel that it’s not recommended for fragile gear
- The way it carries a tripod can be uncomfortable for some users
10. Peak Design Everyday Backpack
This Peak Design backpack truly lives up to its name. Since it’s so great, let’s focus on what’s wrong to start: it’s overkill for many people in terms of capacity and construction. This bag is built like a tank on every level. It has extremely high quality materials, bands, zipper, and pockets. It’s all very strong and durable. Another slight flaw is that this bag has only two easily accessible pockets on the sides, everything else is buried in a zipper or under a flap.
Now, these two minor negatives out of the way, this is basically a perfect bag. It’s shockingly light weight, has a massive capacity (two camera bodies, three to four large lenses, a 15″ laptop, and a bevy of small stuff will fit in its pockets. Plus, it’s camping friendly with straps that descend from its center for say bringing a sleeping bag along. Spending this much on a bag isn’t for everyone, but for those who can afford it, this bag is beyond extremely functional. It’s a looker too. For those who have expensive camera gear, need huge capacity, and want a “buy-it-for-life” kind of bag, this 30L pack will not disappoint. It’s thoughtfully organized and expertly crafted. This is a must for those with lots of pricey gear that they need to keep as safe as possible.
This image shows the interior structure of the bag and its large carrying capacity, along with its organizational features.
- Massive interior may be overkill for some users; bag is extremely durable, and secure
- Opens from multiple sides include top and zipper-loaded sides
- Excellent water-resistance and durability
- Large side pockets for water bottles
- Attractive look with metal components; luxurious yet strong
- Very lightweight considering its size
- A buy-it-for-life kind of purchase
- Large size may be uncomfortable on smaller or shorter people
- No small pockets (besides the sides) for putting things; one has to open a larger pocket to access the smaller pocket within it, a mild annoyance
Heavy, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Our product recommendations are guided solely by our editors. We have no relationship with manufacturers.
Discuss on Facebook