016If there’s one thing for sure when Building up your gear, it’s that you’ll never settle on the first camera bag you buy. I’ve been through about 5 different camera bags over the years before finally settling on the one that I use now – the Think Tank Airport Advantage. Finally in 2017, I think I’ve found the best camera bag… at least for the time being!
Of course, there’s no such thing as a best camera bag for everyone. However, I was interested to discover what the Shotkit photographers thought were the best camera bags for them. I was also interested to investigate which camera bags make the best gifts for photographers.
These are professional photographers who have no doubt, alike myself, been through many bags before finally settling on the one they use now.
So I asked 75 professional photographers, “What is the best camera bag?”, and here are their responses. I also investigated other popular camera bags which have earned 5 star reviews on Amazon, giving some indication to their quality.
I hope this information on the best camera bags updated for 2017, helps you make a decision on your next camera bag purchase.
How to choose the Best Camera Bag:
1. Find the bag you like the look of
2. Check out which Shotkit photographer uses it
3. Visit the photographer’s page/site to get a feel for how they shoot and how much they travel..
4. Read impartial user reviews via the links provided
5. Make your purchase, safe in the knowledge that the product has been tried and tested by the best :-)
So, without further ado, here’s the list of the best camera bags, as used and recommended by the professional photographers in the Shotkit Community.
The Best Camera Bags in 2017
So here’s a list of camera bags including the best leather camera bag, Canon camera bag, Nikon camera bag, stylish camera bag, small camera bag, womens camera bag, dslr camera backpacks, cute camera bags, cool camera bags and everything in between!
The camera bags listed below are in alphabetical order.
I must say I was in two minds as to whether to include the AmazonBasics Backpack in this list of the best camera bags on Shotkit. It must be the snob in me to immediately turn my nose up at own brand items, especially ones that are so cheap.
However, I decided to give the AmazonBasics Backpack a closer look after a recommendation from a photographer, and am so glad I did. The 4,500+ positive reviews on Amazon blew me away for a camera bag that’s under $30!
The AmazonBasics Backpack may not win any design awards, but it’s well proportioned, inconspicuous, durable and judging by what the reviewers rave about, very functional too. The AmazonBasics Backpack holds and protects 2 smaller dSLR camera bodies, 3-4 lenses and numerous additional accessories. The front panel zips open to reveal plenty of space on the inside to secure all your camera equipment.
The outside of the AmazonBasics Backpack has two side pockets with flaps (great for keys, iPhone and hard drive) and two large zippered pockets (great for manuals, notebooks, or even a light jacket or rain poncho). The side straps and flexible cord on the front can hold a compact tripod or umbrella.
The AmazonBasics Backpack‘s adjustable, heavily padded, shoulder straps and wide, adjustable waist and chest straps make the backpack comfortable to wear even when loaded with all your gear.
At under $30, this is the bargain of the camera bag world, and I have to say, it’s probably the bag that you should buy first to use for a year or 2 to see what else you require in a camera bag. Maybe it’ll be all you need!
Here’s another Amazon own-brand camera bag that made my jaw drop when I saw the price ($24.99!!) and the thousands of 5 star reviews. We’re so accustomed to paying top dollar for all the big name brands that’s it’s easy to forget that good quality camera bags are available for much cheaper.
The AmazonBasics dSLR gadget Bag is labeled as ‘Large’, but in my mind it’s more of an everyday type bag rather than something to use professionally with multiple camera bodies and lenses. Having said this, it does the job of every day walk-around very well, and can be equally at home as a travel camera bag.
No matter what equipment you use, the removable interior of the AmazonBasics dSLR gadget Bag can be adjusted to fit a dSLR camera body, up to three lenses and other accessories. There’s a padded slot on the inside that fits an iPad Mini or Kindle too. The bag also features adjustable straps on the exterior to attach a tripod.
As with the other camera bags in the AmazonBasics range, the adjustable, heavily padded shoulder strap makes the AmazonBasics dSLR gadget Bag comfortable to wear even when loaded with all your gear.
It’s hard to argue with a camera bag with so many positive reviews (including many that say this is the best dslr camera bag) that’s available for under 25 bucks. Get one while they’re still in stock!
Billingham make some of the most iconic and classic camera bags available today, and the Billingham Hadley Pro is one of the best. As seen on the shoulders of photojournalists around the world, the Hadley Pro is beautifully crafted out of canvas with leather trim, featuring expansive pockets to carry a dSLR with an attached lens, a flash and several other accessories.
Built to last a lifetime in one of the most classic, timeless designs, imitated the world over. This is the kind of stylish camera bag you can use for 40 years, then hand down to your children. I’d love to own a Hadley Pro!
Rugged, tough, weather proof backpack with customisable interior and padded laptop compartment. The Chrome Niko Pack holds a considerable amount of gear (e.g. Canon 5D Mark 3, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8, Canon 24-105mm f/4, Canon 16-35mm f/2.8, Canon 50mm f/1.2, Macbook Pro plus memory cards and cables.
Made to carry 2 dSLRs with 6-10 lenses plus accessories, the Domke F series of camera bags are surprisingly spacious. Constructed of tough, breathable, compressible, waterproofed canvas made to hug your hip closely rather than stand out, bouncing around.
Adjustable closures are a handy feature, allowing you to close the bag when you completely stuff it! The Domke F2 looks great in sand colour, blending in perfectly as a travel bag.
Multi-use satchel style camera bag which manages to slip under the radar with an original design and minimal branding. Made of hard wearing, waterproof cotton canvas, the Domke F-803 features 2 interior compartments, 2 large expandable cargo pockets with individual weather flaps and a read zippered pocket.
The Domke F-803 is a stylish and functional bag that looks more like a school satchel than your average camera bag, making it perfect for traveling unnoticed.
This utilitarian camera bag can be used as a shoulder bag, or with the shoulder strap removed and threaded through your belt loop, the Domke F-5XB can be turned into a waist/hip pack. This fanny pack (bumbag) option takes the strain off your shoulders and makes carrying heavy gear for long periods a lot more pleasurable.
The weather resistant, wax coated fabric produces a unique distressed look which weathers over time like leather. Read the reviews of the Domke F-5XB to see what can fit inside.
Used by: Heiko Schmidt
Classic Canvas Laptop Backpack
Evecase is probably a dSLR camera bag manufacturer that you’ve never heard of, but it’s one that should be on your radar.
Anyone who wants the looks of the more established but somewhat expensive brands out there (I’m looking at you Langly!), but can’t justify the price tag, the Evecase Classic Canvas Laptop Backpack is an adequate substitute.
In fact, ‘adequate’ is a bit of an understatement, judging by over 150 positive customer reviews of the camera bag on Amazon! The Evecase Classic Canvas Laptop Backpack offers much more than just good looks.
Featuring an adjustable interior which can hold a camera body, 2-5 lenses, up to a 14” laptop, tripod, and plenty of other photography accessories, the fashionable canvas dSLR backpack has a discreet appearance that won’t stand out as a camera bag whilst you travel.
The main benefit of the Evecase Classic Canvas Laptop Backpack is the ease of access it provides. The front of the bag has a discreet zipper which opens to the spacious and compartmentalised camera storage unit. Adjustable dividers allow you to carry one pro sized camera body as well as 2-5 lenses.
Above the camera storage area, the top section of the Evecase Classic Canvas Laptop Backpack allows you to carry a jacket, books, some snacks and whatever else you need to access quickly via the main flap.
We particularly like the multiple accessory pockets, allowing you to neatly organise your smartphone, charger, battery packs, memory cards, business cards and more. There’s 1 large top front pocket and 4 bottom pockets, allowing you to be as OCD with your organisation as you wish!
Additional useful carry options include bottom tripod holder straps and a stowaway side pocket, allowing you to carry a water bottle or small umbrella. There’s even a waterproof rain cover to protect your previous haul from the elements.
For a camera bag that’s currently on sale for well under $100, it’s impressive how comfortable the Evecase Classic Canvas Laptop Backpack is to carry. Thick, shoulder padded straps and a sternum strap distribute weight evenly, allowing the backpack to be carried for long periods without soreness.
If you’re looking for a great looking camera backpack that won’t break the bank, the Evecase Classic Canvas Laptop Backpack should be at the top of your list.
Arguably the best camera backpack in this list, the Filson Harvey will turn heads with its stylish good looks. Available in green, tan and grey, the Filson Harvey features water-resistant, tempered cotton with bridle leather trim, giving it a distinct, military like appearance. It’s definitely a camera bag that doesn’t look like a camera bag.
Storage wise, the Filson Harvey is able to house a dSLR with attached lens and flash inside a removable camera insert, a 17″ laptop inside a dedicated sleeve, accessories in an interior zipped pocket and in the dual front pouches which feature snap flap closures.
Take a look at more photos of this stylish camera bag here.
Filson has been making high quality outdoor gear for over 100 years, but it’s only recently that they’ve decided to release a camera bag.
This bag ain’t cheap, but it looks and feels like a luxury item, oozing quality and craftsmanship. This is the kind of bag that would probably outlive you, with its tough, weatherproof outer and rugged fixings.
The Filson McCurry features 5 exterior pockets and a divided compartment inside, allowing you to carry 2 dSLR bodies, several lenses, flashes, triggers and whatever other gadgets you want. It’s a seriously roomy bag, and the strap distributes the weight well if you decide to fill it up.
I love how this bag doesn’t look like a camera bag, and even blends into the surroundings nicely if you’re an outdoorsey type!
Used by: Neville Black
The Bataflae backpack opens in two different ways for fast and easy access to your gear. The ‘butterfly’ opening (basically from the side) is perfect for working in tight spaces, and the full opening is ideal for easy loading/unloading and studio settings.
For added travelling convenience, you can completely stow away the straps, transforming the Bataflae into a neat and sturdy case.
In terms of storage space, the Bataflae comes in 32L and 26L sizes, with both versions offering customizeable dividers and plenty of pockets, including space for a laptop and fastenings for a tripod.
The Bataflae features a water resistant coating and a stealthy design that should prevent unwanted attention.
Perhaps the best thing about the GuraGear Bataflae though is its light weight (4.9lbs for the 26L, 5.3lbs for the 32L), all the more important to meet carry-on restrictions while travelling.
Used by: Cameron Davidson
Built like a mountaineerng backpack out of highly durable sail cloth material, the Koboko can withstand years of any kind of abuse that you throw at it.
Weighing in at a modest 4lbs (1.8kg), the Kiboko includes a comfortable set of backpack straps which can be packed away when not in use. There’s been a lot of thought gone into comfort with the Kiboko, with a harness system which would pleaseany hiker – lumber padding, cinch straps, wide webbing and a waist harness.
Internal dividers, a rain cover and plenty of pockets round off an excellent feature set.
Its 8.5″ x 14″ x 20″ dimensions means the GuraGear Kiboko is big enough to house a couple of large zooms (600mm etc) as well as a couple of pro bodies with lenses attached. It’s size means it should also be good for carryon on most airlines.
Unfortunately there doesn’t appear to be a Herschel camera bag in production yet. However, I’m a big fan of using bags that are not intended as camera bags to carry camera gear. Not only does it provide a ‘stealth’ option for carrying your expensive gear, but also it gives infinite possibilities, meaning that you can use your favourite (and often best looking) bag as your camera bag.
The Herschel Little America is one of the most popular backpacks around thanks to its good looks, spacious interior and durable construction. Featuring a 17″ laptop compartment and a cavernous internal space, you’ll be able to stuff a couple of cameras, lenses and lots of accessories in this stylish backpack. The padded shoulder straps are much more comfortable than your average camera backpack too.
The Herschel Little America is available in a myriad of colours – my choice is black with brown trimmings.
My advice when using a non-camera bag as your goto bag is to use some Domke wraps to protect your gear. I have a few of these things and they’re so useful as a form of padding when your gear is amongst other items.
Used by: Joann Pai
The Explorer Lens Pouch from Holdfast is an all weather bag made from waxed canvas with a leather trim, insulated with plush sheep wool. It is specifically designed to be carried on the MoneyMaker dual camera strap.
The four outer pockets on the Explorer Lens Pouch include a snap-shut pocket for wallet and other small items; a large front pocket for camera accessories; a side pocket for a flash or water bottle, and a zipper pocket on top for memory cards and other flat items.
As with all Holdfast goods, the Lens Pouchis strong, rugged, great looking and practical. The sheep wool lining provides the ultimate protection for your lenses, even allowing you to carry them with no lens cap or base cap whatsoever.
It’s also worth mentioning that just because this bag has the word ‘lens’ in the name doesn’t mean it can’t be used to carry a camera body – its compact size actually allows it to compete for the title of best mirrorless camera bag.
Stylish, functional, limited edition version of the classic Incase dSLR Sling Bag. One shoulder bags are getting increasingly popular due to the ability to quickly slide the bag from your back to your front in one easy movement. Once on your front, the bag is positioned as a handy ‘shelf’ for you to rest gear you have in your hand before swapping it for whatever is inside the bag.
The Incase Ari Marcopoulos Bag can hold a dSLR with attached lens, a second lens, 2 smaller digital cameras or accessories and an iPad. Made from heavy duty canvas with a water-repellant coating, the Incase Ari Marcopoulos Bag also features a handy, pack-away rain cover.
The Incase Ari Marcopoulos Bag is designed by its namesake, a professional photographer, and includes custom branding elements bringing this good looking bag a step above the rest. If you’re not bothered about the custom styling, save some money by going for this similar Incase version ;-)
Kata are well known to continually improve their products based on real feedback from photographers. This results in bags that show great attention to detail, and carefully thought out design.
Arguably the best camera bag for hiking, the Kata Bumblebee features a hardwearing, water-resistant outer and heavy duty stitching throughout. Outer storage includes two small pockets, two zipped pockets, one elasticated pocket (perhaps for a water bottle) and a 17″ laptop sleeve.
The front of the Bumblebee panel unzips almost completely to reveal a bright yellow interior and enough storage for 2 pro DSLR bodies, a range of lenses, flashes and other small accessories. You can customise each of the two internal pouches which are held in place by tough velcro.
Used by: Maurizio Solis
I must admit I’d never heard of Kattee until recently but I thought I’d better include this womens camera bag on this list due to the great reviews it’s been getting on Amazon. Incidentally, here’s a great post on the best camera bags for women that you’ll find useful too.
Available in yellow, black or blue canvas in the main body and PU leather on the bottom, the Kattee Professional Canvas backpack is certainly one of only a handful of cute camera bags available in 2016.
The Kattee backpack may look like a simple school bag, but it’s actually a very well thought out small camera bag. Aside from the main compartment, there’s also a zipper wall pocket, an open wall pocket and two pen loops in the upper backpack. The shoulder straps are air cushioned and its back is ventilated – perfect for those who travel a lot in warmer climates.
At the bottom of the Kattee backpack sits the padded camera case, large enough to fit any dSLR camera body plus a couple of lenses. There’s also a handy built in rain cover and room for a 13″ laptop.
For under $60, the Kattee Professional backpack is one cute camera bag that doesn’t label you as a photographe, by remaining stylish and unassuming.
One of the best camera bags for the ladies, the Kelly Moore 2 Sues is the perfect bag for the fashionable photographer who’d rather not let velcro and canvas ruin her outfit!
Styled like an oversized handbag and available in 9 gorgeous colours, the designer clearly thought just as much about how this bag would look as how it would handle carrying camera gear.
The 2 Sues can be used to carry a pro DSLR body and a couple of lenses at a squeeze, but where this bag excels is its ability to merge the everyday with the functional. There’s an ingenious flap for example that houses both memory cards in one section and credit cards in the other.
The internal ‘basket’ compartment is completely removeable, converting the Kelly Moore 2 Sues into a regular and stylish everyday bag with ease.
Read this review to see many more stylish camera bags for women.
Used by: Juliet Shayne Lui
You’ll never come across a camera bag reviews post without seeing the highly reputed brand LowePro.
Strong and resilient roller bags are worth their weight in gold. To be able to carry so much camera gear and take a pounding, it’s worth investing in a really good one. The LowePro Pro Roller X200 ticks all those boxes, and has been a favourite for travelling photographers since its release.
Storage wise, the Pro Roller X200 allows you to carry 2 pro bodies with lenses attached and about 8 lenses, or flashes, or whatever else you want to squeeze in.
A small but incredibly useful feature which should be implemented elsewhere is the card holder which allows you to make each compartment as ‘full’ or ’empty’, as you fill up your memory cards.
The handles are chunky and comfortable, as are the backpack straps. Most importantly, the wheels roll smoothly and can be replaced easily if you manage to wear them out. Clearly the Pro Roller X200 is in it for the long haul, and its popularity on Shotkit speaks for itself.
If it weren’t for the LowePro branding on the LowePro Tactic 350 AW, you’d be forgiven for thinking this good looking camera backpack was made for the military. Both on the inside and out, the LowePro Tactic 350 AW features unique functionality which makes this high-performance professional camera backpack one of the manufacturer’s most popular ever.
If you work frequently in warmer climates, you’ll appreciate the ActivZone back panel and harness, which provides ventilation and comfort for support on the move. The waist belt is removable to reduce the profile of the LowePro Tactic 350 AW for packing or travel. In addition, two zippered hip pockets are handily placed, offering space for quick-grab items.
Get versatile with your carry options with 5 modular packing accessories: water bottle pouch, accessory case, tripod cup and 2 cinch straps, which are all included with this backpack. (For a more in depth review of the LowePro Tactic AW, click here for camera backpack reviews.)
What’s really unique about the LowePro Tactic 350 AW is the 4 way access – you can grab your camera gear from the right, the left, the top and the back, basically allowing every access point to be opened quickly and easily.
Our favourite is the 350 AW model which can fit 1-2 Pro DSLRs, one with up to a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens attached plus spare flash and a couple of small lenses. If you need a bit extra room, opt for the Lowe Pro Tactic 450 AW which allows you to squeeze a bit more in.
I’d seen this dlsr camera backpack in use by rock climbers and hikers in the past and never even thought it was meant to carry camera gear. LowePro is obviously a big name in climbing, so it’s natural that they’ve put all their expertise in this domain into the Pro Rover 45.
Storage wise, you’re looking at a pro DSLR with a big zoom lens (24-70mm for example), 1 extra lens or flash and a tripod. Then there’s additional space for all your camping gear too, plus an enclosed 2 litre water pouch and rain cover.
It soon becomes clear that the Pro Rover 45 is a hiking backpack first and a camera bag second, with the camera portion of the backpack actually in an entirely separate section. This makes sense as dirty hiking gear shouldn’t be touching your sensitive camera gear.
The straps are thick and strong and the back features a semi-rigid frame with ‘trampoline’ backing to keep your back from getting too sweaty.
Used by: Dan O’Day
The solidly made, rugged looking Vertex 200 AW can hold up to 2 pro dSLR bodies, 6 lenses, a 15″ laptop, tripod and a whole host of other smaller accessories. Thanks to the depth of the Vertex, it can hold a dSLR with a large zoom lens still attached – often a convenient choice for photographers.
The interior compartment features plenty of configurable padded dividers, as is the norm for most camera bags these days. One extra that’s specific to the Vertex is the ‘Glide-Lock’ system, which allows you to add accesory pouches at various heights along the sides and front of the bag.
The harness system is comfortable to use, with 8 adjustment points, a well-padded waist belt and stretchable chest strap that can expand with your chest as you breathe. This is actually a really nice touch, especially when the bag is full of gear and the chest strap needs to be tight.
Used by: Phil Moore
This simple shoulder bag features 2 main sections: a front zipper pocket and a covered main compartment. The front zipper is designed for small items and easy access, whilst the main section offers a large compartment with padded dividers for your main gear.
As with the Think Tank Retrospective line of bags, the LowePro Event Messenger has a neat way of silencing the velcro fastenings for use during church weddings or other environments where silent operation is necessary. The velcro features tabs which can be folded over, preventing the ripping sound of the hook and loop fastening.
Size wise, the Event Messenger 150 can carry a pro dSLR body and a couple of lenses and a flash. There’s also a dedicated space for a tablet.
Used by: Fabio Camandona
Made for outdoors enthusiasts who want to carry a couple of camera bodies plus lenses and accessories, the Flipside is a practical solution that is secure and comfortable to wear. A nice feature are the silent zipper pulls, useful for wedding photography or wildlife photography, for example.
The Flipside dlr camera backpack’s best feature is its back-entry compartment. It features a double zip that accesses the main storage area, which can’t be opened while the pack is being worn. This is great for theft prevention.
When you need your gear, you simply unclip the chest strap, slide off the shoulder straps and swing the bag around to the front of the body. It will hang there thanks to the waist strap, allowing you a ‘table’ of the reverse of the Flipside, and direct access via that rear zip to your gear.
Also included with the LowePro Flipside is an all weather cover which pulls out from a slot as the base of the pack.
Lightweight, compact and holds a surprising amount of gear for a bag with such a small footprint. Includes a built in tripod holder with quick releases straps. attachment loops for optional SlipLock accessories, compression straps and lots of pockets.
The large front pocket on the Mini Trekker is a good size for travel documents and even an iPad Mini, and the zip closure is protected by a weather flap to ensure no drips can enter. The wide, sturdy shoulder straps are well padded for comfort and include a sternum strap for even weight distribution.
Used by: Stefan Soell
Winner of the best travel bag in 2011, the LowePro Pro Roller is perfect for short trips, sized to remain within airline carry on restrictions. If you decide to check the bag in and you exceed the baggage allowance, you can choose to carry the second bag on your shoulder as carry on.
There’s plenty of room in the Pro Roller to carry your essentials including a pro size dSLR and around 5 lenses and up to a 14″ laptop (such as a MacBook Air or the 13″ Macbook Pro).
Aside from the smooth rolling wheels and sturdy collapsible handle, the best feature of the Pro Roller is its main pocket which open out from the front like a clam shell, allowing you fast convenient access to your gear. Check out photos which explain this better on the B&HPhoto website.
Used by: Christian Brecheis
One of the most popular dslr camera backpacks which comes in 4 sizes – the Pro Runner 200, Pro Runner 300, Pro Runner 450 and the new Pro Runner x450. All sizes include a travel-friendly profile, free of dangling parts which makes them easy to wear and to stow in overhead lockers.
The interior features a fully padded and adjustable camera compartment which, depending on the size you go for can hold a pro dSLR camera with lens attached and several other lenses, flashes and accessories.
As with all LowePro products, the straps on the Pro Runner provide excellent comfort, distributing the weight well. An all weather cover is also included.
Mindshift is the sibling company to Think Tank, so you can expect top quality and innovative features from their range of bags. The MindShift BackLight is rugged but elegantly designed, looking more like a regular backpack than a dslr camera backpack that may be concealing thousands of dollars of camera gear.
The beauty of the MindShift BackLight is that you have ample room (9L) for your regular daypack gear – extra layers, food, books etc., whilst still being to fit in a surprising amount of cameras/lenses and other photography equipment. Judging by the images on Amazon, you’ll be able to squeeze in 6 lenses, two camera bodies, flashes, spare batteries, filters and even a 15″ laptop!
Back-panel access on the MindShift BackLight means that you can get to all your camera gear without taking the bag off, allowing you to work out of the bag without getting the bag dirty. You can change lenses or just snap a quick photo simply by spinning the MindShift BackLight to the front of your body while the waist belt is still secured.
Speaking of lenses, check out this post on the best wide angle lens for your camera which should help you make your next purchasing decision much easier.
Rear-panel access on the MindShift BackLight also adds security when traveling since your camera gear is protected behind your back.
Outer attachments include large zipper pulls, ice axe loops, daisy chains, water bottle holder, a tripod holder and various other additional lash points, meaning you can easily expand the carry capacity of your MindShift BackLight.
Another nice touch is the built in seam-sealed rain cover for when the outdoor elements are against you. Also, the MindShift BackLight is backed by a lifetime limited warranty giving you additional peace of mind. Available in green and black.
Maker of cool camera bags for the image conscious photographer, ONA is becoming more and more popular thanks to stylish and versatile bags such as the Bowery.
Thanks to its compact size, the Bowery can be used as a shoulder bag to carry your camera gear one minute, then, with the strap removed, as an insert and bag organizer inside a larger bag the next. You’ll be able to fit a smaller dSLR, mirrorless or rangefinder camera and one lens – perfect for street photography.
The ONA Bowery is available with water-resistant canvas in several colours, or for the more discerning, in gorgeous Antique Congnac.
Another stylish creation from ONA, the Camps Bay is crafted from durable and attractive waxed canvas and detailed with brown leather. Designed to hold a camera with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens attached as well as up to 7 additional lenses, a 17″ laptop and small personal items in the front zippered compartment.
It’s definitely a camera bag that doesn’t look like a camera bag which many photographers will appreciate.
The interior compartments of the ONA Camps Bay are fully customisable to accommodate your gear as you like, and removable in case you want to use the Camps Bay as a regular bag.
With thick padded shoulder straps and a layer of mesh on the back, the Camps Bay can be worn comfortably for long periods.
Available in water-resistant, highly durable waxed canvas or sumptuous leather, the Union Street is one of the most stylish camera messenger bags we’ve seen.
Our favourite storage compartment is the front zippered pocket which has been designed with the photographer in mind, with sewn pockets to hold memory cards, batteries, cables and more.
If there ever were a Kickstarter success story in the world of camera bags, the Peak Design Everyday Messenger would be it. Designed by photographers for photographers, this smart camera messenger bag has been well thought out and executed, deserving its spot in the Best Camera Bags list.
Partnering with travel photographer Trey Ratcliff, Peak Design have managed to create what they describe as the ultimate messenger bag for photographers. The Peak Design Everyday Messenger features innovations as the MagLatch closure, the origami-inspired FlexFold divider, a weatherproof expandable protective shell and hyper-adjusting internally padded seatbelt strap – you’ll have to check out Amazon to find out more about these!
Available in two sizes, the Peak Design Everyday Messenger can squeeze in a surprising amount of gear, including a camera, 3 lenses, tripod, laptop and a myriad of other accessories.
Dedicated Capture clip attachment points and front access panel on the Peak Design Everyday Messenger are designed specifically around the photography workflow. Available in stylish heritage tan and charcoal, this bag is for photographers, travelers, commuters and everyone in-between.
The Pelican 1450 is a heavy duty plastic case similar in size to a small suitcase. It’s a solid piece of kit, weighing in at a fairly hefty 2.5kgs. However, those who invest in this case aren’t worried about that. The Pelican 1450 is pretty much bomb proof!
Moulded from copolymer resin, it appeals to those who love rugged, almost military grade products. The Pelican 1450 is airtight (it can actually float) and can withstand extreme pressure and impact.
Features that are standard on all the Pelican cases include a rubberized hangle, heavy-duty closing lathces and an air pressure release valve.
Size wise, expect to fit a medium sized dSLR with a couple of lenses and accessories. The foam inserts are removable in cubic square increments, making it very easy to configure precisely to hold your gear.
Used by: Maurizio Solis
The Pelican 1510 is a heavy duty rolling case that can carry all your gear in complete protection. Weighing in at 6.7kgs the 1510 certainly isn’t light, but still seems somewhat compact, and can meet the carryon requirements of most airlines.
Manueuevering the 1510 is easy with the front and side handles as well as an easy to release extension handle when you want to make use of the wheels.
Many find the size of the Pelican 1510 perfect for small shoots, and the appearance is certainly very professional.
As with all Pelican cases, they are virtually indestructable, watertight, dustproof and guaranteed for life. Another popular bag on Shotkit.
Another bomb proof case from Pelican, the 1514 case with dividers is an unbreakable, watertight, airtight, dustproof, chemical resistant and corrosion proof hard case that can carry any equipment that needs protecting from the elemtns.
An eleven piece padded and flexible divider set is included to ensure a snug fit of all your photography gear.
If you work in sunny environments, a tip is to buy the tan or green colour version of the Pelican 1514 since the black can get very hot to touch.
Used by: Ben Sasso
The Pelican iM2100 Storm Case with Foam is an injection-molded case made of HPX high performance resin, that is virtually unbreakable, dent and shatter resistant.
As well as being rugged, watertight, dust proof and shock resistant, the Storm Case also features a Vortex valve that automatically adjusts air pressure without letting in water!
The Storm Case may look rugged, but it meets current carryon requirements, fitting under seats and in overhead compartments.
Customise the inside of your Pelican Storm Case as you wish by using the cubic foam pieces to create the perfect housing for your precious photography gear.
Used by: Tom Hoops
Poler is a Portland based company producing high quality, good looking camping and outdoor apparel and gear.
The Excursion Backpack features two organiser pockets on the outside and easy laptop access, along with a design that allows you to open the bag wide to see everything inside.
The main body of the Poler Excursion is made from 1000D Campdura body fabric and lined with 420D nylon. Seat belt webbing is used for added strength. Leather lashes on the bottom allow a tripod or jacket to be strapped there.
Sold separately is the padded Camera Insert that fits perfectly inside of the Excursion Pack, converting it into a pro level camera bag.
Used by: Katch Silva
The Expedition 8x is one of Tamrac’s largest backpacks. It can fit the most extensive collection of photo equipment and most 17″ screen laptops.
The main compartment of the Expedition 8x is completely foam padded with numerous adjustable, dividers, protecting multiple pro-size dSLRs, a full range of lenses, and flashes.
A camera with a long zoom lens attached can be suspended on two foam-padded dividers, internally reinforced with rigid plastic. Restraint straps hold the lens firmly in place.
The state-of-the-art harness system features Dual-Density Comfort Pads that provide maximum carrying comfort while Air Flow Channels on the back of the Expedition 8x help keep you cool and dry during extended use.
Used by: Jake Olsen
With hundreds of positive customer reviews for the Tenba Messenger DNA 15 on Amazon, it was hard to ignore this hugely popular camera messenger bag.
Not only is the Tenba Messenger DNA 15 great looking, it’s also a durable and highly functional camera bag which is sleek enough to use for business or pleasure.
The Tenba Messenger DNA 15 was actually designed to provide the kind of year-round, all-weather, rugged performance demanded by New York City bike messengers, but with an interior that’s tuned to protect delicate cameras, lenses and computer gear.
The front flap of the Tenba Messenger DNA 15 extends over the top of the bag and has a sewn hinge to ensure easy closure and excellent weatherproofing at the corners.. For additional wet weather protection, the Tenba Messenger DNA 15 includes a removable and reversible cover that’s silver on one side to reflect the heat, and black on the other side for stealth and subtlety.
To prevent the bag from sliding forward while riding a bike or running for the bus (because you got the start time of your photo shoot wrong!), an adjustable security strap connects to D-rings on the back of bag which anchor it in position behind you.
Special magnetic clips allow blind, drop-on attachment and a fast unique slide release which Tenba claims is the quickest clip in the world.
The Tenba Messenger DNA 15 is built to house a professional dSLR with 2-3 lenses. The rear padded sleeve will hold a laptop up to 15″, and a second sleeve will protect an iPad or similar sized tablet.
It’s unusual to find such a great looking camera messenger bag that’s also well-though out and comfortable to use, and for that reason, the Tenba Messenger DNA 15 deserves its spot in this best camera bags guide.
“Tougher than mother nature on her moodiest of days – The new Tenba Shootout”, the Tenba website proclaims. The Tenba Shootout Backpacks are available in a variety of zies from 18L up to 21L. In creating each of the backpacks, the goal was to design the most comfortable backpack on the planet – something that could be used for hardcore hiking but still look professional enough for client work.
The unique Pivot Fit™ straps on the Tenba Shootout adjust automatically to different shoulder shapes, and each strap is covered in a moisture-wicking smooth lycra that moves easily and doesn’t create friction on clothing.
Tenba Shootout bags are made of water-repellant, durable and tear-resistant nylon and feature numberous velcro inserts allowing you to customise the inside as you wish.
Used by: Don Giannatti
The Tenba Transport Aircases feature an internal frame which offers the protection of a hard case (such as the Pelicans) but at a lighter weight.
There are many sizes of the Aircase – think of these bags as soft shelled protective boxes for when you have to travel with your lighting gear, Mac computers, computer displays etc.
The usage is rather specialist, but when you need to move with large items of auxillary photographic gear, the Tenba Transport Aircase series makes sure you arrive with it stil intact.
Used by: Don Kates
This is pretty much the biggest bag that you could fit in the overhead compartment on a plane. It’s an outstanding bag and a favourite with many travelling photographers the world over.
As with all ThinkTank products, the construction on the ThinkTank Airport Security V2 is first rate, with a semi-hard shell and reinforced dividers, making it extremely strong for maximum protection. The front cable and lock secures a 17″ laptop or other items.
Inside, the cavernous space allows for a 500mm lens (or less) attached to a body and many other lenses and camera bodies. Numerous dividers provide for unlimited configurations.
Of all bags in the ThinkinTank rolling series, the ThinkTank Airport Security V2 provides the most depth and height for additional configuration options when organizing your gear.
Used by: Walter Van Dusen
Designed for International and US domestic carry-on, you’ll appreciate this roller bag’s advanced security features, even when you’re not flying. Many have called this solidly built, good looking roller bag the best camera bag for travel.
The Airport International V2.0 offers room to carry 2-3 gripped DSLR bodies (unattached), all standard lenses and other gear any photographer may need while working on-location.
The Airport International V2.0 features a front lock and cable as well as a strong rear lock and cable which secures the entire bag to a fixed object – great for leaving it unattended for short periods.
All exterior fabric has a durable water-repellent coating, plus the underside of the fabric has a polyurethane coating. It also has 1680D ballistic nylon, YKK® RC Fuse (abrasion-resistant) zippers, custom designed extra tall skid plates and replaceable in-line skate style wheels which handlerough surfaces well.
An apt name for a bag that can navigate itself so easily on its 4 dual wheel sets (8 wheels!), the ThinkTank Roller Derby is a joy to use.
You’ll be able to ‘skate’ in between obstacles when you’re in a hurry, typically in the airport. Roll it upright at your side like a modern suitcase or tilt it to use the back wheels. You can even use the side wheels to roll through narrow airplane aisles! What a great feature!
Ideal for domestic and international travel, as well as and on-location assignments, the ThinkTank Airport Roller Derby‘s high-capacity provides easy access to 2 DSLRs, a tripod, 15″ laptop, multiple lenses, flashes and more.
This rolling bag is like a mobile studio, designed to accommodate anything from a full dSLR system with multiple long telephoto lenses up to 600mm to a complete lighting system.
As a camera bag, the Logistics Manager can hold several dSLRs, lenses and flashes. As a lighting bag, it will hold numerous flash heads, power packs, mono-blocks, medium sized softboxes, and small light stands. There is also plenty of room for accessories in both interior and exterior storage pockets.
The exterior is water-repellent and the inside is durable foam, nylon and polyethylene. The Logistic Manager‘s built in rain cover can be easily deployed if the weather turns against you.
Two in-line skate wheels, a telescopic tow handle and three side handles provide multiple options for hauling. The security ID plate can be registered with Think Tank so that if the case is lost, the number can be used to trace its owner.
Used by: David Bicho
I own this bag and have written a short review here. After having tested many bags for Shotkit and for my own photography business, I have settled on the Think Tank Retrospective 30 which I find to be one of the best camera bags of all time.
Durable and rugged, but soft enough to be stuffed into tight spaces when necessary (I store mine under my scooter saddle!), the Retrospective 30 allows me to carry 2 pro dSLR bodies with lenses attached, 4 lenses, 2 flashes and numerous other small accessories.
The silencing tabs are a welcome addition (particularly for wedding photography during the ceremony), allowing the bag to be opened without noise.
The strap is comfortable, strong and very grippy on the shoulder – essential when carrying the bag for long periods.
The Retrospective is available in several sizes and colours. The whole series features minimal branding for an understated appearance that won’t attract thieves. It’s easy to see why the Think Tank Retrospective is currently the most popular camera bag on Shotkit. If you’d like to know more, check out my full Think Tank Retrospective 30 review here.
The Speed Freak is part of the Think Tank Speed Convertible series of hybrid shoulder bags/beltpacks. An integrated waist belt is conveniently concealed in two zippered pokets on either side of the bag. Using the flexible belt around the waist provides better stability while walking, especially when used as well the shoulder strap.
The Speed Freak carries a the equivalent of 1 standard dSLR plus a 70-200mm f.2.8 lens and 2 smaller lenses. The exterior is coated with a durable water-repellant, providing strength and durability.
Used by: Vittore Buzzi
I’ve had a love hate relationship with Sling bags. Done well and they are a super functional, comfortable way to carry camera gear. Done badly and you’ll spend more time pushing it around to your back than taking photos!
Luckily, the Think Tank Turnstyle series of bags is a great bag, and is quickly becoming my go to bag for small shoots. I also know of many wedding photographers who use just one body/lens, and use the Turnstyle to carry a couple of other lenses and a spare body.
There are 3 sizes of the Think Tank Turnstyle– the 10, 20 and 30. The 20 is plenty big enough, able to fit a Canon 5D Mark III, Sigma 35mm f/1.4, Sigma 85mm f/1.4 and a Canon 135mm f/2. As with all Think Tank bags, build quality and comfort of carrying are excellent.
The Think Tank Urban Disguise is a series of shoulder bags that are meant to slip under the radar, looking more like business travel bags that camera bags. Featuring full-grain leather accents and Think Tank’s trademark subtle branding, the Urban Disguise is understated but stylish.
The wide mouth opening allows easy accesss to camera, lenses and accessories, and a separate padded compartment allows safe storage of a tablet or laptop.
Used by: Penny de Los Santos
This popular rolling camera bag has been named by many recently as the best camera bag for travel. It has the useful ability to convert into a backpack and meets international and most domestic carry-on requirements. As a backpack, it’s comfortable to wear even for extended periods of time.
The Airport Take Off can hold up to 2 pro dSLR bodies with or without lenses attached, a 15-17″ laptop in the front pocket and numerous lenses and other accessories inside. It also features a front lock and cable to secure laptops, with lockable sliders on the main zipper.
The Airport Take Off is the same size externally as the Airport International V2.0, but the carrying capacity is slightly less due to the backpack strap system. You can zip up the backpack straps when they’re not in use.
If I had a choice, I’d go with this over the International since I like the option to carry on my bag if necessary – obviously the terrain is not always suited to rolling the bag.
Designed to make traveling easier for photographers flying internationally or domestically, the Think Tank Airport Accelerator offers carry-on size combined with comfort and large capacity. It accommodates 2 pro dSLR’s, 6 – 8 standard zooms plus an iPad and up to a 17” laptop. For the big lens fans, it holds a 600mm f/4 with body detached OR a 500mm f/4 with body attached.
The 3 robust handles of the Airport Accelerator ensure easy retrieval from overhead lockers, and the light, adjustable, contoured harness provides comfort along with lumbar support and air mesh paneling to keep your back cool.
A removable waist belt, side water bottle pocket, tripod/monopod mounting system and seam-sealed rain cover round off the impressive feature set of the Airport Accelerator.
Used by: Jasmine Star, Samuel Docker
This camera backpack-cum-rolling-camera-bag was recommended to me by one of the Shotkit readers as being the best camera bag they’d ever used. I researched it for a while, seeing positive review after positive review, then got my hands on one to see what the fuss was about. I’ll be adding to this list of the best rolling camera bags in due course too.
The Vanguard The Heralder is a rare-breed of multi-functional camera bag/backpack/roller that does a great job of every function. I’ve seen camera bags in the past that have wheels almost as an after thought, but it’s clear when you start handling The Heralder that this isn’t the case. It’s clearly been designed to be useful whether rolled or carried on your back.
The Vanguard The Heralder is also the only rolling camera bag I’ve seen to featured four omni-directional rolling wheels. Most rolling camera bags only feature two wheels which are set in one direction, which is all well and good until you need to roll your bag down the aisle of an airplane at an awkward angle!
Other than the ease of transport, the Vanguard The Heralder also excels as a camera bag to fit all your gear. A Pro DSLR body with telephoto lens attached, 4-6 lenses, 2 flash units and a multitude of accessories. There’s also a 14″ wide laptop compartment, a dedicated tablet pocket up front, and other accessory pockets sprinkled liberally around and inside the Vanguard The Heralder.
When carried as a backpack, the 4 wheels are well away from your back meaning that they don’t dig in, and the ergonomic air system and harness provides a comfortable carry even for long periods.
A tripod mount and all-weather rain cover top off the impressive feature list of the Vanguard The Heralder. It clearly deserves its place on this list of the best camera bags and I highly recommend you to read some more reviews on Amazon by clicking the button below.
The Wotancraft Ranger might just be the best looking camera bag you’ll ever own. It’s also a camera bag that doesn’t look like a camera bag. A combination of high quality leather and wax canvas make up the outer bag construction, giving the Ranger a rugged and worn, military-like appearance. Inside, the ‘X-tech Weld’ is a 100% waterproof inner, made of military-grade hovercraft material, designed to keep as much water out as possible. The Ranger is the ultimate travel bag for any extreme condition.
Inside the waterproof inner, the bag is lined with soft microfiber and comes with adjustable dividers for you to customise the interior to suit your set up. You should be able to squeeze in 2 pro dSLR bodies, 2 lenses, a flash and other accessories.
Each Wotencraft Ranger is handmade, meaning each bag is exclusive to you – something you rarely see with bags nowadays, let alone camera bags. The Ranger commands a premium price tag, but at this level of quality, it will last you a lifetime and only get better looking with age. I really want one!!
Used by: Justin Mott
I chose to include the Skooba Cable Stable in this list of the best camera bags after reading a recommendation from gear website the WireCutter.
If you’re like me, you dream about a day when everything is wireless, especially the charging of all our gadgets. As photographers, we seem to have a plug, cable and adapter for everything, each one a different size or length. Stuffing all these items in your camera bag is one way to go about it, but for better organisation, check out the clever Skooba Cable Stable.
This compact organiser has 15 elasticated slots for earbuds, usb/charging cables, plugs, drives, batteries, compact cameras and whatever else you need to keep packed up and out the way. The floating elastic hold-down grid provides fast, simple and versatile stowage without the constraints of fixed-size pockets and pouches.
A zippered pocket on the outside front cover of the Skooba Cable Stable is a perfect place for notes, tickets, hotel key cards, or other flat items.
Disclaimer: many of the links in this article are affiliate links, meaning that if you decide to purchase any of the bags, I will receive a small commission. Researching and writing these posts take me a long time, and running Shotkit is becoming quite expensive, so if you would like to support my work, please purchase your goods using the links on Shotkit. Alternatively you can consider trialing WP Engine website hosting (free for 60 days) to increase the speed of your website. Thank you for your help – Mark.