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Best Camera Backpacks

Best Camera Backpacks of 2018
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BEST CAMERA BACKPACKS
Tenba DNA 15
Our #1 Choice
  • Understated, Practical Coolness
  • Lightweight & Durable
  • Innovative First Seen Features
  • Expandable Capacity
LowePro Freeline BP 350 AW
Best All Around
  • Elegant Styling for City Use
  • Thoughtfuly Positioned Pockets
  • Numerous Grip Handles
  • Innovative Divider System
F-Stop Dalston
Best Minimal
  • Truly Unique Design
  • Featherlight yet Durable
  • Uncomplicated Storage Options
  • Great Styling

I’ve just spent the better part of 3 months trying to find the best camera backpacks of the year… and I’m so excited to bring you this in-depth review!

At A Glance: Our Top 5 Picks for Camera Backpacks

If you’re anything like me, you never settle on just one camera bag – finding that elusive, perfect way to carry all your precious gear seems like a never-ending quest.

Fortunately for us photographers, the selection of great DSLR backpacks on offer in 2019 is impressive, with so many amazing bags to choose from.

To save you some time on your quest to find the perfect camera backpack, I’ve handpicked what I consider to be the very best products on the market.

So what is the best camera backpack for photographers this year?

Best Camera Backpacks in 2019

Image Product Features
shk2-table__imageTenba DNA15OUR #1 CHOICE
  • Understated, Practical Coolness
  • Lightweight & Durable
  • Innovative First Seen Features
  • Expandable Capacity
View Price →
shk2-table__imageLowePro Freeline BP 350 AWBEST ALL ROUND
  • Elegant Styling for City Use
  • Thoughtfuly Positioned Pockets
  • Numerous Grip Handles
  • Innovative Divider System
View Price →
shk2-table__imageF-Stop DalstonBEST MINIMAL
  • Truly Unique Design
  • Featherlight yet Durable
  • Uncomplicated Storage Options
  • Great Styling
View Price →
shk2-table__imagePeak Design Everyday 20MOST INNOVATIVE
  • One-Off Design Elements
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Innovative Divider System
  • Unique Look
View Price →
shk2-table__imageThule AspectBEST LIGHTWEIGHT
  • Featherlight yet Durable'
  • Uncomplicated Storage Options
  • Universal Styling
  • High Performance Padding
View Price →
shk2-table__imageShimoda Explore 60BEST HIKING
  • Massive Storage Capacity
  • Impressive Padding
  • Useful Strap Pockets
  • Stylish yet Functional
View Price →
shk2-table__imageManfrotto Manhattan Mover 30BEST VALUE
  • Featherlight yet Functional
  • Elegant Styling for City Use
  • Innovative Access Points
  • Accessible Price
View Price →
shk2-table__imageLangley Alpha GlobetrotterMOST STYLISH
  • Fashionable Vintage Styling
  • Durable & Weather Resistant
  • Ventilated Back Paneling
  • Can Suit Outdoors or City
View Price →

 

1. Bagsmart Olympus

Bagsmart_Olympus_DSLR_Backpack

Dimensions: 19.7 x 8.3 x 13 in (50.04 x 21.08 x 33.02 cm)
Weight: 7.0 lbs. (3.18 kg)
Price: See latest price here

A good-looking, well-constructed, roomy backpack at a budget price.

  • Build

The Olympus Bagsmart is built from 800D water-repellent polyester. The shoulder, waist and chest straps are beefy and well-padded. It’s built more like a hiking backpack than a city day-pack, so if you want that kind of sturdiness, this would be a great choice.

The zippers are all covered by flaps, which is part of their “anti-theft” system. Comes with a rain cover and a removable camera insert that fits in the bottom half of the pack. The whole pack is quite roomy and has plenty of space for both camera gear and day trip stuff.

8/10

  • Weight

At seven pounds, this is a rather heavy bag when compared to all the other options (all the other bags average between 2-5lbs). I’m not sure I’m convinced that the extra weight will add to the bag’s durability.

6/10

  • Fit

I’m a fan of sturdy, well-padded straps and these worked well for me. Even the back is heavily padded. Packed to the brim it still felt comfortable walking around with. It’s a pretty big backpack, but still doesn’t look out of place on my wife’s back (see image above).

9/10

  • Looks

Bagsmart_camera-backpack_001

This is a smart-looking bag. From the pocket layout to how the straps are placed, there’s a feeling of finesse that far outweighs its price tag.

9/10

  • Capacity

What the Olympus Bagsmart camera backpack holds

In the bottom compartment, the removable camera insert can fit up to 2 DSLR cameras and 4-6 lenses, depending on the size of the lenses. The top compartment is quite roomy and could easily hold a drone, extra clothing for a hike, or your lunch. There are also numerous pockets and pouches throughout the pack for holding accessories, notebooks and the like.

The laptop compartment fits a 15″ Macbook. There are separate pouches for SD cards, pen holders, and other small necessities. There are tripod attachments on one side with the lower end receding, so it’s not in your way when you’re not using it.

One thing to note is that it doesn’t have a water bottle pocket or hydration system, so you’d have to pack a bottle on the inside for longer treks.

8/10

  • Unique Features

There’s not much in the way of unique features on this bag, but for the price that’s really not surprising.

6/10

  • Ease of Use

Once stowed, most of the gear is quite accessible. I especially liked that there are two side access panels – one for the camera and one for the upper compartment. The camera compartment comes arranged for the best use with the bag, but is also customisable.

I’m not particularly fond of the location of the zipper for the laptop compartment – I prefer it a bit higher up towards the top of the bag.

8/10

  • Value for Money

If you don’t mind the weight, the Bagsmart Olympus is an excellent value for money. I’ve been able to consistently find it for just around $100. My only concern is that it didn’t seem to come with a warranty.

9/10

  • X-Factor

The looks and exterior design of this backpack definitely are a plus, and I really like the myriad of pockets and pouches. Another plus is that it doesn’t look like a camera bag and the branding is minimal.

8/10

FINAL SCORE: 71/90

Get the Bagsmart Olympus Camera Backpack

2. Case Logic SLRC-206

Case_Logic_SLRC_206

Dimensions: 12.5 x 8 x 17 in (31.75 x 20.32 x 43.18 cm)
Weight: 2.7 lbs (1.2 kg)
Price: See latest price here

Lightweight and protective – a tough, well-made bag with just the right amount of room for the traveling photographer who needs to pack light.

  • Build

From its super-thick cushioned dividers to its rigid hardshell bottom, this bag is built to protect. The tripod straps are beefy and the padding both inside and out is considerable. It even has a memory foam flap that fits over the top of the camera to protect the LCD screen. With all this protection, though, its nylon exterior isn’t water resistant and it doesn’t come with a raincover.

Inside, the main camera storage space comes with a suspension system that holds your camera and attached lens above the bottom of the case. I actually really like this feature, which works well with a medium size lens.

One thing to consider if you’re traveling is that the Case Logic SLRC-206 is not particularly theft proof. The easy access is, well, easy. Still, the bag seems built to last and the construction is sound.

8/10

  • Weight

At just 2.7 lbs when unloaded, the Case Logic SLRC-206 lands squarely among the lightest of the top-rated bags. It’s also fairly difficult to overload, as the bag’s outer material doesn’t really have much stretch. So if packing light is important to you, this is a great bag.

9/10

  • Fit

Felt a bit small on my back, but I think it would probably fit fine on someone smaller or less broad in the back. The padding on the shoulder straps and on the back is ample, so again, it might be great on a smaller person. It doesn’t come with a hip belt, though since the bag itself is light and it’s difficult to overload, this probably wouldn’t be a problem.

7/10

  • Looks

I gotta be honest – I’m not too impressed with this Case Logic’s looks. It seems more like a kid’s school bag than a bag I’d like to be seen on the street with or at a shoot with.

6/10

  • Capacity

The Case Logic SLRC-206 doesn’t really hold a huge amount of gear. That’s good if you want to keep things light, but not so good if you travel with multiple cameras/bulky lenses. Fits 1-2 camera bodies (only one with attached lens), 1 telephoto lens, and 2-4 other lenses. Can also fit a DJI Mavic Pro (or drones up to 320mm x 270mm x 140mm).

The side and front pockets are pretty small–great for things like filters, cables, batteries, and SD cards, but not so great for anything with any bulk. There’s also no pocket for a water bottle.

One bonus to this bag, however, is that the laptop compartment is big enough for a 17″ laptop, where almost every other bag can only fit a 15″.

7/10

  • Unique Features

This bag comes with a rigid, hardshell base that not only can take some impact, but also lets you put it down on muddy or wet surfaces without worrying about getting the bag dirty. Also keeps the bag upright when you set it down.

And again, the hammock suspension for the main camera is pretty cool.

8/10

  • Ease of Use

The top access panel combined with the fact that the Case Logic SLRC-206 stands up on its own makes it pretty easy to get at your DSLR. Changing lenses is not quite as smooth though, as you need to open up the entire second compartment for that. Still, everything works well on this bag, from the zippers to the straps. No complaints.

8/10

  • Value for Money

At around $80 (check price here), this bag is excellent value for the money. It also comes with a 25-year warranty – it’s clear they don’t expect anything to break. And if it does, you’re covered.

10/10

  • X-Factor

Style-wise, this bag just isn’t that impressive.

6/10

FINAL SCORE: 69/90

Get the CaseLogic SLRC-206 Backpack

3. F-Stop Ajna

Fstop_Ajna_camera-backpack

Dimensions: 23.5 x 13 x 10.5 in (59.7 x 33 x 26.7 cm)
Weight: 3.75 lbs (1.7 kg)
Price: See latest price here

One of the best camera backpacks for hiking photographers and active adventurers.

  • Build

The F-Stop Ajna is made of an extremely durable materials. It honestly feels like you could set this down anywhere – on dirt, rocks, sand, or even mud – and not have to worry about the material getting damaged. The bag itself is waterproof and the waterproofing on the zippers is high quality.

9/10

  • Weight

For what the Ajna offers (and the fact that hikers tend to need less weight than more), this bag weighs just right. It’d be hard to imagine it offering the space it does and getting any lighter.

9/10

  • Fit

While the straps and waist belt are a bit thin on the padding, the pack fits surprisingly comfortably. There’s more than enough comfort for long hikes.

9/10

Looks

F Stop Ajna 1

The Ajna is available in Nasturtium (bright orange), Anthracite (black), and my personal favourite, Aloe (seen above). The Nasturtium is F-Stop’s signature colour, which would certainly turn heads, and is probably a good thing for safety (increased visibility) while hiking.

Obviously black and aloe are far more practical for everyday use. I like the F-Stop branding and this certainly doesn’t look like a regular hiking camera backpack.

9/10

  • Capacity

F-Stop Ajna Camera Backpack

The camera carrying portion of the F-Stop Ajna uses removable ICUs (Internal Camera Units) and can hold up to a Large Pro. Depending on how you configure it, the Pro can hold 1-2 camera bodies and 4-6 lenses, plus other goodies. Need more space for hiking essentials? Choose a smaller ICU like the Slope or the Shallow. (All sold separately.)

There’s a sleeve that accommodates a hydration bladder and as well as attachment points for the sipping valve on the shoulder straps. However, there’s no water bottle pocket so if you’re not into hydration bladders (or don’t want to risk it leaking all over your gear) you’re a bit out of luck here.

You can mount a tripod on either the front or the side of the pack. There are also loops for trekking poles or ice axes on the outside.

There’s plenty of room both at the top and in the front pouch for layers, snacks and other trail necessities and plenty of external straps to attach things to. The only downside here is that there aren’t a lot of places to stow smaller things like SD cards or lens cloths.

9/10

  • Unique Features

As previously mentioned, this bag is hydration-system-compatible. That’s pretty rare.

Another unique feature is F-stop’s ICU system – once you get used to it it actually works really well, and I like being able to pull the entire ICU out to store my gear. You can also velcro the ICU in for added security.

Also comes with gatekeeper mounting points and internal and external MOLLE webbing for even more attachment points.

8/10

  • Ease of Use

Like many adventure-style bags, the camera access is from the rear. That’s fine if you’re planning on taking time to setup, but if you’re on the trail and see something interesting, you’ll have to take off the bag to access your camera.

I also found that the frame of the bag got in the way while trying to unzip the Large ICU.

Another thing that bothers me is that it’s hard for me to reach the side pockets. There aren’t any pockets on the hip belt either. The exception is your hydration tube and whatever you might have stowed in the little mesh pockets on the shoulder straps.

7/10

  • Value for Money

This bag is definitely on the expensive side. So while it truly is one of the best trekking camera backpacks out there, you do pay for it. That said, there is a 20-year warranty on any defects in material or workmanship.

7/10

  • X-Factor

I really like the look and feel of this bag. The design, F-Stop’s branding and colour make it stand out from any run-of-the-mill hiking backpack.

8/10

FINAL SCORE: 75/90

Get the F-Stop Ajna Backpack

4. F-Stop Dalston

Fstop-dalston

Dimensions: 18.9 x 11.4 x 6.3 in (48 x 29 x 16 cm)
Weight: 1.8 lbs (.8 kg)
Price: See latest price here

Ultra-lightweight, minimal day pack with unique design and stylish looks.

  • Build

YKK Aquaguard zippers, DWR, 420D Ripstop Nylon with TPU laminate and Hypalon detailing – there’s not actually much to the F-Stop Dalston, but what there is is well-made. I can’t imagine much going wrong with this bag.

8/10

  • Weight

This thing’s as light as a feather! If only all camera backpacks were this light. At only 0.8kg / 1.8lbs, you can really make the most of your carry-on allowance on those strict internal airline carriers. It’s also a perfect weight to be carried all day around a city, which is how it’s intended to be used.

10/10

  • Fit

The F-Stop Dalston isn’t designed to be loaded with gear, so the carrying straps, sternum strap and back support are rather minimal. I wouldn’t want to carry it for a long time fully loaded.

However, it’s worth remembering that this backpack wasn’t intended to be used to cram in all your gear – I see it more as a day pack, making use of its feather-light weight to help you carry only what’s absolutely necessary for the day’s city adventure.

7/10

  • Looks

F-stop Dalston Camera Pack

With its fashionable (hipster?!) roll-top design, textured/shiny exterior, and funky colour names (Aloe, Nasturtium and … err.. blue?), the F-Stop Dalston certainly stands out from the crowd. I particularly like the muted black square logo on the front, which doesn’t detract from the overall statement.

This is definitely not a bag that looks like your typical camera backpack, and would be a great thief deterrent as such.

10/10

  • Capacity

F-stop Dalston camera bag

At only 21 liters, the Dalston is probably most suited as a mirrorless camera backpack, or at least just for un-gripped DSLR bodies. Having said that, thanks to the thin outer material, it does have rather tardis-like properties – I was able to squeeze in a Nikon Z7, Nikon D750, a 70-200, 35mm, 13″ Macbook Pro and various other small gizmos.

For a smaller bag, it’s surprisingly spacious.

It might not be the best DSLR backpack if you need to carry a lot of gear, but it’s definitely one of my favourites.

9/10

  • Unique Features

There’s not all that much to the F-Stop Dalston – it’s a simple camera bag that’s as fashionable as it is functional, but as for standout features, I don’t have anything to add here.

As a roll-top, it does offer expandable storage in the main section.

7/10

  • Ease of Use

It’s a little hard to get in and out of the lowest internal compartment, since the size zip doesn’t run low enough. Also, I find roll-top bags a little fiddly and unnecessary with their additional steps to get gear in and out of.

Having said that, you can access all your gear (including stuff stored on top of the dividers) from the side access zippers.

7/10

  • Value for Money

Even though the Dalston may feel like it should cost less (due to its light weight), at about $170 (latest price here) you’re paying for the quality of F-Stop products.

F-Stop is best known for their high-quality outdoor camera backpacks that are built to withstand Everest, and some of the tech has trickled down to the Dalston. I think the price is justifiable for the quality. Warranty is 2 years – I’d like it to be a little longer.

8/10

  • X-Factor

I couldn’t stop playing with the Dalston for the whole 2 weeks I tested it! Virtually everyone commented on it, photographer or otherwise. I can imagine in the loud orange (‘nasturtium’) colourway, you’d get even more attention.

It’s nice to have something as unique as this on your back in a world full of rather boring-looking camera gear.

10/10

FINAL SCORE: 76/90

Get the F-Stop Dalston

5. Gitzo Adventury 30L

Gitzo-Adventury

Dimensions: 12.20 x 7.48 x 18.90 in (31 x 19 x 48 cm)
Weight: 4.5 lbs (2.05 kg)
Price: See latest price here

Military inspired urban backpack with great build and storage options.

  • Build

As you’d expect from a brand that’s a spinoff from Manfrotto, the build quality of the Gitzo Adventury is excellent. Made from water-repellent fabric, it’s fine under heavy downpours too. Straps feel very solid. Can see it lasting well for 10+ years.

9/10

  • Weight

It’s rather heavy, especially for a backpack made out of such lightweight fabric. There’s a lot of padding inside, which is great for your gear, but not so great for your back.

7/10

  • Fit

Excellent shoulder and back padding, with raised areas on the back panel for air circulation. The shape of the shoulder straps contours well, and the sternum and hip straps are equally comfortable.

10/10

  • Looks

Gitzo Adventury

Despite the rather prominent branding (silver logo on the front and rather odd metal badge on the shoulder strap), the Gitzo Adventury is a great looking DSLR backpack.

I love the army green colourway and black strap webbing…although it may be a little too much for some people. Thankfully there’s a way to tuck two of the main front straps away at the back.

9/10

  • Capacity

Looking at the inside of the Gitzo Adventury camera bag

At 30L, the Adventury does a good job at cramming in a lot of camera gear – even a 400mm lens, plus body, two small primes and a flash. More common configurations include a pro DSLR body with a 70-200mm attached, two large primes, a Mavic Pro and a DSLR tripod on the front.

9/10

  • Unique Features

The roll top opening is actually really functional, allowing the capacity to be extended by another 10-15L or so.

Opening the backpack from the rear panel, you’re greeted with a semi-transparent zippered cover before you get to your gear. This can be tucked away for quicker access, but provides some added security/padding for your gear.

8/10

  • Ease of Use

No complaints. Easy to take on and off, and to insert/remove gear.

9/10

  • Value for Money

The Gizto Adventury feels like its asking price of around $250 (latest price here), largely due to the heft of the bag.

8/10

  • X-Factor

There’s definitely something about this backpack that makes you want to use it. Maybe it’s the colour or the rugged appearance, but it’s something that would attract compliments for sure.

8/10

FINAL SCORE: 67/90

Get the Gotzo Adventury Backpack

6. Langly Alpha Globetrotter

Langley_Alpha_Globetrotter

Dimensions: 18 x 8 x 14 in (45.72 x 20.32 x 35.56 cm)
Weight: 4.2 lbs (1.92 kg)
Price: See latest price here

A high-quality, stylish backpack with a rugged look and feel.

  • Build

Langly’s been making great bags for a long time and the Alpha Globetrotter is no exception. The straps, pulls, tough rubber bottom, and bag material are all of the finest workmanship and will clearly last a long time. The outer material and zippers are entirely weatherproof, and this latest version has reinforced camera inserts that securely cradle your gear.

9/10

  • Weight

This backpack looks like it should feel heavier to be honest – I was expecting it to weigh a ton. It’s not lightweight by any means, but for its size and robustness, it’s not actually too bad.

8/10

  • Fit

Featuring ventilated shoulder straps, a custom-molded air-flow back panel, waist and chest straps, the Globetrotter attaches securely to your body and feels great on the back. My wife agreed too. The shoulder straps feel a little thin, but the padding is adequate and the materials wicks sweat away well.

9/10

  • Looks

The Langly Alpha Globetrotter is Instagram-fodder, pure and simple. Great for any photographer who cares about style – don’t we all, secretly?!

10/10

  • Capacity

Plenty of capacity for the average photographer. For the pro, there’s enough room if you pack light. It holds a DSLR and up to 5 lenses or a combination of lenses and speedlights. The top compartment is quite roomy, and can be used for anything from books to Pocket Wizards or anything else. The zippable laptop sleeve is designed for a 15” laptop.

The outer pockets are a little small for some flash units, but can fit smaller primes, hard drives, chargers, etc. You can use the secret compartment on the rear of the bag to hide a phone, passport or money. Also has a water bottle pocket and straps for attaching a tripod on the bottom.

8/10

  • Unique Features

The secret pocket on the inside-back is a nice touch for hiding valuables, and thanks to the raised-contouring of the back panel, you can actually put items like keys that aren’t completely flat, and not ‘feel’ them on your back.

The ventilated straps aren’t particularly unique, but the styling is – it’s all blended in nicely with the rest of the backpack.

7/10

  • Ease of Use

An update from the Alpha Pro, Langly updated the Globetrotter to have a front loading panel, making it much easier to access the camera compartment than in previous versions. The laptop is also easy to access. Still, there’s only one access point for the camera and you still have to (mostly) take the bag off to get to it.

My only gripe is that the upper zippers don’t go around the corners easily, making it tempting to leave it partially unzipped when in a hurry. Also, my tripod’s a bit too big to attach easily at the bottom without sticking out at the sides.

Also the button fastening on all the straps is rather unusual and takes a little getting used to, especially with cold hands – opening it is easy as tugging, but fastening is a little fiddly. Thankfully the zippers have larger pull grips with stylish leather accents.

7/10

  • Value for Money

This is a bag that’s going to last for a long time, so while it’s definitely a bit pricey (see latest price here), it certainly looks and feels like it will be with you for decades or more. The warranty is only 1 year though, which is a little disappointing.

(If you’re looking for the Langly Giveaway Code, it’s WINME19 – good luck!)

8/10

  • X-Factor

It’s easy to be drawn to this bag. The vintage hiking backpack form is often imitated, but rarely equaled, especially at this quality level. The look, the feel, the high quality materials… everything about the Langly Globetrotter makes it one of a kind.

9/10

FINAL SCORE: 76/90

Get the Langly Alpha Globetrotter Backpack

7. Langly Multi-Camera Bag Globetrotter

Langly Multi-Camera Bag Globetrotter

Dimensions: 20 x 8 x 18 in (50.8 x 20.32 x 45.72 cm)
Weight: 5.5 lbs (2.53 kg)
Price: See latest price here

A stylish, rugged option for pro photographers needing to carry a ton of equipment.

  • Build

Like the Alpha Globetrotter, Multi-Camera Globetrotter is also exceptionally well-built. The exterior feels like some sort of rubberised canvas (?), which is strong and weather-resistant. The straps, zippers, and hardware fasteners feel very tough too. I can’t imagine anything on here breaking any time soon, even fully loaded. The bottom is rigid so the pack will stand up on its own if you don’t have a tripod attached.

9/10

  • Weight

Although not lightweight by any means, the relative heft of the bag seems reasonable for its size and the quality of material and build. Still a tad heavy for my liking though.

7/10

  • Fit

The ventilated shoulder straps aren’t padded much but feel comfortable, even when the bag is fully loaded. I wouldn’t want to hike too far with it in this state though, despite the minimal waist and chest straps that do their job of stopping the Multi-Camera Globetrotter from sliding around your back.

8/10

  • Looks

This is a classy bag. It’ll look sharp in just about any setting, despite being aimed more at outdoor photographers. Not quite as Instagram-worthy as the Alpha Globetrotter, but a stand out piece nevertheless. The leather accents definitely add a touch of class to an otherwise stealthy appearance.

9/10

  • Capacity

As one would expect, the Multi-Camera Globetrotter can carry just about anything. There’s front panel access to your main camera with lens attached and the rest of camera compartment can hold up 10 lenses or a combo of lenses, and speedlights, and secondary cameras.

There’s also room for a 15″ laptop, loops on the bottom for attaching a tripod, and three external pockets with room for other odds and ends. There are also 3 deep zippable mesh pockets on the inside for lens cloths, SD cards, and the like.

10/10

  • Unique Features

Other than its build, its capacity, and the high quality of the materials, there aren’t a lot of special features to this bag. I do, however, really like the multiple zippers on the inside of the flap.

There’s also an adjustable strap running horizontally across the back, much like the Alpha Globetrotter. I’m assuming this is to secure it to the handle of rolling luggage, although it’s a unusual that it’s adjustable…

Oh and those secret pockets – there are three of them this time on the inside-back. One of them runs the entire length/width of the backpack’s back plate, although I’m not sure what this would be used for.

8/10

  • Ease of Use

Pretty much the same as the Alpha Globetrotter, except that it has a main front panel access to the camera (which I far prefer).

Push button fastenings are a matter of form over function in my opinion. I wasn’t a huge fan as they’re a bit fiddly to attach when your fingers are freezing. The main zipper slides around the bag relatively smoothly, but is slightly restricted at the corners, probably due to the water-proofing flaps either side.

There’s an unusually placed zipper on the front of the bag right above the main pocket’s flap which runs deep, but is rather hard to get inside. I think it may be for a or tablet, although getting it back out might be a bit hard.

The large secret pocket on the rear is rather unusual, and requires you to fiddle a little with the luggage strap (?) to get the zipper past.

7/10

  • Value for Money

Quite pricey, but you’re paying for that Langly style and quality, as well as for a backpack that can hold all your gear without skipping a beat. Definitely feels like it’s worth the money, and at only $30 more than the Alpha (latest price here), I’ve got to say this one’s the better deal.

8/10

  • X-Factor

Like all Langly bags, the look and the feel of this backpack will make you want to come back to it over and over again. It’s understated at first glance, but features subtle styling that elevates its looks from all the other large photography backpacks out there this year.

9/10

FINAL SCORE: 74/90

Get the Langly Multi Globetrotter Backpack

8. Lowepro Flipside 400 AW II

Lowepro_Flipside_400_AW_II

Dimensions: 12.60 x 9.96 x 19.29 in (32 x 25.3 x 49 cm)
Weight: 3.31 lbs (1.5 kg)
Price: See latest price here

A compact camera and lens backpack for the active photographer with a surprising amount of storage capacity.

  • Build

The Flipside is a compact backpack made of sturdy polyester. It seems small but holds a lot. The zips feel durable, there’s a lot of padding on the backside and in the hip and shoulder straps, and everything works. The exterior isn’t waterproof, but comes with a rain cover.

The retracting tripod cup is a bit weird, but so far seems to work (at least for a smaller tripod).

9/10

  • Weight

It’s not particularly light for its size, but neither is it heavy.

8/10

  • Fit

The Flipside fits well enough on my back and on my wife’s. The straps and hip belt are comfortable and it seems like I could wear it for quite a while without needing a break.

9/10

  • Looks

Lowepro-Photo-Flipside

Ok looking. Nothing special. Just a neutral look.

8/10

  • Capacity

LowePro_FlipSide_details

Quite an amazing capacity for such a compact bag. The Lowepro Flipside fits a DSLR with up to a 300mm attached lens, 4-6 additional lenses, a compact drone, flash, 15″ laptop, and a 10″ tablet. It has Lowepro’s trademark Sliplock webbing on the outside for attaching more gizmos to the exterior.

Definitely holds enough for the average traveling photographer who wants to stay active and nimble.

9/10

  • Unique Features

The tripod mounts stay hidden until needed, so no dangling straps or annoying cups in your way.

Built to flip over so that you can access the camera compartment without taking off your bag.

8/10

  • Ease of Use

The laptop sleeve is on the flap that accesses the camera compartment, which puts it squarely in your way if you’re attempting to get to your camera without taking the bag off. It also means your laptop will be moving each time the flap has to be undone to open the bag.

It takes some practice to flip it around and access the camera compartment without taking the bag off. Otherwise, everything is standard.

7/10

  • Value for Money

Not a bad value for around $150 (latest price here). It’s soundly built and carries enough despite its small size.

8/10

  • X-Factor

The Flipside has a bit of an understated look to it, which is helpful if you’re not wanting it to be unduly noticed. No real x-factor though.

7/10

FINAL SCORE: 73/90

Get the Lowero Flipside 400 AW II Backpack

9. Lowepro Freeline BP 350 Aw

Lowepro_freeline

Dimensions: 11.54 x 8.19 x 19.17 in (29.3 x 20.8 x 48.7 cm)
Weight: 4.13 lbs (1.87 kg)
Price: See latest price here

Slick city bag with an excellent build and some truly innovative features.

  • Build

The LowePro Freeline is built from super high-grade Nylon 66 with water and abrasion resistant Carbonate coating, YKK weather-proof zippers, reinforced padded base and a rain cover (Aw = all weather).

Feels like it’d last a good 10+ years of abuse on the outside, and the inside is equally well-constructed. I particularly like the hook-and-loop attachments for the dividers, which are designed not to rip at the fabric.

9/10

  • Weight

Not bad at all for the quality and features of this bag.

8/10

  • Fit

The straps are comfortable with just the right amount of padding. The back ‘plate’ is ribbed to allow good air circulation. Shoulder straps can be further tightened with sternum strap. Optional hip strap is a little less substantial, but stows tidily when not in use.

9/10

  • Looks

LowePro Freeline BP 350 Camera bag

Available in heather gray and black, the Lowepro Freeline BP 350 Aw is smart enough to use in the city, and doesn’t scream camera backpack. Lowepro branding is prevalent, but tasteful in raised silver lettering.

8/10

  • Capacity

Lowepro Freeline BP 350 AW

Fits a full frame DSLR, stored horizontally with mounted 70-200mm f/2.8 lens; a full frame DSLR with grip plus a mirrorless body with grip, compact drones with controller, up to a 15” laptop, travel tripod, cords, cables, water bottle and smaller items.

9/10

  • Unique Features

The ‘QuickShelf’ divider system is a great idea! Unfolds into a 3-tier shelf that snaps flat for easy removal, converting the Lowepro Freeline BP 350 Aw into a regular backpack in seconds. Expandable side pockets are a nice touch. Side and front clip straps useful to secure misc items.

Expandable shoulder strap pocket is ingenious! Every backpack needs one of these. Perfect for storing batteries, pens, keys – anything you need quick access to, including your phone.

The grab handles at both sides of the rear are a great inclusion too.

The Freeline also includes a handy tech pouch storage bag that’s the perfect size to stop smaller items such as laptop chargers, cables and memory card pouches from floating around inside the main backpack.

9/10

  • Ease of Use

Dual side access points provide fast entry. Zippers are buttery smooth. The internal shelf has a plastic back to enable fast, smooth removal. Straps can be tightened and unfastened quickly, allowing you to remove gear items from the side without removing the bag from your back.

It also stands upright, which is a useful, often overlooked feature of a camera backpack.

9/10

  • Value for Money

At around $260 (latest price here), the Lowepro Freeline BP 350 Aw isn’t cheap by any means, but it’s still priced reasonably for all its fine construction, features and the years of backpack know-how of Lowepro.

8/10

  • X-Factor

It doesn’t look like any other backpack I’ve come across. From the cool, metallic silver logo down to its understated appearance that wouldn’t look out of place in an office, the Lowepro Freeline BP 350 Aw is a good-looking DSLR backpack.

8/10

FINAL SCORE: 77/90

Get the Lowepro Freeline BP 350 AW

10. Lowepro Photo Hatchback 150 AW II

Lowepro-photo-hatchback

Dimensions:10.83 x 7.28 x 18.50 in (27.5 x 18.5 x 47 cm)
Weight: 1.78 lbs (0.8 kg)
Price: See latest price here

A flexible, lightweight day-pack perfect for a mirrorless camera or those who don’t need to carry a lot of gear.

  • Build

I like the fact that the Photo Hatchback is both lightweight and compact. The exterior made from water-resistant rip-stop nylon and lots of padding in the camera compartment. Comes with an all-weather (AW) rain cover that sits in its own compartment at the bottom of the pack.

The camera compartment comes with a customisable divider system and a storm-flap to keep out rain and dust, which adds to its all-weather (AW) rating. Everything seems well made and like it will hold together well.

8/10

  • Weight

At just 1.78 lbs (0.8 kg), the Photo Hatchback is one of the lightest full-fledged camera backpacks on the market. For what you’re getting and all it can hold, this is amazing.

10/10

  • Fit

Even though it’s a small backpack, I found that it fit surprisingly well and so did my wife. There’s plenty of padding in the shoulder straps and back and the sternum and waist straps work well, too.

9/10

  • Looks

The Photo Hatchback is sporty little bag that doesn’t really stand out overly much. I think it would look better without the reflective strip on the back, though I understand why it’s there. Perhaps they could have used a darker colour.

8/10

  • Capacity

Lowepro Photo Hatchback 150 AW II

This bag wasn’t really designed to carry much. It’ll fit a mirrorless with an attached lens, one extra lens (under 100mm), and few accessories like a GoPro or a hard drive. It doesn’t officially have room for a laptop, but you can get around that by unzipping the divider between the compartments on one side and slipping it down through the top. It does, however, fit an 8″ tablet in a separate sleeve.

The top compartment is roomy enough for a jacket and some snacks and such. It also has a few other inside pockets that can hold batteries, cables, etc. There are two side pockets that can hold water bottles or a Gorillapod. It’s not the sort of pack you’d want if you need your 60-200mm lens or need to bring along anything larger than a compact DSLR.

7/10

  • Unique Features

The coolest feature is that the camera compartment on the Photo Hatchback is removable and allows for a quick conversion to a simple day-pack. This really makes a huge difference if you’re on the road and don’t want your camera gear with you when you go out.

The tablet slot has a suspension system to keep your device from hitting the bottom of the bag. While this would be cooler if it held a laptop, tablet users will definitely appreciate it.

8/10

  • Ease of Use

I found this bag super easy to use for smaller day trips with my Sony A7III. I love the fact that despite the small size and light weight, there’s still enough room for personal gear and that it also converts easily to a straight day-pack.

9/10

  • Value for Money

I found Photo Hatchback for under $60 (see here). That’s a tremendous deal for everything it offers.

10/10

  • X-Factor

Nothing significant in the looks department, but due to its feather light weight, I did enjoy using it.

7/10

FINAL SCORE: 76/90

Get the Lowero Photo Hatchback BP 150 AW II Backpack

11. Lowepro Photo Sport 300 AW II

Lowepro_Photo_Sport_300_AW_II

Dimensions: 10.63 x 9.45 x 22.05 in (27 x 24 x 56 cm)
Weight: 3.31 lbs (1.5 kg)
Price: See latest price here

An excellent action pack built so that you can run/jump/ski/climb and still have all your gear snug behind you.

  • Build

As far as action backpacks go, the build on the Lowepro Photo Sport 300 AW II is fantastic. Like some of the higher end backpacking bags, the outer material is high-tech and built to withstand hard use. There’s an adjustment strap just about everywhere it matters, allowing you to cinch down everything from the camera compartment to how the pack sits on you.

There are a number of different attachment points for skis, trekking poles, or tripods, and it comes with space for a hydration bladder, an all-weather rain cover, and an ActivZone harness to keep things from bouncing too much while running or jumping. The bag is fairly narrow and hugs the body well, making is easy to do things like climbing.

The camera compartment is side access, so you could keep the bag on and access your gear at the same time (though it’d be nice if there were at least one more access point).

9/10

  • Weight

You can really see the effects of the lightweight fabric here – just 3.31lbs for a fairly spacious, though not overly large, hiking backpack.

9/10

  • Fit

If you can figure out how to adjust the straps just right, you can get this pack to fit perfectly on most bodies. Everything’s adjustable and easy to cinch down. There is an issue, though, if you use a hydration system. I found that a full 2L bladder makes the back of the pack a bit uncomfortable, but you could always go smaller and not have this issue.

9/10

  • Looks

Lowepro Photo Sport 300 AW II

Empty, the Lowepro Photo Sport 300 AW II isn’t much to look at – especially the top compartment, as it loses its form. When full, it fills out and looks great. I was given the black model to review, but it also comes in blue.

8/10

  • Capacity

The Lowepro Photo Sport Camera Bag

The camera compartment is a bit small and doesn’t really hold much. If you’re a 3-lens user like I am then you’ll probably be a bit disappointed. It also doesn’t hold larger cameras or larger lenses. For example, it won’t fit the Canon EOS 1D/1Ds/1Dx Mark II, Nikon D4/D4s/D5 and Sony Alpha A850/A900. But, for those who go mirrorless and/or don’t need more than 2 lenses, you’ll probably be fine.

Otherwise there’s plenty of room in the top compartment for the things you need on a long hike, as well as a large zippered compartment on the lid, and front slide-in pocket for things that are flat or soft.

7/10

  • Unique Features

Built like a standard mountaineering backpack, the Photo Sport 300 really does have the rugged design needed for hard-core activities. The cinch-ability of the straps on this bag is far more comprehensive than just about any other camera bag I’ve tried. The ActivZone harness is also nice. These together allow me to get this bag to fit me snugly and comfortable enough that I can go climbing.

While not exactly unique, the hydration-system compatibility is appreciated and fairly rare in camera bags.

8/10

  • Ease of Use

It takes a bit of trial and error to get the straps cinched just right, but that will be true on any mountaineering/action backpack. The side access makes the camera easy to get to. The flopping top compartment is a bit of a pain when empty, and the bag can’t stand up on its own.

One thing that’s missing are some internal mesh pockets that are good for holding small things like batteries and SD cards.

7/10

  • Value for Money

At less than $140 (latest price here) it’s a lot cheaper than many standard hiking backpacks of its type, yet has a camera compartment to boot. I’d say it’s well worth it if it fits your camera gear.

9/10

  • X-Factor

Though not particularly snazzy when empty, the Photo Sport 300 AW II looks good when full. And if you like the hiking/mountaineering style of backpack, this will definitely end up being your go-to.

8/10

FINAL SCORE: 74/90

Get the Lowepro Photo Sport 300 AW II Backpack

12. LowePro ProTactic 450 AW II

lowepro_pro-tactic 450 II

Dimensions: 13.70 x 10.63 x 19.21 in (34.8 x 27 x 48.79 cm)
Weight: 5.72 lbs (2.59 kg)
Price: See latest price here

A well-constructed camera bag with great accessibility and a cool ‘tactical’ look.

  • Build

The LowePro ProTactic 450 AW II feels very well built indeed. The top-access flap is a semi-hardshell and feels like it could take quite a beating. The pack itself is not waterproof, but comes with a rain cover.

Inside are a few thick well-cushioned dividers for the main compartments and a number of thinner MaxiFit system pads for customization.

All in all, sturdy and very well-constructed.

9/10

  • Weight

This bag is definitely heavier than other bags of the same capacity, but that might be due to the extra protection provided by the top flap.

7/10

  • Fit

The shoulder straps seem thin but were surprisingly comfortable, even when the pack was fully loaded. The detachable hip belt is beefy and does a good job of keeping the weight off the shoulders. Comes with an ActivZone harness that rides a bit higher up the back and provides a bit of extra ventilation. The only real drawback is that the bag feels a bit over-stiff when fully loaded or when I added my laptop.

8/10

  • Looks

The Lowe Protactic 450 AW looks pretty tactical

The LowePro ProTactic 450 AW II’s sleek, black, PALS-covered exterior will be a definite draw to those into the “tactical” look. Otherwise the pack is rather unassuming and would fit in just about anywhere.

9/10

  • Capacity

What the Protactic looks like on the inside

On the inside, it fits 1-2 Pro DSLRs, one with up to 70-200mm f/2.8 lens attached, 6-8 lenses/speed lights, and a 15″ laptop. It also comes with a number of PALS accessories for carrying a tripod, water bottle and other accessories on the outside.

9/10

  • Unique Features

PALS is amazingly customizable. You can attach the accessories that come with it, any MOLLE pouches you already have, or simply tie on your gear in any way imaginable.

The rear panel access is also quite handy, allowing you to lay the bag down front-first and access the entire contents. This is a serious plus if you do a lot of outside work and hate getting the back of your bag dirty (the part that goes up against your back).

If you travel a lot, the semi-hard shell top flap will give your gear another level of protection.

8/10

  • Ease of Use

Great access, with two side flaps, top access, and a back panel that zips open. The straps adjust quickly, making it easy to flip the backpack sideways for panel access. The waist belt tends to get in the way a bit when unzipping the back panel right to the bottom, though.

I haven’t really used the PALS system much in the past, but if you’re into loading up gear on the outside I can’t imagine a better way.

8/10

  • Value for Money

Version I of this bag was extremely popular, and priced more than $100 less than this version II. I wasn’t able to compare the two side by side, but I do always like investing in the latest version of anything.

At around $270, it’s certainly priced in the premium category, but the LowePro ProTactic 450 AW II feels worth the money for sure.

8/10

  • X-Factor

Super cool look if you’re into tactical packs, MOLLE accessories, or being a bit stealthy with your photography.

8/10

FINAL SCORE: 74/90

Get the LowePro ProTactic 450 AW II Backpack

13. Manfrotto Manhattan Mover 30

Manfrotto_Manhattan_Mover_30

Dimensions: 11.42 x 6.69 x 17.32 in (29 x 17 x 44 cm)
Weight: 3.1 lbs (1.4 kg)
Price: See latest price here

An urban-style camera bag that wouldn’t look out of place in a business meeting. Fits neatly as carry-on yet has more than enough room for gear.

  • Build

The Manfrotto Mover 30 was built with urban travel in mind. It’s shaped to fit perfectly as a carry-on and packs efficiently, with the camera access at your back. There’s no wasted space. Each compartment does exactly what it’s designed to and holds a surprising amount of gear. My only gripe – the top zipper seems to take all of the weight. I think a buckle would have been better.

The outside is drizzle-resistant and the pack also comes with a rain cover.

8/10

  • Weight

The weight seems in line with the material and internal padding.

8/10

  • Fit

Fits comfortably on my back. The straps are reasonably wide and well-padded and I was able to adjust them to get the right fit. I’m not particularly a fan of square backpacks, but this one didn’t bother me.

8/10

  • Looks

Manfrotto Manhattan Mover

If you’re into the urban commuter look, you’ll like this bag. The colour is also quite unusual and attractive, and so is the overall shape.

8/10

  • Capacity

Manfrotto Manhattan Mover camera bag

Surprisingly roomy. I was able to carry a Nikon D850 and three lenses, including a 70-200mm f/2.8, a charger and two batteries, a 15″ laptop, my Kindle, a flash, some snacks, and a couple of changes of clothes. I had to take the tripod off to fit it in the overhead compartment, but that wasn’t really a problem.

The central divider in the top pouch can be removed for larger items (like a lunchbox). Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with what I could carry in the Manfrotto Mover 30 .

Also has a water bottle pocket.

9/10

  • Unique Features

Not really much going for it in the way of unique features, but since the bag does pretty much everything you need it to, they’re not particularly missed.

7/10

  • Ease of Use

No problems here. Everything’s easily accessible, the laptop and tablet sleeves are convenient. The tripod carry takes a bit of playing with to get snug.

8/10

  • Value for Money

If you’re a frequent commuter/traveler, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth out of this bag. Priced at around $140 (latest price here), it’s great value for money. If you need a little more space, the Mover 50 is only $20 more.

8/10

  • X-Factor

In my opinion, square bags aren’t particularly stylish. The slightly cheap feeling materials on this one don’t really keep me coming back for more.

7/10

FINAL SCORE: 71/90

Get the Manfrotto Mover 30 Backpack

14. Manfrotto RedBee

Manfrotto_red-bee

Dimensions: 20.08 x 9.84 x 13.39 in (51 x 34 x 25 cm)
Weight: 3.5 lbs (1.6 kg)
Price: See latest price here

One of the better smaller-sized bags for the 2-camera photographer. Four-point accessibility!

  • Build

The Manfrotto Redbee is made of standard ripstop nylon and comes with a fairly well-padded base. Everything seemed in order with it–from the zipper pulls to the straps and pockets.

8/10

  • Weight

About what you’d expect for a pack this size.

8/10

  • Fit

I really didn’t like how it sat on my back. Couldn’t get comfortable with it – same thing with my wife. Maybe it’s due to the small width and rigidity.

7/10

  • Looks

Manfrotto Red Bee

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder… but I’m really not a fan of how this backpack looks! Others might find the red accenting attractive, though.

7/10

  • Capacity

What the Manfrotto Redbee Camera Bag holds inside

Easily fits two camera bodies with attached lenses (one can be up to 400mm), two extra lenses, and a few accessories. You can even arrange them in way to have quick access to both of them. Fits a 15″ laptop and/or a tablet.

There really isn’t much extra storage space – just a little zippered compartment on the inside of the flap for flatter items (that’s where I put my batteries). The two external pockets are too small to be useful

8/10

  • Unique Features

The 4-point access is pretty cool, especially since you can set it up so both of your cameras are quickly available.

8/10

  • Ease of Use

While the access points boost up the ease of use rating for the Manfrotto Redbee, the lack of external storage compartments and the fact that the laptop and tablet are stored in the flap take it back down. Also, it’d be helpful if you could either detach the waist strap or tuck it in somewhere.

7/10

  • Value for Money

It’s certainly worth it on sale for around $120 (on Amazon here at the time of writing). But the full $199…not so much. There are better options out there at that price.

7/10

  • X-Factor

Sorry to say it but this one’s definitely not my favorite in neither looks nor design.

6/10

FINAL SCORE: 66/90

Get the Manfrotto RedBee Backpack

15. Miggo Agua Versa

Miggo-Agua_Versa

Dimensions: 17.7 x 10.2 x 7 in (45.0 x 25.9 x 17.8 cm)
Weight: 4.4 lbs (2 kg)
Price: See latest price here

One of a kind storm-proof backpack that can take whatever weather throws at it

  • Build

The Miggo Agua Versa Backpack features a unique water resistant design for enhanced protection from adverse weather. Built out of tarpaulin, neoprene, lycra and polyester, everything feels not only water proof but tear proof too – all in all, very solidly built indeed.

9/10

  • Weight

Slightly on the heavier side, mostly due to the solid build quality

7/10

  • Fit

Sat well on both my back and my wife’s. The hip adjuster spreads heavier loads nicely, and the padding on the back panel and all straps felt good.

8/10

  • Looks

As far as a backpack that’s been designed to keep out the elements goes, it’s actually not bad looking! The logo and branding is prominent, but definitely not an eye-sore. I’d opt for the grey highlights over the blue version we received though (grey available here).

7/10

  • Capacity

Miggo_Agua_Versa

Easily fits a large DSLR and up to 3 lenses, plus a multitude of accessories in its zippered and velcro mesh inner pockets, which actually prove really useful for smaller items – everything is hidden beneath the side flap for easy access.

The front zippered pocket is good for larger items like an iPad Mini or notepad, but can be a little fiddly to get into if the bag is packed full. Thanks to the roll top fastening, carry capacity can be expanded to include more soft items on top of your gear.

8/10

  • Unique Features

An integrated USB cord with a built-in cover allows you to connect a portable battery charger, meaning you can quickly plug in and charge your devices safely while carrying the bag. I haven’t seen this on any other backpack before.

9/10

  • Ease of Use

Due to the rigidity of the bag’s fabric (essential to provide that water-resistance), everything feels a bit like you’re handling a stiff bit of tarpaulin. However, access is simple through the multiple entry points, and getting to your gear is fast.

8/10

  • Value for Money

Since this waterproof camera backpack is rather unique in the market, with its ability to withstand a storm and still keep your gear bone dry, I think it’s great value for money at around $150. Definitely not small change, but worth every cent, particularly if you value the contents.

7/10

  • X-Factor

It looks like something a diver would carry, which does give it a certain uniqueness. It may look a bit weird when used in an urban environment, although some may like that – its glossy outer is reminiscent of the popular North Face duffel bags.

8/10

FINAL SCORE: 66/90

Get the Miggo Agua Versa Backpack

16. ONA Camps Bay

ONA-camps-bay

Dimensions: 17 x 13 x 6.5 in (43 x 33 x 16.5 cm)
Weight: 4.41 lbs (2 kg)
Price: See latest price here

Classic design that’s anything but a traditional camera backpack.

  • Build

The Camps Bay is crafted from waxed canvas with leather accents and feels solid and hard-wearing to the touch.

9/10

  • Weight

This is my main complaint with this backpack – it’s a bit too heavy for me to consider using it at full capacity.

6/10

  • Fit

Minimal shoulder strap padding and just adequate rear cushioning. I can imagine the straps digging in after prolonged use, especially when fully loaded. Fits well on my back, if slightly large on my wife’s.

7/10

  • Looks

ONA_Camps_Bay

Understated, fashionable, tasteful – three adjectives you rarely hear to describe a DSLR camera backpack! The ONA Camps Bay is designed for the hipster in mind, and it’s refreshing to see a bag with zero prominent branding and such thoughtful but subtle detailing. Expect compliments from men and women.

10/10

  • Capacity

What the Ona Camps Bay DSLR Backpack can hold

The Camps Bay can hold a camera with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens attached, up to seven additional lenses, a 17-inch laptop and small personal items. There’s also a small separate space at the top to hold something about the size of a men’s jacket.

8/10

  • Unique Features

None to report. It’s designed to be a simple backpack and achieves that perfectly, so no complaints here.

7/10

  • Ease of Use

The push/slide strap fastenings aren’t the fastest, but are in keeping with the styling of this backpack. Getting large lenses in and out of the spaces on the edges of the main compartment was a little awkward when the bag was completely full. Side outer pockets are rather tight – I couldn’t find a use for them.

6/10

  • Value for Money

It’s a pricey bag for a certain customer (latest price here). If you value form over function, it’s … well, it’s still a pricey bag! Having said that it does feel very well made, and is one-of-a-kind in the camera backpack world.

7/10

  • X-Factor

You’ll get compliments. :-) There’s not much else alluring about this bag other than it’s understated looks, but there is something about it that makes one to keep touching it!

8/10

FINAL SCORE: 71/90

Get the ONA Camps Bay Backpack

17. Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20

Peak_design_Everyday_backpack

Dimensions: 18 x 12 x 6.75 in (46 x 30 x 17 cm)
Weight: 4 lbs (1.81 kg)
Price: See latest price here

A backpack that adapts to your ever-changing gear, lifestyle and environment.

  • Build

Weatherproof 400D nylon canvas shell with high-density padding is DWR impregnated and poly-coated twice on both sides. Premium weatherproof exterior zippers. Reinforced stress points. Soft and durable mixed-cotton twill interior for protection, durability and a luxurious feel.

9/10

  • Weight

The 20L version of the Everyday Backpack is the more popular of the two size-variants, most likely due to its reduced weight – perfect for use as an everyday carry backpack. Impressive how they’ve packed this many features into something relatively lightweight.

9/10

  • Fit

The shoulder straps pivot at axial connection points to make sure the backpack moulds well to your back. The 20L size we reviewed is much better suited for females than the 30. As the backpack is rigid, it doesn’t mould to your back that well though.

8/10

  • Looks

The Peak Design Everyday Backpack

Sleek, minimal, slightly technical appearance is truly one of a kind. The Charcoal version seems to be the most popular, but my favourite is by far the all black version pictured here – all accents are black, as opposed to the contrasting colours on the other versions. No prominent branding.

9/10

  • Capacity

What the Everyday backpack can hold

At only 20L, the Everyday Backpack can still hold a surprising amount of gear, largely thanks to its minimal Flexfold divider system which is thinner than padding seen on most other camera backpacks.

The backpack can hold a full frame DSLR or gripper mirrorless body plus 3-4 lenses, up to a 15″ laptop, a water-bottle, travel tripod and smaller accessories.

9/10

  • Unique Features

Sooo many unique features on this bag, several of which aren’t seen anywhere else. Best to check out the Peak Design page for full details, or read our full Shotkit review of the Everyday Backpack. Suffice to say, this bag is loaded with great features!

10/10

  • Ease of Use

The zippers on all Peak Design bags are excellent, and this one is no different – despite the curving zipper lines, zippers can easily be operated one-handed, with no excessive tugging. Side entry points are large and well-implemented, allowing easy access to gear, even when the backpack is still on your body.

Maglatch system makes main (top) entry fast and simple too. Main zippers also feature large finger loops which can be ‘locked’ to act as a theft deterrent.

10/10

  • Value for Money

At just over $250 (latest price here), this is a premium backpack, but in my mind, the price is justifiable based on the amount of truly unique features and the excellent build. It’s still rather pricey for a 20L backpack, but unashamedly so. There’s also a lifetime warranty.

8/10

  • X-Factor

You’ll want to keep on playing with this backpack. Lots of storage options, grab handles, bendy dividers – it’s a very tactile product that also manages to look relatively understated. Black on black colour scheme is perfect for the office to the streets.

9/10

FINAL SCORE: 81/90

Get the Peak Design Everyday Backpack

18. Peak Design Travel Backpack

Peak_Design_Travel_Backpack

Dimensions: 22 x 13 x 9/11 in (56 x 33 x 23/29 cm)
Weight: 4.52 lbs (2.05 kg)
Price: See latest price here

A versatile, durable, and stylish carry-on travel backpack with optional camera inserts.

  • Build

100% recycled 400D nylon shell feels tough and rip-proof. Zippers and straps good quality too. Lifetime guarantee is a welcome addition.

9/10

  • Weight

This is the only thing that lets the Peak Design Travel Bag down in my opinion. It’s rather heavy when empty, so packing it to meet carry on limits on some internal airlines is difficult. The weight it largely justified by the amount of features, but still, a slight disappointment.

7/10

  • Fit

Comfortable shoulder and hip straps. Back panel allows you to fold in the sides to increase ventilation by raising the centre padding. Feels good even when fully loaded. Minimal sternum strap does the job.

8/10

  • Looks

Peak Design Travel Backpack

I can’t think of any improvements I’d make to the aesthetics of this bag. My preference is black, but the Ash is beautiful too. Check out more photos in my full review of the Peak Design Travel Backpack.

10/10

  • Capacity

What the Peak Design Travel Backpack can hold

This is designed primarily as a versatile 45L travel backpack with optional camera insert (the ‘camera cube’), which is available in S, M and L sizes. I managed to fit all my mirrorless camera gear (body + lens attached, 2 primes, 2 flashes and batteries) into the S, leaving the rest of the bag free for clothing, etc.

If you’re not making full use of the upper storage area, you can pinch the top together to create an angled upper, reducing the overall size appearance – can be handy for sneaking through check in. ;-)

9/10

  • Unique Features

Too many to list here. Check out my full review of the Peak Design Travel Backpack or just take it from me here – this backpack has almost too many unique features.

10/10

  • Ease of Use

It takes a little bit of getting used to since there are so many pockets/sleeves/zippers, but once you’ve decided on what to put where, it’s a very well thought out backpack. Zippers are wonderfully smooth, as with all Peak Design products.

9/10

  • Value for Money

The backpack itself is priced at a premium (see here), and adding in the various Packing Tools (like the camera cube) really starts to push the price up. Slightly hard to justify, despite the great build and unique features…BUT there’s a no questions asked lifetime warranty, so this could be the last backpack you ever need.

8/10

  • X-Factor

Whilst I haven’t ever got any compliments per se, I absolutely love this bag and have chosen it as my travel backpack for destination wedding photography gigs. Despite being entirely stealth and unassuming, it still manages to stand out with a unique design that’s genuinely useful. You’ll want to keep touching it and experimenting with all the zippers and pockets too.

9/10

FINAL SCORE: 79/90

Get the Peak Design Travel Backpack

19. Shimoda Explore 60

Shimoda-explore

Dimensions: 24 x 11.4 x 11 in (61 x 29 x 28 cm)
Weight: 3.3 lbs (1.5 kg)
Price: See latest price here

The most comfortable, well-designed and good-looking hiking camera backpack we’ve ever come across.

  • Build

Construction quality is top-notch. Coated nylon exterior similar to mountaineering bags feels tough and rip-proof, and shoulder straps feel secure.

9/10

  • Weight

Despite being the biggest camera backpack in this review, the Shimoda Explore 60 still remains relatively lightweight. Obviously the (empty) weight will vary depending on the modular accessories you add to it, but these are all lightweight too.

9/10

  • Fit

Feels like a hug from a good friend! The fit can be tailored via height adjustable shoulder straps. Hip strap is one of the comfiest I’ve used on any backpack. EVA compression moulding in straps feels like a child standing on your shoulders wearing Nike Air shoes…amazing.

10/10

  • Looks

Shimoda Explore Camwera Backpack

It’s hard to make a hiking camera backpack look cool, but Shimoda has managed it. Designed by the ex-lead designer of F-Stop Gear, it’s easy to see why. My wife’s first reaction: “I love the colour!” Both the ‘Blue Nights’ and the ‘Sea Pine’ look like no other bag I’ve seen – really unique tones, tastefully complimented with brown accents on zipper pulls.

9/10

  • Capacity

The Shimoda Explore has an amazing capacity

At 60L, there’s not a lot that can’t fit in the Shimoda Explore! Depending on what modular unit you insert, prepare to shoulder everything you own…and then some.

10/10

  • Unique Features

The height adjustable shoulder straps are unique in the way that they can be adjusted – a lot of design consideration has gone into this. The straps themselves are amazingly comfortable with their moulded design.

Hip straps features cutaways to prevent bone-rub – the first time I’ve seen this on a backpack, and a great feature.

Rear padded portion features some serious padding and a unique design to increase airflow while hiking.

Pockets on front of the shoulder straps are great – one zippered, the other elasticated. Both large enough to hold a mobile phone.

9/10

  • Ease of Use

Easy to slide on and off the body. Getting gear in and out is easy too. Strap system takes a bit of getting used to, but this is to be expected on a technical outdoor camera backpack.

As with all backpacks that feature a separate internal camera bag, it’s never quite as quick as simply opening the main bag and getting to your gear – you need to unzip the internal one too.

8/10

  • Value for Money

Yes it’s expensive (see here), but you’re paying for function and years of design experience via F-Stop, and now Shimoda – the cool styling is just an added bonus. Compared to some of the heavy leather camera backpacks costing the same amount or more, this is actually a good value.

Remember to take into account the cost of the modular accessories (the ‘Core Units’) too, though.

7/10

  • X-Factor

This is the first hiking backpack that I want to wear with casual clothes! Something about it…definitely has the x-factor. Putting it on and securing it to your body is a joy too. I never expected to want to use a hiking backpack this much!

10/10

FINAL SCORE: 81/90

Get the Shimoda Explore Backpack

20. Tamrac Anvil 27

Tamrac-anvil-27

Dimensions: 21 x 12 x 10 in (53 x 31 x 25 cm)
Weight: 4.8 lbs (2.2 kg)
Price: See latest price here

Built for the back-country, the Anvil 27 is one of the best backpacks for landscape and wildlife photographers with lots of gear.

  • Build

I’ve come to expect first-rate construction on bags from Tamrac and the Anvil 27 is no exception. It’s built like a tank and is likely to withstand anything a back-country trip can throw at it. The materials are top-of-the-line, even down to the zippers and buckles.

The foam dividers work really well too. (Tamrac claims that it used over 10 foam types in the construction of this bag!)

10/10

  • Weight

One of the heavier bags on this list due to the heavy-duty materials used in its construction.

7/10

  • Fit

The harness and suspension system is what you’d expect on a hiking/mountaineering backpack – it holds the weight well, and can be adjusted for a smooth, snug fit. The waist belt is thick and takes the weight well. I’ve done hikes up to 4 miles with it fairly well loaded and it still felt comfy.

9/10

  • Looks

Tamrac Anvil 27 camera bag

Sorry Tamrac, but this is one ugly camera backpack!

6/10

  • Capacity

The Tamrac Anvil 27 camera bag for backcountry exploring

The Anvil 27 has room for everything you need on a wilderness trek, at least as far as photography is concerned. The camera compartment has space for larger DSLRs with battery grips and/or with zoom lenses up to 18″ (35.56 cm) long attached them. There’s plenty of space for extra lenses, flashes, chargers, etc. as well.

Not much room for the non-photography things you’d need on a hike into the back-country – layers, snacks, lots of water, etc., which is surprising, since that’s what this pack seems to have been made for. Holds a 15″ laptop and a tablet as well.

9/10

  • Unique Features

If you like attaching things onto the outside of your bag, the Anvil 27 s arc attachment points hold MAS and SAS components and a variety of other accessories including MOLLE.

Also, the quick release tripod straps work really well.

8/10

  • Ease of Use

There’s only one access point for the camera and that’s a bit of a downer for me, especially when shooting wildlife or when you need quick access to your camera. Other than that, everything works well on this bag. The dividers in the main compartment are particularly easy to customize.

8/10

  • Value for Money

At over $260 (see latest price here), the Tamrac Anvil 27 is rather pricey. However, it’s really well made and can hold a lot of gear very safely. You’re definitely investing in quality that will last a long time.

7/10

  • X-Factor

Nothing that makes me want to keep touching this backpack, and you certainly won’t get compliments on your taste. However, looks aren’t everything of course!

6/10

FINAL SCORE: 70/90

Get the Tamrac Anvil 27 Backpack

21. Tenba Axis 20

Tenba_axis-tactical

Dimensions: 19.5 x 12 x 8.75 in (50 x 30 x 22 cm)
Weight: 4 lbs (2 kg)
Price: See latest price here

Sleek, tactic-inspired outdoor backpack that wouldn’t look out of place in the city or in the field.

  • Build

Modeled after a tactical, military backpack with horizontal MOLLE webbing running across the front, the Tenba Axis features a rubberised water-resistant coating on the sides and upper and a seam-sealed cover for use under heavy rain. Straps are sturdy and well-padded.

9/10

  • Weight

In the 20L iteration I tested, the weight is manageable, even when fully loaded, although not outstanding. It’s fine as a day-pack weight.

8/10

  • Fit

The shoulder straps are height adjustable via a plastic card, which basically loosens the hook and loop fastenings within the rear pocket to allow you to slide the straps up or down. This ensures a snug fit of both the upper straps and the lower hip strap, whatever your size. Great feature, although it does require a fair bit of fiddling initially.

9/10

  • Looks

Tenba Axis 20

Cool, understated military-inspired looks spoiled only by a white tripod logo on the rear-front – why, oh why Tenba?! Curiously enough, the tripod symbol isn’t visible on the bag shown online, so maybe I received an odd one.

8/10

  • Capacity

What the Tenba Axis 20 can hold

Can fit 1-2 mirrorless, DSLR or Cine cameras with 5-7 lenses up to a 300mm f/2.8, a laptop up to 15″, a compact drone and a tripod via a reinforced cup on the exterior.

8/10

  • Unique Features

The height-adjustable straps – all camera backpacks need this! We’re all different sizes, after all.

8/10

  • Ease of Use

Getting gear in and out via the rear panel is simple enough. I wish the front zippered pocket zipped all the way down both sides instead of stopping halfway – makes reaching smaller items that have slipped down a little annoying.

8/10

  • Value for Money

Around $200 for a bag of this size seems slightly pricey to me, despite the fact that it’s well made and there’s clearly some thought gone into its design.

7/10

  • X-Factor

Makes you feel a bit like a soldier…if not for the branding. Men might compliment, women probably won’t. :p

8/10

FINAL SCORE: 73/90

Get the Tenba Axis

22. Tenba DNA 15 Backpack

Tenba_DNA_15_backpack

Dimensions: 18 x 11 x 8.5 in (46 x 28 x 22 cm)
Weight: 3.7 lb (1.7 kg)
Price: See latest price here

Great looking, well-designed, lightweight camera backpack that is fun to use.

  • Build

Designed to give the year-round, all-weather, rugged performance of a bike messenger backpack, the DNA 15 feels sturdy and built to last.

9/10

  • Weight

Lighter than some of the other backpacks I reviewed which are of a similar size.

8/10

  • Fit

Feels great on my back and on my wife’s. Tenba’s ‘Airflow’ padding raises the bag to allow good air circulation, and is made from lightweight, spongey foam which provides great padding. Shoulder straps are adequately padded. Sternum strap minimal but does the job.

9/10

  • Looks

Tenba_DNA-15-backpack

Unique graphite colour/texture makes the Tenba DNA 15 backpack stand out from the crowed, without it being too flashy. Branding is visible on front strap, but not too prominent. Angled front zipper pocket is a nice design touch.

Doesn’t look like any other backpack I’ve come across.

9/10

  • Capacity

The Tenba 15 camera backpack

Fits a mirrorless or DSLR camera with 4-6 lenses, plus a laptop up to 15″ (38 cm). Nice organisation options in front pocket for business cards, batteries and smaller items. Side pocket can carry tripod, assisted by side straps. Roll-top can be re-velcroed at various points to expand the upper storage area.

9/10

  • Unique Features

Lenses or smaller camera bodies are accessible via a slide-out compartment which remains open at an angle to allow you to remove items quickly and easily – first time I’ve seen something like this on a backpack.

Main front clip fastens via a slide/magnet mechanism which is another first – works really well and is fun to operate.

Staggered velcro fastenings on front allow roll top to be fastened more securely at various stages, allowing more to be carried in upper section.

9/10

  • Ease of Use

Aforementioned slide-out front pocket makes getting gear items out quick and simple. Roll top entrance allows quick access to cavernous interior.

9/10

  • Value for Money

At around $200 (latest price here), it’s a good quality backpack at a mid-ranged price which I feel is totally justifiable.

8/10

  • X-Factor

There’s definitely something that grows on you about this backpack. Initially I didn’t think much of it, but after using it for a few days, I found myself reaching for it over the others tested.

8/10

FINAL SCORE: 78/90

Get the Tenba DNA 15 Backpack

23. Thule Aspect

Thule_Aspect_DSLR_Backpack

Dimensions: 11.8 x 8.7 x 20.5 in (27.9 x 22.09 x 52.07 cm)
Weight: 3.2 lb (1.45 kg)
Price: See latest price here

A versatile, lightweight backpack with a cool urban look and minimalist exterior.

  • Build

The Thule Aspect is well constructed and the materials feel like they’ll last a good long time. The zippers have glove-friendly pulls, the straps are well padded, and the bag holds its shape enough to stand up on its own. It’s not particularly weather-proof (especially the zippers) and doesn’t come with a rain cover. Size-wise it fits easily in the overhead compartment of most planes and even under the seat of some others.

8/10

  • Weight

One of the big pluses of this bag. At a mere 3.2 lbs the Aspect comes in at one of the lightest camera bags of this size and caliber.

9/10

  • Fit

I found the Aspect comfortable enough. Not quite perfect, but few packs are for me. Still, the straps were easily adjustable and I could get it close enough. The air mesh back panel did add a bit of comfort and breathability.

8/10

  • Looks

The accent colour adds to an otherwise drab exterior. I’m not a huge fan of the prominent Thule branding, though I know this won’t bother most people. Looks great on my back and on my wife’s.

8/10

  • Capacity

The camera compartment on the Thule Aspect has three modifiable fairly deep slots that can hold a DSLR or mirrorless with an attached lens, a couple spare lenses, a speedlight, and a few other accessories. There’s plenty of raw space, but unfortunately the dividers are poorly sized and particularly don’t work so well if you have smaller cameras. Also, the velcro of the dividers doesn’t stick particularly well.

The top compartment is fairly roomy and has multiple pockets inside. Great for personal items or a drone.

7/10

  • Unique Features

Can be easily converted into a simple day-pack by removing the camera compartment dividers. The hip belt comes with zippered pockets which is a huge plus in my book – every backpack needs one.

8/10

  • Ease of Use

Easy to use in almost every aspect. The side-access camera compartment is easy to get to without taking the bag off. The zippers all move smoothly. The pockets in the upper compartment are right where you’d expect them to be. The only difficult part is getting the camera compartment dividers to fit right.

9/10

  • Value for Money

Very reasonably priced at around $130 (latest price here).

9/10

  • X-Factor

It definitely doesn’t look like a camera backpack. The turquoise accents do add to its appearance, and I like the uncluttered exterior. Just wish that the branding was a little subtler.

8/10

FINAL SCORE: 73/90

Get the Thule Aspect Backpack

24. Thule Covert

Thule_Covert

Dimensions: 17.7 x 7.9 x 21.3 in (44.96 x 20 x 54.1 cm)
Weight: 4.97 lbs (2.25 kg)
Price: See latest price here

Versatile roll-top backpack for the urban explorer’s photo equipment and personal gear.

  • Build

Feels solid and good quality. Nylon outer is water resistant and feels tough to the touch. Built to last.

8/10

  • Weight

Could be lighter, but ample padding and numerous pockets are bound to add to the overall weight.

7/10

  • Fit

Comfortable straps despite minimal padding compared to some other photography backpacks. Back panel provides adequate air flow. Height adjustable sternum strap minimal but does the job. Overall, feels good on both male and female backs.

8/10

  • Looks

Thule_Covert

Quite ‘busy’ in the looks department – buckles, pockets, zippers…but it’s all functional so can be forgiven. Prominent branding is a little annoying, but ‘Thule’ does have a bit of a cool appeal as a Swedish brand. Doesn’t look like a camera bag.

Some might find the squareness and width of the roll top upper a little odd.

7/10

  • Capacity

Thule Covert backpack

Customisable storage fits up to prosumer DSLR body with small zoom lens attached, plus a DJI Mavic Pro (or drones up to 260mm x 200mm x 100mm), 2 other prime lenses, a flash and smaller accessories. Zip-out divider separates top and bottom compartments. Lots of pockets for further organisation.

8/10

  • Unique Features

There are lots of organisation options inside the pockets on the Thule Covert. Rolltop compartment can be size-customised depending on length of straps.

8/10

  • Ease of Use

Fast and easy to get gear in and out of the Thule Covert, but the plastic buckles are a bit on the stiff side. The loud ‘click’ of buckles may not be suitable for all uses.

7/10

  • Value for Money

Around the $200 mark (latest price here) seems to be the sweet spot for camera backpacks of this caliber.

8/10

  • X-Factor

No other bag I’ve tested looks like the Covert, so thumbs up in that respect. My only gripe from an aesthetics point of view is the prominent branding, but this is just personal preference. Many people love both the look and the functionality of roll tops, and this is one of the better ones. Plenty of 5-star reviews on Amazon.

8/10

FINAL SCORE: 67/90

Get the Thule Covert DSLR Rolltop Backpack

25. Wotancraft Sniper

Wotancraft_Sniper

Dimensions: 18.11 x 8.27 x 7.28 in (46 x 21 x 18.5 cm)
Weight: 3.5 lbs (1.6 kg)
Price: See latest price here

A truly unique backpack for the discerning photographer with a smaller camera system

  • Build

Wotancraft likes to fashion their bags like military goods. The Sniper is built from tough, weather- and abrasion-resistant Cordura fabric (the toughest canvas on the market) which feels like it would last a lifetime. Straps are equally heavy-duty, with all metal fastenings and tough leather accents.

10/10

  • Weight

It’s a small bag and much lighter than the other Wotancraft creations – a common gripe with their goods, despite the fact that tough/rugged usually does mean additional weight. The Sniper is a nice weight to carry all day long.

9/10

  • Fit

At first, I thought the Wotancraft Sniper would be way too small for my back. However, it fits surprisingly well, with the unique ‘shoulder plate’ strap keeping everything well distributed. The size makes it a great fit on females too, as confirmed by my wife.

The rear panel also features a slight padded lumbar support, which is a nice touch for when your load is heavy.

9/10

  • Looks

Wotencraft Sniper Camera Backpack

Wotancraft have made a name for themselves thanks to the unique look of their products, and the beautifully crafted Sniper is no different. This is pretty much as far as you can go from a ‘regular camera backpack’ design, and I love that.

Absolutely no branding on the exterior in sight, the Wotancraft Sniper is unassuming while still standing out from the crowd. I love both the colourways (vintage grey/ash green), and the dark leather accents/metal buckles compliment it perfectly.

8/10

  • Capacity

The Wontancraft Sniper is made for full-frame Mirrorless cameras like the Sony A7 series

The Sniper is intended to be a full frame mirrorless camera backpack. Its slim interior can accommodate a 1 camera like the Sony a7III + battery grip + 70-200mm lens attached, as well as several other smaller lenses, flashes, other personal items and a travel tripod on the outside.

8/10

  • Unique Features

I love the magnetic closures on all flaps which are a quick (and silent) alternative to the zippered pockets that lie beneath them.

The ‘shoulder plate’ does a great job distributing weight to a larger surface on your upper back, rather than two spots on your shoulder muscles. Great engineering, at no cost to the overall look of the product.

The leather accents/metal buckles really add to the functionality and looks of the Sniper – they aren’t an afterthought like on some backpacks, but have been instead integrated throughout the bag really thoughtfully. I especially like the sternum strap which looks great from the front.

The interior module accessories allow you to secure smaller items (wires, earphones, batteries) inside the bag, keeping everything neat and tidy and looking great while at it.

A two piece door flap prevents precious gear from falling out accidentally – a simple but useful addition.

10/10

  • Ease of Use

Due to the heavy duty metal zips, it does require two hands to open and close the Wotancraft Sniper. Other camera backpacks offer much smoother zip operation, but having plastic zips on the Sniper would definitely sacrifice its style. Style over function – up to you to decide.

Once zips are open, getting your gear out via the side access point while the backpack is still on your body is relatively easy.

7/10

  • Value for Money

Make no mistake – Wotancraft make premium products that attract a premium price tag. You’re investing in a one-of-a-kind product that you’re unlikely to see on another photographer’s back at your local camera meet up.

Yes, anything over $400 (see latest price here) is an exorbitant amount of money for a camera backpack, but you’re paying for handmade quality and uniqueness.

7/10

  • X-Factor

You’ll get compliments on this backpack everywhere you go…especially from men…who are in the army. Just joking. It’s a great looking bag that is super tactile – you’ll find yourself just wanting to hold it and open and close the magnetic flaps over and over again click-clack-click-clack – very addictive!

10/10

FINAL SCORE: 78/90

Get the Wotancraft Sniper

How the Backpacks were Reviewed

Shotkit reviews camera backpacks

6 January 2019 | Our garage, overflowing with camera backpacks!

With the sheer quantity of cool camera bags available in 2019, I needed a way to find a smaller selection to review.

In October 2018, I reached out to all the major camera bag manufacturers, asking them one simple question:

“What’s your best camera backpack?”

Whether they took this question to mean: what’s the most popular backpack in your range; or what’s the latest backpack you’ve released, each brand sent me their chosen superstar backpack(s).

So, with my garage overflowing with backpacks (see above), I needed a way to effectively compare them all for review before my wife killed me for making such a mess…

There’s no use trying to compare a cavernous hiking camera backpack with a tiny mirrorless bag, so I needed to come up with to rank them all…

The Scoring Criteria

bag scoring criteria

Each backpack was reviewed individually for its merits and shortcomings

Each backpack is marked on the following criteria and given a score out of 10. A perfect 10/10 score is only given when a backpack excels in that criteria.

Then the scores are tallied up, giving the backpack a final score out of 90.

Here are the criteria against which each bag was scored:

  1. Build – is the backpack built to last? Does it survive the ‘pull the straps as hard as I can’ test.
  2. Weight – is it too heavy to count as carry-on luggage on strict airlines?
  3. Fit – how does it feel on my back/my wife’s back?
  4. Looks – does the backpack look cool?
  5. Capacity – whether it’s 10L or 40L, is it designed in a way to take full advantage of its size?
  6. Unique Features – usually only features I hadn’t seen before/often.
  7. Ease of Use – can you get your camera gear in/out easily?
  8. Value for Money – could it be priced much higher?
  9. X-Factor – do I want to keep using the backpack? Do I get compliments on it?

Obviously, some of the criteria are highly subjective. Whether a camera ‘looks cool’ or not was left to me and my wife to decide, and you may not agree with our taste!

As for ‘Fit’, since I’m a 6ft 4” (194cm) male, my guidance as to how well each backpack feels on my body may not be relevant to you.

To gain a better perspective on ‘Looks’, (as well as ‘Fit’, and ‘X-Factor’), I asked my wife (5ft 7” / 175cm) to weigh in with her opinion too.

In this roundup, you’ll find a mixture of the latest camera backpacks and others that have been on the market for several years – after all, a product doesn’t need to be brand new to be considered great.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I choose a camera bag?

The most important thing when choosing a camera bag is to carefully consider your individual needs. Think about what you need to carry and what situations you’ll be using the bag for. Maybe you need something waterproof and rugged, something smart and professional, or something small and inconspicuous. These factors are important considerations along with the aesthetics and price of the bag you choose.

What is the best camera backpack?

Our top pick is the Tenba DNA15 camera backpack. It’s lightweight and durable, expandable and capable of fitting plenty of gear, and has a cool, understated design.

How do you pack a camera for air travel?

If you’re using your camera backpack for air travel, be sure to utilise any padded inserts correctly to prevent your gear from getting damaged. Make sure any breakable items like camera bodies and lenses are carefully stored each in their own padded compartment. In the event of any turbulence or your bag getting jolted around, you’ll want your gear to be snug but not over-cramped.

What should I keep in my camera bag?

That all comes down to what you’re shooting and which size bag you choose; but at a minimum you’ll probably want to keep your camera body (or bodies), several lenses to cover most situations, and extras like memory cards or film, spare batteries, any flash or lighting equipment, and – if you have enough space – a laptop or tablet to do your editing.

Camera Backpack Reviews | Final Words

camera-backpacks-on-kids

Our kids have quite a selection of bags to choose from for school now…

If you’ve made it this far, I’m sure you’ll sympathise with me when I say I’m pretty much sick to death of reviewing bags! (…and so are my wife and kids…)

One thing’s for sure – there’s no shortage of amazing camera backpacks in 2019, and it’s nice to see every brand putting out so many high quality products which are sure to please even the most critical photographer.

I hope this review will help you choose the right way to carry your precious camera gear this year.

Be sure to leave a comment with your own recommendations, and please share this post with a photographer friend – it’ll make me feel a little bit better about devoting so much time to putting it together!

Cheers and happy snapping :-)

Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post may contain affiliate links.