Best Camera Rain Cover to Keep Gear Dry in Bad Weather
Camera rain covers are an essential accessory: protect your get from downpours, snow blizzards and even sand storms! This guide explores the best models.
By Andrew Dilks
Camera rain covers are an essential accessory for every photographer, no matter where you live or how expensive your camera!
Obviously, we all want to shoot in fair weather conditions, but that’s not always possible.
Having a rain cover for your camera will mean you’ll be able to continue shooting during a sudden downpour, snowfall or even a sandstorm!
You may even want to deliberately take photos in the rain or during adverse weather for dramatic effect.
Whatever the case, camera rain covers take up little space in your camera bag and can protect your precious camera/lens from the elements.
(Even if your gear already features weather-sealing, you should still have an emergency rain cover on hand for heavy downpours.)
An additional benefit of covering your camera is that you can use the shelter to change lenses, batteries and memory cards.
With so many options on the market here in 2023, this guide will help you find the models that best balance affordability with functionality.
So, if you’ve ever wondered whether you can protect your camera from the rain with a plastic bag, or how you can make your camera waterproof, keep on reading!
First, let’s dive into the recommendations.
Best Rain Covers for Cameras and Lenses in 2023
|Think Tank Photo Emergency||View Price →|
|Altura Photo Professional Camera Rain Cover||View Price →|
|Think Tank Photo Hydrophobia V3.0||View Price →|
|AquaTech SSRC Sport Shield Rain Cover||View Price →|
|Peak Design Shell||View Price →|
1. Think Tank Photo Emergency
- Excellent value for money
- Durable waterproof fabric performs well in all weather
- Lightweight and compact when stored
- Large, clear PVC window
- Hot shoe mount makes the set-up process quick and easy
- Accessing controls on larger cameras can be awkward
The Think Tank Emergency Rain Cover suit a selection of camera bodies and lenses, including the 150mm-600mm f/5.6-6.3 and the 600mm f/4 lens, providing ample coverage for a range of telephoto lenses.
It packs down to a nice, compact size when stored in its nylon carrying pouch, and opens up quickly when it’s time to protect your camera.
The durable waterproof fabric is seam-sealed to ensure your equipment remains completely dry in all conditions, while the adjustable Velcro strap allows users to pull the rain cover tight around the lens hood.
Fitting the Think Tank Emergency Rain Cover is quick and easy, and benefits from the hot shoe mount which fits snugly into your camera’s hot shoe and keeps it in position.
There’s also a decent-sized clear PVC window, so you can see the top and back of the camera to access controls easily.
This works well for both handheld and tripod-mounted operation, allowing you to slide your hands onto the camera controls through the cinchable collar.
Using the cover can hamper controls, so you may find you’ll need to switch between the viewfinder and main screen if the eye sensor becomes confused by the build-up of water droplets on the cover’s window.
That said, composing images through the Think Tank Emergency Rain Cover’s window isn’t a chore, and there’s the option to flip up the cover and directly access the viewfinder.
Most importantly of all, this camera rain cover holds up well in even the most extreme conditions, so if you’re filming wildlife in a snowstorm, you can be confident your gear is well protected.
Overall, the Think Tank Emergency Rain Cover’s combination of lightweight but durable material and versatile functionality makes this highly recommended for both amateur and professional photographers.
2. Altura Photo Professional Camera Rain Cover
- Great value for money
- Comfortable access to lens barrel
- Decent camera and lens compatibility
- Excess material when shooting handheld
- Clear plastic window can cloud up
The Professional Camera Rain Cover from Altura Photo brings protection from the elements at an affordable price and is ideal for smaller DSLR cameras mounted with shorter lenses.
Constructed from lightweight but durable waterproof nylon, it packs down to a small size for easy access and fits quickly over your camera and lens hood.
The Velcro strap and full-length double zipper afford a good degree of protection from the elements with tripod-mounted cameras, with enough room to access the lens barrel and controls.
On the downside, gaining access to the hot shoe can be awkward, so if you’re shooting video and need to use a mic, you might struggle to get this fitted when using this rain cover.
While the Altura Rain Cover might struggle to hold up in extreme weather conditions, it’s a fantastic budget option for smaller setups looking for something to use if you get caught in bad weather.
3. Think Tank Photo Hydrophobia V3.0
- Exceptional quality material
- Small and light when packed down
- Suitable for extreme conditions
- Great customer service
- Eyepiece is sold separately
This professional-level rain cover is constructed from triple-layered weather-sealed material, protecting your equipment from heavy rain, snow, dust, and salt spray.
These high-end materials are matched with a range of features for ease of use, including cinchable sleeves, an oversized window, and a waterproof shoulder strap, all allowing easy access to the camera body at a moment’s notice.
Amateur photographers might be put off by the high price, but if you’re a professional photographer who regularly shoots outdoors, the Photo Hydrophobia V3.0 rain cover is a valuable investment.
4. AquaTech SSRC Sport Shield Rain Cover
- Constructed from light and strong fabric
- Comprehensive access to camera controls and hot shoe
- Suitable for all conditions
- Quick to install and remove
- Zooming can be difficult on some lenses
- Drawstring is too high to grip a flash
AquaTech’s SSRC Sport Shield Rain Cover is one of the best camera rain covers for photographers who shoot with a long focal length, designed for telephoto lenses up to 300mm.
Constructed from three-ply ripstop waterproof, breathable fabric, it offers additional protection from the elements with a neoprene front panel offering a watertight seal with the lens’s hood.
As with most rain covers for professional use, the SSRC Sport Shield rain cover is weather-sealed, and uses a silicon-sealed large window to give clear visual access to the main viewing LCD.
The weatherproof sleeve grants excellent access to the camera controls, while roomy camera hot shoe access means you can easily use the rain cover with a mounted lens or microphone.
It’s another excellent camera cover for professional photographers, as well as amateurs who don’t mind spending a little more cash to keep their camera kit dry.
5. Peak Design Shell
- Good price
- Fits a versatile range of cameras
- Available in three sizes
- Fabric holds water in a downpour
- Sizing chart can be misleading
Returning to more affordable rain covers, the Peak Design Shell rain cover is a simple but effective cover ideally suited for smaller camera gear constructed from stretchy fabric to help fit a range of cameras.
The waterproof membrane holds up well in moderate rain or snow, giving a snug fit and abrasion resistance with its seam-taped fabric.
It comes fitted with anchor ports to allow for use with straps manufactured by Peak Design and can be completely cinched closed to keep your camera safe when stored.
(If you already own the Peak Design Slide Straps or any of their other camera-carry products, you’ll be able to use the same anchors.)
Photographers looking for rain covers to use in tough conditions or on a regular basis may find the install and access to camera features of this rain cover inadequate, and prolonged exposure to heavy rain can lead to the fabric becoming saturated.
However, for casual photographers who want a budget cover to keep their camera dry for a few shots, the Peak Design Shell rain cover will do the job without breaking the bank.
How do you protect your camera from rain with a plastic bag?
If you’re looking for a cheap alternative option for protecting your camera from rain, here’s how you can do this using a plastic bag.
- Take some electrical or gaffer tape and a clear plastic zip-lock back
- Place the camera in the zip lock bag with the lens facing the bottom
- Zip it 3/4 and squeeze out the air, then fully zip the bag
- Make sure you can access all the controls through the bag
- Draw around the lens with a marker pen
- Remove the camera, then cut out the hole
- Stick the cut out circle to your lens filter
- Put the camera back into the bag
- Use the tape to stick the edge of the hole around the filter
- Trim the tape so it doesn’t obscure the lens
FAQs: Using your camera in the rain
Will rain damage a camera?
While modern cameras are built to withstand light rain, they’re seldomly fully waterproof.
Your camera might tolerate exposure to a light shower or mist, but torrential rain is likely to cause permanent damage.
Are cameras safe in the rain?
As with any other electrical equipment, excess exposure to water will cause damage to its internal mechanisms.
Whenever possible, you should avoid exposing your camera equipment to rain or snow.
What happens if your camera gets wet?
If your camera gets wet, you should immediately turn it off to prevent the battery and camera circuits from becoming even more damaged.
Remove the battery and memory card, then dry off any water with a paper towel.
You can also place the camera in a sealed bag of rice, as the rice will help to soak up any water.
There are a broad variety of rain covers suitable for cameras and lenses, from budget covers for small cameras to high-quality covers for professional telephoto lenses.
This guide explores a selection of rain covers to help you choose the best one for your photography requirements, whether you’re an amateur looking for something to add to your kit in case of a shower, or a pro looking for year-round protection.
If you have a rain cover recommendation of your own or would like to ask a question about any of the products covered here, leave a comment and our team will get back to you.
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