Best small camera backpack

small-camera-backpacks

With the increase in popularity of mirrorless cameras, many photographers are looking for the best small camera backpack to suit their carry needs.

Maybe you too prefer to have a lightweight bag on your back filled with only your everyday essentials, a camera and a couple of lenses.

shk-fs-table__imageEveryday Backpack 20LSmart, stylish and sustainably made, this gem of a backpack is hard to beat.View Price

All the options recommended here are 21L in capacity or less.

This is usually the sweet spot when it comes to small camera backpacks and a popular choice for daily use.

Packing light also enables you to move more freely and generally have a more enjoyable time while shooting… which is what it’s all about, after all!

Let’s jump right into our selection.

Best Small Camera Backpack in 2020

Image Product Features
shk2-table__imageEveryday Backpack 20LOUR #1 CHOICE
  • Weatherproof Shell
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Holds Up to 15 inch Laptop!
  • Large Storage Areas
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shk2-table__imageWandrd Prvke 21LTOP RATED
  • Weather Resistant Zippers
  • Secure Passport Pocket
  • Large Storage Capacity
  • Quick Side Camera Access
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shk2-table__imageEveryday Zip 20LGREAT VALUE
  • Greave Value for Money
  • Robust Build
  • Weatherproof Shell
  • Brilliantly Customizable
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shk2-table__imagePhotoCross 15
  • High-Quality Material
  • Brilliantly Customizable
  • Large Storage
  • Weatherproof Shell
View Price →
shk2-table__imageFastpack BP 150 AW II
  • Padded Waistbelt
  • Built-in Weather Cover
  • Large Storage Areas
  • High-Quality Material
View Price →

 

1. Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L

best small camera backpack – peak design everyday

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Peak Design has established a positive name for their high quality, stylish range of messenger bags, slings and backpacks. As a result, they’re a well recognised and favourite brand among photographers looking for great solutions to carry their gear.

Recently the company made a sweeping upgrade to all of their bags including the Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L.

Peak Design has invested a huge amount of energy into making the Everyday Backpack version 2.0 an amazing piece of design and a step above the original bag.

Subtle changes are evident right across the bag, showing that V2 is far more than a simple refresh. Overall, it has a much cleaner and softer design with the outer shell made from weatherproof 100% recycled nylon. This material has a much smoother texture than the previous version.

This is a compact looking backpack – especially compared to the 30L model – and weighs just 1.66kg (3.66lbs). In terms of size, the bag is a neat 46.5cm x 30cm x 21cm (18.3″ x 11.8″ x 8.3″) making it a perfect day carry.

The exterior of the bag is incredibly minimal with many of the features hidden or tucked away. On each side of the bag is an expandable pocket (larger than those on the V1). These are perfect for carrying water bottles and a travel tripod.

Each side of the Everyday Backpack features a highly durable UltraZip that runs in an arc from the top to the bottom. These zips glide easily and also provide further weather sealing.

The base of the bag has four nylon hooks for attaching any of the four included straps. There’s also a hidden pocket where you can tuck the straps when not in use.

The front of the bag is incredibly stylish with a very minimal amount of stitching.

The top flap of the bag folds down over the top opening and, using the Peak Design MagLatch, hooks securely to the front of the bag. When the flap is lifted, a number of alloy brackets are revealed for the Mag Latch to connect to.

everyday backpack v2 on beach

Multiple pockets and straps allow you to carry a wide assortment of goods | © Tommy Williams

One nifty feature is the use of hidden magnets to keep the shoulder straps snug against the back of the bag. This way, when you’re carrying the Everyday Backpack by the carry handle, the straps aren’t flapping about.

Inside the bag, Peak Design has made even more sensible changes. The three included FlexFold dividers have been renewed and allow you to manage your gear. These dividers are amazing and operate like origami with folding elements to further divide your kit.

The Everyday Backpack makes it easy to access your gear: simply open the zippered flaps on the side of the bag and swing it around your shoulder to grab your camera. There’s no need to remove the bag from your body.

The inside of each of these zippered flaps has changed from the past model as these now only have two pockets. One is open and held closed with a magnet and the other uses a zip. This change has made the V2 less bulky thanks to less material being used.

The laptop pocket is accessible from the top of the bag with a newer and wider zipper. The laptop sleeve is height adjustable depending on the size of your laptop. This way, you’re not diving to the bottom of the sleeve for your smaller laptop.

There’s also a separate tablet sleeve and storage pockets for your bits and pieces.

The Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L will hold a huge amount of gear. It will easily hold a DSLR with a battery grip and three or four lenses. For mirrorless kits, it will hold even more – especially thanks to the clever FlexFold dividers that allow you to stack your gear.

When loaded, the bag is incredibly comfortable thanks to sensible back padding and adjustable straps. The waist strap has been removed from the V1 bag however the sternum strap is still in use.

This is quite clearly one of the best small camera backpacks available. With an amazing design, top quality materials and robust manufacturing the Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L will not disappoint.

The investment is well worth the protection of your gear and the comfort in your daily carry.

More Info: Peak Design Everyday Backpack V2 Review

2. Wandrd Prvke 21L

best camera back for minimal gear - wandrd prvke

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It goes without saying that Wandrd make exceptional camera bags and accessories. The Wandrd Prvke 21L is no exception, and it can easily be classed as one of the best small camera backpacks on the market.

The Prvke 21L has a very stylish and high-tech look to it that does not necessarily scream camera bag. The bag has a very slim profile with dimensions of 43.2cm x 27.9cm x 16.5cm (17″ x 11″ x 6.5″) and a weight of just 1.3 kg (2.8 lbs).

Further to this, the bag can increase in capacity from 21 litres to 25 litres thanks to the expanding roll-top.

The shell of the Prvke 21 is made from a waterproof tarpaulin and, where needed, Robic 1680D ballistic nylon is employed. This makes the bag incredibly durable and perfect for your next photography adventure. All external zippers are weather-resistant as well.

As a result of these materials and strict manufacturing, the bag is incredibly robust and durable. What’s more, it can take quite a beating and still come out looking great.

The front of the bag features a large and deep pocket with a zipper that runs the full vertical length of the bag. Aside from that, there’s a wide nylon strap with a large metal buckle and hook used to clasp the roll top down.

The roll-top itself is folds neatly closed to form a neat seam before you roll it down. And as mentioned, this roll-top both allows access to the main compartment and gives additional storage space.

Each side of the Prvke 21L has a nylon strap with an adjustable clip making it easy to attach other accessories to it.

On the right-hand side, there’s a bottle/tripod holder that’s zipped shut to keep it flush against the bag when not in use. Once you unzip it, the pocket expands to allow a good-sized water bottle or a tripod to be placed inside.

The other side of the bag features the quick access flap for gaining access to your camera cube and camera gear within. This flap lines up with the side flap of the camera cube so your camera is easy to get in and out.

The base of the bag is incredibly well-padded and features a hidden pocket where you can store the Rainfly rain cover. The top of the Prvke 21L has a pair of tote handles that come together with magnets to form a somewhat comfortable grip.

prvke-bundle

The Prvke photographer bundle includes several useful accessories.

On the rear, there is a zippered passport pocket perfect for storing a passport and a wallet as is sits against your back making it secure.

Access to the main compartment of the bag is from the back, as this way you can load in your camera cube in the bottom half of the bag. The top half of the main compartment is separated with a padded floor that can be removed if you want to load up the whole section.

From here, you can access the “checkpoint-friendly” laptop and tablet sleeves.

The top half of the Prvke 21L can also be accessed by the roll-top that allows you to adjust the size of the bag and how much you carry. When fully expanded, the roll-top allows for an additional 5 litres of storage capacity.

The bag is incredibly comfortable to carry with an amazing amount of padding and support in the back of the bag.

The adjustable shoulder pads are well placed to provide support and comfort along with the sternum strap. And with the attachable waist straps, you can really gain a total level of comfort, much like a high-quality hiking bag.

The removable Essential Camera Cube can easily carry a DSLR with a lens attached and two or three additional lenses. If you are shooting with a mirrorless camera system, then you will be able to hold a lot more.

Wandrd also offers a Pro Camera Cube that can be purchased separately. This essentially doubles the carrying capacity of gear – all supported with padded dividers. This larger cube will occupy both the bottom and top half of the bag’s main compartment.

It’s important to note that the bag is available on its own and does not include a camera cube, waist straps or rain cover.

There is the option to purchase a bundle that includes the Wandrd Prvke 21L with an Essential Camera Cube, Rainfly rain cover, waist straps and accessory straps. This is a fantastic bundle well suited to a photographer needing an all-purpose bag.

There’s no doubt that the Wandrd Prvke is a bag designed for the style-conscious tech user and photographer. But beyond that, it’s an incredibly robust and user-friendly bag and one of the best small camera backpacks around.

More Info: Wandrd Prvke Review

3. Peak Design Everyday Zip 20L

peak design everyday zip

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We’re back again with yet another Peak Design bag making the list for best small camera backpack. There’s a good reason that Peak Design feature twice in this guide: they just make exceptional photography products.

Peak Design claim that the Everyday Zip is a cleaner and a simpler variant of their popular Everyday Backpack – and they’re right. But that doesn’t mean that the quality is of a lower standard than its sibling.

The Zip is an incredibly stylish looking bag with an incredibly minimal outer appearance – especially if you grab the black or blue versions.

The shape and form of the bag is a very organic curved shell with a single zip that travels a 270-degree path to gain access to the main compartment. That may sound excessive, however, there is a genius zipper system at play (more on that shortly).

The bag is incredibly well made from 100% recycled 400D weatherproof nylon canvas shell.

The front of the shell has four lash-loops for strapping down additional gear. The lash straps are stored inside each of the side pockets for easy access when on the go.

The rear of the bag is well padded, as are the shoulder straps which have easy glide hardware and a removable sternum strap. The back also integrates a luggage passthrough underneath the back support that is held flush with a magnet.

The Everyday Zip features dual water bottle or tripod pockets that sit tight against the bag with stretchy material to allow them to expand. Above each of the side pockets is a well-padded grab handle in addition to the padded grab handle on the top of the bag.

True to its name, the Everyday Zip features a single zip that travels the entire perimeter of the bag, from the bottom of one side all the way up, over the top and down the other side. The zip system features four zip pulls so that you can control which parts of the bag you want to open to access your gear.

small backpack edz

The Zip offers convenient access to its cavernous interior | © Tommy Williams

You can also open the bag up entirely, as shown in the image above.

On the inside of each of the sidewalls, there are two pockets for smaller item storage. The top one is an open stretchy pocket that’s held closed with a magnet.

The bottom one is the same stretchy material but kept closed with a zip. There’s also a smaller pocket on the inside of the front wall of the bag (again with a zip).

No Peak Design Everyday bag would be complete without a pair of FlexFold dividers. These provide a great deal of flexibility in how you pack your gear into the bag, and are entirely unique to the brand.

Thanks to their origami-style folding system, you can create shelves and dividers inside your bag.

The Everyday Zip features a laptop sleeve and tablet sleeve that can house a 15″ laptop. This is accessed via a zip across the top of the bag.

Inside, there’s a quick-access pocket with two partitioned slip pockets, as well as a laptop and tablet sleeve. This sleeve is adjustable depending on the size of your laptop – so if you’re carrying a smaller laptop, you can adjust the depth of the sleeve.

The Everyday Zip is lightweight at just 1.32kg (2.91lb) and with outer dimensions of 48cm x 31.5cm x 23.5cm (18.9” x 12.4″ x 9.3″). Additional support can be gained via a removable waist belt that velcros to the back of the bag, inside the space that creates the luggage passthrough. This is sold separately.

(There’s also a 15L variant of the Zip, but we consider this a little too small for most photographers.)

Thanks to the side access you can quickly swing the bag around on your shoulder and grab your camera.

Because of the Peak Design FlexFold system, you have a lot of flexibility in how you set up the main internal compartment. With the two dividers, you can essentially create three unique spaces of any size you wish. Plus with the folding features of these dividers, you can split up the spaces even further.

This bag can easily hold a DSLR camera body with a zoom attached plus another three to four additional lenses and still have room for daily gear. Or, for the travel photographers, you could throw in a single camera and lens plus a jumper, headphones and all your essentials for a day trip.

Peak Design bags are exceptional products made by creative tech people for creative tech people. The Everyday Zip is clearly one of the best smaller camera backpacks available and is a perfect bag for light travel or carrying your whole kit.

More Info: Peak Design Everyday Zip Review

4. MindShift Gear PhotoCross 15

lightweight small camera backpacks mindshift gear photocross15

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MindShift has an incredible range of bags, and the PhotoCross 15 is one of them. Put simply, it’s a rugged and comfortable solution for carrying your gear.

What’s more, this bag is exceptional value for money making it one of the best small camera backpacks on offer.

The MindShift PhotoCross 15 has a more boxy shape than any of the other bags we’ve talked about in this guide. Regardless, it has a neat and clean style that’s perfect for adventure travellers wanting to bring their kit with them.

Thanks to the use of weather-resistant 420 high-density nylon, the bag’s really light at 1.4kg (3.0 lbs.) Its outer dimension are 33cm x 50cm x 19 cm (13” x 19.7” x 7.5”) making it a great sized 20-litre bag suited to carrying your gear in comfort.

The bag also features high-quality weather-resistant zippers to keep your camera and lenses dry and safe.

Starting with the outside, the PhotoCross 15 has a fairly minimal look to it with clean lines and panels on the main shell. The front of the bag features four nylon loops which allow you to attach the included gear straps and strap down additional gear.

There is a front zippered pocket that’s quite large and has pockets and slips for holding flat things like a phone, wallet and tablet. My only complaint is that the zip does not open up the pocket enough and I wish they had made this more accessible.

mindshift-photocross-13-contents

Example contents of the 15L Mindshift PhotoCross | © Bhagi Siva

To one side is a pocket that can fit a water bottle (up to one-litre) or tripod. There’s an adjustable strap above this for securing a longer tripod.

The other side of the bag has a long weatherproof zipper that runs around three edges of the bag. Once opened, this gives full access to the main gear compartment and allows for you to swing the bag around your body to grab your gear.

The base of the PhotoCross 15 is made of a heavy-duty waterproof tarpaulin. This means that when you put the bag down, it’s not going to soak up moisture – even in rainy conditions.

At the rear of the bag, there’s a padded back support and shoulder straps that are adjustable and well padded. For added comfort, the bag comes with a removable waist strap that has a simple attachment mechanism.

Finally, the top of the bag has a strong nylon grab handle that whilst is not padded, is easy to use and comfortable.

Inside the main compartment is a huge cavity that you can easily customise with the included dividers. This allows you to configure the space for larger DSLR gear or for smaller mirrorless gear. Either way, your gear will be safe thanks to the ample padding of the bag and the dividers. It’s comforting to know that your kit is not rolling around inside your bag.

Inside this compartment, there is a laptop sleeve that will support a 15″ laptop or large tablet. There are additional storage pockets on the inside of the main flap. These are perfect for your spare batteries, memory cards and other accessories.

Wearing this bag is a breeze thanks to the combination of the fully adjustable shoulder, waist and sternum straps. The back panel of the PhotoCross 15 is fitted with breathable air-mesh making the bag a dream on long hot photo excursions.

Those wanting to carry a DSLR with three to five lenses will have no trouble fitting such a large kit into this bag. And those carrying a smaller kit will have ample room for their day trip carry items like headphones, a light jacket and a good book.

The MindShift PhotoCross 15 backpack is a great camera bag – perfect for travelling in comfort and knowing that your gear is safe and sound.

More Info: MindShift Photo Cross Review

5. Lowepro Fastpack BP 150 AW II

lowepro everyday backpack for small kit

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Lowepro is one of the most experienced camera bag manufacturers around and a perfect example of that heritage is the Lowepro Fastpack BP 150 AW II. So it’s no wonder that it makes our list of best small camera backpacks.

The Lowepro Fastpack 150 is primarily a tale of two bags together as one – even in appearance. The bag is roughly a 50/50 split between the top section for everyday carry gear and the bottom section for your camera gear.

In general, Lowepro camera bags are not as much about style as they are about function and comfort. Not to say that this is an ugly bag, but it certainly won’t win any awards for style and looks.

The Fastpack 150 is an incredibly comfortable bag to use and is quite compact and light. It weighs just on 1.4kg (3 lbs.) and has outer dimensions of 25cm x 23cm x 47cm (10″ x 9″ x 19″).

Despite its smaller size, the Fastpack 150 will comfortably hold a DSLR with a couple of extra lenses – plus all your smaller bits and pieces.

On top of this, it will hold an 11″ laptop and tablet as well as still having plenty of room for your personal gear.

The front of the bag has a simple appearance with a quick access pouch at the top that closes with a zipper.

The top half of the bag is opened via a zipper that travels from one side of the bag and up and over to the other side. This way you can fold down the entire front of the top half of the bag.

Within this section is a large space for carrying your everyday needs such as a light jacket. There are also three pockets on the back internal wall that are thin and great for storing spare batteries and memory cards. The two smaller pockets are open while the third larger one has a zipper to keep it closed.

The front of the bottom half of the bag has a flap that hangs down from the midpoint of the bag and is secured by two clips. Underneath this flap is a flat zippered pocket to store thin items such as a set of filters.

To access the main camera compartment of the Fastpack 150, there’s a zipper that runs around the side and front of the bag. If you only open this flap on the side of the bag, this acts as quick access to grab your camera gear without taking the bag off or opening it all the way.

There is a long side zip that gives access to a dual laptop and tablet sleeve that then sits against your back.

To access all of your gear and to arrange your padded dividers, you can open the flap all the way. The inside of the flap also features some small pockets ideal for memory cards.

The other outer side of the Fastpack 150 has a stretchy water bottle or tripod pocket along with a strap above it to secure your gear.

The top of the bag features a grab handle while the rear back support area is well padded with gulleys for airflow. The straps on the Fastpack 150 are well padded, fully adjustable and incredibly comfortable to wear with a loaded bag.

Instead of having a luggage passthrough panel, the bag instead has a hidden pair of straps that clip together. This way you can stand the bag on your suitcase with the handle extended and the backpack straps holding it in place.

At the base of the bag, there’s a hidden pocket that stores a rain cover for heavier weather conditions.

While there is a waist strap, it’s not padded and quite thin. This will provide some support but with a heavier bag would not be ideal.

The Lowepro Fastpack BP 150 AW II is an incredibly versatile bag and is excellent value for money. It’s incredibly comfortable to use and provides you with a very versatile daily carry system for your camera and personal gear.

Final Words

I hope this guide to the best small camera backpack of the year will help you make the right decision for your camera gear.

Remember, using a smaller bag is a great way of deliberately limiting the amount of equipment you take with you.

It forces you to consider whether you really need that travel tripod, or those filters, or that 3rd lens. A minimal gear set up can also encourage more creative thinking.

Happy carrying and happy shooting!

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.

I am a Melbourne based street photographer and blogger. I love to travel and make a regular trip to Japan to photograph and document its dynamic culture.