For a great many people, traveling and photography go hand in hand – it’s a match made in artistic and educational heaven.
Taking beautiful pictures to document your trips is one of life’s little joys – even if you’re not quite at National Geographic or Pulitzer prize level.
The problem is, if you’re chasing the really professional images, you’re going to need to pack a lot more muscle than a simple point and shoot.
And that means taking up a lot of space with precious and expensive equipment. Equipment that, unfortunately, has a tendency to get damaged very easily.
So, what’s the answer?
If you’re planning on taking some top-quality camera kit with you on your next adventure, you’re going to need a top-quality packing solution to protect it.
Particularly if you’re going to be on the move.
That’s why I’ve compiled this review to discover the best camera backpack for travel. And below my picks, you’ll find a handy guide to all the features and functions you need to look out for when choosing your preferred style.
- What is the Best Camera Hiking Backpack 2018?
- Altura Photo Camera Sling Backpack
- Qipi Sling Bag Style Camera Backpack
- G-raphy Waterproof Camera Backpack
- Beaspire DSLR Camera Photography Backpack
- Zecti Waterproof Canvas DSLR Camera Bag
- Beschoi DSLR Camera Backpack
- Canon Deluxe Photo Backpack
- Nikon 17006 Compact DSLR Camera Backpack
- Evecase Large DSLR Camera Travel Backpack
- Lowepro Photo Hatchback
- Lowepro Photo Sport 200 AW II
- Manfrotto MB Pro Backpack 50
- Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW Camera Backpack
- Tenba Shootout 24L Bag
- Atlas Athlete Camera Pack
- What Should the Best Camera Bag for Hiking Include?
What is the Best Camera Hiking Backpack 2018?
An interesting question indeed!
So, let’s get started and hopefully you’ll find your new camera companion somewhere among this selection.
Altura Photo Camera Sling Backpack
I’ll kick things off with this sling backpack for mirrorless and DSLR cameras. Its compact design is really appealing.
It holds your camera and up to two lenses in the main compartment, but there’s more space for an extra lens and other equipment throughout its construction.
It could well be the best camera sling bag for hiking – and it’s really affordable too!
- Super compact and lightweight design.
- Comfortable sling shoulder style.
- Amazing price.
- Not suitable if you’ve got lots of equipment.
Qipi Sling Bag Style Camera Backpack
Just to give you another sling-style option (because I’m nice like that) there’s this offering from Qipi.
It’s a little larger than the Altura version, and it does have the added advantage of including a built-in waterproof rain cover.
However, its larger main compartment seems to be the trade-off for not having extra lens section down the side. I never said the choice would be easy!
- The built-in rain cover is a welcome addition.
- Security pocket.
- Extra thick padding for protection.
- Great price.
- Not much space for anything else.
G-raphy Waterproof Camera Backpack
Moving on up to the traditional backpack style first brings us to this number from G-raphy.
It’s a laptop and camera design that can hold all your electrical items safely in its weather resistant housing – but there’s also a rain-cover if you’re caught in a downpour.
There’s plenty of space for you to mix and match lenses and cameras in customizable divider walls.
- No-nonsense, easy access design.
- Doesn’t look like a camera backpack.
- Optional internal colors.
- Might not stand up to rigorous use.
Beaspire DSLR Camera Photography Backpack
A compact backpack choice is this effort from Beaspire. It doesn’t have the laptop sleeve – but then you’re not really buying it for that, are you?
You can adapt the interior of the bag to suit your needs, even removing the padding completely should you just require a standard backpack.
Detachable waist and sternum straps ensure it stays in place when you’re on the move.
- Rain cover included.
- Tripod pocket helps keep the weight distributed.
- Might just have too many distracting clips, zippers, and fastenings.
Zecti Waterproof Canvas DSLR Camera Bag
Here’s something a little different with this stylish waterproof canvas bag from Zecti.
The camera compartment is at the bottom of the bag, where you can store any combination of up to four of your chosen lenses.
The top compartment is suitable as space for extra clothing or other gear, and the whole package is well weighted with solid straps and breathable back materials.
- Stylish, multi-use design.
- Waterproof, but a rain cover is included.
- Hidden tripod pocket.
- Tear resistant.
- Canvas design not everyone’s cup of tea.
- A little fiddly accessing the equipment for some.
Beschoi DSLR Camera Backpack
Now, this offering from Beschoi does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a camera backpack – no messing!
It can hold up to two DSLR cameras and up to 6 lenses in the single main compartment – which is super easy to access. There’s also a laptop sleeve for devices up to 14 inches.
Made from water-repellent nylon, it also boasts anti-theft zippers and reinforced stitching. You can also remove the internal padding should you want to use it as a daypack.
- No-nonsense design.
- Large capacity.
- Two sizes available.
- No rain-cover.
- No room for any other gear.
Canon Deluxe Photo Backpack
They make great cameras, but do they make great camera backpacks? You’d expect so coming from one of the world’s leading camera manufacturers.
It’s made from a waterproofed material with the main compartment capable of holding up to 2 cameras and 4 lenses.
In an unusual move, the tripod straps are on the bottom of the pack. There’s a handy drawstring section on the front to maybe stuff some extra clothing or other gear.
- Smart, simple design.
- Great price for what you get.
- It’s obvious it’s a camera bag.
- Only marketed at Canon users?
Nikon 17006 Compact DSLR Camera Backpack
Speaking of Nikon, I couldn’t let Canon have an entry without researching a bag from their biggest rival.
This is a super compact design that can still hold up to 5 lenses and up to 2 DSLRs with flash accessories and other equipment.
Solidly built, tear-resistant construction with comfortable straps and sternum harness.
- Smart, functional design.
- Built to last.
- Adjustable interior.
- Like the Canon – it’s obvious it’s a camera bag.
- Unclear how waterproof it is.
Evecase Large DSLR Camera Travel Backpack
We’re starting to get really serious now with this practical camera bag from Evecase.
It can hold up to 2 DSLRs and 2-5 lenses, as well as a sleeve for laptops or notepads up to 15 inches.
There are loads of other features including a rain cover, luggage strap, and exterior water bottle holder.
- Plenty of room.
- Easy access.
- Looks a little on the bulky side.
Lowepro Photo Hatchback
It was a matter of time before carry case specialists Lowepro showed up on the list, and this is the first of a few entries they have here.
The Californian based company are known for their quality camera cases, and the hatchback does not disappoint. It’ll hold a DSLR and up to 3 extra lenses.
It’s a super-cool, slim-line design with a really unique, discreet way of packing your equipment in a removable padded box.
- Classy, eye-catching design.
- Solidly build.
- Rain cover included.
- Excellent security.
- Choice of colors.
- Might be a little on the small side for some.
Lowepro Photo Sport 200 AW II
Another Lowepro entry is this Photo Sport bag – one of the most popular hiking packs on the market.
Designed with hikers specifically in mind, it incorporates a day-pack compartment to hold non-camera related gear.
There’s also a hydration system – which is pretty rare for these kinds of products.
- Ergonomic design.
- Hip belt and rain cover included.
- Super easy access with no need to put the pack down.
- A little small for larger lenses.
Manfrotto MB Pro Backpack 50
Made from weather resistant Cordura nylon, this backpack is very customizable. You can rearrange the padded internal compartments to suit your needs and it’s a seriously pro piece of kit.
Shock resistant construction protects your gear from any moderate bumps or knocks.
Can be unzipped quickly to access loads of gear – up to 2 DSLRs and 5 lenses, with a 15″ laptop thrown in for good measure.
- Large capacity.
- Weather resistant.
- Solid construction.
- A little on the bulky side.
Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW Camera Backpack
Yet another Lowepro pick (the last one – I promise) is arguably their best. It’s a military style design that wouldn’t look out of place on a Navy Seal.
It can pack a whopping 8 lenses as well as 1-2 DSLRs. Not only that, it’ll hold a 15” laptop and all the trimmings – including a drone!
There are far too many other features to go into here – you need to check this pack out!
- Literally everything.
- If you find one – tell me!
Tenba Shootout 24L Bag
The Tenba Shootout boasts excellent harness design, well-padded and adjustable shoulder straps, and a sternum strap and hip belt. It’s definitely one of the most comfortable and sturdy designs out there.
Can hold a ridiculous amount of equipment – this is another bag for the pros.
Built to withstand all seasons and weather conditions.
- Choice of sizes available.
- Unrivaled comfort.
- Great option if you’re carrying more gear.
- Quality padding and protection.
- It’s getting to be an expensive hobby!
Atlas Athlete Camera Pack
We’ve arrived at the upper echelons of camera hiking backpacks and if you fancy a serious splurge, the Atlas Athlete is the one for you.
It has all the necessary features a good hiking backpack brings, along with the ability to have easy access to a studio’s worth of equipment in the front padded compartment.
It’s designed to be the most versatile bag out there, and you’d never know it was a camera backpack unless I told you!
- Ticks all the boxes for the serious hiker/photographer.
- Room for the kitchen sink.
- Built like a tank.
- You’ve guessed it – it’s exorbitantly expensive.
What Should the Best Camera Bag for Hiking Include?
Camera bags today come with all kinds of bells and whistles to maximize the user’s experience, but it can often make choosing the right kit a bit of a head-scratcher.
With that in mind, I’ve cobbled together some functions and features you might want to look out for when choosing the right product for you.
Buckle up – there are lots to consider!
They say you shouldn’t run before you can walk, and never was a truer word spoken than when it comes to photography.
It’s easy to lose count of the sheer number of people who have bought expensive camera equipment and it’s just left gathering dust.
When choosing a camera bag, seriously consider your skill level, limitations, goals, and aspirations.
Don’t be one of the many who fork out hundreds of dollars only to realize that the hobby isn’t for them.
Style of Bag
This review has been all about the best hiking camera bags – predominately a backpack style – but they come in all shapes and sizes.
It often boils down to personal preference, so you’ve still got a decision to make.
They may even be a combination of all styles that each have their advantages and disadvantages.
It’s up to you to decide which you prefer – or which best suits the type of photography you’re going to be perusing.
Just as varied as the style is the size, and again, you want to be choosing the right tool for the job.
If you’re packing multiple lenses and camera bodies, plus all the extras you need for your shoot, then you’re obviously going to need something that accommodates all your gear.
Likewise, you don’t need a behemoth of a bag on your back if you’re using an iPhone and a selfie stick.
Don’t forget about airline carry-on requirements either.
Oversized bags will need to be checked in, and you don’t want some bored, jaded luggage handler launching your babies around with careless abandon.*
*Disclaimer – I don’t believe luggage handlers are bored or jaded. I was using it for comic effect.
Camera’s are heavy. There’s no getting around it.
And when you incorporate a ton of lenses, tripods, spare batteries, and even lighting rigs, you’re potentially going to be lugging a studio around.
Consider the potential weight and bulkiness of a bag including your equipment before you make a purchase.
Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. I would say one of the primary objectives of a good camera bag is to keep all your equipment safe from the elements.
The material a bag is constructed from is going to be on the front line when it comes to that protection.
Canvas and leather bags each offer their own pros and cons.
And at the very least, you should expect some degree of waterproofing. Even if you’re not venturing into the rainforest, you never know when the weather can turn.
Water, sand, and dust will spell death to camera equipment.
The best camera bags for travel will be able to keep your stuff properly sheltered from those nasty things.
The inner workings of a camera bag are just as important as the external protection.
Most decent bags worth their salt will come with soft foam dividers that will offer loads of storage space and options for each piece of your kit.
And there isn’t a photographer alive that hasn’t missed a photo opportunity because they haven’t been able to get to their equipment fast enough.
Just as valuable as the great organization is the ease of which your gear can be accessed.
You certainly don’t want to be fiddling with zippers or raking through compartments the exact moment a giraffe decides to try and mate with a lion.
The best camera backpack for hiking will have been built with the knowledge that you’ll potentially be carrying it around for days, weeks, months and even years.
Hopefully not all at once.
I’ve mentioned the weight of a pack before, and just to add a further corollary, carrying comfort is also vitally important.
Traveling with camera equipment can get tiring fast, so having a bag with the right kind of support will prevent sore shoulders and dodge an emergency trip to the chiropractor.
A bag that screams “I am full of expensive equipment, please steal me” is one feature you will surely want to avoid.
Unfortunately, this is easier said than done, as for the most part, it’s pretty obvious when a camera bag is a camera bag.
When it comes to travel and theft, apart from an open wallet full of cash, there’s little a thief likes more than a nice, juicy, camera stealing opportunity.
However, many bags do come with additional security features and there are some lower-profile packs out there.
Choosing something as discreet as possible might be food for thought if you’re concerned about those ever-present light fingers.
It’s always nice when you purchase something for a particular job that it can also be used for something else.
Having extra space or an adaptable interior can be a strong selling point for some camera bags.
The opportunity to carry more than just photo equipment is a big bonus.
The best camera bag for backpacking will likely offer storage options for other gear you might need on a hike, such as waterproof clothing, food, and water.
There’s a lot to take in if you’re shopping for the best camera backpack for travel, but hopefully, this guide has shed a little bit of light on your search.
For some extra tips and tricks, including how to pack your new gear, check out the video below.
And for more info about traveling – specifically how to stay safe when you’re on the road solo, download the eBook which has loads of advice for keeping you just as protected as your camera equipment, without the need to stuff you in a padded bag.
Happy shooting – and best of luck for that Pulitzer!
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