Best Camera Backpacks That Are Actually Worth The Money

Most people don't realize how much gear is needed on a photography expedition, even an urban one. One or two cameras, a few lenses, a laptop, flashes, batteries, cords and memory cards are just some of the things you need to take along. And all of that equipment is expensive.

You need a way to carry all of that gear safely and comfortably. So we sorted through a mountain of camera backpacks that claim to be the best, and we ended up with seven that we think have a right to that claim. Keep reading. I bet you will find a camera pack here that you will want to trust with your gear.

Before we get into detailed reviews of each backpack, let's look at a quick comparison of each backpack first...

Product Name

Key Features

Price

Best Overall

Case Logic SLRC - 206 Camera Backpack

Case Logic SLRC Camera Backpack

EXAMPLE CAPACITY

SLR w/ Lens, 3 lenses, 16” laptop, 12”x10” drone, accessories

DIMENSIONS

12.5”x8”x17”

TRIPOD LOOPS?

Yes

BEST Low-Budget

AmazonBasics DSLR And Laptop Backpack

AmazonBasics DSLR And Laptop Backpack

EXAMPLE CAPACITY

2 SLRs, 3 lenses, 17” laptop, accessories

DIMENSIONS

13.4”x8.8”x17.7”

TRIPOD LOOPS?

Yes

NOTE

Budget Pick

Lowepro Slingshot Camera Bag

Lowepro Slingshot Camera Bag

EXAMPLE CAPACITY

DSLR w/ lens, 5 lenses, accessories

DIMENSIONS

12.5”x11”x18”

TRIPOD LOOPS?

Compact tripod

Beschoi Waterproof Camera Backpack

Beschoi Waterproof Camera Backpack

EXAMPLE CAPACITY

2 DSLRs, 4 lenses, 13.5” laptop, accessories

DIMENSIONS

17.5”x11”x5.5”

TRIPOD LOOPS?

Compact tripod

Altura Photo - Great Explorer Camera Bag

Altura Photo - Great Explorer Camera Bag

EXAMPLE CAPACITY

2 DSLRs, 4 lenses, 13” laptop, 10” tablet, accessories

DIMENSIONS

12.5”x8.5”x18.5”

TRIPOD LOOPS?

Yes

Tubu Outdoor Camera Backpack

Tubu Outdoor Camera Backpack

EXAMPLE CAPACITY

2 DSLRs, 6 lenses, 13” laptop, accessories

DIMENSIONS

12”x8”x19”

TRIPOD LOOPS?

Yes

Bagsmart Profesional Camera Backpack

Bagsmart Profesional Camera Backpack

EXAMPLE CAPACITY

2 DSLRs, 6 lenses, 15” laptop, accessories

DIMENSIONS

13”x19.7”x8.3”

TRIPOD LOOPS?

2 (one full, one compact)

How We Reviewed These Camera Backpacks

If you have read some of our other "best of" review articles, you know that we begin by eliminating the junk. In this case, that junk was mostly made up of camera backpacks with laughably thin padding and shoddy zippers. We also encountered some that just weren't tough enough.

Then, we selected only the packs that could hold a camera or two and at least four lenses in addition to any other accessories that you would need on a day-long photography trip.

From there, we exhaustively compared the remaining contestants to each other. Only the ones that had something special to offer made the final cut.

The Best Camera Backpacks Reviewed And Compared

Below we've outlined some important features of the camera backpacks that made it to our list of "top picks." This way you can get the information you need before deciding which backpack is best for you.

Let's get started with our #1 pick...

Best Overall:
Case Logic SLRC - 206 Camera Backpack

Case Logic SLRC Camera Backpack

We'll begin the reviews with our pick for the "best overall."

The exterior is made of tough water-resistant nylon with a rigid base that is made to stand upright on the ground. This is such as useful feature that we can't figure out why it isn't standard on all camera backpacks. It can even stand in a couple inches of water and remain dry on the inside.

Fully adjustable straps are pretty common in these types of bags, but we like the way you can roll the extra strap lengths up and secure them with the built-in strap fastener loops on this model.

Most photographers do not want to advertise to thieves that they are carrying expensive cameras and equipment. So it is nice that this pack, like most others on this list, looks like a regular backpack for the most part.

A lot of thought went into the design of the interior. The main compartment, where all your bulky equipment like lenses and flashes will be stored, can be easily customized by simply moving the heavily padded dividers around. Everything is cushioned very well, so there is little, if any, shifting.

Our favorite feature of this pack, if we had to choose one, would be the camera holster. It holds an SLR with attached lens suspended at the top of the main compartment. To access it, you unzip a zipper and pull the camera out. This would come in handy if you needed to grab and shoot at a moment's notice.

Pros

  • Camera holster
  • Water-resistant
  • Well-padded
  • Check Circle
    Comfortable
  • Check Circle
    Durable

Cons

  • Only room for one camera

Low-Budget Pick:
AmazonBasics DSLR And Laptop Backpack

AmazonBasics DSLR And Laptop Backpack

Our budget pick is similar to our pick for best overall, but it has a few drawbacks not found in the more expensive option.

First, the one advantage over the Case Logic SLRC-206: It will fit two cameras instead of just one. But it cannot easily store any cameras with lenses attached, unless you want to give most of your space to one camera and lens.

The interior padding isn't quite as good either. It will protect your equipment, but is not made of the same high-quality foam. The padding on the straps, however, is thick, and the cross straps keep the pack from shifting around on your back.

While the pack isn't really water-resistant, it does come with a rain cover. Personally, if I was carrying a couple DSLRs and a few expensive lenses in bad weather, I would use a rain cover regardless of how water-resistant my pack was supposed to be.

If you are on a budget, take a good look at this one.

Pros

  • Super nice price
  • Holds a 17" laptop - Compare to most other packs that hold 15" max
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Can't easily hold camera with lens attached
  • Not quite enough padding inside

Beschoi Waterproof Camera Backpack

Beschoi Waterproof Camera Backpack

The Case Logic pack is water-resistant and the AmazonBasics pack comes with a rain cover, but this one is specially designed to be waterproof. We ran across several camera backpacks that make this claim during the course of our research for this list, but we included this Beschoi pack because it delivers on its promise.

So what makes it so waterproof? We looked into it and discovered that it's not just the water-repelling nylon exterior, but heavily reinforced seams and high-quality zippers that keep the water out. Should you still use a rain cover? You're better safe than sorry, right?

We wish that the movable interior padded dividers were thicker. But this is a pretty thin pack, and that helps keep your equipment from moving around too much.

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Durable seams
  • Low-profile design

Cons

  • Padded dividers are somewhat thin
  • 5.5" depth may not be enough for some

Tubu Outdoor Camera Backpack

Tubu Outdoor Camera Backpack

Here is another waterproof camera backpack, and this one is actually designed to be used in the great outdoors. It is roomier that the Beschoi, but that makes it bulkier too. We included it here because, among other things that make it great, it can fit a bunch of photography gear and some hiking essentials.

It is made of water-repelling nylon, like the Beschoi, and features flaps over the zippers for an added layer of protection from rain. Use the included rain guard for total confidence in inclement weather.

It is amazing how much equipment you can fit into this pack. The bottom compartment can hold a camera with an attached lens and two extra lenses. The middle one can handle a few more lenses, and the expandable top compartment can hold a full change of clothes. There is also a side quick-access pocket and a tripod loop.

It's too bad there is not a padded laptop compartment. If there was, this pack would have given the Case Logic pack a serious run for the "best overall" award!

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Plenty of capacity
  • Quick-access compartment
  • Check Circle
    Durable

Cons

  • Not much organization capability for smaller items
  • Not good for carrying a laptop

Altura Photo - Great Explorer Camera Bag

Altura Photo - Great Explorer Camera Bag

This one almost nabbed the top spot too. If it had an easy-access camera holster, it may very well have got it. It holds a camera with attached lens in the perfect position, but it lacks an opening right above it that would allow you to grab it quickly. You have to open the main compartment to get to it. Hey Altura Photo, are you reading this?

We love the padding in this pack. It is thick and will protect your expensive equipment well. The lid of the main compartment holds a 13" laptop. A secondary compartment holds other accessories, including a tablet up to 10".

The exterior construction is rugged enough for this bag to be considered a hiking pack. There is an included rain cover that can be stored in the hidden bottom compartment along with a tripod.

One thing that you may not like is the logo. "Altura Photo" is clearly visible on the back. This all but tells thieves that they have hit the jackpot. I wouldn't let this bag out of my sight for very long.

Pros

  • Good interior padding
  • Rugged exterior
  • Enough padded storage for a 13" laptop and a 10" tablet
  • Check Circle
    Includes rain cover

Cons

  • Logo may advertise contents
  • Waist strap is too small for heavier people

Bagsmart Profesional Camera Backpack

Bagsmart Profesional Camera Backpack

Speaking of thieves, here is a camera backpack that is said to be theft-resistant. There are special buckles that snap over the zippers when the main compartment is closed. This cannot stop a thief, but it can slow one down.

This pack made our list because it is roomy, comfortable and durable.

The top compartment holds one camera and two to four lenses. The bottom compartment holds a removable padded caddy that holds one camera and two lenses. You can remove the caddy and use that compartment to store bulky things you may need on a trip, like a light jacket or some snacks.

The interior padding is ample. That's a good thing, because this is a pretty big pack.

There is one mesh pocket on each side of the pack. One can hold a tripod and the other can hold a large water bottle. That is one thing that we noticed many of these types of backpacks lack. Everything seems to have its own water bottle holder nowadays. Why do so few camera backpacks have them?

Pros

  • Plenty of capacity
  • Durable exterior
  • Camera caddy removes to make room for other stuff
  • Check Circle
    Good padding

Cons

  • May be too large for some
  • If you are going to advertise your product as "theft-resistant," at least include a small padlock and lock anchor

Lowepro Slingshot Camera Bag

Lowepro Slingshot Camera Bag

Here is a unique camera backpack. It has only one strap. The point is that the single strap makes it easy to sling the bag from your back to your front so you can unzip and access the compartments quickly. We were skeptical at first, but this really is a useful feature and it people love it!

We thought that it may be uncomfortable, but we were wrong. The bag and strap is designed well so it can be carried for an extended period. It doesn't feel very stable on your back, so it probably wouldn't make a good pack for hiking with your photography gear.

It has enough padded space for a camera and a few lenses. There is an upper compartment with a stash pocket that is great for personal items. We like the built-in memory card holders, which is another thing that many camera bags seem to be lacking.

Pros

  • unique design provides quick and easy access to all compartments
  • Dedicated compartment for personal items
  • Special memory card pockets

Cons

  • Some do not like the single-strap design
  • Cannot easily hold a full-size tripod

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I Get A Pack A Size Bigger Than I Need Now So I Don't Have To Buy A Bigger One When I Get More Equipment?

You don't want your gear shifting around too much. The padded dividers protect your equipment, but they are usually not attached to the interior of the pack. You should pretty much fill the pack with your gear then use the padded dividers to separate it all.

Why Do So Many Camera Backpacks Have Special Compartments For Laptops?

Because more and more photographers are editing their photos in the field.

My Equipment Is Expensive. How Can I Make My Pack Less Appealing To Thieves?

If the pack you decide to get has a logo that identifies it as a camera bag, consider putting a sticker over it. If you carry a tripod in an exterior pocket or loop, get a small drawstring bag to put it in, then put it in the pocket or loop.


The Final Verdict

We have uncovered several really nice and useful camera backpacks here.

Our budget pick surprised us with its nice price. Take a good look at it before making your final decision.

Our pick for the overall best will probably make everyone happy. It is versatile and has all the features that we could ask for.

All of the others are here because they each have something to offer. Read the reviews again and decide which one has the something that you need.

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