//We Found the Best Camera Backpack of All Time

We Found the Best Camera Backpack of All Time

We love our backpacks. Though we love the minimalist lifestyle, if there’s one thing we hoard, it’s backpacks. 

When we decided to rebrand and come up with our new logo, our designer mentioned that she always pictured us wearing a backpack. Hence, our logo includes… you’ve guessed it, a backpack!

Over the years, we’ve tested out dozens of backpacks, and today we’ve narrowed it down to the best camera backpack of all time.

The Best Camera Backpack + What to Look For

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Last Updated: April 2, 2020

We Found the Best Camera Backpack of All Time

Right now, we have 5 camera backpacks we rotate through based on the activity and how much gear we want to carry. We currently use two of them for travel, and we keep the others around when we adventure locally.

For years, we’ve been on the search for the elusive perfect backpack only to realize one bag can’t do it all. That being said, we found one that’s as perfect as it gets.

We’ll continue to update this post as we get more bags. It’s an addiction, and we can’t stop.

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What to Look ForThe Best Camera BackpackOther Notable Backpacks

What to Look for in a Camera Backpack

Other than the prerequisite of keeping our camera gear safe, these are what we take into consideration:

SizeWeight and FitDurability and Weather ResistanceAccess and Design

Best DSLR Backpack

The Best Camera Backpack

Size

It’s always difficult to find the balance between being big enough to carry all our gear but not so big that it’s bulky and cumbersome.

Also, since we’re both on the petite end (Jacob is 5’7 and Esther is 4’11), many bags that look normal on others make us look like children.

1-15 L – These are small grab and go bags with space for one camera and small personal items.15-30 L – It’s big enough to put a camera body and 1-2 lenses plus some space for other items. This is our sweet spot.30+ L – For carrying a lot of camera gear. We only carry them for professional shoots or events.

Weight & Fit

Typically, the lighter the bag, the better, but you also want to make sure that there is enough protection for your gear. Since camera gear is heavy, you want to see how it feels fully loaded and on long days out.

That’s where we get into fit and how the weight is distributed.

Durability & Weather Resistance

Where will you be taking your backpack? We try to find bags made of durable weather-resistant materials because we never know where we’ll end up.

The last thing we want to do is worry about our gear if it starts raining or if we’re stuck in a sand storm. An additional rainfly can add more protection.

Access & Design

Let’s face it, we want easy access because we’re lazy. The harder it is to take our camera out, the less we end up using it.

We prefer bags that have side access to the camera so that we can swing it around and get it without taking the bag off.

Besides that, the design and how it looks matter too. There are some small design details that we’ve learned to love over time and we’ll talk about those with each bag. Some of the features we look for are:

Compression straps to pack down the bag so it’s not bulky when the extra space isn’t being used.Organization for all the small camera accessoriesSternum and Waist Straps to help distribute the loadAdaptability – is there more than one way to use the bag

More: 15 Best Travel Backpacks You Need to Check Out

Best Camera Backpacks for Everyday

These are the bags we use most. Keep in mind, we’re carrying our DSLR and one additional lens. Besides that, we have a battery bank, a Lume Cube, a light layer, water bottle, and occasionally a drone. Plus, for when we travel, each of these bags has a dedicated and easy to access laptop sleeve.

1. Wandrd Prvke (Editor’s Choice)

If we had to choose one camera backpack to keep, it would be this one.

I’ve worn the bag full of gear all day, and it’s still comfortable. I strap the tripod to the side where the water bottle goes, but you can use the additional accessory straps to put it elsewhere.

Pros

Modular camera gear organizationSide access to a cameraSecret pocket for valuablesLow profileRoll-top design makes it expandableOptional waist and accessory strapsWeather-resistantDedicated rainfly pocket

Cons

Camera side access is from the left side (it feels more natural on the right side to me)Roll-top is not as quick to accessNo dedicated storage for waist strapsLimited organization if you have a lot of small accessories

Wandrd Prvke + 15 Best Travel Backpacks You Need to Check Out

2. Peak Design Everyday Backpack

We’ve had the Everyday Backpack longer than any other bag. I use this day-to-day in the city and especially loved it while living in NYC. Everything has easy access with zippers to both sides. Plus, everyone loves the stylish look of this bag.

It comes in two sizes, 20L and 30L. We use the 20L bag because we don’t need to carry as much gear anymore.

We still have the first version. Since then they’ve updated it, and I’ll post a review on their updates soon. They also came out with two variations of this bag, one with a zipper instead of the top flap and one that is a tote backpack version.

Pros

You can configure the interior to fit your needsEasy and quick access from two sides and the topAccess the sides and panel pockets while still wearing the bagPlenty of organization for smaller items in the side panels made specifically for camera gearWeatherproof shell

Cons

Expansion on top doesn’t feel as secure when at it’s at max capacityUnpadded waist strapsNot as easy to put back all the camera dividers

Peak Design Everyday Backpack Review

3. Lowepro FreeLine BP350 AW

Jacob won the Freeline at a B&H raffle. When we started using it, it was eerily similar to the Peak Design Everyday Bag. It has all the functionality of the Peak Design bag and also a few added features specific for camera gear. 

My biggest complaint is that everyone knows Lowepro makes camera bags, and it can be a target for theft in touristy areas. We still use it from time to time, but it’s more of a bench warmer at this time.

Pros

Modular camera organization system that can be easily removed
Organization pockets for camera gear
Side access zippers on both sides
Weather resistant
Additional gear box included

Cons

Looks very much like a camera bag
Feels like a less-stylish copy of the Everyday Backpack
Waist straps aren’t padded
Doesn’t expand

4. Boundary Supply Prima System

When researching the best camera backpack, we kept seeing the Prima System from Boundary Supply pop up. At first glance, it has a lot of cool features, and I really wanted to fall in love with it.

There are aspects of it that I like, but I think it misses the overall mark when it comes to functionality. I’ve included it in this review since so many people swear by it, so you can decide for yourself if it meets your needs.

Pros

Very high quality and durable materialLots of modular organization that is removable and works on its ownYou can customize it to how you want to use itCamera bag can be removed and used on its own

Cons

The bag is heavy on its ownTop access isn’t fast and I don’t like the massive zipper down the middleCamera cube sits awkwardly in the bag making some of the space useless

Best Camera Backpacks for Adventure

Sometimes we need a more rugged bag that has more support. That’s where adventure camera backpacks come in. Right now we only have one that we use, but we also got a recommendation from a friend who’s always out hiking.

5. Lowepro Whistler Backpack 450 AWII

This backpack was perfect when we were in Portland because of the rainy weather. It’s got great support for hiking so we can carry a ton of gear, but we can easy access all of it without putting the bag down.

When it comes to everyday wear, it doesn’t really make sense for us since it’s a bit overkill. Plus, there isn’t a dedicated spot for a laptop so we rarely use it for that reason.

Pros

Tons of storage for camera gear
Weather-resistant material and a rainfly pocket
Great support to carry heavy loads
Easy to flip the bag using the waist straps so you can access your gear without putting it down

Cons

Built primarily for camera gear with limited space for other items
No laptop area
Bulky waist straps can’t be tucked away
Looks like a camera bag

Lowepro Whistler BP 450 AW II

Lowepro Whistler BP 450 AW

6. Atlas Athlete

We’ve been eyeing the Atlas Athlete backpack for a while, but until we get our own, our friend who swears by it has given us some feedback.

He travels with a lot of gear to capture amazing outdoor photos and put this backpack through the test in all types of environments.

Pros

Modular and customizable to your needs
Interchangeable panel that gives you more storage space if you take camera gear out
Quick access through back panel
Expandable giving you plenty of space for other gear
Fits a water bladder with dedicated tube
Can remove waist support when you don’t need it

Cons

Have to take the bag off to get to your gearDSLR cameras have to sit flat without a lens which adds an extra step before you can take photosOutdoorsy look. Sure, you can wear it in the city, but you’ll look like you’re backpacking.

Best Lightweight Backpacks

These are some great options for those of you who want something smaller and lightweight. You sacrifice space for other personal items, but they’re much easier to grab and go.

7. Peak Design Sling

We use this bag when all we need is our camera and some small items. We have the original 5L model (and it also came in 10L), but their newest version comes in 3L, 6L, and 10L. The 10L allows you to strap a tripod on it.

I especially love that I can conveniently swing it from my back to front to access my camera. I can even fit in an additional lens if I’m not carrying anything else.

Pros

Easy to adjust the strap with one hand
Weatherproof material
Extra pockets to organize smaller items
Smaller versions (3L & 6L) can be worn on your waist too

Cons

3L can only fit a POS camera10L is the only one that will fit a 13inch laptopMidsize (the one we use) is too small if you need more than a DSLR & 2 lenses (excluding large lenses like the 70-200mm)

8. Wandrd VEER Packable Bag

We just ordered a Wandrd VEER Packable Bag and will update this review once it comes in. Unlike most packable bags, they found a solution to give your gear comfort and protection while being lightweight and small. It’s genius! They do this through an inflatable back panel and inflatable camera cube.

Pros

Packs small Inflatable Camera Cube gives your gear protectionQuick side access to gearA surprising number of pockets

Cons

Takes time to inflate and set upNot the best support if your gear is heavy

9. Wandrd Detour Hip Pack

Wandrd Detour Hip Pack also packs up small and uses the same inflatable Camera Cube system to save space and weight.

Pros

Extremely packableBottom straps to carry water pottle or additional gearSmooth back to front slide accessAdditional organization pockets

Cons

Takes time to inflate and set upRequires two straps to be secure and takes more time to take off

Address, map

Local Tip / Pro Tip / Note: dsfsdfsd

More: 11 Incredible Things to Do in Grand Teton National Park

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Our Favorite Backpacks

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Have you tried any of these? What do you think is the best camera backpack of all time?

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“Discovery consists not of seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes” – M. Proust

Esther + Jacob

Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.

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