Best camera backpacks 2024: Protect your cameras and lenses when traveling

The best camera backpacks are a must-have for any photographer who is often on the go. 

Carrying and storing photo and video equipment in the best possible way is vital to make sure your expensive gear lasts as long as it can. When designed well, these camera bags can take the strain off hauling around a large amount of kit, and with the right support can help prevent injury, as well as protect your gear.

Camera backpacks come in many different shapes and sizes. Some have compartments to help organize and store your gadgets, which is great for photographers who care about organization. The most important thing, in our opinion, is that they offer adequate protection to your best cameras when you're traveling, keeping them safe from the elements as well as bumps and scratches.

When choosing a camera backpack, you should consider the type of photography you tend to do. For example, if you primarily do urban or street photography, you'll want to select a smaller bag with a few different pockets to easily access your different accessories. 

On the other hand, if you're often out in the wilderness or shooting the night sky in remote areas, you'll want to choose a bigger backpack that's fully weather-sealed and waterproof. Bonus points if it has lots of storage for your accessories for astrophotography like star trackers, headlamps and light pollution filters.

If you own a range of the best lenses for astrophotography, you may need a larger capacity bag with multiple lens storage options and somewhere (likely on the outside of the bag) for your best tripod.

It's also worth bearing in mind that there are a number of different styles of bags — from roller to over-the-shoulder, sling and side-carry. We'll be covering these in more detail below as well as who they might be best suited for.

The quick list


Best camera backpacks 2024

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Best multipurpose backpack

Product photo of the Peak Design Travel Backpack with a white background

The Peak Design Travel Back is very versatile — it is great as a conventional backpack as well as a camera backpack. (Image credit: Amazon)

Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L

Best multipurpose backpack: This bag is great for those travelling with lots of different gear

Specifications

Weight: 4.5 lbs / 2.04kg
Internal Dimensions: 21 x 13 x 7.5-inch (expanded) / 53.3 x 33 x 19cm
Volume: 45 L
Size: Medium/Large
Warranty: Lifetime guarantee
Recycled materials: Yes, shell is 100% recycled

Reasons to buy

+
Rugged and waterproof
+
Extremely versatile
+
Great as a conventional backpack

Reasons to avoid

-
More expensive
-
Potentially unwieldy if not packed properly
-
Not everyone will find the rigid sidewalls comfortable
Buy it if

✅ You need versatility: Primarily a camera backpack, but can also be configured as a large gear hauler, a small day sack or a commuter bag.

✅ You often shoot in wet weather: Both the outer shell and inside liner are waterproof, giving you peace of mind that all your expensive kit remains dry.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You're on a budget: For a bag as versatile as this, it's naturally at the higher end of the market, so anyone on a budget might need to consider a cheaper option.

The bottom line

🔎 Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L A fantastic bag that can seemingly do everything for every occasion, it has plenty of compartments and versatility, plus it's brilliantly weatherproof and will last years. The downside? It's expensive. ★★★★½

Peak Design created their 45L backpack to be the perfect companion when out and about — and they've done a great job of packing a lot of versatility into it. They say that it was designed with the simple truth in mind that 'no two trips are ever the same'.

We're very impressed by the range of organization options. It works primarily as a camera backpack with organizational camera cubes (sold separately) installed, but can also be a large gear hauler, a small day sack or a commuter bag.

The solid sidewalls and robust back panel are a major plus for keeping your stuff in place. Plus, there's a zippered divider panel that lets you split the bag into two compartments when you need to. It's all about those little details that make this bag stand out. There are also dual side zippers and unique magnetic catches on the pouches that keep everything secure.

One more thing to highlight is that the bag's outer shell is made from 100% recycled material and is weatherproof. This makes it an excellent option for rainy days since it keeps all your expensive kit dry. The inside liner is water-repellent, and the bottom is also ruggedly weatherproof, ensuring that nothing inside gets wet. Additionally, the bag's stitching is incredibly strong and durable, designed to last for many years. And if anything happens, it comes with a lifetime guarantee for your peace of mind. There is also a 30L model of this backpack if you're looking for something a little smaller.

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Test results
AttributesNotes
DesignRugged and waterproof
FeaturesImpressive range of organization options
PerformanceZippered divider panel to split the bag into two compartments

Best lightweight option

Best lightweight option: Ideal for day hiking, and made out of 75% recycled materials

Specifications

Weight: 3.31 lbs / 1.5kg
Internal Dimensions: 10.2 x 5.1 x 19-inch / 25.9 x 12.9 x 48.3cm
Volume: 24 L
Size: Small/Medium
Warranty: Two years — extension available
Recycled materials: At least 75% of fabric is recycled

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight and easy to carry
+
Small, compact design
+
Comfortable to wear for long periods

Reasons to avoid

-
Not suited to lots of gear
-
Small top compartment
-
Not many accessory options
Buy it if

✅ You'll be wearing it for long periods: It's small, lightweight, compact and easy to carry as it's designed for less gear, making it comfortable to wear for longer periods.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You have a lot of gear: If you just want to take a camera and a couple of lenses, it'll be fine — but for drones, GoPros and other accessories you'll need something bigger.

❌ You're on a budget: This bag isn't on the affordable end of the spectrum, so if you're on a budget you'll want to look for something cheaper.

The bottom line

🔎 LowePro PhotoSport 24L A comfortable, accommodating lifestyle backpack for those who want to travel light but retain the security and accessibility of a camera bag. It's incredibly lightweight and comfortable to wear for longer periods, but wouldn't suit those with more equipment. ★★★★

We liked the LowePro PhotoSport for its no-nonsense approach to being a comprehensive day hike and adventure travel backpack. In our LowePro Photosport backpack review, the first thing that struck us was how light it felt — for a 24L backpack, it weighs practically nothing. We also really loved the clever strap system because it is made for various carrying positions. Additionally, it's made from 75% recycled fabric, which is always a step in the right direction.

This bag has enough room to comfortably fit a full-frame camera (mirrorless or DSLR) along with two lenses — one attached to the camera and an additional zoom lens. However, if you have extra gear like GoPros and drones, you might find it a bit of a squeeze and may want to consider a larger bag to accommodate all your equipment.

Although this bag might appear small, it's actually a good thing when you plan to wear it for long periods, making it ideal as a day bag. The adjustable support straps ensure a comfortable fit for different body sizes, and the bag feels snug without restricting your movement. Its lightweight design contributes to its comfort, making it a great choice for longer hikes or adventures. However, if you have a lot of gear to carry, you may want to consider a larger option.

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Test results
AttributesNotes
DesignLightweight with 75% recycled materials
FeaturesClever detachable camera insert adds versatility
PerformanceComfortable to wear for long periods

Best for urban photographers

Best for urban photographers: A compact bag for smaller set ups

Specifications

Weight: 2.64 lbs / 1.2kg
Internal Dimensions: 10.6 x 5.9 x 16.5-inch / 27 x 15 x 41.9cm
Volume: Approx. 17 L
Size: Small/Medium
Warranty: Two years — extension available
Recycled materials: Not specified

Reasons to buy

+
3-in-1 carrying options work well
+
Good for small compact set-ups
+
Great urban accessory

Reasons to avoid

-
May be restrictive for those with bigger gear
-
Not well suited to hikes or travel due to size
Buy it if

✅ You want versatility: This bag offers a 3-in-1 carrying solution — you can configure it as a backpack, a shoulder bag and you can even carry it by hand.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You hike or travel a lot: We wouldn't recommend it for hikes or anyone with a lot of gear, it's more suited for urban environments due to its size.

The bottom line

🔎 Manfrotto Advanced Hybrid Backpack III A great option for urban adventures and anyone with a smaller kit, plus it can be converted into three different carrying configurations with zips and pockets to accommodate each one. We wouldn't recommend it for long-distance hikes or travel due to its size. ★★★★

Manfrotto's hybrid backpack is a versatile gem that offers a 3-in-1 carrying solution for your gear. Initially, it functions as a traditional camera backpack with adjustable straps. However, those straps can be neatly tucked away inside a small compartment at the back, transforming the bag into a shoulder-strap option. What's more, it boasts two convenient handles on the top, allowing you to effortlessly carry it by hand as well — talk about flexibility!

Access to the bag is designed to be complementary to how you choose to carry it, with a number of different access zips from every side to ensure you can reach your gear easily no matter how it's configured. In our Manfrotto Advanced Hybrid III backpack review we liked the fact that the internal camera compartment can be removed to turn the bag into a conventional rucksack and that, despite its size, it features a tripod connection for a small or travel-sized tripod. The dedicated 14-inch laptop compartment is a handy feature, too.

Although this bag may not be the perfect match for long-distance hikers, adventure travel enthusiasts or people with a lot of gear, we believe it's an excellent choice for urban or street photographers. Plus, it comes with a protective rain cover, which gives you extra confidence when facing unfavorable weather conditions.

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Test results
AttributesNotes
DesignSleek and smart design
Features3-in-1 innovative strap system
PerformanceLarger kit is a bit of a squeeze

Best entry level backpack

Product photo of the Manfrotto Chicago Small Camera Backpack

The bottom of the Chicago Backpack is made from Kevlar, offering excellent protection from scuffs and tears. (Image credit: Amazon)

Manfrotto Chicago Small Camera Backpack

Best entry-level backpack: This hobbyist level urban photography model is best suited to street photographers with minimal equipment

Specifications

Weight: 3.5 lbs / 1.59kg
Internal Dimensions: 10.2 x 5.1 x 15.4-inch / 25.9 x 13 x 39.1cm
Volume: Approx. 13 L
Size: Small/Medium
Warranty: Two years — extension available
Recycled materials: Not specified

Reasons to buy

+
Can change into lifestyle bag
+
Easy to use
+
Nice rugged fabric

Reasons to avoid

-
No waist strap
-
Not well suited to long wear duration
-
Good space inside, but those with more kit may struggle
Buy it if

✅ You want a bag that doubles as a weekend bag: By removing the photo insert, this bag can easily convert to a stylish weekend bag.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You have a lot of kit: We found this bag to be suitable for smaller trips with a modest amount of gear — it would suit larger equipment but there's not much space for lots of it.

The bottom line

🔎 Manfrotto Chicago Small Camera Backpack A compact bag that packs a punch, it would be great for beginner photographers who are building their kit list, or anyone who wants a bag that converts to a weekend bag. ★★★★

Sticking with the Italian manufacturer Manfrotto, their Chicago Backpack would be perfect for anyone just starting out in photography and building their gear and kit list.

Don't let its size fool you; this compact gem packs a punch. It has impressive versatility, accommodating a DSLR-sized camera along with three lenses and even a laptop. According to the Manfrotto website, this bag can easily transition from a dedicated camera bag to a stylish lifestyle bag. By removing the photo insert, you can use it as a separate shoulder bag, freeing up the main compartment for clothing or other weekend essentials. It's the perfect blend of functionality and adaptability.

While this bag lacks an extra waist strap, the shoulder straps are wide enough to comfortably carry larger equipment. We found it more suitable for smaller urban adventures, which fits perfectly with its 'Chicago' name. It seems this bag was specifically designed with such trips in mind.

We were also impressed by the fabric used on the bag, which is similar to other Manfrotto products. It has a nice tactile feel, giving a sense of durability and strength. We tested it in urban environments, and it held up well. The bottom fabric is made from Kevlar, which feels particularly nice and protects the bag from getting scratched on pavements or asphalt.

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Test results
AttributesNotes
DesignDurable and strong fabric
FeaturesRemovable inserts to convert to a weekend bag
PerformanceImpressive versatility

Best roll top

Product photo of a green Wandrd Prvke backpack with the top rolled down

This is the perfect choice for style-conscious photographers who love pockets! (Image credit: Amazon)

Wandrd Prvke

Best roll-top: Helpful for looking the part during every day photography outings

Specifications

Weight: 2.8 lbs / 1.3kg
Internal Dimensions: 17 x 11 x 6.5-inch / 43.2 x 28 x 16.5cm
Volume: 21 L / 25 L with roll to extended
Size: Small
Warranty: Lifetime warranty
Recycled materials: Not specified

Reasons to buy

+
Expandable with roll top
+
Multiple access options
+
Stylish design

Reasons to avoid

-
Camera cube not included
-
Pockets are quite tight
-
Waterproof tarpaulin prone to scuffs
Buy it if

✅ You have a lot of small 'bits': This bag is a dream for anyone who loves pockets, so if you have a lot of different accessories in your kit and don't want them floating around your bag, you'll love this one.

✅ You want to access your gear quickly: It features a convenient quick-access side hatch so you only have to take one shoulder strap off to get to your gear for those unexpected photo opportunities.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want something rugged: While this bag is weatherproof, the waterproof tarpaulin is prone to scuffing, so if you're one for carelessly whipping your bag on and off, it will start to look worn very quickly.

The bottom line

🔎 Wandrd Prvke A convenient little roll-top bag with a ton of pockets and compartments, it's weatherproof and generously padded, but it doesn't come with the camera cubes unless you buy them as part of a bundle. ★★★★

The Wandrd Prvke (pronounced Wandered Provoke) roll-top backpack is a versatile and stylish bag that is perfect for traveling with your photography kit. 

Crafted from resilient, weatherproof materials, this bag boasts an abundance of pockets and compartments to keep your equipment in order. It even features a convenient side quick-access hatch for your camera, along with a small compartment specifically designed for SD cards. While the pockets might feel a bit snug, this snugness actually prevents your gear from shifting and potential damage. It's worth noting that the backpack does not come with a camera cube unless you opt for the bundle. Chances are you'll already have one that will fit, but if you don't Wandrd's 'Essential' lineup of camera cubes fit perfectly. 

Although it is a roll-top, it still has magnetic handles at the top to make it easy to grab and go. There's room to attach a travel tripod on the exterior too. A rainfly is included for serious showers, but the waterproof tarpaulin protects your kit in 'normal' rainy conditions.

In terms of comfort, the Prvke bag has a generously padded back (that won't make you sweat loads). It also has wide shoulder straps with loops, helping to distribute the weight evenly. Additionally, it features a sternum strap, making it comfortable to carry even when it's full and heavy.

The Prvke comes in a range of colors like black, ash, navy, and cobalt, allowing you to pick a style that suits your taste. What's more, it comes with a lifetime 'Wander More Worry Less' warranty, guaranteeing that your Prvke will remain free from manufacturing defects and function flawlessly throughout your ownership. If you're planning a longer trip and require additional space for clothes and extra gear, there's also a 31L version available.

The only real downside to this backpack is that the external waterproof tarpaulin is prone to getting scuffs. It's probably not ideal for someone who carelessly takes their backpack on and off as it will soon start to look scruffy.

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Test results
AttributesNotes
DesignResilient, weatherproof materials
FeaturesConvenient quick access side hatch
PerformanceComfortable with generously padded straps

Best for frequent fliers