Best Camera Backpack

Why You Would Need A Camera Backpack

Okay, so you’ve got all your camera equipment ready and you’ve got your trip halfway across the country all booked up, and you’re ready to go. But then you might think; well, where am I gonna store all this gear? I could put it in this bag over here that my wife got me from Walmart, but there’s no room for extra lenses, or waterproof coats, or even any food. Moreover, it doesn’t even look waterproof.

Well, this is why you need a camera backpack. Indeed, camera backpacks (or photo bags) are not even just for your camera equipment; most of them are so big and multi-purpose that they can be used for any kind of trip. But for camera enthusiasts, and particularly pro camera guys with a hefty amount of equipment, camera backpacks are an absolute essential and should be high on the list of things you need to buy if you’re going into the field of photography. To a travel photographer, they’re as important as anything else. They’re:

  • Durable
  • Protective
  • Spacious
  • Multi-purpose
  • Versatile
  • Waterproof
  • Strong
  • Comfortable

In short, they take a load off. They help you to easily get from A to B without any hassle. Their compartments, which are often customisable, are easy to access and no matter how much equipment you have, there is something out there for everyone. Here is a look at the top camera backpacks:

Best camera backpack 2014

Crumpler Jackpack Half Photo

Crumpler Jackpack Half PhotoCrumpler’s wryly named Jackpack could certainly be described as the Sinatra of the dual-purpose backpack world. It’s one of those backpack’s produced by photobag manufacturers that see’s the capacity split in half, with both spaces used very well. This is ideal for camera enthusiasts and photographers who are taking trips without wanting to bring along all their camera gear. If you want to divide your luggage between your equipment and other essentials, such as your laptop, food and drink, the Crumpler’s Jackpack is the type of bag you’ll be looking for.

Crumpler have used Chicken Tex Supreme hyper performance fabric to maximise durability, as well as waterproof ripstop lining that really thickens the padding. There is no doubting the quality and strength of the construction, and this is certainly a bag that offers protection and reliability. At the same time, such padding can be a detriment to the amount of space the bag affords you. With that said, the main compartment offers plenty of storage space for your essentials and your compact camera or laptop can literally sink without a trace (okay, not literally, don’t worry) in an internal laptop compartment that is so softly lined you would want to sleep in it – if only you could fit inside.

There are also a wealth of other, smaller pockets for added flexibility and distribution of weight and items, and the strong shoulder straps are remarkably comfortable. Overall, the bag is secure and offers great protection. Your cameras will be safe and sound inside, and owing to its versatility and comfort, it has to be given a big thumbs up. The only real downside is that it’s relatively expensive.

Tamrac 5549 Adventure 9 Photo Backpack

Tamrac 5549 Adventure 9 Photo Backpack

This spacious backpack can fit a pro SLR, additional lenses, camera accessories, an external hard drive, as well as a laptop/macbook it its main front compartment that opens at the front. In the top compartment, it is also able to provide enough space for a waterproof jacket, food and drink, and a few other small items you’ll be wanting to take along on a trip. It also comes with mesh side pockets where items such as water bottles can be stored, as well as additional flashes. Each pocket is easy to access.

Space is, indeed, what we all want from a photo bag, and the Adventure 9 is certainly a step-up from the Adventure 8. For anyone who has accumulated a wealth of camera equipment and is looking to go on a big trip, this backpack offers the space that is needed. It’s for the pros, for those who take photography seriously and need the means to help them move from place to place without having to leave most of their expensive equipment at home. It can handle weight over 24 lbs and coupled with the spacious interior, it provides easy access to each compartment and pocket. If you want to quickly whip out a lens or a laptop, you can do it without irritation. It must be mentioned as an aside, that jamming it with equipment so that it’s full to bursting could create discomfort when walking with it on your shoulders. The Adventure 9 is big and spacious but it still has its limits.

Convenient and sturdy, the compartments are well-lined with quality padding that ably protects your gear, and the waist and chest straps are extremely secure as well as comfortable, so that when you wear it on the move, you won’t be bogged down by soreness and aches and pains. The extra straps and the sternum could offer a small complaint, as you may find they flap about as you walk, particularly on windy days. Yet the sternum straps afford you greater comfort as they help to distribute weight so that one of your shoulders is never burdened more than the other. These straps are also designed to allow you to create your own carrying system.

The bag is durable, designed to be long-lasting, with the velcro and the zippers made from real quality. Whether you’ll be hauling it around regularly throughout the year, or just now and then, the bag is able to cope and assist you manfully on your journeys. It can handle weather of all types, offering you protection of your equipment. Even when frequently filled to the brim, the Adventure 9 is designed to withstand wear and tear.

Vanguard Adaptor 46 Camera Daypack

Vanguard Adaptor 46 Camera Daypack

This lightweight bag from Vanguard is capable of storing a full-sized DSLR, up to two additional lenses, a small laptop, battery chargers, a video camera, as well as an external hard drive in its main compartment. It also comes with the bonus of a tripod holder which is perfect for those who want to walk with both hands free. The top compartment is not the biggest, and there might be some difficulty packing in a hefty amount of food and drink, but with two further mesh pockets found in the interior of the lower main compartment that allows you to store additional resources, such as flashes, there are few complaints regarding the size of this bag.

The impressive storage compartments can actually be customized so that you are tailoring it to your own needs and gear. With access coming from the sides as opposed to the front, you will find that there are a number of configurable dividers that can be moved around so that you are essentially given the chance to create your own spatial dynamics which conform to what equipment you will be taking along with you. The space can be set up in many different ways, which is great news for anyone who has a large amount of equipment. The roomy interior is further aided by the thick padding which provides great protection for your gear. The straps are also configurable, meaning you can use just one or both at the same time.

Customization, indeed, seems to be the focus of this backpack, with Vanguard really pulling out all the stops to deliver a product that gives you the chance to make it as comfortable to use as possible. It can be used as either a backpack or a sling, in the sense that you can easily remove one of the straps to pull the bag around to the front so that you can slip it open and access your camera. There are also zipper openings on each side so that you can further organize your dividers into a space where they can be easily accessed.

Weighing just 3 pounds, it’s remarkably lightweight and can therefore easily bear a good amount of weight without becoming a burden to your shoulders. The quality of the material is excellent, with the stitching designed to be durable and long-lasting. Without waist or chest straps, it’s slightly less protective and comfortable than some of its counterparts, but it’s certainly strong enough to be able to offer security to your equipment. It’s a bag that certainly looks a bit on the small side, but by offering you the chance to customize its spaces, its size is deceptive. It allows you to invent and find ways of making everything fit, and with ingenuity and will power you will do just that. Top marks.

Kata KT DL-3N1-20 3-In-1 Sling BackpackKata KT DL-3N1-20 3-In-1 Sling Backpack

Kata’s sling backpack is the cheapest on this list, yet is by no means the ‘poor mans choice.’ It’s what we would describe as something that does its job very well, but offers little else. At the end of the day, this is a camera backpack – nothing more. The 3-in-1 moniker is justified by the fact that it can work ably as as either a backpack, a right sling, or a left sling, offering great versatility. In its main compartment it’s capable of holding a full-sized DLSR with a zoom lens attached; up to 4 additional lenses; an external hard driver, and a compact video camera plus accessories.

The other four compartments live in the shadow of the giant-sized main compartment, but this doesn’t mean they have little to no space. Via the means of customization, they can be divided up into different sizes, so that you can arrange your equipment however you like. There is certainly enough room to store a wealth of accessories, such as chargers, memory cards, extra flashes, extra batteries and so on. You can also creatively divide up your space so as to include any food and drink, as well as a waterproof jacket. It isn’t a dual-purpose backpack in the sense that it has two equal-sized capacities for your camera and other equipment, such as laptops, but for anyone who has a good amount of camera equipment they want to take along on a trip, the Kata does a job.

A nice quirk of the interior is that it comes in a bright yellow material, which makes it easier to find your kit. It makes you wonder why all companies don’t provide a bright interior! It’s slimly designed, with a very clean, sophisticated look. Tall rather than broad, it looks on first sight like a bag that doesn’t have a lot of space. But with the moveable chambers, you just have to be a little inventive with how you use your space, and once filled to the brim, the backpack will feel fantastic on your shoulders. Though it’s inexpensive compared to a few other backpacks, it still looks great. Perfect for camera gear – just don’t expect too much more from it.

Lowepro DryZone RoverLowepro DryZone Rover

This multi-functional backpack from Lowepro.

Like some of the other backpacks we’ve taken a look at, the DryZone Rover is customisable, which means that its compartments can be divided spatially so that you can easily adjust it to suit the equipment you’ll be carrying. It comes with a camera compartment that can easily and safely store a DSLR plus two additional lenses. With thick padding, your equipment will be superbly protected and the top compartment, which offers 14 L volume, is spacious enough to accommodate everything from waterproofs, food and drink to any more lenses you’ll need. There are also further zipped storage pockets that are perfect for accessories, such as memory cards. There is also a separate compartment for a 14 inch laptop.

Advertised as having a premium feel, theDryZone Rover is constructed using water-resistant Rip-stop nylon, which makes it durable and resistant to ripping and tearing. The quality of the material mean you’ll get years out of this backpack, and it also comes with a separate rain cover. It comes with high grade zips and and a padded shoulder harness that allows for comfort. All in all, it’s a great companion for anyone who will be doing a lot of walking to and from locations, particularly in nasty weather conditions. It’s spacious, comfortable, strong, and weather-resistant.

 Camera BackpackProsRating
Crumpler Jackpack Half Photo
Dual-purpose4.8
Tamrac 5549 Adventure 9 Photo Backpack
Spacious4.7
Vanguard Adaptor 46 Camera Daypack
Customisable Storage Compartments4.7
Kata KT DL-3N1-20 3-In-1 Sling BackpackVersatile4.5
Lowepro DryZone RoverLowepro DryZone Rover


Durable4.4
Manfrotto Stile Veloce VIIGood Storage Space4.2
Lowerpro DSLR Video Fastpack
Protective Padding4.0
Case Logic DCB- 309
Spacious4.0
Lowepro LP36577
Versatile3.8
Benro Ranger Pro 500N
Weight Distribution3.8

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