What to Look For in a Camera Bag in 2022
A camera bag is often one of the first items photographers need to buy, and an essential camera accessory. But with so many options on the market, it’s difficult to narrow down the best photography camera bag for you. Difficult, but not impossible.
First, consider what you shoot. Are you a street photographer, or do you mostly shoot weddings? A street photographer will probably need their bag on them at all times, so they’ll need something easy and light to carry around. A camera bag for a wedding photographer is more about getting gear from point A to point B, so a bigger, more cumbersome bag is fine so long as it fits everything they need.
What’s your camera setup? DSLR shooters will need more room in their bags than people with a small mirrorless camera. A wildlife photographer will need something that stands up to the elements and can fit the massive zoom lenses that are often necessary to grab that perfect shot.
Also, something to keep in mind is that not every camera bag is a backpack. There are also messenger bags, sling bags, and bags that don’t look like they’re meant to hold a camera at all. It’s worth finding which style suits you best in addition to what meets your technical needs. A bag that doesn’t work well with you will only be frustrating to work with, regardless of how good it is.
Whatever type of gear bag you end up with, be sure that it’s built to last. After all, you’ll likely be hauling around several hundred dollars worth of equipment around in it on a regular basis. Cheap bags can be tempting, but it’s worth it to invest a little extra into a product that you’ll get five to ten years out of instead of something you’ll replace in less than one.
With that in mind, here’s our roundup of the best camera bags for photographers.
- ✓ Durable design to stand up to everyday use
- ✓ Weatherproofing to keep gear dry
- ✓ Moderate price point makes it more affordable than other bags like this
- ✓ Sleek, minimal design
- ✗ Doesn’t fit as much as other camera bags
The Peak Design Everyday Totepack is an excellent all-rounder if you’re looking for a simple go-to camera pack for your everyday carry. It’s designed with external cords that fasten a cover if you’re trekking through stormy weather, is made from sturdy recycled canvas, and has a weatherproof top closure.
The included insert can also be arranged into multiple configurations to fit your gear, so whether you shoot mirrorless or DSLR, you’ll be able to carry a camera body plus a few lenses. The amount of space you get is well-suited for most shooters, as you can fit three lenses total (two plus one attached to the body). If you’re heading on a backpacking trip or a shoot that requires more complicated gear, however, you’ll want to reach for something with more room.
Peak Design’s pack is also one of the few camera bags that doesn’t look like a camera bag, so it can easily double as a commuter companion or day pack. That comes in handy both in terms of style and practicality—camera bags that look the part can broadcast to thieves that you’re carrying expensive gear. For an everyday carry, the minimal design of the Totepack is perfect.
- ✓ High value for the price
- ✓ Lots of little pockets for extras
- ✓ Removable packing cube included
- ✓ Slim profile and nice styling
- ✗ Fabric doesn’t appear to be as durable as pricier options
- ✗ No way to access your camera while wearing the bag
A compact bag from a known manufacturer of quality camera gear for just under $100, the Manfrotto Street Slim Backpack can fit a ton of gear and still keep a slim outline. That makes it particularly good for walking around the city, lightweight shoots, or a budget everyday carry bag.
Street photographers out for a long day of shooting would get some miles out of this bag, as it can hold both your gear and extras like a laptop, memory cards, and some snacks. There’s even room to fit a strobe light for studio shoots.
The styling on this bag is understated, though it does still have some Manfrotto branding, and it comes in multiple colors. The fabric might not hold up as well as more ruggedly-designed, expensive alternatives, but it’s fine for a simple everyday carry bag.
A packing cube is included specifically for holding camera gear, which you can remove to make this a regular backpack. There aren’t any access points to your camera while you’re still wearing the bag, but it does have roomy side pockets and a luggage pass-through as a reasonable trade-off.
All in all, this is a solid choice for a photographer on a budget.
- ✓ Lots of space for gear
- ✓ Rearrangeable dividers are included
- ✓ Protective padding and hard plastic for safeguarding your stuff
- ✓ Comes with a dedicated tripod holder
- ✗ Some might not like the tactical look
Lowepro is a manufacturer that’s been around for years and developed a reputation for great products. If you’re not worried about your camera bag looking like a camera bag, the Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW II is among the best options out there.
This bag is durable, can fit gear from DSLR bodies to drones, and is padded for comfort. Bags like the ProTactic get flack in some circles for their militaristic look, but if that’s the style you’re into, this bag delivers.
The ProTactic 450 includes a weatherproof cover for added protection on outdoor shoots. Hard EVA plastic and padding provide some shock absorption, and also give the bag that “turtle-shell/tactical” look that people either love or hate.
You’ll also get interior dividers that can be repositioned depending on what you’re carrying that day and a handy tripod holder. All that adds up to a bag that traveling photographers love to use as an all-rounder.
Best Camera Backpack
- ✓ Rigid frame and padding make long wear comfortable
- ✓ Has pockets for small objects like a passport
- ✓ Holds up against the elements
- ✓ Removable camera packing cube included
- ✓ Side access point for grabbing your camera
- ✗ Could be too expensive for some
Shimoda’s Explore V2 25 Liter Adventure Backpack is a super sturdy travel backpack from a brand that’s put a lot of effort into the “travel and adventure” gear category. This bag comes with more than enough room for your photo setup, plus supplies for day hikes into the wilderness or exploring the city.
Small pockets on the front straps for items like passports and keys make the Explore a good travel companion at the airport, and the 25L size is made to fit into U.S. airplane carry-on compartments.
Plus, the camera bag is built with a rigid back that distributes weight more evenly on long hikes. The shoulder straps are also padded, and it comes with waist straps, so you can pack heavy without it being as rough on your back.
It won’t pack everything you need for an international journey—try the Action X70 for that—but it’s a good option to take camping or on a road trip.
Best Camera Bag For Travel
Shimoda Explore V2 25
An excellent camera backpack from a company known for its travel and adventure bags.
- ✓ Weatherproof fabric keeps gear dry
- ✓ Magnetic clasps let you into the bag easily
- ✓ Small size makes this bag ideal for street photography
- ✗ Can’t fit enough gear/supplies for extended trips
Moment’s Rugged Camera Sling is a well-designed sling-style bag from a gear maker. Perfect for street photographers who want to travel light, this bag can fit a small mirrorless setup or DSLR with a couple of prime lenses with room for other little odds and ends like memory cards or filters.
This bag is constructed from recycled material from North Sails, making it weatherproof and durable enough to bring with you on rainy city days. The styling is low-key and functional, as well.
Multiple handles and straps offer different ways to carry your stuff, though you’ll probably want to wear it with the strap since it’s designed to sit comfortably across your back. It closes with magnetic clips that let you access the bag quickly while keeping your gear secure.
The Rugged Camera Sling comes in 6L and 10L sizes, the latter of which can fit a drone. This is not the bag you’ll want to grab for extended trips or more complicated shoots, but it’s a perfectly good everyday carry photography bag.
Best Camera Sling Bag
Best Leather Camera Bag: The Bowery
- ✓ Handcrafted, great-looking bag
- ✓ Can fit the essentials for shooters that travel light
- ✓ Small pockets can hold extra accessories
- ✓ Comes with an adjustable shoulder strap
- ✗ Can’t fit much beyond the essentials
- ✗ Not meant to be used in harsh conditions
Stylish and high-quality, the Bowery is a bag chosen as much for aesthetics as function. A good camera bag for wedding and lifestyle photographers aiming to impress their clients, the Bowery has a cool vintage look and can fit a body and a couple of lenses.
It’s also comfortable enough to carry around for a few hours and includes pockets for small accessories like memory cards or lens filters that you might need during the day. That said, if you know you’ll need multiple lenses, this probably isn’t the bag for you—you’ll need a bag with a bit more space.
The Bowery is made of high-end, durable leather, but is not meant to be exposed to harsh conditions. The interior is just big enough for a DSLR body with a lens attached plus one extra lens—though if you’re shooting with a small camera you may be able to get another lens in there. This camera bag is a bit small, but It’s plenty functional and the main appeal is its looks.
Best Leather Camera Bag
A stylish leather camera bag perfect for photographers with a lighter kit.