A good camera backpack is as important as a good camera. Finding good camera backpacks is a never-ending search for any camera owner. This article will help you shorten that quest. A great back does the following; It protects your camera gear from environmental wear and tear while you’re moving around. Besides, it also ensures that your gear doesn’t break if you stumble.
What are the top ten camera backpacks? If we consider everything that makes a camera backpack great, from size, comfort, price to hardiness, the following ten backpacks top the list.
- Chrome Niko F-Stop Camera Backpack
- Vanguard Alta- Sky 66
- Tarion Pro-2 Backpack
- Thinktank Photo Airport
- Manfrotto MB SB-390 5BB
- Wandrd Prvke 31 Photography Bundle
- Mindshift Gear Ultralight Dual 36L
- Peak Design Everyday Backpack
- Thule Legend GoPro Backpack
- G-raphy WaterProof Backpack TLGB 100 Backpack
Things You Should Look Out For When Shopping for Camera Backpacks
In case you are hunting for a good camera backpack, you should think about the following things:
- Comfort- You don’t want a backpack that will cause you backaches, do you? Cameras with more cushion padding on the back are more comfortable. Besides the back-padding, having cushioned straps also helps.
- Size- It’s all about the size of your gear, and the amount of gear you want to carry around. Some backpacks can take large pieces of gear. Some, on the other hand, are meant only for small cameras at a time.
- Weatherproofing- A good backpack is all about protecting your camera gear from weather elements. The better the weatherproofing, the better the bag you intend to buy
- Price- It’s all about what your pockets can buy. While going for higher-priced backpacks might seem like an easy idea while chasing quality backpacks, you can also get good medium-priced bags if you look hard enough.
- Extra pockets if you need to pack a few side-things.
Let’s get into it, shall we?
Here are the Top Ten Camera Backpacks Of 2020
Chrome Backpacks have been around for a long while. In fact, my first camera backpack was a Chrome backpack. It served me for so long( 4 years) that I had to put it in the archives, not because it couldn’t do its job anymore, but because it had become a part of me for so long that everyone referred to it as “Jake’s Old Backpack.”
The F-Stop, just like other Chrome backpacks, is a medium-sized backpack that sticks true to Chrome’s age-old urbane, rugged and rectangular designed. For a photographer who wants to seem ubiquitous as much as they want to carry an easy, great-looking bag, I would highly recommend this backpack.
Rectangular backpacks have often been critiqued for being chunky and bulky. In fact, someone called such bags “the worst bag designs he had ever seen on one forum when reviewing Niko’s bigger brother, the Macheto.” However, the Niko F-stop doesn’t feel chunky at all. In fact, the slim, rectangular design takes care of the need to have more space to store your gear.
Essentially, the backpack is made from components of 1050d Ballistic nylon on the outside and 400D tarpaulin interior. This means that the bag is all nylon and fabric. You’ll be mistaken to assume that the Nylon is flimsy, easy to tear. Rather, it’s tough, weather-proof and waterproof. With the kind of nylon inlaying in the backpack, you have no reason to worry about scratches and tears while moving around.
The shoulder straps are crucial parts of any backpacks. There’s no need for having a great backpack with horrible straps. It sucks. For this one, the straps are made from breathable mesh material, which makes them sturdy as much as they are comfortable around your shoulders. Just like with most other camera bags, they are also adjustable.
I’m a proud owner of one Chrome Niko F-Stop back, I have found a few ingenious ways to increase the amount of gear I can carry more gear by using the hooks and rings dotted around the bag. Should you choose to buy it, you’ll find them quite handy.
Besides that, I think that the great 23L capacity is large enough to haul any gear you want to, as long as you are carrying around the whole studio.
Given that I fly quite frequently, I needed a bag that could easily into plane compartments as easily as it could be carried for long distances. This one fits the bill quite well.
You probably need a large, long bag, especially if you are a fan of the larger 600mm or 4oomm telephoto lenses which can be hell to pack in a small bag.
The Vanguard Alta-Sky is designed with “long gear’ in mind. While I have never been a huge fan of long- backpacks( I prefer hand-held bags for that), the Vanguard Alta-Sky is pretty astonishing.
For a start, you need to be willing to sweat if you are going to haul around a backpack. However, this bag doesn’t seem to mind the sweat at all. My pal Levi, in this review, says that the bag draws a sweat from you, by being astonishingly comfortable to carry around, and easy to pack.
While it looks robust and ready to take on any terrain, this bag comes with a few limitations. For those who are not used to packing tight, you might waste a lot of space. Moreover, the bag feels bulky a lot of times.
Take A Peek Inside
Here are a few things I have noticed with all Vanguard camera backpacks( I have used quite a few). For a start, the inside is always made from tough, padded tarpaulin or nylon. It’s nifty, hard, and protects your gear quite well. The other thing, which is the cake’s icing for this bag, is the design.
To comfortably pack all the components you need for a long shoot, the backpack interior is divided into padded compartments. This is a great idea, especially for those who love traveling heavy with their gear. The numerous compartments are large enough to fit everything. However, the best thing about the bag’s interior is the structure. The camera is secure right on top of the lenses, which means that you don’t have to bundle everything together.
Are you a fan of waist bags?
I bet this should be fun for you?
With every purchase of the Tarion Pro-2 Backpack, you get a waist bag as part of the package. Just so you know, the waist bag can easily carry two cameras and a set of lenses.
But let’s not get derailed from the real deal, shall we?
The Tarion name is huge in backpack circles, and I mean huge in every sense of it. It’s tied down to years of great backpack workmanship, and appreciation for the outdoor photography nomad. Does that even mean anything?
Given the huge, it shouldn’t surprise you, therefore, that this backpack is all about size. With a 25 L capacity, this bag carries above the weight class of most other bags. However, it doesn’t appear bulky to the eye. The whole 25 L of space is seamlessly designed to make the backpack feel smaller and lighter.
Here’s what the bag is made from;
- high-density polyester on the outside. This makes it supremely waterproof when compared to other bags in its class.
- EPE padding on the for the strap lining material. This makes the backpack feel comfy and kosher around your shoulders. It also means that you won’t get sore for carrying this bag over a long time.
- A padded laptop/ tablet compartment that can take gadgets with up to 15 inches of screen size.
With Tarion backpacks, you can always trust the bag to live through rough travel and times. Should you add this age-old realization with the fact that this bag is probably one of the most comfortably, and comes from a critically-acclaimed line of backpacks, it should be reason enough to go for it.
I have used a large number of camera backpacks over the last decade. So much for being a nomad, huh?
Some camera backpacks disappoint on every other occasion( Not this one though.) Others look good far, but they are far from good. Others, like this one, don’t really scream”quality” and “niftiness” until you get them on your back for a day( borrowed) and you chose not to return the backpack to the owner because it feels cool( that’s exactly what I did.)
In June last year, I got a chance to use Think-Tanks’s photo airport while traveling to Africa on Safari. I didn’t need a lot of gear on this trip because it was a quick trip. Besides, I needed my gear close by in case there was something to shoot quickly.
Here’s a reason for this little story.
First, for a photographer who is always on the move, and one who needs to keep his gear close even on planes, this is your backpack.
Though it’s relatively small, it carries everything you need for a simple shoot; that includes the camera, three sets of lenses, on-camera lights and a 13-inch laptop just in case you need to edit on the go.
Think-Tank’s Photo Airport Essentials is built to ease any photographer’s traveling life. On the outside, it looks like any other bag. It doesn’t even look like a bag with enough capacity, or protection to keep your gear safe and clean. On the inside, it’s a whole different beast!
The exterior is made from fabric( normal backpack, right?) However, the fabric has been undercoated with Polyurethan, which makes it reasonably waterproof. While this might seem uninspiring, the ballistic-class material used in the interior should be the real focus of your attention.
While still talking about the talking, it’s quite important to touch on the straps and handles. Yes, this backpack is not strictly about carrying on your back.
The interior is mostly made of padded foam, nylon, and padded form dividers to create compartments. For your information, the compartments in this backpack are airtight. They are so good, even when empty, that the bag feels loaded. Every compartment is made to fit something. The center compartment, for instance, can only take on your camera, because it fits around any medium-sized DSLR camera snuggly enough to ensure safety even when your flight goes through bumps.
When out shopping for good camera backpacks, your camera’s security is also important. Having used several bags, I would easily say that this is among the most secure bag for your camera.
It’s quite worthy to notice the nifty security features added into the bag’s design. We’re talking about security in the sense of “theft” and “destruction” from falls. The heavy-duty zippers are well designed. Given there’s a pair of them, you can lock them for added security.
Most reviewers have had flattering words when called to review this bag. I will join them on using the same flattering terms because there’s nothing as good as a subtle, sturdy and easy to carry backpack.
Here’s one thing you should be wary of though; most guides will tell you that this backpack can carry two tripods. I tried it; it cant. Perhaps, the reviews were a little biased to that end.
However, every other thing on this Manfrotto product speaks about quality and conscious design.
This backpack features the commonly used two-strap design. However, it comes with a few differences when compared to other backpacks
- The zippers are placed on the back of the backpack( when on your back, the zipper will be directly in contact with you.) While this implies that you can’t open the zippers when moving around with the bag on your back, it also means that no one else can open the bag without your consent, because you’ll feel their hands creeping up on your back. It’s a simple way to ensure security
- Unlike most other compartmentalized camera backpacks, this one doesn’t have compartments. We can’t call the variety of pockets and a handful of subsections “compartments” in the strict sense. However, the bottom line is that the backpack is divided into units that can fit everything from your camera, lenses to a 15.4-inch laptop or a large tablet.
The Manfrotto backpack is built of high-quality fabric. Just like other Manfrotto bags, it is also built to be reasonably water-resistant by lining the fabric with, minimal wear and tear. I would say that the bag’s design is all about ensuring comfort with a touch of versatility. In fact, on this review, the reviewer says that this is essentially a hardy, camera traveling backpack for those people who require a certain amount of gear that’s not too much, or too little.
I’m usually extremely hesitant to review a product I have not used. I haven’t used this backpack. Apart from a little testing at my dealer’s, I haven’t handled it for long. That’s pretty dumb coming from a person you consider an expert in everything photography, right?
Besides that, I also don’t know how to pronounce its name. How do you say it?
However, a member of my photography teams uses it. To say the least, he has nothing but glowing words for the backpack. It’s probably one of the reasons why he never seems to tire while walking. That bag does a little of everything for him.
Among all camera backpacks, I have reviewed, or come close to review, I think this is one of those that appear highly rugged even from the face of it. However, it will take some testing to figure that out.
The 31 L capacity is created by blending in tarpaulin and robic nylon. Tarpaulin is quite hardy. It also is waterproof( someone said water-phobic) It can take a beating from all kinds of weather elements and still maintain your camera gear in good shape. Robic nylon, on the other hand, ensures that the bag is not too bulky given its size.
The walls of this backpack are thickly padded with foam to ensure that it’s comfortable on your back, and to keep your gear from breaking even when you bounce around hills and stones. To ensure more sturdiness while hiking, it comes with a sturdy fabric waist belt to complement the strong padded straps.
One thing that makes this backpack a definitive backpack is the packing design. Every little spot put into the whole design is meant to take up something. The zippers can be connected to your keyring( There’s a whole lot of zippers to handles on this bag though.) The side pockets are large enough to carry a water bottle. On the inside, you have enough space to pack three or more cameras and more accessories.
Why the PRVKE Photography Bundle?
Here’s my verdict on this backpack.
It’s as trendy as much as it’s rugged. The design encompasses everything you would want to see in an Instagram worthy hiking bag. The finish looks clean and urbane. It should be a great addition to your camera backpacks.
We are more used to Mindshift’s medium capacity bags than this one. However, this bigger, heavier backpack works just as well as the 25L and the 20L camera backpacks that preceded it.
In retrospect, this bag is built more for rugged terrain hiking than for anything else. It has really comfortable straps, a compact, wide feel on your back, a large central compartment that can carry more than one camera and a single, simple zipper which means you won’t fiddle around when trying to open it.
On the outside, the backpack feels comfortable, airy and sturdy. One thing I found fun to use was the fabric rings which can be used to carry your tripods from the bag’s exterior, instead of struggling to find ways to cram the same on the inside.
On the inside, the Mindshift Dual 36L appears highly spacious and easy to pack. The central compartment, as said earlier can take two medium-sized cameras when fully lensed. Moreover, the backpack has a few small compartments to store other components. The slider compartment, which can easily take your laptop.
This camera backpack looks stunning! It’s catchy, attractive. Besides, it also comes in some colorful shades that should have you awing should you meet it somewhere along the streets.
Every little design component on this backpack seems to be a product of trendiness. It is all about the looks, right? Well, if you are a “looks” more than a functionality person, this backpack is all for you.
The first different thing you will notice about this bag is the top cover, or “lid”, as the guys at Peak Design called it on their review. Rather than going for the conventional ‘zipper on the outside look’ the top cover closes over the top of the bag. Surprise! The same cover is secured by a magnet on the lower end. It’s pretty neat.
The backpack also has side-panels which means that you can essentially expand the capacity of the backpack by stashing more gear in the side compartments. While the backpack doesn’t look as attractive when the side panels are used, we can always sacrifice a little beauty for more functionality, can’t we?
On the inside, you get velcro- divided compartments which seem neat as much as they are easy to use. The dividers come with more built-in spaces that look like a rack of backpack shelves. They should help you arrange your bag and minimize clutter.
The bag’s size means that it can take numerous cameras and a laptop on one of the uncreviced slider pockets in the bag’s interior. Besides all this, you also get a side pocket to stash your water bottle when you intend to take long walks.
I had a lot of challenges finding a good bag to carry my GoPro Camera. Some bags were too large. If they were not large, my normal camera backpacks had large compartments, which meant that the small GoPro camera would almost always bounce around as I walked. At some point, I felt like giving up the whole search altogether, until I came by this backpack.
We reviewed the GoPro Camera on this post here. We all know that GoPro cameras are the best cameras to shoot short, action sequences or action vlogs. The only problem with them is that they don’t look anything like your normal DSLR camera. Besides that, they might be hardy in the outdoors, by they come pretty delicate when in packing. This is the reason why this special bag, designed specifically to keep your GoPro camera in mint condition found its way into this list.
The Swedes are masters of design. Everything inside and outside of this bag is meant to look tidy and neat. The fabric is all neatly stacked together. The dividing compartments are designed to fit the exact size of the GoPro camera. The zippers are also large enough to stick a keyring through.
While the backpack is made from fabric on the outside, it is inlayered with tarpaulin and padded foam to give it the compact look and make it freestanding. On the inside, you will notice a raft of compression straps, which will hold all your camera gear inside the respective die-foam compartments to reduce wobbling during rough motion. This is something we haven’t seen done on other camera backpacks yet.
In my opinion, the only disadvantage with this backpack is the fact that the straps feel a little hard when new. You will need to break them in. Besides, the carry-on waist bag which comes with the bag doesn’t feel like one at all. However, everything around it will work great for an active GoPro owner.
No matter the environment you are going into, this backpack will survive it. It’s made for the wet places, the dry places, and absolute comfort when walking.
Just G-raphy is made to thrive in adverse weather conditions. For this reason, it is designed on an all-nylon platform, which is carefully double-stitched together to ensure that water and dust do not find a way into the interior of the backpack.
The single zipper opens downward. On opening, you will be surprised to find vertical that looks as close to a set of sturdy shelves as you can find in a backpack. These compartments are made from padded fabric and nylon. When packing, the top compartment, which is the largest fits a medium-sized to large DSLR or mirrorless camera just about right without any wobbling. If optimally packed, you can easily have a lense-attached camera and four other lenses in the backpack at a time.
There are two great things about this backpack. One, you have to appreciate its quick-release features. A unique side entry allows you quick and easy access to your camera in case you need to shoot in an instant. The other great feature is its comfort. The weight distribution feels great. Besides that, it also has great straps to hang a pair of tripods in case you need them with you.
A good camera backpack assures you two things
- You won’t tire out from carrying your bag
- Your camera and all accompanying gear will always be safe.
This are the main reasons why any good photographer is always on the lookout for some new, more comfortable and good looking backpack. Moreover, it also is the main inspiration for this long article.
To better shooting, and safer cameras!