Someone looking for the best camera backpacks has more choice than ever in 2023. With fantastic options from a host of well-regarded names, including Manfrotto, Vanguard, Tenba, Gitzo and more, there are camera backpacks to suit every setup, and every budget.

You may want to carry a lot of long lenses and a big DSLR, or a slim mirrorless setup along with a laptop and a load of other personal items. Either way, the best camera backpacks will be well-equipped for the task. Most have separate padded sections for camera gear, making it easy to keep it separate from everything else.

If this is your first camera backpack purchase, below we’ve put together a few quick tips on what to look for.

How to choose the best camera backpacks

You may want a big, capacious backpack for all the photo gear you could need. However, depending on how you like to shoot, this may or may not be practical – a small bag may suit you better, making it easier to access your gear quickly.

Many camera bags have quick-access options, with extra flaps and zips that allow you to swing the bag around and access your kit without having to completely take the bag off. You may also want to think about weatherproofing – some camera backpacks are made from water-repellent fabric, and/or have pull-out rain covers.

If you want to bring a lot of extra items like a water bottle, charging bank, notebook or whatever else, you may want to pick up a bag with external pockets. Some camera backpacks also have tripod attachments. Also, if you’re carrying a lot of weight (like a DSLR and multiple lenses), you may want to look for a bag with a waist belt or harness, which helps distribute some of the weight away from your shoulders. In either case, it’s also worth looking for padded straps.

For more kit guides, check out our rundowns of the best tripods to buy and the best kit for wildlife photography. Otherwise, here are our picks of the best camera backpacks currently available:

Manfrotto Pro Light Multiloader Backpack M

Price: £239 / $225 –

Manfrotto Pro Light Multiloader review

Manfrotto Pro Light Multiloader review. Image credit: Andy Westlake

This exceptional backpack earned the full five stars in our recent review, and for serious photographers, it is pretty much perfect. There’s plenty of room for your kit, with dimensions of 35.5 x 26 x 54 cm, but what sets the Multiloader apart is its quick-access functionality. The single zip running along the outside can be opened in numerous different ways thanks to the four zip pulls, giving you flexible access to the side panels and front section.

It’s a sizeable bag – if you were to fill it, you’d be looking at a pretty hefty prospect – but the top-notch harness distributes the weight well and makes it easy to carry. Unless your setup is really small and you want a less bulky bag, the Manfrotto Pro Light Multiloader Backpack M is going to be a highly compelling choice for any photographer.

Read our Manfrotto Pro Light Multiloader Backpack M review.

Langly Weekender Backpack

Price: £228 / $219 –

Langly Weekender Backpack review

Langly Weekender Backpack review. Image credit: Andy Westlake

This useful backpack by Langly is constructed from Rugged Twill cotton fabric with a water-resistant coating. Not only does this ably protect your gear from the elements, but it also looks pretty stylish too – the bag has a classic, subdued appearance that exudes cool without drawing attention to itself.

Practically, the Langly Weekender Backpack acquits itself well. Kit is protected by a removable padded camera cube, and you’ll easily it in a camera and four lenses. Probably more, unless your glass collection is mostly big telephotos. There’s also a padded laptop sleeve, as well as large pockets on the front and sides. We would have liked to see these pockets be expandable, but otherwise this is an excellent backpack all-around.

Read our Langly Weekender Backpack review.

Gitzo Adventury 30L

Price: £219 / $309 –

best camera backpacks for photographers Gitzo Adventury 30L

Gitzo Adventury 30 L.

Gitzo also makes a 45L version (£299) of this high-quality rear-entry backpack for outdoor lovers, but the 30L bag has enough space for a twin-gripped DSLR with a 400mm lens, plus additional lenses, a second body, accessories, and a laptop in its own dedicated section.

There are mounting points to attach a tripod. Alternatively there are also the side pockets which open at top and bottom to slip a tripod in.

The Adventury is comfortable to carry, is made from water-resistant fabric and comes with a shower-cap style rain cover.

Wandrd Prvke 31 Backpack V3

Price: £179/$241 –

best camera backpacks for photographers Wandrd Prvke 31

Wandrd Prvke 31.

Wandrd makes a range of wipe-clean Prvke backpacks and the 31L sits between the 21L and 41L capacity versions. Thanks to its roll-closed top section with a large hooked-fastener, its capacity can vary between 31 and 36L, and you always seem to be able to squeeze in just one more thing.

The Prvke has two sections with the lower section accepting Wandrd’s Camera Cubes, one of which comes in the ‘Photography Bundle’ that retails for £251.

As a rear-opening bag, you need to remove the Wandrd Prvke 31 from your back before you can access all your gear, making it more secure. However, there’s a small side opening that gives you quick access to a section of the lower part of the bag, which is perfect when you want to swap lenses.

To read more, check out our Wandrd Prvke 31 Backpack V3 review.

Lowepro ProTactic BP 450 AW II

Price: £179/$219 –

best camera backpacks for photographers LowePro Tactic BP 450 AW II

LowePro Tactic BP 450 AW II.

This 25L pro-level backpack is very well padded and is highly customisable. It has a semi-rigid lid, a thick base and the usual collection of foam-core re-positionable dividers inside its 30x16x44cm main compartment. It’s suitable for housing a large camera with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens attached and several other lenses and accessories.

The main access is via the back of the bag, but there are also access points on both sides and the top flips open to give a route to smaller items or a camera with along lens when the centre section of the main compartment is cleared of dividers.

Manfrotto Street Slim Backpack

Price: £87/$104 –

best camera backpacks for photographers Manfrotto Street Slim Backpack

Manfrotto Street Slim Backback.

This smart and affordable backpack is a great choice for a day trip with a mirrorless camera. It’s split into two sections, the top half for personal effects and the bottom half for your camera gear. The camera section has enough room for a body and three lenses up to 19cm long.

Meanwhile, the unpadded top section is perfect for carrying an extra layer or two, your packed lunch or overnight essentials. There’s also a collection of internal pockets to house your purse/wallet, travel documents and spare batteries. In addition, there are external pockets on either side to hold a drink or compact tripod.

Read our Manfrotto Street Slim Backpack review to find out more.

Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L

Price: £249/$279 –

best camera backpacks for photographers Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L

Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L.

Peak Design makes a 20L and 30L (£259) version of this backpack and while their price seems comparatively high, their quality is excellent.

Unlike most backpacks, the primary access to the main compartment of the Peak Design Everyday Backpacks is from the side. Both sides have full length zips, so they work well for left or right-handers.

The 20L backpack comes with 3 FlexFold dividers that can be positioned within the bag to create ‘shelves’ for your camera gear to rest on. There are also stretchy internal side pockets for small items like memory cards and batteries. Both sides also have an external pocket that can be used to carry a drink or tripod – although these will get in the way of the side opening.

In addition, there’s a roomy top section that is accessed by a neat MagLatch that’s quick and easy to use.

Tenba DNA 16 DSLR Backpack

Price: £159/$229 –

best camera backpacks for photographers Tenba DNA 16

Tenba DNA 16.

The two-section DNA 16 DSLR Backpack can accommodate a mirrorless or DSLR camera and 2 or 3 lenses including a 70-200mm f/2.8. It also has a laptop section that can house computers up to 16 inches in size.

The camera compartment is at the bottom of the bag and when the padded insert is removed, it can turn the bag into a regular backpack. When the insert is in place, however, it can tip forward when the zip is opened to give easier access to your kit.

Tenba plumped for a roll-close top section, which gives some flexibility in capacity.

Vanguard Veo Active 42M

Price: £149/$189 –

Vanguard VEO Active 42M review

Vanguard VEO Active 42M

This 17L rear-access backpack is designed for carrying a mirrorless camera with 3 or 4 lenses including a 70-200mm in its removable camera insert. Meanwhile, the top section is available to hold accessories and personal items. There are also mounting points. These allow for carrying a tripod on the front or side of the bag. Additionally, there are dedicated pockets for a 13-inch laptop and 10-inch tablet, and a sealed pocket for a 1L hydration pouch.

The outer fabric is tough ripstop nylon while the bright yellow interior makes it easy to see your kit in low light.

There’s also a pass-through for a USB cable from a pocket that can hold a power bank – perfect for charging your phone on the move. Check out our Vanguard VEO Active 42M review for more.

Vanguard Alta Sky 68

Price: £249/$299 –

best camera backpacks for photographers Vanguard Alta SKY 68

Vanguard Alta SKY 68.

Vanguard Alta SKY 68.Vanguard’s Alta Sky 68 backpack is designed for people who want to carry a larger camera with a lot of hefty lenses. As such, it’s big enough to cope with an 800mm f/5.6 lens attached to a pro-level DSLR or mirrorless camera. And it can carry up to around 7 other lenses.

With weight in mind, the Sky Alta 68 has well-padded and contoured shoulder straps with sternum straps and load-lifter straps. It is possible to adjust the padded and breathable 3D back panel, with extra padding against the shoulder blades and the lower back, across three settings according to the height of the person carrying the backpack.

F-Stop Kashmir UL 30L

Price: around £270/€309/$219 –

best camera backpacks for photographers F-Stop Kashmir UL 30L

F-Stop Kashmir UL 30L

F-Stop specialises in modular bags. It offers the Kashmir UL 30L by itself for around £192 (€219.99) or in an ‘Essential Bundle’ for around £270. This includes its shallow medium camera bag insert and a rain cover. There’s also a more expensive ‘Elite Bundle’. This adds a small camera bag insert and some nice extras to the mix.

The Kashmir UL 30L is designed for female photographers. It has a shorter torso and harness system than some other bags in F-Stop’s range.

It’s a lightweight but durable-feeling bag that’s very comfortable to carry even when fully laden with a large camera and 3 or 4 lenses including a 70-200mm f/2.8.

Text by Angela Nicholson, with contributions from Jon Stapley.

Related articles:

Lowepro introduces green recycled ProTactic backpacks

Vanguard launches VEO Active backpacks for outdoor shoots

Follow AP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.