Angela Nicholson and the AP team run through the best camera bags for photographers and videographers, with options for all budgets.

This guide aims to help you find the right camera bag for your kit, based on our extensive experience testing and reviewing camera accessories. Anything from average-sized mirrorless and DSLR cameras or bigger, and a few spare lenses should be transported in a dedicated camera bag. It is a worthy investment for your precious equipment – making do with any old rucksack will prove falsely economic if something breaks in it.

[ For smaller set-ups than these, consider a small bag or pouch, as the backpacks cited here will likely offer much more space than you need ].

Camera bags come with padded interior dividers that can be rearranged and secured with Velcro, allowing you to mould the bag’s interior around the particular contours of your gear. This is crucial to protect fragile items like lenses from impact in transit. Camera bags also often have tripod holders, laptop sleeves, pull-out rain covers and more, providing plenty of scope out in the field.

For more kit guides, check out our rundowns of the best tripods to buy and the best kit for wildlife photography.
If you are not sure how to pick the best camera bag scroll to the end to read some helpful tips.


Get straight to the point with our quick list of the best camera bags:

  • Best camera bag for photographers: Manfrotto Pro Light Multiloader Backpack M – buy now
  • Best weatherproof camera bag: Langly Weekender Backpack – buy now
  • Best camera bag for hiking: Gitzo Adventury 30L – buy now
  • Best roll-top camera backpack: Wandrd Prvke 31 Backpack V3 – buy now
  • Best professional camera backpack: Lowepro ProTactic BP 450 AW II – buy now
  • Best camera bag for mirrorless: Manfrotto Street Slim Backpack – buy now
  • Best camera bag with laptop sleeve: Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L – buy now
  • Best camera bag for DSLRs: Tenba DNA 16 DSLR Backpack – buy now
  • Best cheap camera backpack: Vanguard Veo Active 42M – buy now
  • Best large camera backpack: Vanguard Alta Sky 68 – buy now
  • Best small camera backpack: F-Stop Kashmir UL 30L – buy now
  • Best camera sling bag: Think Tank Urban Access Sling 8 – buy now
  • Best messenger bag for photographers: Billingham 307 – buy now

Want to know more? Read on as I run through the full specs of every camera bag on our list…


Best camera bag for photographers: Manfrotto Pro Light Multiloader Backpack

Manfrotto Pro Light Multiloader standing on grass photographed against a brick wall
Manfrotto Pro Light Multiloader review. Image credit: Andy Westlake

Amateur Photographer verdict

A great choice for serious photographers who need to carry a large amount of kit and keep it well protected, while maintaining rapid access.
Pros
  • Holds loads of gear
  • Premium material and construction
  • Multiple access points
Cons
  • Will be very heavy if you fill it

At a glance:

  • 35.5 x 26 x 54 cm external dimensions
  • Holds 2 cameras and 8 lenses
  • 15in laptop compartment
  • Price: $250 / £184

This exceptional backpack earned the full five stars in our recent review. For serious photographers, it is pretty much perfect. There’s plenty of room, 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 four zip pulls, giving flexible access to the side panels and front section.

It’s a sizeable bag – it would be a hefty prospect full up – but I felt that the harness distributes the weight well and makes it easy to carry. If your equipment justifies its size, the Manfrotto Pro Light Multiloader Backpack M is a compelling choice.

Read our Manfrotto Pro Light Multiloader Backpack M review.


Best weatherproof camera bag: Langly Weekender Backpack

Langly Weekender Backpack on a wooden bench
Langly Weekender Backpack review. Image credit: Andy Westlake

Amateur Photographer verdict

An attractively designed and well-made bag which can accommodate a good quantity of kit while remaining comfortable to carry.
Pros
  • Lots of well-sized pockets
  • Stylish trim
  • Durable materials
Cons
  • Outer pockets don’t expand
  • Top section isn’t fully enclosed when back is opened

At a glance:

  • 46 x 30 x 18 cm external dimensions
  • Holds 1 camera and 4-6 lenses
  • 13in laptop compartment
  • Price: $275 / £178

This useful backpack by Langly is constructed from Rugged Twill cotton fabric with a water-resistant coating. Not only does this ably protect my 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 I could easily fit 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. I would have liked to see these pockets be expandable, but otherwise this is an excellent backpack all-around.

Read our Langly Weekender Backpack review.


Best roll-top camera backpack: Gitzo Adventury 30L

Gitzo Adventury 30L
Best camera backpacks for photographers Gitzo Adventury 30L

Amateur Photographer verdict

High quality and comfortable backpack ideal if you carry a lot of gear and need dedicated space for accessories, laptop and more
Pros
  • Sturdy for hiking
  • Lots of storage room
  • Tripod mounting points
Cons
  • On the bulky side
  • Comparatively pricey

At a glance:

  • 31 x 19 x 48 cm external dimensions
  • Holds 2 cameras and 4 lenses
  • 15in laptop compartment
  • Price: $200 / £239

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 the top and bottom to slip a tripod in. I found it comfortable to carry and particularly liked that it is made from water-resistant fabric and comes with a shower-cap style rain cover. This Gitzo backpack also features in our Best rear-loading backpack guide.


Best roll-top camera backpack: Wandrd Prvke 31 Backpack V3

Best camera backpacks for photographers Wandrd Prvke 31.
Wandrd Prvke 31 1000px

Amateur Photographer verdict

An excellent combination of uncluttered style, rugged construction with a wipe-clean finish and a selection of genuinely useful pockets.
Pros
  • Roll-top design adds flexibility
  • Lots of spare pockets
  • Lots of spare pockets
Cons
  • Less capacious than rivals
  • Must be taken off to access all gear

At a glance:

  • 48 x 30 x18cm external dimensions
  • Holds 1 camera and 2-4 lenses
  • 16in laptop sleeve
  • Price: $324 (bundle) / £275

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 I 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 $324 / £251.

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

Read our Wandrd Prvke 31 Backpack V3 review.


Best professional camera backpack: Lowepro ProTactic BP 450 AW II

Lowepro ProTactic BP 450 AW II top access
The Lowepro ProTactic BP 450 AW II allows you to get at your camera from the top. Photo credit: Lowepro

Amateur Photographer verdict

A large but comfortable bag made with recycled materials. With it’s generously sized main compartment, it’s best for those with a lot of kit
Pros
  • Lots of recycled materials in construction
  • Multiple access points
  • Loads of kit space
Cons
  • Overkill unless you have lots of kit

At a glance:

  • 36 x 22 x 52 cm external dimensions
  • Holds 2 cameras and 6-8 lenses
  • 15in laptop sleeve
  • Price: $230 / £269 (new version)

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 a long lens when the centre section of the main compartment is cleared of dividers.

Read our Lowepro ProTactic BP 450 AW II review.


Best camera bag for mirrorless: Manfrotto Street Slim Backpack

Manfrotto Street Slim Backpack
The Manfrotto Street Slim Backpack will hold a camera and three or four lenses in its lower padded section. Photo credit: Andy Westlake.

Amateur Photographer verdict

Cleverly designed and well made, the Manfrotto Street Slim Backpack would be a good choice for photographers taking a day trip or city break.
Pros
  • Very light
  • Camera and laptop inserts are removable
  • Front and back access
Cons
  • I found this to be uncomfortable when full

At a glance:

  • 43 x 29 x 18cm external dimensions
  • Holds 1 camera and 3-4 lenses
  • 13in laptop sleeve
  • Price: $110 / £87

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

I liked the unpadded top section, it is perfect for carrying an extra layer or two, a packed lunch or overnight essentials. There’s also a collection of internal pockets for personal effects 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.


Best camera bag with laptop sleeve: Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L

Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L.
Best camera backpacks for photographers Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L

Amateur Photographer verdict

As expected from peak design the build quality is excellent, it has easy access each side and has useful stretchy pockets for small items alongside customisable compartments,
Pros
  • Dual side-access points
  • Useful top section
  • Extra-stretchy pockets
Cons
  • Tripod pocket interferes with side opening

At a glance:

  • 46 x 30 x 17 cm external dimensions
  • Holds 1 cameras and 3-4 lenses
  • 15in laptop sleeve
  • Price: $280 / £245

Peak Design makes a 20L and 30L 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.


Best camera bag for DSLRs: Tenba DNA 16 DSLR Backpack

Tenba DNA 16 DSLR backpack
Tenba DNA 16 DSLR backpack

Amateur Photographer verdict

A versatile and customisable backpack that will carry a regular sized kit and accessories, however when fully loaded the shoulder straps could be more padded
Pros
  • Water-repellent materials
  • Rolltop expands
  • Removable camera insert
Cons
  • On the pricey side
  • Straps could be more padded

At a glance:

  • 28 x 51 x 20 cm external dimensions
  • Holds 1 camera body and 3 lenses
  • 16in laptop sleeve
  • Price: $230 / £200

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 for this bag, which gives some flexibility in capacity.


Best cheap camera backpack: Vanguard Veo Active 42M

Vanguard VEO Active 42M review
Vanguard VEO Active 42M

Amateur Photographer verdict

A perfect size for a weekend photo kit for a city break and landscape shooting. However, wildlife photographers are advised to look at some of the larger sizes in the VEO Active range
Pros
  • Multiple tripod mounting points
  • Useful USB pass-through for charging
  • Tough outer material
Cons
  • Other bags are more capacious

At a glance:

  • 27 x 19 x 44 cm external dimensions
  • Holds 1 camera and 3-4 lenses
  • 13in laptop sleeve
  • Price: $200 / £159

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, which 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.

Read our Vanguard VEO Active 42M review.


Best large camera backpack: Vanguard Alta Sky 68

Best camera backpacks for photographers Vanguard Alta SKY 68
Vanguard Alta SKY 68 1000px

Amateur Photographer verdict

If you are shooting sports or wildlife and need space for long telephoto lenses, or just want a large but comfortably padded backpack then the Alta SKY won’t disappoint you
Pros
  • Can take super-telephoto lenses
  • Well padded for good weight distribution
  • Highly adjustable
Cons
  • Big and bulky

At a glance:

  • 36 x 23 x 59.5 cm external dimensions
  • Holds 1 camera body and 8 lenses
  • 16in laptop sleeve
  • Price: $300 / £199

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 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.


Best small camera backpack: F-Stop Kashmir UL 30L

F-Stop Kashmir UL 30L camera bag.
F-Stop Kashmir UL 30L

Amateur Photographer verdict

Made with female photographers in mind, this is a lightweight and comfortable yet every bit as functional backpack as it larger counterparts
Pros
  • Designed for smaller bodies
  • Strong internal aluminium frame
  • Water-resistant base
Cons
  • Only 13in laptop sleeve

At a glance:

  • 52 x 32 x 28 cm external dimensions
  • Holds 1 camera and 3-4 lenses
  • 13in laptop sleeve
  • Price: around $220 / £160

F-Stop specialises in modular bags. It offers the Kashmir UL 30L by itself for around £182 ($221) 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.


Best camera sling bag: Think Tank Urban Access Sling 8

Think Tank Urban Access Sling 8
Think Tank Urban Access Sling 8

Amateur Photographer verdict

A lightweight and small sling bag, it can carry a few lenses and a mirrorless or compact set up, if you need a sleek bag with quick access for street photography this one is for you
Pros
  • Dual side access
  • Sleek, understated design
  • Includes waist belt and rain cover
Cons
  • 8-inch tablet sleeve has limited usefulness
  • Limited overall capacity

At a glance:

  • 37 x 20 x 13 cm external dimensions
  • Holds 1 camera and 2-3 lenses
  • 8-inch tablet sleeve
  • Price: $120 / £119

A good sling bag can be ideal for urban street shooting. Lightweight and manoeuvrable, these can be worn on either shoulder, and slung around the body for quick access to gear without needing to remove it. The Think Tank Urban Access Sling 8 is one of our favourites. It’s designed to hold a mirrorless setup and two or three lenses, to suit the light-travelling street photographer, and it offers camera access from either side.

There’s a useful tripod attachment on the front of the bag, and the Urban Access 8 also offers an 8-inch sleeve for a small tablet. A removable webbing waist belt affords some extra security and stability, if needed, and a well-sealed rain cover is included. While space is limited, it’s pitched about right for the type of user who’ll want a sling bag – if your gear is much bigger than this, a backpack will be a better fit.


Best messenger bag for photographers: Billingham 307

Billingham 307

Amateur Photographer verdict

Not just a stylish retro looking, but functional and practical too. The Billingham bags are made to last, however they also have a price to match
Pros
  • Built to last
  • Classic and timeless style
Cons
  • Relatively high price
  • No sleeve for laptop or tablet

At a glance:

  • Designed to hold a laptop
  • Holds a large DSLR, several lenses plus flash
  • No laptop sleeve
  • Price: $528 / £460

Every Billingham bag is instantly recognisable, and the 307 displays the same traditional styling consistent throughout the Billingham range. It may be one of the most expensive bags in this roundup, by a long way, but the 307 is made to a high standard, with an exterior made of durable FibreNyte – a lightweight synthetic alternative to canvas. The bag can be carried comfortably using the padded shoulder strap or the large top handle, with the top flap secured by a quick-access buckle.

A top zip acts as a secondary seal, and easily glides open. Inside is space for a DSLR with lens attached, and a further four lens or flash units within the well padded dividers. However, there is no dedicated pocket for small accessories, or for a laptop/tablet.

You’ll be able to find this bag for up to half the price if you settle for a used option.


Choosing a suitable camera bag

There are different types of camera bag. As camera backpacks suit most photographers’ needs, they make for the majority of our picks. Sling bags and messenger bags are also included. Whichever type you choose, a good photographer’s bag should offer enough interior space, be comfortable to carry for long periods, and tough enough to withstand adverse conditions and the odd mishap.

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

Those already in the market for a backpack and are security-conscious about your gear should check out our Best rear-loading backpack guide to find out why they’re a good idea and the ones I rate highly.

There are great affordable options in our guide to the best second-hand messenger bags.

Other considerations for camera bags

For extra items like a water bottle, charging bank, notebook etc., 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), consider a bag with a waist belt or harness, to alleviate some of the weight from the shoulders. In either case, padded straps are a good idea. It’s also common for camera backpacks to have laptop sleeves for safely storing a portable computer – useful for editing your images on the go.

Taking your camera with you on a trip? Have a quick look at our top five carry-on cabin bags for flying with camera kit.


Text by Angela Nicholson, with contributions from Jon Stapley, Michael Topham and AP Staff.


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