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

Camera bags are a subject that can get photographers talking for ages. Which brand is the best, how much space you realistically need, whether a backpack is really preferable to a sling bag – the various debates rage on and on. It can be a little daunting for a newcomer to wade into the world of camera bags, which is why we’re here to help. This guide is all about helping you find the right camera bag for your kit, based on our extensive experience testing and reviewing camera accessories.

You may think you can just sling your camera into the old rucksack sitting at the bottom of your cupboard, but dedicated camera bags offer a number of clear-cut advantages that make them worth using to keep your gear safe. Camera bags come with padded interior dividers that can be rearranged and secured via velcro, allowing you to mould the bag’s interior around the particular contours of your gear. This is critical for making sure your fragile items like lenses don’t knock into each other in transit. Camera bags also often have tripod holders, laptop sleeves, pull-out rain covers and more, giving you much more flexibility out in the field.

Before we get to our main list, we’ll quickly run through the basics of choosing a camera bag. In the meantime, if you’re looking for affordable options, our guide to the best second-hand messenger bags may be helpful.

How to choose the best camera bags

There are lots of different types of camera bag. In this guide, we’ve included lots of camera backpacks as these are generally going to be the best type of camera bag for most photographers, but have also added in other options including sling bags and messenger bags. Whatever type you choose, a good photographer’s bag should offer enough interior space, be comfortable to carry for long periods, and be tough enough to withstand some inclement weather or rough-and-tumble treatment.

We’re assuming you want to carry a reasonably sized mirrorless or DSLR camera as well as at least a couple of spare lenses. If your setup is smaller than this, you may want to consider a small bag or pouch, as the backpacks on this list will likely offer a good deal more space than you need.

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. It’s also common for camera backpacks to have laptop sleeves for safely storing a portable computer – useful for being able to edit 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.

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 bags currently available:

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

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

Best backpack for photographers: Manfrotto Pro Light Multiloader Backpack M

Manfrotto Pro Light Multiloader review

Manfrotto Pro Light Multiloader review. Image credit: Andy Westlake

At a glance:

  • 35.5 x 26 x 54 cm external dimensions
  • Holds 2 cameras and 8 lenses
  • 15in laptop compartment
  • Price: $225 / £239

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.


  • Holds loads of gear
  • Premium material and construction
  • Multiple access points


  • Will get very heavy if you fill it

Read our Manfrotto Pro Light Multiloader Backpack M review.

Best camera sling bag: Think Tank Urban Access Sling 8

Think Tank Urban Access Sling 8

Think Tank Urban Access Sling 8

At a glance:

  • 37 x 20 x 13 cm external dimensions
  • Holds 1 camera and 2-3 lenses
  • 8-inch tablet sleeve
  • Price: $109 / £99

A good sling bag can be just the thing for urban street shooting. Lightweight and manoeuvrable, a sling bag can be worn on either shoulder, and slung around the body for quick access to gear without needing to remove the bag. 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, suiting 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 if you happen to have one. A removable webbing waist belt allows you to add a little extra security and stability, should you want to, and a well-sealed rain cover is included in case conditions get nasty when you’re out and about. While space is limited, it’s probably pitched about right for the type of user who’ll want a sling bag – if your gear is much bigger than this, a backpack would probably suit you better.


  • Dual side access
  • Sleek, understated design
  • Includes waist belt and rain cover


  • 8-inch tablet sleeve has limited usefulness
  • Limited overall capacity

Best weatherproof camera bag: Langly Weekender Backpack

Langly Weekender Backpack review

Langly Weekender Backpack review. Image credit: Andy Westlake

At a glance:

  • 46 x 30 x 18 cm external dimensions
  • Holds 1 camera and 4-6 lenses
  • 13in laptop compartment
  • Price: $219 / £228

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.


  • Lots of well-sized pockets
  • Stylish trim
  • Durable materials


  • Outer pockets don’t expand
  • Top section isn’t fully enclosed when back is opened

Read our Langly Weekender Backpack review.

Best camera bag for hiking: Gitzo Adventury 30L

Gitzo Adventury 30L.

Gitzo Adventury 30L.

At a glance:

  • 31 x 19 x 48 cm external dimensions
  • Holds 2 cameras and 4 lenses
  • 15in laptop compartment
  • Price: $309 / £219

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.


  • Sturdy for hiking
  • Lots of storage room
  • Tripod mounting points


  • On the bulky side
  • Comparatively pricey

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

At a glance:

  • 48 x 30 x18cm external dimensions
  • Holds 1 camera and 2-4 lenses
  • 16in laptop sleeve
  • Price: $241 / £179

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 it’s 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.


  • Roll-top design adds flexibility
  • Lots of spare pockets
  • Premium materials


  • Less capacious than rivals
  • Must be taken off to access all gear

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

At a glance:

  • 36 x 22 x 52 cm external dimensions
  • Holds 2 cameras and 6-8 lenses
  • 15in laptop sleeve
  • Price: $241 / £269

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.


  • Lots of recycled materials in construction
  • Multiple access points
  • Loads of kit space


  • Overkill unless you have lots of kit

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.

At a glance:

  • 43 x 29 x 18cm external dimensions
  • Holds 1 camera and 3-4 lenses
  • 13in laptop sleeve
  • Price: £87/$104

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.


  • Very light
  • Camera and laptop inserts are removable
  • Front and back access


  • Gets uncomfortable when full

Read our Manfrotto Street Slim Backpack review.

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

best camera backpacks for photographers Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L

Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L.

At a glance:

  • 46 x 30 x 17 cm external dimensions
  • Holds 1 cameras and 3-4 lenses
  • 15in laptop sleeve
  • Price: $279 / £269

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.


  • Dual side-access points
  • Useful top section
  • Extra-stretchy pockets


  • Tripod pocket interferes with side opening

Best camera bag for DSLRs: Tenba DNA 16 DSLR Backpack

Tenba DNA 16 DSLR backpack

Tenba DNA 16 DSLR backpack.

At a glance:

  • 28 x 51 x 20 cm external dimensions
  • Holds 1 camera body and 3 lenses
  • 16in laptop sleeve
  • Price: $229 / £159

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.


  • Water-repellent materials
  • Rolltop expands
  • Removable camera insert


  • On the pricey side
  • Straps could be more padded

Best cheap camera backpack: Vanguard Veo Active 42M

Vanguard VEO Active 42M review

Vanguard VEO Active 42M

At a glance:

  • 27 x 19 x 44 cm external dimensions
  • Holds 1 camera and 3-4 lenses
  • 13in laptop sleeve
  • Price: $189 / £149

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.


  • Multiple tripod mounting points
  • Useful USB pass-through for charging
  • Tough outer material


  • Other bags are more capacious

Read our Vanguard VEO Active 42M review.

Best large camera backpack: Vanguard Alta Sky 68

Vanguard Alta Sky 68.

Vanguard Alta Sky 68.

At a glance:

  • 36 x 23 x 59.5 cm external dimensions
  • Holds 1 camera body and 8 lenses
  • 16in laptop sleeve
  • Price: $299 / £249

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.


  • Can take super-telephoto lenses
  • Well padded for good weight distribution
  • Highly adjustable


  • Big and bulky

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

F-Stop Kashmir UL 30L

F-Stop Kashmir UL 30L

At a glance:

  • 52 x 32 x 28 cm external dimensions
  • Holds 1 camera and 3-4 lenses
  • 13in laptop sleeve
  • Price: around $219 / £270

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.


  • Designed for smaller bodies
  • Strong internal aluminium frame
  • Water-resistant base


  • Only 13in laptop sleeve

Best messenger bag for photographers: Billingham 307

Billingham 307 messenger bag for photographers

Billingham 307

At a glance:

  • Designed to hold a laptop
  • Holds a large DSLR, several lenses plus flash
  • No laptop sleeve
  • Price: Around $500 / £400

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 on this page, 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.


  • Built to last
  • Classic and timeless style


  • Relatively high price
  • No sleeve for laptop or tablet

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

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