Getting a great camera backpack for hiking, travel, and adventure is essential. It should protect your camera equipment and your body at the same time. These activities are tons of fun. Unfortunately, they also put unwanted wear and tear on your camera gear and body.
But there are thousands of different camera backpacks on sale today. And every company claims their camera bags are the best. So how are you supposed to tell the studs from the duds? Well, that’s where we come in! We scoured every corner of the internet. And we created this ultimate guide to help you find the best camera for your adventures.
If you’re looking for a quick answer, the Shimoda Explore V2 35 is the best camera backpack on our list. That’s because of its all-rounder abilities, great waterproofing, and excellent extra features!
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- Explicitly built for adventure and landscape photographers
- Meets all carry-on travel requirements
- Top, side, and rear access points
- Women can ask for special straps at no additional cost
- Holds a camera and up to six lenses
- Features a protective hardshell top section
- Four easy-access points
- SlipLock modular design for attaching accessories
- The removable waistbelt can be worn as a utility belt for carrying gear
- Heavy-duty and durable design
- Numerous entry points for quick access
- Customizable interior dividers
- Comfortable shoulder straps, waist belt, and harness
- Designed by a professional adventure photographer
- Extremely durable build quality
- It stands up on its own
- Features a removable top lid and waist belt
- Perfect for short hikes or bike rides
- You can access the camera without removing the bag
- Practical top compartment for non-camera-related gear
- Lots of external straps
- Works great as an everyday backpack
- Versatile, spacious, and durable design
- Expandable side pockets
- Stylish design perfect for both the mountains and the city
- The best camera bag for extended backpacking trips
- Features a dedicated hydration pocket
- Extremely comfortable
- Detachable brain and removable camera insert
- Holds a camera and up to five lenses
- Pairs well with other Manfrotto gear
- Very protective material and design
- Comfortable and stylish
- Roll-top design lets the bag expand or compress
- Removable camera inserts
- Numerous zippered pockets
- Great for travel as it meets carry-on requirements
- Rugged and protective FormShell body
- Convenient phone pocket on the shoulder strap
- The lid functions as a drone launch pad
- Perfect for DJI consumer drones, like the DJI Mavic Pro
- Ultralight modular design
- Removable camera insert, frame, and waist belt pocket
- Expandable drawstring adds 10 L of volume
- Multiple hip belt lengths
- 50/50 split of camera and non-camera storage
- Body-side quick camera access
- Compatible with a 2-liter water reservoir
- Straps for carrying skis, a snowboard, or an ice axe
What is the Top Camera Backpack for Hiking, Travel, and Adventure?
Below are the 13 best camera backpacks for hiking, travel, and adventure. We share the key features and the pros and cons of every pack. Additionally, we will tell you what activities each one is good for. And we show the types of photographers and videographers who benefit most!
We went out of our way to include various camera backpacks. They’re designed for different budgets and activities. So if you like short day hikes, grueling multi-day trips, or backcountry skiing, this article has a bag for you.
To learn more about what makes a great camera backpack, check out our buying guide at the end of the article. There are questions to ask yourself before buying a bag. We give key features to look for. And we answer frequently asked questions. Now, let’s jump in and find your ideal setup!
1. Shimoda Explore V2 35
Ladies and gentlemen, we have our winner—the Shimoda Explore V2 35. It’s the ultimate hiking camera backpack for adventure and as close to a perfect bag as I’ve ever seen. It has a beautiful design and stylish color options. And it will turn heads and garner compliments wherever you go.
The removable camera compartment is unbelievably spacious, fully customizable, and shockproof. The primary access point to your camera gear is from the body side of the bag. But a handy side pocket provides quick access to your camera without taking off the pack. It’s made of waterproof nylon material. And a rain cover provides extra protection when facing unpredictable weather.
I could go on and on… The last two things I want to highlight are its hidden microphone mount and passport pocket. The microphone mount works wonders for on-the-go videographers and filmmakers. And the passport pocket is perfect for hiding important documents and money when traveling.
2. Lowepro ProTactic BP 350 AW II
The Lowepro ProTactic BP 350 AW II is a rugged, professional hiking camera backpack. And it has unmatched protective qualities. It has a strong yet shockingly light FormShell body. This ensures that no harm ever comes to your camera gear. Also, it boasts four easy access points to reach all your gear, no matter where it is in the bag.
It’s not the largest bag. But you can customize it by taking advantage of its modular design to add storage as you see fit. Water bottle holders, lens bags, and camera bags are just a few extra camera accessories you can pair with the Lowpro ProTactic.
One more fantastic feature I have to mention is the removable waist belt. You can wear it on its own as a utility belt during shooting. You can carry your camera, lenses, and other gear at a moment’s notice!
3. Vanguard Alta Sky 45
Videographers, professional photographers, and gearheads will love the Vanguard Alta Sky 45. It’s a killer backpack with lots of internal storage and equally impressive external connection points. The entire bag is designed for protecting and hauling camera equipment. But if you need to carry personal items, you can use the bottom section by removing the velcro dividers.
You can adapt the large, customizable main compartments. They can fit multiple camera bodies, video gear, and gimbals. Also, the heavy-duty flap on the backpack’s front can securely hold large tripods and professional drones.
If you need more convincing, it also has a dedicated laptop compartment. And it meets all airplane carry-on requirements. This makes it an ideal bag for travel and the outdoors.
4. Mountainsmith Tanuck 40
For landscape photographers, a great adventure backpack is the Mountainsmith Tanuck 40. One of our time’s most famous outdoor photographers and filmmakers, Chris Burkard, designed it. So it is one of the most well-thought-out and practical camera backpacks for real-life use.
For starters, the removable camera cubes fit seamlessly into the main compartment. And it can be converted into standalone camera bags when needed. Without the camera compartment, the backpack functions perfectly as a haul bag for rock climbing. Also, the bag has two transparent waterproof pockets. These are ideal for storing cables, spare batteries, and other water-sensitive camera gear.
Another nifty feature is that the top lid can be removed and attached to the well-padded shoulder straps. This setup creates a handy chest mount for carrying your camera. Like a three-point slinger, it’s always directly at your fingertips. Lastly, the comfortable shoulder straps and hip belt evenly distribute weight. They take pressure off your shoulders and back when carrying a heavy load!
5. Lowepro Flipside Trek BP 350 AW
The Lowepro Flipside Trek BP 350 AW is a small camera backpack ideal for day hikes and adventure sports. And its attractive price and durable construction make it the best budget camera backpack available today.
The main compartment is on the body side of the bag and keeps your camera gear and lenses secure at all times. But its most exciting feature is that you can access the camera without removing the backpack.
How does it work? The bag can spin around and rest on your hips with the waist belt securely fastened. And this creates what looks like a table. It also doesn’t move, even when you aren’t holding it. This means you can take photos, change lenses, and get in and out of the pack in the blink of an eye!
6. Peak Design Everyday Backpack V2 30L
Do you want a unique, innovative, and stylish travel camera backpack? Look no further than the Peak Design Everyday bag. It is an award-winning bag that looks great on quiet trails, busy streets, and even in the classroom.
The top of the bag uses Peak Design’s MagLatch technology. It simultaneously keeps your camera gear safe and provides instant access. Also, the interior is 100% customizable, thanks to three FlexFold organizational dividers. And there are weather-sealed zippers on both sides of the bag that provide two more entry points.
Are you unsure about the magnetic lid but want a bag with the same premium look and feel? Check out the Peak Design Everyday Zip 20L. Or, if you think you need more space, a great option is the Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L.
A 20-liter version is also available for people who don’t need as much storage space and want a sleeker look. And you can also read our in-depth Peak Design Everyday Backpack V2 review for more information!
7. Lowepro PhotoSport PRO 70L AW III
If you are a thru-hiker or a backcountry warrior, you will fall head over heels for this spacious backpacking camera bag. The Lowepro PhotoSport PRO 70L AW III is the company’s third iteration of this backpack. And thanks to some key upgrades, it’s by far the best one yet!
A roomy sleeping bag compartment is at the bottom of the bag. And you can enter the primary storage chamber via front, back, and top access points. Also, endless straps and clips are on the camera bag’s outside. You can carry a tripod or trekking poles or attach wet and smelly hiking gear.
While there’s so much to love about this bag, my two favorite features are the removable lid and the accessory straps. Using one of the included straps, you can convert the removable top into a messenger camera bag. Or, when walking, you can use different straps to attach your camera to your chest.
8. Manfrotto Advanced III Befree
The Advanced III Befree is comfortable and compact. And it meets all domestic and international carry-on requirements. Because of this, it’s hands down one of the best camera backpacks for airline travel. Also, it has an expandable side pocket to store your tripod when traveling. This helps prevent dings and scratches.
The bag has three separate spaces. There’s a padded camera compartment, a laptop sleeve, and a top section for storing personal items. None of the spaces are giant. But there’s more than enough room to bring everything you need for a weekend getaway.
Also, the bag is constructed from a moisture-repellent material and comes with a rain cover for further protection. It’s unlikely you will ever experience any problems with it. But if you do, you’ll be thrilled to hear that Manfrotto provides a 5-year extended warranty.
9. Gitzo Adventury 30L
The Gitzo Adventury 30L is a heavy-duty camera and lens backpack. It’s ideal for outdoor, nature, and wildlife photographers. Whether you shoot with a Sony Alpha a7R IV, Canon 1D X Mark II, or any other large professional camera, this bag is up for the task.
First, it boasts ample storage space. So it can transport massive telephoto lenses like the Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3. Also, it has multiple places to attach large tripods or carry water bottles on the bag’s exterior. My one complaint is that the storage space for non-camera items feels limited. But the rolltop design does help combat the issue somewhat.
There are two common issues with many other camera bags when walking with a heavy load. One is the uneven weight distribution, and the other is straps that dig into you. It has a generously padded waist belt and shoulder straps, though. So neither is something you have to worry about with this hiking camera bag.
10. Lowepro Droneguard BP 250
The Droneguard BP 250 is the top hiking camera backpack if you are a drone camera user. You access the camera compartment from the front of the bag. And it fits most drones, including the DJI Mavic Pro and Mini 3 Pro. After loading the drone, there’s still plenty of space for the remote, transmitter, extra batteries, and whatever else you need.
The pack’s lid is made from Lowepro’s patented FromShell material. It is both lightweight and extra protective at the same time. Moreover, if you lay the bag down on the ground, the lid functions beautifully as a launchpad.
Another perk of this bag is its front compartment. It can simultaneously store a laptop and tablet. Both are ideal for people who like using tablets to fly their drones and want to quickly transfer their content to their computers. Compact, action, and mirrorless cameras also fit inside the camera compartment.
11. Moment Strohl Mountain Light 45L
The Moment Strohl Mountain Light 45L is a waterproof camera backpack for minimalist hikers and trekkers. It’s the lightest camera backpack ever made. And it can be compressed or expanded to meet your exact load capacity requirements. It has a lightweight and comfortable design. So it’s also a favorite of trail runners and mountain bikers.
The camera compartment is relatively small and can only store a camera and two lenses. But that’s by design. This camera pack is meant for photographers who pack light and move fast. It also includes a space for a hydration bladder. And its hip-belt pockets are ideal for storing on-the-go snacks.
Lastly, I love its modular system. The Mountain Light Camera Insert adds extra padding inside the bag. And the Mountain Light Camera Loader is a fantastic way to carry your camera outside for quick access. The camera loader fits DSLR and mirrorless cameras. And it attaches to the bag by sliding over the waist belt or using a Peak Design Capture Camera Clip.
12. Lowepro Powder Backpack 500 AW
The Lowepro Powder Backpack 500 AW is the perfect camera bag for winter explorers. Whether you like skiing, snowboarding, alpine climbing, or hiking, this bag does the job. It features strong and durable straps on its exterior. They’re explicitly designed for carrying skis, a snowboard, or other winter gear.
Internally, the bag boasts a large, well-padded removable camera box. The box uses velcro dividers. This lets you customize it to ensure your camera gear is always snug and secure. It’s accessed via the rear of the pack. And the entry door features extra padding. This further protects your camera and makes the hiking backpack comfier when worn.
Also, this Lowepro camera backpack is built from water and tear-resistant nylon. And it includes an all-weather cover. So you’re good even when the weather turns bad or you take a spill on the slopes. You don’t have to worry about your camera getting wet or torn!
13. Osprey Aether Plus 60
Osprey is one of the most popular brands among outdoor enthusiasts. And the Aether Plus 60 is an excellent choice. It’s for people who want a versatile camera backpack for backpacking, travel, and more. It’s not a dedicated photography backpack. But you can easily convert it into one using camera cubes.
The trademark qualities of Osprey products are their high-quality and durable construction. I currently own an Aether pack and could not be happier with it. I bought it last year to replace my previous Osprey hiking backpack. I used that one for nine years and took it with me all over the world.
Another awesome thing about this Osprey camera backpack? It has a twin sister, the Osprey Ariel Plus 60. It’s designed specifically for women. And it also comes in multiple sizes and various color options. So you can select one that best matches your style and hiking gear.
Camera Backpack Buying Guide
How do you choose the perfect hiking and travel camera bag? What should you consider when buying a camera backpack for adventure? Before you buy a new camera backpack, here are some of the most important questions you should ask:
- How much space do you need?
- What type of photography gear do you need to carry?
- Do you need enough space to fit non-camera items like food, jackets, and trekking poles?
- Do you need a hiking backpack that meets carry-on requirements for traveling?
- Do you want a dedicated compartment for your laptop or tablet?
- Do you go on day hikes, multi-day adventures, or extended backpacking trips?
- Is it versatile? Can you use it as an everyday backpack?
- How comfortable is it?
- What is your budget?
Key Features to Look For in a Camera Backpack
Here is a list of crucial pack features to look for when deciding which camera bag is the perfect fit for you:
- Organization and storage. Is it customizable?
- A dedicated camera compartment. Does it have padding?
- Tablet or laptop storage
- Travel tripod storage
- Extra space, both internal and external
- Access points—top, side, and back
- Hip belt, chest strap, and padded shoulder straps
- Water storage like water bottle side pockets or space for a water bladder
- Its style and look
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Here are the questions we get asked the most.
What is the best photo backpack?
What are the best camera backpacks for long-distance hiking?
For a dedicated camera backpack, it’s the Lowepro PhotoSport Backpack Pro 70L AW III. Or the Osprey Aether Plus 60 is the best if you want a standard trekking pack. And if you want an ultralight setup, you should go for the Moment Strohl Mountain Light 45L.
How do you carry a camera in a backpack?
My favorite way to attach my camera to my pack when I hike or travel is with the Peak Design Capture Clip. It’s a unique, convenient, and safe way to carry a camera. It’s my favorite piece of camera kit for adventure photography. So I own three of them! You can also pair it with action cameras like the GoPro Hero10 Black with the help of the Peak Design POV Kit.
What is the best size backpack for hiking?
I recommend using a pack between 15 and 30 liters for short hikes. A backpack of 30 to 50 liters is suitable for traveling or if you typically carry lots of photo gear. Anything over 50 liters is ideal for multi-day trips or long-term travel.
How much do the best camera backpacks cost?
Prices vary greatly depending on the build quality and the included features. That said, most of the best camera backpacks are in the $100-300 price range. If that sounds out of your budget, the best camera backpack for hiking for under $100 is the BAGSMART camera bag.
Investing in the best camera backpack for hiking, travel, and adventure is a good idea. It is an easy way to support your photo and video endeavors. Also, they take the strain off your body, making your time spent in nature or on the road more enjoyable.
While you can’t go wrong with any camera bag above, some work better than others. It depends on the gear you shoot with and the activities you take part in. With that in mind, here are my final recommendations.
Do you typically go on short day hikes? You can’t go wrong with the compact and lightweight Lowepro Flipside Trek BP 350 AW. Or opt for the Aether Plus 60 or the PhotoSport Backpack Pro 70L AW III for adventures spanning many days.
The best camera backpack for travel is the Peak Design Everyday Backpack. And last but not least, my favorite camera hiking backpack is the versatile Shimoda Explore V2 35. It’s the best of both worlds and works well for hiking and traveling.