You want your camera with you to take pictures of the scenery and wildlife. But you also want carrying it all of your accessories to be as convenient as possible. As a hiker, choosing a backpack for your camera can take quite a bit of comparison shopping. You will need a backpack that can meet all your needs, whatever they may be.
As you go through this list, you will see different backpacks, with their features and benefits. The backpacks are arranged in no particular order, so feel free to choose the one that suits you best. No matter the brand of camera you are using, there is a backpack for you. Here are 14 of the best camera backpacks for hiking.
Lowepro is a camera bag maker headquartered in California. The company is a spin-off from Lowe Alpine Systems, a manufacturer of outdoor equipment. Their first camera bag was produced in 1972. Today, they have a range of camera backpacks that are all of excellent quality.
The Flipside Trek BP 350 AW is an awesome camera backpack. If you are serious about order and organization, then this backpack is for you. With its padded straps and multiple compartments, this is easily a good companion on your hikes. It also includes a rain cover and its lightweight is good for longer distances.
It’s comfortable, light, and easy to use. The major drawback with this backpack is the price. The features are great, but one might wonder if it is worth such a steep price tag.
This is an adventurers’ backpack from Burton Snowboards. The company founded by Jake Burton Carpenter in 1977 is still going strong and making more than boards.
Right off the bat, the first thing that will interest you about this American-made backpack is that it’s waterproof. The weight of the bag can be placed at medium, and it has internal dividers that compartmentalize the inner space. There is also enough room for some additional items you might want to take on your hike.
A nice touch to the F-Stop Pack is the waist strap, which adds stability to your load while aslso taking some of the weight off your shoulders.
This is another masterful backpack by Lowepro, showing how much of an impact the American-based manufacturer has made in the backpacking world. The Lowepro ProTactic is usually for extreme hikers. It can contain two times what an average backpack on the market will hold. This backpack can take two cameras and up to 9 lenses comfortably.
As an added bonus, the backpack has space for a laptop. The laptop space is for 15-inches sizes, no more. The Lowepro Protactic 450 also comes with a removable water-resistant cover. This is to protect the bag as it isn’t waterproof itself.
For over 30 years, Vanguard has been involved in the production of tripods, bags, and other camera components and add-ons. They make all their products in house so that they can ensure the same quality every time. Their constant dedication to producing top quality accessories has resulted in an excellent customer experience, as seen with this backpack.
The Alta Sky 45D is a Vanguard pride and joy. It was designed with a hiker and their camera in mind. With this backpack, you get multiple access points, compartments for your camera and its accessories, and a built-in rain cover. It is also very comfortable and easy on your back, with the addition of a waist strap to distribute the weight, so you never have to worry about carrying it during your hikes.
Pelican is an American company that specializes in making containers and other accessories for numerous products. They are headquartered in California but has manufacturing locations in Germany, the UK, and Australia, among others. The company was founded by Dave Parker in 1976.
The U160 Urban Elite Half Case is very large and durable. It is both water and crushproof, so you have absolutely nothing to fear while hiking. There are a waist belt and a built-in aluminum frame for support. Sadly, it doesn’t come with any laptop storage, so you will have to do without your PC on your next hike.
Atlas is a relatively new player in the camera bag sector. But although they are only four years old, Atlas is showing that they can maintain their own against older and bigger opponents by releasing great products. They are headquartered in Arizona.
This backpack can contain one DSLR camera and up to 5 lenses. You do not have to worry about rain or water, as the Atlas Athlete is fully coated with a water-resistant material. The backpack also comes with extra space for all your hiking needs. Another perk is that the Atlas Athlete is carry-on ready, so it can follow you anywhere as a proper backpack should.
Tarmac has been in existence since 1977, formulating and perfecting their products over time. In their over 50 years, Tamrac has made and still makes a variety of camera-related accessories, including this backpack. Tamrac is an American company founded by two nature photographers in California.
Being water-resistant and having a protective cover gives the Anvil 23 Pro a definite edge. It is more of a camera bag because after putting your camera and its components inside, there’s hardly any room for other gear. Depending on how much you need to carry, you might need to put your other items in a separate pack, which might be a little inconvenient. As a plus, it does have space for up to a 15-inch laptop.
The Inverse 200 AW by Lowepro is what you can call a medium-sized backpack. Not too small and tiny and not too large and bulky. We recommend this pack for those who do not have very much equipment to worry about. It is portable, comes with a built-in rain cover and is reasonably priced.
There is plenty of room for your camera and all its lenses but not enough space for a spare camera. There’s a support belt to help with carrying, and to top it off, it is weatherproof. This backpack is for casual use, so, if you are a casual hike photographer, this is definitely for you.
F-Stop is an American backpack-making company founded in 2005. With each of their releases, they have stuck to their original vision of providing a smooth blend between performance and camera backpacks.
This F-Stop backpack is huge with a total size of 50 liters. Not many backpacks can boast of having this much capacity. You can never have too many supplies with this backpack. It also includes straps for your tripod, the option for add-ons, and an adjustable exterior. Also, the shoulder straps are well-padded to provide comfort during use, and the waist helps to distribute the weight and stabilize your load.
It comes with different compartment adjusting options but does not have a water bottle pouch. To make up for its lack of water bottle pouches, the Tilopa supports a range of duration systems. It is the right blend of comfort and versatility. The bag is also reasonably priced considering all the available features.
Osprey has been in the backpack-making business for over 40 years. The company was founded by Mike Pfotenhauer and is headquartered in Colorado where they make all their backpacks. The company’s founder now serves as the head of innovation and design. Osprey has a company philosophy of building products that last.
To put this simply, the Osprey UltraLight Camera Case is a backpack for your camera only. Yes, you read that right; it only contains your camera and nothing else. The backpack can be used either as an add-on to a larger backpack or as a simple backpack for your camera.
It has a comfortable strap, is extremely lightweight, and as far as backpacking camera cases go, this is a dedicated unit. The backpack focuses on protecting your camera. If you have a backpack you use already, this could be a useful addition to give you more value for your money.
Thinktank, the company that makes the Mindshift backpacks, was founded in 2005. They are a photographer-focused brand, producing equipment and tools to make photographers’ jobs easier. This backpack is just one of their many products.
Using this backpack, you can be sure all your camera needs will be met. In size, the backpack is big enough to handle all your camera equipment and hiking essentials easily. It has a compartment for a 15-inch laptop and a full-size tablet. The bag is water-resistant and lightweight, with a waist strap to make carrying it even easier.
This is the second F-Stop backpack on this list. The Anja feels like a true hiking backpack, with its aluminum frames and fully adjustable waist and shoulder straps. There are little pockets for additional item space, and the outer covering of the bag is waterproof.
The F-Stop Anja is an excellent hiking bag. It has support for a water hydration system, space for a 13-inch laptop, and is very light. If you are hiking long distances, a backpack like this will be your best bet. You can have all your equipment and still go further because of the general lightweight.
Mountainsmith is a company dedicated to making backpacks for hiking adventures. This backpack was designed in conjunction with top-notch photographer Chris Burkard. This backpack is what you get when durable meets functionality. Mountainsmith is an American company producing their entire line in the US.
The Tanuck 40 is a work of art. It is the first backpack on our list to fit a 17-inch screen comfortably. It is water-resistant and still comes with a dedicated removable rain cover. There are D-strings and straps for a chest carry option. It is also weather-resistant, so you can go hiking anytime, any day.
As a bonus, the Tanuck 40 isn’t pricey at all, so you’ll get a good return on your money if you decide to buy this backpack.
The Lowepro Whistler 350 is yet another Lowepro backpack that made it onto our list. The first thing you’ll notice about this bag is that its support for heavy-duty equipment. This backpack could also easily double as an everyday bag because the camera inserts are removable. This bag isn’t really for hardcore photographers.
It can take one camera and 4 lenses and some other camera equipment. This bag doesn’t come with a laptop compartment. It is super light and efficient though. It also comes with a waterproof cover for the backpack. It is totally weather resistant (snow, dust, sand, and rain), and there are extra pockets and spaces so that you never have to leave anything behind.
Factors to Consider when Buying a Camera Backpack
There are a number of different factors to consider before you buy any of the backpacks above. If you’re looking to weigh your options while you decide, then this section is for you. These are the common criteria most hikers consider before buying a camera backpack.
This is a very important deciding factor on what kind of backpack you buy. Do you want to pack light, or do you always need that extra space to squeeze in that final accessory? In most cases, it will be wiser to buy a backpack with extra space if you hike for longer periods at a time.
Ease of Use
Most hikers place comfort very high on their priority list. They want the backpack they buy to not cause them any trouble. Little additions such as padded shoulder straps, belts, padded backs, and stiffeners go a long way to make hikers comfortable.
The price of a backpack can usually tell you something about its quality and features. Regardless of the functions, though, you need to know and feel like you’re getting your money’s worth. Always check and compare prices and features before making a final decision.
When hiking, it’s very likely that you will encounter or interact with the elements, so having a backpack that is waterproof is an important feature for many hikers. You need to keep your camera equipment well-protected in case the unexpected happens.
Storage and Stowage
Not only should you consider how much it will hold, but when you get back from your hike, you will need a backpack that you can easily put away. Lay out what you think you’ll want to take with you and determine if the bag you’re looking to buy will hold that much. Then, consider how easy it will be to fold up or collapse for future use.