What to look for in a camera bag in 2022
A camera bag is often one of the first items photographers need to buy, and an essential. camera accessory. But with so many options on the market, it’s hard to find the best camera bag for you. Difficult, but not impossible.
First, consider what you are shooting. Are you a street photographer or do you mainly shoot weddings? A street photographer will likely need their bag on them at all times, so they’ll need something easy and light to carry. A camera bag for a wedding photographer is more about carrying gear from point A to point B, so a larger, bulkier bag is fine as long as it has everything they need.
What is your camera setup? DSLR shooters will need more room in their bags than people with a small mirrorless camera. A wildlife photographer will need something that can withstand the elements and can handle the huge zooms that are often required to capture that perfect shot.
Also, keep in mind that not all camera bags are backpacks. There are also messenger bags, shoulder bags, and bags that don’t look like they’re meant to hold a camera at all. It’s worth finding the style that works best for you in addition to what meets your technical needs. A bag that doesn’t work well with you will only be frustrating to work with, no matter how good it is.
Whatever type of gear bag you end up with, make sure it’s built to last. After all, you’ll probably be carrying several hundred dollars worth of gear on a regular basis. Cheap bags can be tempting, but it’s worth investing a little more in something you’ll get in five to ten years instead of something you’ll replace in less than a year.
With that in mind, here’s our roundup of the best camera bags for photographers.
- ✓ Durable design to withstand daily use
- ✓ Waterproofing to keep gear dry
- ✓ Moderate price makes it more affordable than other bags like this
- ✓ Clean and minimal design
- ✗ Doesn’t fit as much as other camera bags
The Peak Design Daily Tote Bag is a great all-rounder if you’re looking for a simple camera for your daily carry. It’s designed with external cords that secure a cover if you’re hiking in stormy weather, is made from sturdy recycled canvas, and has a weather-resistant top closure.
The included insert can also be arranged in multiple configurations to suit your gear. So whether you’re shooting mirrorless or with a DSLR, you’ll be able to carry a camera body and a few lenses. The amount of space you get is well suited for most shooters, as you can fit three lenses in total (two plus one attached to the body). If you’re going on a backpacking trip or a shoot that requires more complicated gear, however, you’ll want to reach for something with more room.
Peak Design’s bag is also one of the few camera bags that doesn’t look like a camera bag, so it can easily double as a travel companion or backpack. It’s practical in both style and function – camera bags that look the part can signal to thieves that you’re carrying expensive gear. For everyday carry, the minimalist design of the Totepack is perfect.
- ✓ High value for the price
- ✓ Lots of little pockets for extras
- ✓ Removable packing cube included
- ✓ Slim profile and pleasing style
- ✗ Fabric doesn’t seem as durable as more expensive options
- ✗ No way to access your camera while carrying the bag
A compact bag from a well-known manufacturer of quality camera gear for just under $100, the Manfrotto Street Slim Backpack can hold a ton of gear while maintaining a slim silhouette. This makes it particularly suitable for strolling around the city, for light shooting or for a budget everyday carry bag.
Street photographers heading out for a long day of shooting would get miles out of this bag, as it can hold both your gear and extras like a laptop, memory cards, and snacks. There’s even room to install a strobe light for studio shots.
The styling of this bag is understated, although it still has Manfrotto branding and comes in multiple colors. The fabric may not hold up as well as sturdier and more expensive alternatives, but it’s fine for a simple everyday carry bag.
A packing cube is included specifically to hold camera gear, which you can remove to make a regular backpack. There are no access points for your camera while you’re still wearing the bag, but it does have roomy side pockets and a pass-through as a reasonable compromise.
All in all, it’s a solid choice for a photographer on a budget.
- ✓ Plenty of space for gear
- ✓ Rearrangeable dividers are included
- ✓ Protective padding and hard plastic to protect your belongings
- ✓ Comes with a dedicated tripod mount
- ✗ Some might not like the tactical look
Lowepro is a manufacturer that has been around for years and has built a reputation for excellent products. If you don’t mind your camera bag looking like a camera bag, the Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW II is among the best options out there.
This bag is durable, can hold gear ranging from DSLR bodies to drones, and is padded for comfort. Bags like the ProTactic are criticized in some circles for their militaristic look, but if that’s the style you like, this bag delivers.
The ProTactic 450 includes a weatherproof cover for extra protection when shooting outdoors. The hard EVA plastic and padding provide some shock absorption and also give the bag that “turtle shell/tactical” look that people either love or hate.
You’ll also get interior dividers that can be repositioned depending on what you’re carrying that day, and a handy tripod mount. It all adds up to a bag that traveling photographers like to use as versatile.
Best Camera Backpack
- ✓ Rigid frame and padding make long wearing comfortable
- ✓ Has pockets for small items like a passport
- ✓ Withstands the elements
- ✓ Removable camera packing cube included
- ✓ Side access point to grab your camera
- ✗ Might be too expensive for some
At Shimoda Explore V2 25 Liter Adventure Backpack is a super tough travel backpack from a brand that put a lot of effort into the “travel and adventure” gear category. This bag comes with more than enough space for your photo setup, plus supplies for day hikes in the wilderness or exploring the city.
Small pockets on the front straps for items like passports and keys make the Explore a good travel companion at the airport, and the 25L size is designed to fit in US aircraft hand compartments .
Additionally, the camera bag is built with a stiff back that distributes weight more evenly on long hikes. The shoulder straps are also padded and it comes with waist straps, so you can pack heavy without being as hard on your back.
It won’t contain everything you need for international travel – try it Action X70 for that, but it’s a good option for camping or taking a road trip.
Best camera bag for travel
Shimoda Explorer V2 25
A great camera backpack from a company known for its travel and adventure packs.
- ✓ Weather-resistant fabric keeps gear dry
- ✓ Magnetic clasps allow you to easily fit in the bag
- ✓ The small size makes this bag ideal for street photography
- ✗ Cannot hold enough gear/supplies for extended trips
Moments Sturdy camera strap is a well-designed crossbody style bag from a gear maker. Perfect for street photographers who want to travel light, this bag can hold a small mirrorless setup or a DSLR with a few main lenses with room for other small things like memory cards or filters.
This bag is made from recycled materials from Northern Sails, making it weatherproof and durable enough to take with you on rainy days around town. The style is also understated and functional.
Multiple handles and straps provide different ways to carry your stuff, but you’ll probably want to carry it with the strap as it’s designed to sit comfortably on your back. It closes with magnetic clips that allow you quick access to the bag while keeping your gear secure.
The sturdy camera holder arrives 6L and 10L sizes, the last of which can fit a drone. It’s not the bag you’ll want to take on extended trips or more complicated shoots, but it’s a perfect everyday photography bag.
Best camera shoulder bag
Best leather camera bag: The Bowery
- ✓ Handcrafted bag, superb
- ✓ Holds essentials for shooters who travel light
- ✓ Small pockets can hold additional accessories
- ✓ Comes with an adjustable shoulder strap
- ✗ Can’t go much beyond the basics
- ✗ Not intended for use in harsh conditions
Stylish and high quality, the Bowery is a bag chosen as much for aesthetics as function. A good camera bag for wedding and lifestyle photographers aiming to impress their clients, the Bowery has a cool vintage look and can hold a camera body and a few lenses.
It’s also comfortable enough to carry around for a few hours and includes pockets for small accessories like memory cards or lens filters that you might need during the day. That said, if you know you’ll need multiple lenses, this probably isn’t the bag for you – you’ll want a bag with a bit more room.
The Bowery is made of premium, durable leather, but is not meant to be exposed to harsh conditions. The interior is just big enough for a DSLR body with a lens attached plus an extra lens, but if you’re shooting with a small camera you might be able to fit another lens in there. This camera bag is a bit small, but it is very functional and the main appeal is its appearance.
Best Leather Camera Bag
A stylish leather camera bag perfect for photographers with lighter kit.