TL; DR – These are the best camera bags
1. Peak Design Everyday Messenger 13L v2
Best camera bag
A good camera bag should protect and organize your gear while keeping it easily accessible. You should be able to change lenses quickly without worrying about dropping the dust covers or worse, dropping the lenses. So when it comes to a bag ready for your camera gear, the Peak Design Everyday Messenger 13L V2 is a great option.
The messenger bag style lets you throw it behind your back as you move between shooting locations, but it can just as easily live on your hip when you’re in the thick of it. Magnetic locking hardware makes it easy to access gear in the bag with one hand, and FlexFold dividers will keep your gear organized. There’s also room to accommodate a 15-inch laptop, so you can take your editing gear with you. And, with a weather-resistant exterior and zippers, the bag can protect your gear from the elements.
2. AmazonBasics backpack
Best budget camera bag
Big enough to hold two camera cases, but with a price tag small enough to keep your bank balance healthy, Amazon’s own version on the camera backpack deserves credit. Internally it measures 10 x 4.2 x 14.2 in space, which is enough for 3-4 lenses plus a few accessories. You should also be able to insert a laptop.
For the photographer who is just starting out, there should be enough pockets and compartments to satisfy, but as your hobby matures you will probably want to upgrade to something bigger and more beautiful. Still, it’s great for beginners. Amazon’s Nifty SLR Camera Crossbody Backpack also worth a visit if you want something a little smaller.
3. Billingham Hadley Pro 2020 Camera Bag
Best camera bag
Chances are you are familiar with Billingham camera bags; they’re pretty iconic. Her Hadley Pro Camera Bag is an easy first choice for us, with the perfect blend of style and utility. The new 2020 version receives an improved top handle and an additional luggage cart strap at the rear for added convenience.
Beyond that, you have an adjustable (removable) shoulder strap and a weatherproof zipper on the back to hold important documents. Best of all, the padded insert can be removed, transforming it from a camera bag into something more general in a flash. It will support a DSLR or mirrorless camera with enough space for two to three lenses.
4. LowePro ProTactic 450 AWII
Best rugged camera bag
LowePro makes tough camera bags and the ProTactic 450 AW is as tough as it looks. Big enough to hold two pro-grade DSLRs, one with a 70-200mm f / 2.8 lens, it’s spacious, with a compartment that can hold a 15-inch laptop.
With four access points, it’s also perfect for situations where speed is essential. The removable belt is just the icing on the cake, but if you don’t need all the bells and whistles, the 350 AW version offers something a little smaller for less.
5. Domke F-5XB
Best compact camera bag
With a rugged retro look, this Domke shoulder bag has a lot to offer – price included. The main compartment is well padded, with fixed dividing walls; it will contain a DSLR and a few lenses, but won’t leave much room for additional accessories.
For something more spacious, check out the Domke F-2 shoulder bag, which has become a classic among discerning photographers.
6. Ona Brixton bag
Best leather camera bag
For the more style conscious, the Ona offers camera protection wrapped in high quality leather. It’s one of the more compact bags on our list, but still big enough to hold a DSLR, three lenses, and accessories.
There’s room for a 13-inch laptop, while the open back pocket can accommodate a 10-inch tablet. However, it will get quite heavy if you maximize all that space. A bag for the photographer who wants to be photographed, but not a great choice if you plan to be in the rain.
A little out of your price range? A little bigger than what you need. Ona’s Bowery bag still has a lot of style.
7. Peak Design Everyday 20L V2 Backpack
Best camera backpack
If you prefer to keep our camera gear on your back you will need the Peak Design Everyday 20L V2 Backpack. This backpack has plenty of room for camera gear without being too bulky, and it includes FlexFold dividers that you can use to compartmentalize your different kit parts. The top flap of this backpack gives you easy access to your gear and can expand the backpack by an additional three liters. Meanwhile, the side zippers will allow you to go straight to whatever is packed deep in your backpack without having to dig through everything else.
Your camera gear is also protected in this backpack, as it uses DWR-impregnated 400D nylon for most of its construction and 900D nylon for the bottom, helping to keep water away from your gear. The carrying straps on the outside of the backpack will allow you to take even more things with you without having to cram them next to your gear. And plenty of comfort features make it a great companion on long, adventurous shooting days.
8. Moment 10L Camera Shoulder Bag
Best camera shoulder bag
Backpacks are great and all, but if you’re serious about shooting, it can help to have easier access to all of your camera gear while you’re on the go. The Moment 10L is a rear strap designed for work. It’s designed for easy top-to-bottom access to all your gear, and you can use it just as easily as a sling on either side of your body.
The Moment 10L will help you organize and access your gear just as much as it helps you keep everything safe. The bag is designed with waterproof material and water resistant zippers, preventing the elements from entering. The padding will also keep your gear safe, so you don’t have to worry about the bag bouncing off your hip or an occasional bump.
9. Wandrd Duo backpack
Best laptop backpack
The Wandrd Duo backpack looks like a pretty typical backpack on the outside, but once you open it you’ll see how smartly it has been designed for the photographer on the go. This backpack offers up to 20 liters of storage space divided into a multitude of pockets and sleeves to store your most essential camera gear.
Basically, you’ll get a long compartment that can hold a large DSLR camera as well as a long zoom lens or two. Additional pockets above can hold more lenses or a flash. There are also side pockets to hold even more gear. To top it off, there’s a laptop sleeve that can even accommodate a 16-inch MacBook Pro. Everything wrapped in a weatherproof shell to keep your gear safe between shoots.
Camera bags: what to look for?
Backpack: Camera bags come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Backpacks aren’t as good for easy access, but they often offer better protection. They are also often more roomy than messenger bags and shoulder bags and distribute the weight over two shoulders, making them a better choice for larger excursions.
Messenger / shoulder bags: These bags have only one strap which means that all the weight is put on one shoulder. The upside here is access – it’s easier to grab your camera and accessories into a flash, making them perfect for the type of photography where time is of the essence. However, they’re not as good for large outdoor trips where you’re carrying a lot of gear.
How many compartments do you need? When you browse the camera bags, you will see details about the dimensions and the number of compartments. How much space you need depends on how much gear you have and how you plan to travel. You might only have one camera, but if you like to carry around a lot of lenses, make sure the bag can fit them all. Some bags also have modular compartments, so you can rearrange them to suit your needs.
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Hugh Langley is a technical journalist who is fascinated by clothing, health technologies, the smart home and more. You can find him tweeting (often nonsense) to @hughlangley.