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13 Best Camera Backpacks for Hiking, Travel & Adventure in 2022

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Hiking, travel, and adventure-related activities are tons of fun. Unfortunately, they also put unwanted wear and tear on your camera gear and body. That’s why it’s essential to get a great camera bag that will protect your camera equipment and your body at the same time.

But, with thousands of different camera backpacks on sale today and every company claiming their camera bags are the best, how are you supposed to tell the studs from the duds? That’s where we come in! After scouring every corner of the internet, we created this ultimate guide to help you find the best camera backpack for hiking, travel, and adventure.

We went out of our way to include various camera backpacks designed for different budgets and activities. So, whether 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. It contains questions to ask yourself before making a purchase, key features to look for, frequently asked questions, and more. Now, let’s jump in and find your ideal setup!

Woman with camera bag sitting at the edge of a canyon
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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 which types of photographers and videographers will benefit most from using them!

13. Osprey Aether Plus 60

Osprey Aether Plus 60 best camera backpack for hiking

Material: 420D Nylon

Dimensions: 78 x 37 x 33 cm

Weight: 2.5 kg

Volume: 60 L

Laptop/Tablet Compartment: No

Tripod Holder: Yes

Included Raincover: Yes

Price: $$$

Osprey is one of the most popular brands amongst outdoor enthusiasts, and the Aether Plus 60 is an excellent choice for people who want a versatile camera backpack great for backpacking, travel, and more. While it’s not a dedicated photography backpack, you can easily convert it into one using camera cubes.

One of the trademark qualities of Osprey products is 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 that I used for nine years and took with me all over the world.

Another awesome thing about this Osprey camera backpack is that it has a twin sister, the Osprey Ariel Plus 60. It’s designed specifically for women. Also, it comes in multiple sizes and various color options. Therefore, you can select one that best matches your style and hiking gear.

Pros:

  • Osprey makes men’s and women’s versions
  • The top lid is removable and converts into a day pack
  • Terrific versatility and works great with camera cubes
  • Super comfortable and durable
  • Lots of external storage and multiple access points
  • Multiple sizes and colors are available

Cons:

  • Not a dedicated camera bag
  • Heavy
  • Too big to use as a carry-on when flying
  • Expensive

12. Lowepro Powder Backpack 500 AW

Lowepro Powder 500 camera backpack for hiking

Material: 210D and 100D Nylon

Dimensions: 62 x 33.5 x 22.5 cm

Weight: 2.4 kg

Volume: 55 L

Tablet/Laptop Storage: Yes

Tripod Holder: Yes

Included Raincover: Yes

Price: $$$

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, 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, allowing you to 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 that further protects your camera and makes the hiking backpack comfier when worn.

In addition, this Lowepro camera backpack is built from water and tear-resistant nylon and includes an all-weather cover. So, 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.

Pros:

  • Body-side quick camera access and a removable camera box
  • Straps for carrying skis, a snowboard, or an ice ax
  • 50/50 split of camera and non-camera storage
  • Compatible with a 2-liter water reservoir
  • It holds a camera and up to four lenses

Cons:

  • The straps occasionally loosen when carrying a heavy load
  • Just over standard carry-on requirements
  • Expensive

11. Moment Strohl Mountain Light 45L

Moment Strohl 45 camera backpack for hiking

Material: 210D Nylon

Dimensions: 80 x 27 x 20 cm

Weight: 1.08 kg

Volume: 45 L

Laptop/Tablet Compartment: No

Tripod Holder: Yes

Included Raincover: No

Price: $$

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 can be compressed or expanded to meet your exact load capacity requirements. Thanks to its lightweight and comfortable design, 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. However, 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 hip-belt pockets ideal for storing on-the-go snacks.

Lastly, I love its modular system. The Mountain Light Camera Insert adds extra padding inside the bag, while 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 attaches to the bag by sliding over the waist belt or using a Peak Design Capture Camera Clip.

Pros:

  • Ultralight modular design
  • Removable camera insert, frame, and waist belt pocket
  • It holds one camera and two lenses
  • Expandable drawspring adds 10 liters of volume
  • Multiple hip belt lengths are available

Cons:

  • The camera compartment and camera loader are sold separately
  • Too big to use as a carry-on when flying
  • Not ideal for heavy loads

10. Lowepro Droneguard BP 250

Lowepro Droneguard 250 camera backpack for hiking

Material: 600D Polyester

Dimensions: 47 x 29 x 17 cm

Weight: 1.34 kg

Volume: 17 L

Laptop/Tablet Compartment: Yes

Tripod Holder: No

Included Raincover: No

Price: $

If you are a drone camera user, the Lowepro Droneguard BP 250 is, unquestionably, the top hiking camera backpack. You access the camera compartment from the front of the bag, which 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 that 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 that its front compartment can simultaneously store a laptop and tablet. Having both is ideal for people who like using tablets to fly their drones and want to transfer their content to their computer quickly. Compact, action, and mirrorless cameras also fit inside the camera compartment.

Pros:

  • Perfect for DJI consumer drones, like the DJI Mavic Pro
  • The lid functions as a drone launch pad
  • Convenient phone pocket on the shoulder strap
  • Rugged and protective FormShell body
  • Removable and customizable velcro organization panels
  • Multiple sizes available

Cons:

  • The hip belt isn’t padded
  • Difficult to stand upright when fully loaded
  • Not ideal for a DSLR camera

9. Gitzo Adventury 30L

Gitzo Adventury 45L camera backpack for hiking

Material: Nylon

Dimensions: 48 x 31 x 19 cm

Weight: 2.05 kg

Volume: 30 L

Tablet/Laptop Compartment: Yes

Tripod Holder: Yes

Included Raincover: Yes

Price: $

The Gitzo Adventury 30L is a heavy-duty camera and lens backpack 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 and can transport massive telephoto lenses like the Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS. 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. However, the rolltop design does help combat the issue somewhat.

When walking with a heavy load, two common issues with many other camera bags are uneven weight distribution and straps that dig into you. Courtesy of its generously padded waist belt and shoulder straps, though, neither is something you have to worry about with this hiking camera bag.

Pros:

  • You can expand or compress the bag thanks to its roll-top design
  • Removable camera insert
  • Numerous zippered pockets improve organization
  • Great for travel as it meets carry-on requirements
  • It holds a camera and up to 5 extra lenses
  • Multiple sizes available at great prices

Cons:

  • Plastic clips are somewhat brittle
  • The boxy design isn’t the most stylish
  • Not a lot of non-camera storage

8. Manfrotto Advanced 3 Befree

Manfrotta Advanced Befree III camera backpack for hiking

Material: Polyester

Dimensions: 49 x 33 x 21

Weight: 1.22 kg

Volume: 15 L

Laptop/Tablet Compartment: Yes

Tripod Holder: Yes

Included Raincover: Yes

Price: $

The Manfrotto Advanced 3 Befree is comfortable, compact, and meets all domestic and international carry-on requirements. Because of this, it’s hands down one of or perhaps the best camera backpack for airline travel. Also, it has an expandable side pocket where you can store your tripod when traveling, which helps prevent dings and scratches.

The bag has three separate spaces—a padded camera compartment, a laptop sleeve, and a top section for storing personal items. While none of the spaces are giant, there’s more than enough room to bring everything you need for a weekend getaway.

In addition, 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.

Pros:

  • Comfortable and stylish camera backpack good for traveling
  • It pairs well with other Manfrotto gear
  • Holds a camera and up to five lenses
  • Very protective
  • Unbeatable price

Cons:

  • The straps could be more padded
  • No waist strap
  • Small side pocket

7. Lowepro PhotoSport Backpack PRO 70L AW III

Lowepro PhotoSport Pro III 70 camera backpack for hiking

Material: 420D Nylon

Dimensions: 80 x 41 x 36 cm

Weight: 3.2 kg

Volume: 70 L

Laptop/Tablet Compartment: No

Tripod Holder: Yes

Included Raincover: Yes

Price: $$$

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, there are endless straps and clips on the camera bags outside for carrying a tripod, trekking poles, or attaching 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. Alternatively, you can use different straps to attach your camera to your chest when walking.

Pros:

  • The best camera bag for extended backpacking trips
  • Features a dedicated hydration pocket for a 3-liter water reservoir
  • Detachable brain and removable camera insert
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Multiple sizes available for these camera bags

Cons:

  • Too big to use as a carry-on when flying
  • Heavy
  • Expensive

6. Peak Design Everyday Backpack V2 30L

Peak Design Everyday Backpack camera backpack for hiking

Material: 400D Nylon

Dimensions: 62 x 36 x 20 cm

Weight: 1.8 kg

Volume: 30 L

Laptop/Tablet Compartment: Yes

Tripod Holder: Yes

Included Raincover: No

Price: $$

If you want a unique, innovative, and stylish travel camera backpack, look no further than the Peak Design Everyday. It is an award-winning bag that looks great on quiet trails, busy streets, and even in the classroom. Moreover, a 20-liter version is also available for people who don’t need as much storage space and want a sleeker look.

The top of the bag uses Peak Design’s MagLatch technology. It simultaneously keeps your camera gear safe and provides instant access. Additionally, the interior is 100% customizable, thanks to three FlexFold organizational dividers. There are also weather-sealed zippers on both sides of the bag that provide two more entry points.

If you are unsure about the magnetic lid but want a bag with the same premium look and feel, check out the Peak Design Everyday Zip. Or, if you think you need more space, a great option is the Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L.

Pros:

  • Stylish design perfect for both the mountains and the city
  • Versatile, spacious, and durable design
  • Expandable side pockets
  • It works great as an everyday backpack
  • Multiple sizes and colors are available

Cons:

  • No hip belt
  • Little exterior storage
  • Not waterproof and doesn’t include a rain cover

5. Lowepro Flipside Trek BP 350 AW

Lowepro Flipside Trek 350 camera backpack for hiking

Material: Nylon

Dimensions: 51 x 28 x 20 cm

Weight: 1.4 kg

Volume: 15 L

Tablet/Laptop Compartment: Yes

Tripod Holder: Yes

Included Raincover: Yes

Price: $

The Lowepro Flipside Trek BP 350 AW is a small camera backpack ideal for day hikes and adventure sports. Furthermore, 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. However, its most exciting feature is that you can access the camera without removing the backpack.

How does it work? With the waist belt securely fastened, the bag can spin around and rest on your hips, creating what looks like a table. Moreover, it stays unmoving, even when you aren’t holding it. It means you can take photos, change lenses, and get in and out of the pack in the blink of an eye.

Pros:

  • You can access the camera without removing the pack
  • Perfect for short hikes or bike rides
  • It holds a camera and a few lenses
  • Practical top compartment for non-camera-related gear
  • Lots of external straps and loops for attaching gear
  • Multiple sizes available at attractive prices

Cons:

  • Can’t hold larger laptops
  • Too small for multi-day trips
  • It only comes in one color

4. Mountainsmith Tanuck 40

Mountainsmith Tanuck 40L camera backpack for hiking

Material: 630D and 620D Nylon

Dimensions: 60 x 38 x 33 cm

Weight: 2.4 kg

Volume: 40 L (expandable to 60 L)

Laptop/Tablet Compartment: Yes

Tripod Holder: Yes

Included Raincover: Yes

Price: $$

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. Therefore, 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 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’s two transparent waterproof pockets 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 and means it’s always directly at your fingertips. Lastly, the comfortable shoulder straps and hip belt evenly distribute weight and take pressure off your shoulders and back when carrying a heavy load.

Pros:

  • Designed by a professional adventure photographer
  • Perfect for hiking and traveling
  • A removable top lid and waist belt
  • Extremely durable build quality
  • It stands up on its own

Cons:

  • Camera cubes (medium and small) are sold separately
  • Sometimes it’s out of stock due to its popularity
  • Heavy

3. Vanguard Alta Sky 45

Vanguard 45D camera backpack for hiking

Material: Nylon

Dimensions: 54 x 34 x 26 cm

Weight: 2.58 kg

Volume: 45 L

Tablet/Laptop Compartment: Yes

Tripod Holder: Yes

Included Raincover: Yes

Price: $$

Videographers, professional photographers, and gear heads 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 compartment to fit multiple camera bodies, video gear, and gimbals like the DJI Ronin-S. Furthermore, the heavy-duty flap on the backpack’s front can securely hold large tripods and professional drones like the DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0.

If you need more convincing, it also has a dedicated laptop compartment and meets all airplane carry-on requirements, making it an ideal bag for travel and the outdoors.

Pros:

  • Heavy-duty and durable design
  • Numerous entry points for quick access
  • Three separate sections that store tons of gear
  • Customizable interior dividers
  • Comfortable shoulder straps, waist belt, and harness
  • External drone flap
  • Multiple sizes available

Cons:

  • It has an outdated style
  • Large and bulky
  • There are no internal clear pockets for memory cards, cables, batteries, etc.

2. Lowepro ProTactic BP 350 AW II

Lowepro ProTactic 350 camera backpack for hiking

Material: Nylon and Polyester

Dimensions: 47 x 30 x 18 cm

Weight: 2.12 kg

Volume: 16 L

Laptop/Tablet Compartment: Yes

Tripod Holder: Yes

Included Raincover: Yes

Price: $$

The Lowepro ProTactic BP 350 AW II is a rugged, professional hiking camera backpack with unmatched protective qualities. Its strong yet shockingly light FormShell body ensures that no harm will ever come to your camera gear. Additionally, it boasts four easy access points to reach all your gear, no matter where it is in the bag.

While it’s not the largest bag, 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 to carry your camera, lenses, and whatever other gear you need at a moment’s notice.

Pros:

  • It’s the most sold bag on Amazon
  • Features a protective hardshell top section
  • Four easy access points
  • SlipLock modular design for attaching accessories
  • Holds a camera and up to six lenses
  • The removable waistbelt can be worn as a utility belt for carrying gear
  • Multiple sizes available

Cons:

1. Shimoda Explore V2 35

Shimoda Explore V2 camera backpack for hiking

Material: Nylon

Dimensions: 54 x 29.5 x 20 cm

Weight: 2.0 kg

Volume: 35 L

Laptop/Tablet Compartment: Yes

Tripod Holder: Yes

Included Raincover: Yes

Price: $$$

Finally, 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. In addition, its beautiful design and stylish color options 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. Furthermore, its waterproof nylon material and rain cover provide extra protection when facing unpredictable weather.

While 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, while the passport pocket is perfect for hiding important documents and money when traveling.

Pros:

  • Explicitly built for adventure and landscape photographers
  • Meets all carry-on travel requirements
  • Sleek and stylish look
  • It has phone and water bottle pouches on the shoulder straps
  • Top, side, and rear access points
  • Adjustable torso height designed to fit men, women, and children
  • Women can ask for special straps at no additional cost
  • Lockable zippers and a secret passport compartment
  • Multiple sizes and colors are available

Cons:

  • Camera inserts may be sold separately depending on where you order it
  • Expensive
Photographer with a backpack taking pictures at sunset
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Camera Backpack Buying Guide

How do you choose the perfect hiking, travel, and adventure camera bag? What should you consider when buying a camera backpack for adventure, travel, and hiking?

Before you buy a new camera backpack, here are some of the most important questions you should ask yourself:

  • 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?
A wildlife photographer taking photos with a camera bag for hiking
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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:

  • Access points—top, side, and back
  • A dedicated camera compartment. Does it have padding?
  • Organization and storage. Is it customizable?
  • Hip belt, chest strap, and padded shoulder straps
  • Tablet or laptop storage
  • Tripod storage
  • Weatherproofing
  • Water storage like water bottle side pockets or space for a water bladder
  • Additional space, both internal and external
  • Its style and look
Young woman enjoying nature with her camera bag for hiking
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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best photo backpack?

There are many factors to consider. Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all best camera bag. However, the Shimoda Explore V2 35 and the Lowepro ProTactic BP 350 AW II are two of the best camera backpacks for the average person.

What are the best camera backpacks for long-distance hiking?

For a dedicated camera backpack, it’s the Lowepro PhotoSport Backpack Pro70L AW III. Alternatively, the Osprey Aether Plus 60 is the best if you want a standard trekking pack. Furthermore, if you want an ultralight setup, you should go for the Moment Strohl Mountain Light 45L.

How do you carry a camera on a backpack?

Without a doubt, my favorite way to attach my camera to my pack when hiking or traveling 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—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 30-50 liters is suitable for traveling or if you typically carry lots of photo gear. Anything over 50 liters is ideal for multi-day trips.

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 (USD) price range. If that sounds out of your budget, the best camera backpack for hiking for under $100 is the BAGSMART camera bag.

Couple walking with camera backpacks for hiking
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Conclusion

Investing in the best camera backpack for hiking, travel, and adventure is one of the easiest ways to support your photography and videography endeavors. Furthermore, 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 bags above, some work better than others. It depends on the gear you shoot with and the activities you like to do. With that in mind, here are my final recommendations.

If you typically go on short day hikes, you can’t go wrong with the compact and lightweight Lowepro Flipside Trek BP 350 AW II. Alternatively, I would opt for the Osprey Aether Plus 60 or the Lowepro PhotoSport Backpack Pro for adventures spanning multiple 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.

If you’re traveling or hiking in far-off places, try out our Simply Stunning Landscapes course to learn how to take print-worthy photos!

Images in this article were partly provided by DepositPhotos.

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