Which camera and lens backpack is best?

There’s no denying that photography can be an incredibly expensive activity. Whether you do it as a hobby or a professional career, it’s rather easy to spend thousands of dollars on the latest lenses, camera bodies or accessories.

So, simply throwing your gear into a makeshift backpack before going to a photoshoot definitely won’t do. To keep your camera and lenses as safe as possible while easily accessible, you’re going to need a good-quality photography backpack. 

The Lowepro Flipside Backpack 300 AW III is an excellent choice if you need a backpack that can take a punch without compromising your equipment.

What to know before you buy a camera and lens backpack

Consider what gear you want to take

Traveling with photographic gear, you rarely only have the camera body and one lens. There are other gadgets and accessories to consider, in addition to which lenses will be best suited for your trip. 

So ultimately, the right backpack for you will be determined by the gear. You might decide only to take a few lenses but want to pack a laptop, some chargers, a flash and maybe an SD card reader. If that’s the case, a backpack with more storage for smaller items will be excellent. 

However, you’ll need a roomier backpack if you take half of your lens collection, a secondary camera body and other miscellaneous accessories and gadgets. If you also have a tripod, you’ll need somewhere to store that.

The main compartment is customizable

While the size of the backpack largely determines what you can and can’t take on your trip, the main compartment is often customizable. There are several inner padded walls with Velcro on the ends so that you can shift and move them around to create more space. 

Depending on how they are designed, some of the walls are easily manipulated to conform exactly to the shape of your camera body or lens. This creates a snug fit that not only protects it from bumps but also ensures that it doesn’t rattle on the inside. 

Durable materials are a must

There is no point in buying a backpack that looks great but falls apart on the first assignment. Look for a backpack made from durable materials that won’t rip or tear easily. And even if it does, it shouldn’t allow your lenses or camera to fall out. 

The same goes for any fasteners, zips or buckles. Nothing is more fear-inducing than your world going into slow-motion as the straps on the backpack fail and your expensive equipment crashes to the ground.

What to look for in a quality camera and lens backpack

Front zipper for easy access

When speed is of the essence, you can’t afford to fumble with buckles, clasps or dig through your bag. That is why a good-quality camera backpack has an easily accessible front compartment with a sturdy zipper. This lets you grab your gear quickly, and there is no need to shift gear out of the way. 

Some backpacks do this differently by designing the lid to open completely. This is a great alternative if you want to put your bag down, open it and have all your gear immediately available. 

Water-resistant

As a photographer, you’ll never know when you’ll get caught in the rain. But just because your clothes get wet doesn’t mean your gear should suffer the same fate. And it’s not just in thunderstorms either. If you decide to take your camera backpack on a hike and you slip, your bag might end up in a river or stream.

A good-quality backpack has a special lining on the inside to protect your camera and lenses from any moisture. If it doesn’t have a lining, it should at least be coated with a water-resistant material that will buy you enough time to retrieve your bag or get out of the rain.

A lot of padding

Photography equipment is heavier than most people realize. The camera body alone is a good few pounds, and when you pair it with several lenses, it can quickly become an unbearable burden. 

That is why a good-quality backpack has thick padding on the shoulder straps and the carry handle. Some larger bags might even have some form of back support so that the weight is distributed evenly.

How much you can expect to spend on a camera and lens backpack

The average price of a camera backpack depends on the manufacturer, bag size, and material. An affordable backpack with a modestly sized main compartment retails for $30-$40. However, a larger backpack with padded shoulder straps and a water-resistant coating retails for $100-$300.

Camera and lens backpack FAQ

Can you squeeze a drone in there, too?

A. That depends on the size of the main compartment and the configuration of the dividers. If you plan it carefully, you may be able to fit a drone into the backpack if you pack one fewer lens.

Can you take a camera backpack onto an airplane?

A. In most cases, you can do that, but it’s advisable to check with the airline first. Usually, the airline won’t have a problem if it complies with the carry-on luggage measurements.

What’s the best camera and lens backpack to buy?

Top camera and lens backpack

Lowepro Flipside Backpack 300 AW III

Lowepro Flipside Backpack 300 AW III

What you need to know: A rugged backpack, it’s an excellent option for keeping your gear safe and dry. 

What you’ll love: The back panel opens completely so you can lay it down on the ground. The internal compartments are customizable, and it has solid padding on the shoulder straps.

What you should consider: It has limited space for smaller gadgets. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top camera and lens backpack for the money

Amazon Basics Backpack for SLR Cameras and Accessories

Amazon Basics Backpack for SLR Cameras and Accessories

What you need to know: This backpack is an affordable option for protecting your camera and lenses.

What you’ll love: The spacious interior is customizable with several padded walls, ample space for smaller gadgets, and thick foam padding on the shoulder straps and waistband.

What you should consider: It’s large enough to protect a camera body and up to two lenses, but carrying more will be a struggle.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Vanguard Alta Sky 66 Camera Backpack

Vanguard Alta Sky 66 Camera Backpack

What you need to know: This backpack is an excellent choice if you want to keep your lens attached to your camera but safe at the same time.

What you’ll love: With thick foam padding on the inside, this outdoor backpack has two quick-access openings. There are several smaller pockets, a slot for a 9-inch tablet and sturdy buckles. 

What you should consider: The included rain cover isn’t large enough to cover the backpack when a tripod or drone is attached to it.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Charlie Fripp writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

 

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