Whether you're a professional photographer or just like to take occasional shots of your favorite scenery, your camera is likely a valuable possession. The last thing you want is for it to get damaged or dirty, and that's where camera bags come in. Not only do these specially-made bags protect your camera, but they make it easier to carry any other tools you need for your shoot.
We read up on camera bags and consulted with a photographer to compile a list of 10 great camera bags on the market this year. Topping our list is Neewer's Convertible Wheeled Camera Backpack since it's great for travel and is made especially for cameras. Read on for our full list, as well as for our buying guide with insights from a professional concert and travel photographer!
Melissa is a concert photographer who enjoys traveling for the music, and taking photographs of the sights along the way. There are so many places to see, and she's trying to share a little of what she sees with the world.
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Keep your precious gear safe and organized with a bag specifically made to transport cameras and gear. You're likely spent a lot of money on your gear, so it's worth spending just a little more to keep it safe in a bag meant for cameras."
The right camera bag for you will depend both on your camera and on your own personal needs. Here are some things to consider when you're shopping.
Whether you have one camera and lens or are a professional with a whole set of equipment will influence your choice greatly! It's also important to consider where you want to bring your camera and how you want to use it.
Holster bags are only large enough to carry your camera and a single lens. There’s no space for an extra lens or accessories with these bags, but that also means that they're small and lightweight enough to be carried long distances with ease.
Due to the lack of extra space available in a holster case, it's vital that you know your camera's dimensions as you shop for this type of bag. You want to be able to slip your camera in and out of its holster with ease, while still ensuring that the holster fits well enough to prevent any jostling. Measure your camera with your lens of choice already attached for the most accurate results.
There are holsters made to suit both mirrorless cameras and DSLR cameras. Some holster bags utilize a shoulder strap, while others are designed to be worn around the waist like a belt. The best holster bags offer both options, meaning you'll be able to maneuver your camera around your body for even better mobility.
If you're only using a single camera and lens for the day, a holster is a perfect option and you'll feel unencumbered to move around compared to traditional larger-sized camera bags.
This is great for any level, but especially if you're just starting out and getting the hang of things. This grants you easy access to your camera at all times and is especially great when shooting outdoors so you'll never miss a moment - nature moves fast.
Sling bags combine the lightweight nature and extra mobility of holsters with a bit of extra space for larger lenses and small tools. A sling bag will feature a single-shoulder strap that crosses your body, and will either have a single, deeper pocket for your camera and its lens or a camera space and one or two extra spots for tools.
The downside of sling bags is that they're designed for one specific shoulder. This means it can be harder for left-handed people to find a sling bag that works for them, and it can also lead to your shoulder getting tired or even strained if you have a particularly heavy camera.
Still, these camera bags are a great option if you want to travel light with a larger lens. They offer quick access to your camera and fit snugly against your body to prevent jostling.
Shoulder bags, also called messenger bags, are held by a single, adjustable strap that goes over one shoulder. Many do also have handles on the bag itself. These camera bags offer fast access to your camera and enough space for multiple lenses and even a few other tools, depending on the size you buy.
Camera messenger bags and shoulder bags are definitely very practical. With many compartments and zippers, these messenger bags provide fast access to your camera and room to hold extra lenses.
Carrying your laptop, lunch, and a water bottle makes messenger bags multi-functional. Most designs feature comfortable straps, rain flaps, and sturdy zippers. There are also quite a few styles of fashionable shoulder bags designed to look like a purse or fancy work satchel. These can double as bags for formal events or even just for a dressy day out.
You'll likely need more than just a camera if you're going on location, and juggling multiple bags can be a hassle. Consider a bag that has space for water bottles, and possibly a laptop or tablet. You might even need toys if you're working with kids or animals and want to catch their attention. Having all your items in one bag makes it easy to never forget a thing!
Camera backpacks are popular for those with a lot of extra gear. They're shaped like regular backpacks, but almost always have separate compartments for your camera, lenses, and other tools. This prevents the different parts from smacking into each other and creating damage and also keeps your hands free while you're moving between shooting spots.
Camera backpacks provide more protection than smaller bags. If you're hiking through the elements for an outdoor shoot, you'll need a bag that's up to the task. Hunt for something that’s not just waterproof, but is also crush-proof and designed for travel.
Backpacks are made to hold camera gear and items like your phone, keys, or a snack. When traveling, you'll want a backpack that fits your equipment, but also fits your body so you don't get a strained shoulder or neck. Be sure either to get your torso's measurements or try the backpack on if you can. You don't want a bag that's too big, because that can also cause physical discomfort.
Nature is unpredictable, and if you plan to go hiking, you'll want a durable camera backpack. If you don't get a waterproof bag, you'll definitely want a waterproof cover that fits over your entire bag for protection from the rain. You just never know, and it's not worth the risk.
Rain protection covers are lightweight and should always be kept inside your bag. Be sure to pack water and food if you plan to be out for long periods of time, and don't litter. Take your trash out with you. Nature will thank you!
Camera roller bags are great for transporting huge amounts of heavy camera gear without having to hold it all on your back. They're especially popular when traveling since you can take all your gear with you.
The inside of the roller bag is broken up into a variety of protective compartments to hold lenses, laptops, and tablets. Studio lights, flashes, and gimbals are no longer going to be as hard to pack with this sort of bag.
While roller bags are handy for traveling to your destination, they may be less convenient when you're moving between different shooting locations. They also aren't as suited for outdoor travel. Still, if you pack a smaller camera bag in a roller bag, you can easily use it for these shorter trips while still benefitting from the size of your roller bag.
Nobody wants to hear you're forced to check your bag when getting on a plane, but it can happen! A roller camera bag is different from a typical suitcase in that it has padded separate compartments (customizable with Velcro!) for all your gear to fit snuggly and not move around.
It's also great if you have heavy gear you can't carry on your back, as wheels on a bag make transportation a breeze.
Since camera bags are used to protect your camera and accessories, it's important to look for one made from materials that can withstand the weight of your equipment. Leather and faux leather offer some natural water resistance in addition to style. Real leather in particular can also last a long time.
If you tend to travel often or shoot in the elements, synthetic materials like nylon mixes or breathable canvas may better suit your needs. As these are manmade, they often have extra resistance to water and other elements. They can also be incredibly strong and hold more weight. Unlike leather, however, synthetic materials won't last you decades, so you'll have to buy a new bag more often.
Whichever type of material you choose, it's best not to cut corners in terms of price. Cameras and camera gear are expensive, so you'll want well-made material protecting these valuable tools.
When looking for a camera bag to purchase, it's important to consider your gear. Take inventory of what you plan to carry in your bag or if you're planning to purchase new lenses or camera bodies. How much gear will you be carrying? That will determine the type of bag you need.
Zippers are also very important; you want zippers that won't snag and will last a long time through many openings and closings.
Many bags have specific features that will keep your camera in one piece and safe from the elements. Others make it even easier for you to access your camera when the perfect shot is all lined up. Here are some extra specs to consider that service safety and accessibility.
Most larger camera bags have separate compartments for your camera and your gear. However, if you have a lot of extra tools or if your cameras vary in size, you may want a bag with removable inserts. This will help you arrange the inside of your camera bag to fit your specific needs.
If you're worried that removable inserts might come undone and let your gear get cluttered or damaged, that usually isn't a problem. Most brands create their removable inserts to be extra padded and shock-proof, and they're usually attached by strong velcro or even hooks.
Most bags will offer inserts in various sizes per set, so you don't have to worry about fitting everything into your bag. A camera bag with removable inserts can be especially useful if you have smaller, mirrorless cameras in addition to larger DSLR cameras. The inserts can also help you pack multiple lenses if you're doing complex indoor and outdoor shoots.
You'll probably want a bag that's waterproof, even if you don't plan to shoot outdoors that often. It can always rain when you travel, and water in the wrong places can cause rust and long-term damage to your camera.
If you plan to travel outside with your bag, it's best to invest in waterproof materials. Leather bags offer natural water resistance, but you may want a synthetic option like coated nylon with polyurethane lining if you're shooting out of doors. Thermoplastic polyurethane fabrics are available as well if you want something even sturdier than polyurethane.
In addition, be sure to check whether your waterproof bag is also dustproof. Dust can cause just as much damage as moisture, but it's something many people tend to forget about. If the camera bag has flaps to provide an extra guard against the elements, all the better!
Zippers ensure that your gear stays in the bag while providing easy access to your camera when you need it. However, not all zippers are created equal. If you can test the bag's zipper before you buy it, ensure that the zipper moves smoothly across the teeth, as this ensures longevity.
If you're buying online, keep an eye out for reviews that say the zipper broke early. Aim for nylon coil zippers if you want a sturdy and flexible zipper. Metal zippers are also incredibly strong, but they're a little more resistant to being unzipped horizontally.
You should also consider how your zipper opens the bag. A full photo backpack opens the entire bag with one zipper, while a half photo bag opens halfway to give you access to the lower half of the bag. Small bags benefit from full photo zipping styles, while half photo is good for larger bags. Make sure that both outer and inner zippers are of good quality.
Do you want to be able to reach behind you and grab your camera out of your backpack without taking it off your back? Then be sure to purchase a bag with a side enclosure that allows for easy access!
Camera bags these days have so many features that you don't realize you'll need until you're out in the world using your bag. I love the ability to grab my full camera and lens from my backpack without taking it off.
When buying a large camera backpack, remember that the more storage capacity that’s available, the more weight you will have to lug around. Opt for small bags or for bags designed to distribute weight evenly across your shoulders and back if you plan on walking long distances.
If you have to travel often by air, remember that there may be luggage size limits that may affect your choice of bag. On the other hand, if you're a wedding photographer or have a need for multiple lenses and tools, a larger bag is probably better.
Should you decide on a large bag, invest in some padded straps. This is especially important if you're using a shoulder bag, but even backpacks can cause bruising and discomfort if they're too heavy. A padded strap relieves the pressure on your shoulders and ensures the bag's weight won't snap the straps. Go for wide designs and plenty of padding for the best results.
Large camera bags are great until you remember you're going to be the one carrying around all that weight for the amount of time you'll be out.
If it's a backpack, keep in mind your own physical ability - how much weight can you actually carry in a backpack? If you're going for a hike for more than eight hours, you will carry that on your back the entire time, and it will feel heavier the longer you wear your gear.
Also, remember that nature has a mind of its own. Be prepared for any type of weather and keep your gear protected from the elements.
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Best Discreet, Anti-Theft Backpack Option
Vintage Camera Messenger Bag
Best Messenger Bag for Traveling Light
Best Compact Backpack for Travelers
Wheeled Camera Backpack
Best Camera Bag for Travel
Soft Padded Camera Bag
Best Medium-Sized Camera Bag Option
DSLR Camera Backpack
Best Backpack With a Well-Organized Interior
Compact System Hybrid Camera Case
Best for Hybrid and Compact Cameras
Best for a Casual, Non-Camera-Bag-Like Look
Bag for DSLR Camera
Best Multi-Design Camera Bag
Holster Camera Case for DSLR Cameras
Best Holster Camera Bag Option
This camera backpack has a quick-access side zipper feature that allows you to easily retrieve your camera. Its laptop compartment is also thickly padded to ensure the safety of your device. Its anti-theft features include lockable zippers and hooks for optimal security.
Photographers praised this bag for its functionality. They loved that the adjustable compartments helped them organize their photography equipment and personal belongings inside the bag. However, some users said that the top flap of their bag easily ripped after a few weeks of use. Despite this, reviewers agreed that it has a practical design.
This messenger camera bag uses a combination of canvas and crazy horse leather trim to keep your supplies secure and clean. It is perfect for travel because it is light and easy to carry around. Additionally, it can also be used as a messenger bag if you take out the inner bag!
This backpack is a more compact version of Wandrd's original Prvke option, but it still has a ton of both interior and exterior protection and storage, as well as a laptop sleeve. It's available in Aegean Blue, Black, and Wasatch Green, and it's also backed by big names like Forbes and National Geographic.
One reviewer liked that it had enough space for their camera along with a few odds and ends like extra clothes, so it was useful for travel. They highly recommend the bag to traveling photographers.
This camera bag is spacious and has different carrying options. You can carry it as a backpack, pull it as a trolley, or carry it with one hand using the side handle. It comes with a rain cover, side straps to carry a tripod, and a laptop compartment.
Photographers praised this bag for having spacious compartments that allowed them to pack a lot of gear into the bag. However, some reviews mentioned that the bag is a little bulky, so check with your airline to confirm you won't have to check it in. Nevertheless, reviewers loved that this bag was a sturdy and durable item for traveling.
This medium carrying case comes with a comfortable carrying handle. The soft lining inside protects your equipment, and there are side pockets for small items like memory cards. It fits a camera and two lenses perfectly. Additionally, its Velcro adjustable strap allows you to adjust the interior of the bag to fit the perfect size for your camera.
Reviewers praised the bag's quality, being soft and sturdy enough to protect their equipment. However, some reviewers said the bag can only fit small point-and-shoot cameras and doesn't have enough space for a DSLR camera. Nevertheless, photographers liked this convenient bag and the small compartments where they can put their other items.
This camera bag has a side zipper so that you can access your camera without having to take off your bag. It also has removable padded dividers to create customizable organization. Its zippers are made of durable metal to ensure maximum security at all times, though they're not lockable.
Photographers appreciated the dividers that helped separate all their equipment. However, some customers noted that the bag doesn’t have sufficient padding on the bottom and advised to be cautious when placing it on the floor. Despite this, reviewers agreed that the backpack is very spacious and loved the side zipper feature where they could easily access their camera.
This camera bag can be carried in three ways: through a handle on top, through a strap that you can wear cross-body style, and through a belt loop that you can attach to a belt so you can wear it around your waist. It also contains interior pockets that can hold memory cards, batteries, or lens caps.
Reviewers liked the inner compartments where they could store their memory cards and other flat and small equipment. However, customers have stated that this bag is too small for a DSLR camera. Nevertheless, they liked that this is a grab-and-go camera bag that they can easily bring on their trips.
This camera bag is made of canvas and can hold one DSLR camera and two lenses. It has a casual design, making it great for discreet travel. It also has removable dividers, making it easier to organize your things. On the days when you are not bringing your camera, this can be easily converted into your everyday shoulder bag.
Many photographers praised this bag for having ample space to fit all their photography equipment. However, some noted that they found the latch too feeble and wished for a more secure lock for the bag. For the most part, though, they also appreciated the little pockets of the bag where they could put other personal belongings.
This camera bag contains removable dividers that can help you organize the contents of your bag. It's also padded with thick foam to ensure the protection of your photography equipment. Additionally, it can be worn as a crossbody bag or a shoulder bag.
Customers praised this bag for being lightweight and easy to carry around. They appreciated the inner pockets that made it more convenient to store other devices. However, some complaints mentioned that the shoulder strap placement is a bit awkward. Nevertheless, reviewers agreed that this bag is convenient to have and is travel-friendly.
This waterproof holster case from Amazon Basics gives you just that - basic protection for a single camera with an attached lens. It comes with a removable strap that's padded on the shoulder area to prevent fatigue from your heavy equipment. Along with interior dividers, it also has several outer pockets, including slots designed to hold SD cards.
While some reviewers claim the bag is a bit bulky and the shape prevents it from standing on its own when fully loaded, many more said it was a great, simple bag for mid-size DSLRs, especially at its affordable price point. They also appreciated the shoulder strap's padding.
Melissa has been on a trek or two throughout her photographer career, so she has some important advice especially for the ladies: "If you're a female, you might want to consider a camera bag that looks like a purse. They are inconspicuous, especially if you're traveling alone.
Nobody will know you have valuable camera gear inside if it looks like a standard purse. These are often small, but generally have room for at least one camera body and lens, and space for your wallet, keys, phone, and more."
If you prefer a DIY approach, or simply want to save a bit of money on your camera bag, it's possible to make a camera bag using only inserts and any bag you have on hand! Check out this video from DSLR Photo Shooter for the full process.
There's more to photography than a camera bag. Check out these other products you may need as you travel with your camera.
If you need a little more inspiration for your shopping, check out Amazon's most popular camera bags and accessories.
No. 1: Bagsmart | Camera Backpack
No. 2: S-ZONE | Vintage Camera Messenger Bag
No. 3: Wandrd | PRVKE LITE | Aegean Blue
No. 4: Neewer | Wheeled Camera Backpack
No. 5: eCostConnection | Soft Padded Camera Bag
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