The best camera bags will protect your camera equipment from bumps and bruises, as well as the elements. They let you keep all of your camera kits close at hand and easily accessible when needed.
But there are six different types of camera bags, so which one do you need? Our guide below goes over all of the advantages and disadvantages, as well as some of our favorite camera bags and links to more in-depth guides on each type. We’ll describe the many types and when you might use them in this list, which serves as a general-purpose guide to camera bags.
Shoulder bags: These bags are quick and easy to use, with a single strap that runs over one shoulder and a variety of capacities. They are ideal for cities and travel, but if they are excessively heavy, they can be a pain. ‘Messenger bags’ are often thinner, with a laptop compartment and a design that allows them to be pushed around to your back for cycling, for example.
Backpacks: Backpacks are more balanced for carrying larger kits over longer distances or when traveling because they have two straps, one for each shoulder. They are frequently more weatherproof than other types of camera bags, and they often contain extra space for other goods such as water bottles or a tripod hook on the outside. The downside is that getting to your camera gear may take longer.
Sling bags: Sling bags are single-strap bags worn across one shoulder but on the back. They’re a cross between backpacks and shoulder bags. Because of the sling design, they can be easily slung about the body to have access to gear. If you prefer your camera gear to be out of the way but still easily accessible, a sling-style bag is a good option.
Holsters are the tiniest bag types, designed for extremely light configurations. Some can even be worn as an actual holster on a belt! Smaller sizes are also known as camera pouches, and they’re ideal for a single camera and lens.
Roller bags include wheels that allow you to drag them around on the ground, and some can even convert to backpacks, making them ideal for frequent bags and airports in particular. They’re not meant for hillwalking or long hikes because they’re designed for camera transport rather than simple access.
Hard cases: The most durable sort of camera bag, these can withstand a lot of abuse while still keeping your kit safe. They’re not particularly pleasant to carry, but if you need to transport a lot of expensive kits safely (for example, as checked luggage on a plane), this is your best option.
Whether you’re shooting with a point-and-shoot, a mirrorless camera with a few lenses, or a DSLR camera with flashguns, filters, and other camera accessories, you’ll find something on this page to suit your needs.
So, let’s get started! Shoulder bags are great if you want to keep things simple. With only one strap, there’s no fuss, and it’s normally extremely easy to access your kit when it’s in a shoulder bag. Of course, the disadvantage is that you’re carrying everything over one shoulder, so you don’t want to overburden yourself or carry everything for too long.
Shoulder bags are frequently referred to as messenger bags. These are similar to shoulder bags, but with more room for laptops and other office supplies like documents, pencils, and tablets. This is an ideal option for the bag if you frequently take your camera on your commute for short snaps before and after work.
Best Camera Bags For 2022
1. Billingham Hadley Pro
Billingham is recognized for its high-end, sophisticated camera bags, and the Hadley Pro is no exception. Even though it’s a shoulder bag, it can hold a bit of a kit. You can fit a full-frame DSLR body, a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, a 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom (without tripod collar), plus a flashgun in there if you want to. You may not want to (consider your shoulder! ), but you have the option.
Of course, if you’re carrying a lot of kits, the extra shoulder pad will help to lighten the load, and there are also additional ‘AVEA’ side pockets to choose from. Vegans and animal lovers should avoid this one because the straps are made of real leather.
2. Morally Toxic Wraith
The Morally Toxic Wraith works equally well as a shoulder or sling bag thanks to a removable carrying strap and two sets of closing loops, giving it a divided personality.
It boasts a distinct look in onyx, emerald, and sapphire color scheme possibilities, as well as inventive design flourishes and exceptional construction quality, making it a far cry from uniform black. Overall, it has an advantage over many competitors. The Wraith is as good as it appears for carrying your camera kit and daily essentials in style and with plenty of protection.
3. Tenba Skyline 13
The redesigned Skyline 13 from Tenba is a great messenger bag for zipping around town with your camera gear in tow. It can accommodate a mirrorless or DSLR camera with 3-5 lenses, as well as a 13-inch laptop in its dedicated pocket.
All of this gear will be protected from the elements owing to the durable, water-repellent fabric (which Tenba is confident enough in to forego a specific rain cover), and there are plenty of useful supplementary features like a carry handle and extra zipped compartments for miscellaneous items.
The interior dividers can be customized as to a point due to the restricted surface bit for the velcro to adhere to, which is a shame, but this is still a great, beautiful bag for the price and worth buying up.
4. Peak Design Everyday Messenger 13 V2
The Peak Design Everyday Messenger bag is regarded as the quintessential camera bag by photographers. The Everyday Messenger 13 V2 is a bag that the vast majority of photographers will get many years of usage out of, thanks to a combination of simple but sleek styling, plenty of internal space, and FlexFold dividers that allow you to customize the interior.
The FlexFold dividers, as previously noted, allow you to tailor the interior to your needs, creating secure and padded slots for your cameras and lenses. Most configurations work fine; a little camera may require a little extra fussing to ensure it doesn’t bounce about, but it’s achievable.
There’s a sleeve for a 13-inch laptop, as well as lots of compartments for other essentials. The main compartment is opened and closed with a single flap that incorporates Peak Design’s “MagLatch” mechanism for further security. Across the board, it’s a winner of a bag.
5. Backpack Lowepro ProTactic BP 350 AW II
Have you ever had trouble finding the proper bag for the job? Although this novel and rather pricy modular system are likely to appeal to a limited audience, it offers great value for money because it is easily adaptable to a variety of settings.
The Velcro dividers inside are moved or dumped to make gear for specific items (such as a drone), and the back-opening cover has a zipped section for a 13-inch laptop. The front’s series of loops may be used to connect accessories like a neoprene flash holder, a tripod toe-cup and straps, and a phone case, making this a genuinely adaptable camera backpack.
6. Vanguard Alta SKY 51D
The Vanguard Alta Sky 51D is designed to carry camera gear, a drone, or both. A pro DSLR with an attached 70-200mm lens, as well as up to four lenses, can be stored in the main compartment. The padding is good, and there is a mobile-access hatch on one side, while openings on both sides would be preferable.
A big rear panel with a slot for a 15-inch laptop provides primary access to this region. The flap opens wide, but the shoulder straps must be bent out of the way for unrestricted camera access. Good-sized hip pads, robust back cushioning, and wide shoulder straps ensure comfort.
7. Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L
The elegant style, tactile materials, and expertly constructed hardware make it difficult not to appreciate this bag. It’s small for a camera backpack, measuring 46 x 30 x 17cm, but it can nevertheless transport an ungripped DSLR and up to five lenses. There are no front or back doors, but there are wide side flaps that provide good mobile access. Internal dividers form shelves connecting to the front and back of the cabinet.
These are unique designs that can be snapped into thirds to allow a long lens to travel down one side or can be divided instantaneously to allow many small lenses to share one shelf. A big multi-use space on top may grow by up to 8L owing to a top flap with four locking settings and a top flap with four latching positions.
A portable tripod can fit on the side, a 13″ laptop and tablet will fit in the back, and a small drone may be strapped to the front. A simple waist belt can help support heavyweights, and it can be tucked away despite the lack of hip cushions.
8. Morally Toxic Valkyrie (medium)
The Morally Toxic Valkyrie is a five-year-in-the-making product by 3 Legged Thing, a new spin-off business from the British tripod maker. It has a smart design and eye-catching material that catches the light and helps the Valkyrie stand out from the sea of dull black camera backpacks on the market.
But this isn’t a case of style over substance, as everything has been thoughtfully designed to make carrying your camera kit and daily items as easy as possible. The Valkyrie is a backpack to be cherished, with quick access to all regions and some truly unique touches. It’s also infinitely customizable and will cosset your gear in fine style.
9. Tenba Solstice Sling 10L
Despite having a small 10L capacity and a very narrow 24cm width, the Solstice’s boxy shape makes it a practical size. It’s suited for carrying a full-frame camera with two or three lenses, and they’ll be properly secured within. The Solstice has a sturdy feel thanks to generous front, back, and base padding, as well as substantial interior partitions and high-quality water-resistant outer materials.
A full-length side flap provides access to the entire bag and allows for a wide opening. An expandable bag on the opposite side, anchored by an additional side strap, is appropriate for a bottle or a basic travel tripod. A long slot in the front opens to reveal storage for a tablet and filters.
When it comes to anchoring, this camera sling bag includes a second cross-body strap to keep things secure when you’re on the go. On your left shoulder, the main strap is worn. The Solstice is a comfy companion thanks to its supple and well-padded seat and back cushions.
10. Think Tank TurnStyle 20 V2.0
The ’20’ is the largest of the Think Tank TurnStyle 20 V2.0 camera bags, and it comes in three sizes and two color variants (blue/indigo and charcoal). It’s worn as a sling bag because it just has one shoulder strap instead of the typical two.
The ability to spin the bag around on its strap to access your camera and accessories without having to take it off and lay it down is a big plus, while the downside is that it doesn’t spread the load as well as a traditional backpack.
There’s ample room for a DSLR as well as up to four additional lenses or accessories. The ’10’ version requires one less lens, whereas the ‘5’ version is better suited to mirrorless camera setups. An extra tablet pocket and a front compartment are included in each bag. Even the largest 20 model is pleasantly light, yet sturdy and reliable.
7 Things to Think About When buying a Camera Bag
Like cameras and the photographers who use them, not all camera bags are created equal. That means there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach for finding the perfect bag. Most photographers will find that the type of bag they require varies from one shoot to the next, and may even be determined by where they’re traveling and what they’re shooting.
Finding the right bag for your needs can be difficult, to say the least, with so many bags available. But don’t worry—there are methods to find a bag that matches all of your requirements…
Knowing how your bag will be used, what you’ll be shooting with, and even how you’ll move the bag are all things to think about before making a purchase. The correct bag will make your task easier and more efficient while the wrong bag will become a tiresome impediment soon. Let’s have a look at some of the things to think about while buying a bag.
1. You won’t need to change lenses because you’ll be shooting events and activities.
It may be a soccer match or an afternoon safari at the zoo with your children. When all you need is a single zoom lens to get through the shoot, a digital holster will suffice. An excellent holster, such as the Think Tank Photo Digital Holster 10 V2.0, has more capabilities and applications than its name suggests.
When you hear the word “holster,” you probably conjure up images of something worn around your waist in the days of the Wild West. The only thing it has in common with Think Tank’s Pro Speed Belt, Thin Skin Belt, or Steroid Speed Belt is that it lets it easy to sketch, aim, and shoot.
The holster is a custom-fit case for your camera and lens. (Before purchasing any bag, make sure the camera and lens are compatible.) One of the best things about this model is that you can keep the tripod plate attached to the camera. This means that if you need to set up a long exposure shot, you won’t have to take the camera out of the case and add the tripod plate—risking losing the shot.
It includes room for essentials—like the lens cap, batteries, and so on—and even features a business-card pocket under the top grab handle, in case you want to drum up some business during your shoot. Of course, everyone who shoots outdoor events knows how fickle and unpredictable Mother Nature can be, so having a rain cover on hand is a must. This bag also has a built-in rain cover, which is a great feature.
2. You like to use a point-and-shoot camera… You, on the other hand, take it quite seriously.
Today’s photographer doesn’t require a DSLR to take great pictures, but if you’ve progressed beyond using your smartphone as a camera, you’ll need a bag that can hold your gear better than your back pocket or purse.
The great news about some of these bags is that they not only provide plenty of space for your camera(s), but they also allow you to bring along some accessories and personal belongings, which is something that many consumers overlook when shopping for bags.
You can also choose from a variety of styles. Do you want to go for a sleek design or a more rugged approach? Do you prefer a backpack or a messenger bag?
The StreamLine Sling Bag from Lowepro is a sleek way to carry a mirrorless camera and lens, with dedicated space for an extra lens. You can store your camera in one of two places, and there’s also room for a 10-inch tablet and other essentials like your car keys and smartphone.
One of the great advantages of this bag is that it includes a storage area for a jacket or sweater, which is great for long days in inclement weather. There’s even a bag for a water bottle, and it’s all stowed away within a stylish messenger bag.
The Olympus Tough Mini Backpack takes a somewhat different approach to compact camera storage, cramming a lot of fascinating features into a small space. This one is designed to accommodate an Olympus point-and-shoot camera and accessories, but it’s also adaptable enough to hold two mirrorless cameras and two lenses.
The padded dividers on the inside may be rearranged to fit your needs, and the front pocket can hold a credit card, memory card, and other small items. This one can be carried as a sling or as a backpack when the straps are unzipped—and each of the mesh compartments on the side is designed to hold water bottles.
3. It’s a load for you to unwind.
Let’s face it: shooting may be a real pain in the neck at times. Carrying heavy equipment, wearing a camera and lens on a strap around your neck all day, toting a backpack full of spare bodies or lenses… all of these things can add to a chiropractor visit.
A belt pack can relieve the load on your neck and shoulders while still keeping you to keep your camera and equipment close at hand. The Lowepro Inverse 200 AW Beltpack, for example, allows you to carry your gear around your waist yet has a mesh lumbar belt that equally distributes the weight.
Weight distribution is more uniform thanks to a cushioned swivel shoulder strap. One of the things that makes a good belt pack like this one so useful is the fast access top, which allows you to reach your equipment without having to put the bag down or unzip the entire bag.
Adjustable dividers let you choose a configuration that works best for your gear, and they may be modified as needed during the shoot. There’s also a load of storage space for everything from adapters and cables to personal belongings and water bottles. Is there one more thing to keep an eye out for? The ability to secure your tripod to the bag’s bottom, freeing up your hands while still being kind on your neck and shoulders.
4. You’re a regular flier who travels with your equipment.
As airlines continue to impose additional limitations, getting your gear on board isn’t as simple as it once was. You’ll need a rolling bag that will fit in the carry-on section while still providing enough space for all of your belongings. That’s when you need to look for bags designed expressly for this purpose, such as Think Tank Photo’s Airport Roller Derby Rolling Carry-On Camera Bag.
The interior can be customized for each user and can hold two-lens cameras with attached lenses, as well as additional lenses, flashes, and accessories. A tablet and laptop can be stored in two padded pockets.
There are pockets to stow batteries, memory cards, a wallet, and a phone, as well as side-rolling wheels for sliding down airport aisles. There is also room to strap on a tripod, and there are compartments to carry batteries, memory cards, a wallet, and a phone.
Of course, some excursions will make more equipment, and your TSA buddies will force you to put the bag on the conveyor belt and trust it to arrive on the other side. In that case, a well-padded, hard-sided solution that can withstand a beating is essential. A rolling hard case, such as HPRC’s 2550 High-Performance Resin Case Hard Case with Cubed Foam, is tough but incredibly light.
It’s crushproof, waterproof, and unbreakable, with a cubed foam interior that can accommodate any gear you need, with each piece of gear cradled in its compartment. It also has double-hinged latches for optimal sealing and, if desired, may accommodate a TSA-approved lock.
5. It must be rugged and suitable for use in the great outdoors.
When you hear the words “rugged” and “outdoorsy,” you might think of Bear Grylls, but keep in mind that we’re talking about camera bags. When you’re climbing rocks, blazing trails, and hiking through locations with streams, mud, and other elements that could compromise your camera’s safety, you’ll need a bag that can handle it.
Look for something that is not just waterproof, but also crushproof and designed to accompany you everywhere you go.
Pelican’s U160 Urban Elite Half Case Camera Pack is a good illustration of what to look for; it’s a hard case with a handle or may be worn as a backpack. It can handle a DLSR with an attached lens, a second lens, flash, and accessories thanks to the padded, detachable dividers that can be configured to fit the needs of your shoot.
One of the best features of this pack—and something to check for when buying a hefty pack—is the ergonomic metal S-curved spine that runs the length of the back, providing excellent shoulder and lumbar support. When worn as a backpack, it also incorporates a chest clasp and a removable waist belt for added stability, comfort, and weight distribution.
6. You can shoot both video and still images.
Shooting video and still photographs at the same time is becoming more prevalent in today’s environment. The integration of video, audio, and photos, whether for professional or personal usage, throws additional demands on what you need to carry with you. That’s when a standard bag won’t suffice—you’ll need something tailored to your specific demands.
Lowepro’s DSLR Video Fastpack 350 AW is an all-in-one solution that allows you to pack all of your photo, video, and audio gear into one convenient package.
It can handle a DSLR with an attached lens, two additional lenses, flash, headphones, microphone, additional audio gear, and a 17-inch laptop. There’s also a Hideaway Tripod Mount, which allows you to carry your tripod without using your hands—and deploy it just as quickly.
Lowepro included lots of comfort features like adjustable shoulder straps and a snap-closure chest strap to guarantee balance because it’s designed to hold so much equipment.
The waist belt provides extra comfort and stability, but it may also be hidden when not in use. There are multiple pockets for cables and audio gear, and the bag even has a secret all-weather cover to keep your gear safe when the weather isn’t cooperating.
7. You’re all about form and function.
You don’t want to show up with a camera bag that looks like a standard hefty black bag, ladies. Fortunately, there are options for adding style to your photoshoot. ONA’s Leather Capri Camera Tote Bag is made of Italian-tanned leather and comes in a variety of hues to match your taste, including Antique Cognac and Dark Tan.
Don’t be fooled by the elegant exterior: there are padded, touch-fastened partitions on the inside that allow you to find space for a DSLR and up to three lenses, as well as accessories.
A dedicated internal slot for an iPad, tablet, or even an 11-inch MacBook Air is also included in the main compartment. It’s easy to carry because of the comfortable leather grip handles, and the exquisite appearance hides the fact that you’re carrying camera gear within.
The AC540BL Envoy Standard Messenger Camera Case from Ape Case is a robust bag that can hold your DSLR and two lenses, a flash, plus accessories when you’re carrying extra equipment.
The blue bag is made of water-repellent ripstop fabric and features numerous zipped pockets for memory cards, batteries, filters, and other items on the front and interior. It has the appearance of a messenger bag yet works admirably.