If your passion is photography, a quality camera bag is essential for keeping your expensive equipment safely stowed when moving. A huge variety of backpacks are available that are designed specifically for camera gear, but which of these are comfortable and adaptable enough for hiking and camping too?
To help you find a backpack that will protect your camera equipment and be appropriate for camping, we’ll break down the following details: the availability and the use of space for camera gear and camping kit, any additional features, durability, and the cost.
To summarize our findings – those on the hunt for a top-of-the-range camera backpack that functions well for campers can’t do better than the Shimoda Action X50 or the Lowepro Powder backpack. For those on a budget, the Endurax Extra Large Camera Backpack offers excellent features at half the price.
|Product||Overall Score||Bottom Line||Price|
Shimoda Action X50
|86||High-end camera backpack for adventure campers||Check out at Amazon|
Lowepro Powder Backpack 500 AW
|86||Comfortable and versatile camera/hiking bag||Check out at Amazon|
Cosyhiker PHOTOHIKER 44 MKI
|84||Hiking pack re-designed to be a camera backpack||Check out at Cosyspeed|
Endurax Extra Large Camera DSLR/SLR Backpack
|84||Reasonably priced backpack with great space and organization||Check out at Amazon|
Osprey Kestrel 38 Men’s Hiking Backpack
|80||Hiking backpack that can double as a camera backpack with adaptations||Check out at Amazon|
Atlas Pack, Athlete
|78||Premium backpack for camera storage and camping with a high price||Check out at Amazon|
Mountainsmith Borealis at Recycled Camera Bag
|76||Functional camera backpack with space for camping gear||Check out at Amazon|
Amazon Basics Large Camera Backpack
|70||Extremely affordable camera backpack with limited space for camping gear||Check out at Amazon|
1. Shimoda Action X50 Water Resistant Camera Backpack
Overall score: 86
- Roll-top feature gives extra space
- Ultra-supportive suspension
- Designed for adventure sports
- Fairly expensive
With a shockproof module system for camera protection and an expandable roll top, the Shimoda Action X50 has enough space and flexibility to keep your camera equipment well-protected and store extras for your camping trip.
The roll top can give you up to 7 liters of extra space, leaving plenty of optional room for your camping essentials.
As you’d expect with a well-designed bag from a well-known company for camera backpacks, there are also abundant pockets and compartments, including a useful one for your mobile phone on the straps and a purpose-designed space for your laptop.
With four different adjustable height options to suit most users, you’ll be able to adapt this high-spec pack to suit you.
The shoulder straps are also designed to be ultra-supportive in terms of weight distribution to cope with the burden of your camera equipment.
The most notable feature of the Shimoda Action X50 is that it’s designed with adventure sports in mind.
There’re straps for attaching skis and a detachable holder for a helmet, which will be very useful for snow-based camping trips.
As the name suggests, the pack is water resistant which should offer plenty of protection for those trekking to camp in wet conditions, but no rain cover is included for those who prefer this added reassurance.
While the Shimoda Action X50 is lightweight, it doesn’t let anything slide in terms of durability.
The outside has been coated in a hard-wearing mixture to create a tough exterior that will protect your camera and camping gear for many trips.
You’ll also get a reassuring 5-year warranty with your Shimoda purchase.
At over $300, you’ll be shelling out pretty big bucks for this technical equipment, but if you’re expecting difficult conditions, it’ll be worth keeping all your gear safe.
2. Lowepro Powder Backpack 500 AW
Overall score: 86
- Plenty of space for camping gear
- Can carry skis or a snowboard
- Can change to normal backpack and revert again
- Drawcord tie not very robust
Lowepro is another oft-mentioned name in the hiking/photography community.
With a range of packs available, we’ve chosen this one that can hold standard-size DSLRs or pro cameras with no mirror, plus lenses and a full-sized tripod. Unfortunately, some larger cameras will not fit.
This pack is ideal for campers because half of the space inside is allocated for non-camera equipment purposes, so you don’t have to squeeze all your camping necessities around your camera gear.
There’s even enough space for a compact sleeping bag. Removing the camera box to convert it into a normal backpack is possible.
A hydration pocket and easy access to a top pocket for useful items make it a nice hiking or camping pack for all occasions.
With a waist belt, sternum belt, wide shoulder straps, and a well-padded and breathable back panel, users sing the praises of this comfortable and stable bag designed to fit the contours of your torso and be easily adjustable.
Similar to the Shimoda, this pack has the facility to carry your skis or snowboard through external attachments that can be used for multi-functional purposes.
The cover is designed for all-weather conditions and protects from any sand and dust that could damage expensive equipment.
Since it’s intended for use in the mountains, you can expect this backpack to withstand tough conditions, despite being lightweight.
Users have lamented the fragility of the drawcord on the top compartment, which could do with being more robust.
At around $230, the Lowepro is an average price for a well-constructed camping camera backpack.
3. Cosyhiker PHOTOHIKER 44 MKI
Overall score: 84
- Very comfortable
- Designed for hiking
- No warranty
Designed to be an excellent mid-sized backpack (44 liters) and then converted to a protective camera bag, the Photohiker 44 (as its name implies) is the perfect balance between a camping bag and a camera backpack.
It’s also multi-functional – it can be used totally as a camera backpack or wholly as a trekking pack, or as a mix of the two.
A removable camera cube complete with strong wooden plating is included to protect your camera equipment.
Big enough to store DSLR cameras of medium size and standard lenses, it also integrates zippered pockets for small accessories.
On the bag itself, there’s also an external laptop compartment and other useful organizational pockets (although this is not overdone as may be the case with some camera bags) and tripod pouches.
With an adjustable and well-ventilated system and a metal frame, this pack was primarily designed to be an excellent hiking backpack and holds up well in this regard.
Users are extremely happy with the comfort levels, particularly with the hiking-style length and width adjustable system.
As an added plus, the Photohiker 44 is made following strict environmental standards, which is reassuring from a sustainability perspective.
Manufactured out of tough nylon and splash-proof in the event of rain, this is a well-made and durable pack, although no warranty is advertised.
At between $250 and $320, depending on whether you can grab it on sale, this is by no means a cheap pack. However, it’s cheaper and has great comfort levels and features.
4. Endurax Extra Large Camera DSLR/SLR Backpack for Outdoor Hiking Trekking
Overall score: 84
- Huge amount of space
- Free additional camera bag included
- Water bottle holders not up to scratch
- Only one year warranty
As you’d expect from the name, this extra-large pack comes with a bucket load of space and plenty of pockets for organization.
It’s even got enough room for two professional-sized (mirrorless) cameras and a compartment for a laptop or tablet, with tripods attached to either side of the bag.
Or, at 23 x 13 x 9 inches, you can store your camera with a lens up to 18 inches attached.
As you’d expect, the pack’s interior is well-padded so that all your gear is safely cushioned for any rough hiking to get to camp.
This large space is customizable with insertable dividers, meaning that you can switch one out instead of two cameras and bring along your camping gear instead.
One downside, however, is the water bottle holders are not fit for purpose, and your water bottle may escape if your bag is put down at the wrong angle.
With well-padded and contoured shoulder straps, a ventilated back panel, a sternum strap, and a substantial waist belt, the design has given enough attention to comfort to offset the large size.
You can also adjust the set-up to suit the size of your torso.
With an included rain cover and a reinforced front panel, you can take your Endurax pack anywhere, assured that your gear is well protected from the elements or rough terrain.
An added bonus is a smaller camera bag (big enough for a DSLR camera and lens).
With users who have taken their Endurax on adventures for years with no issues, you can be sure that this is a durable kit. A one-year warranty is also a nice inclusion, although not as ideal as a lifetime offering.
Available at $120, the Endurax is affordable as far as camera backpacks go and is good for the design.
5. Osprey Kestrel 38 Men’s Hiking Backpack
Overall score: 80
- Comfortable for trekking
- Durable for all terrain
- You’ll need your own protection for camera equipment
You can also adapt a well-chosen hiking bag to suit your needs as an alternative to a technical camera backpack.
At 36L, this Osprey hiking pack is a perfect size to slot your camera equipment in its own protective case and add in all your camping gear requirements.
There are also enough zippered and slip-in pockets to keep you nicely organized at camp.
A great thing about the Osprey Kestrel is that the sleeping bag compartment is already inbuilt, so you don’t need to worry about squeezing it in the main compartment or attaching it in a cumbersome way to the exterior.
As a hiking bag made by a reputable outdoors company, the Kestral scores highly for comfort with a ventilated and adjustable back panel, supportive shoulder straps, hip belt, and sternum strap.
So your camping gear and camera equipment stay protected no matter the elements, and you’ll get a removable raincoat.
Several small useful features include pockets on the waist belt, compression straps to keep your gear safely and tightly packed, and a spot to stow trekking poles.
Constructed with robust nylon ready to take on anything backcountry trails will throw at it, the Kestral is ideal for those who love to hike and camp in more rugged terrain and all conditions.
You’ll also be supported with a guarantee if there are any failures in the product.
Generally priced around the $180 mark, you should be able to find it cheaper on sale.
6. Atlas Pack, Athlete
Overall score: 78
- Well-made premium camera backpack
- Not enough space for larger camera sets
- Straps could be more comfortable
With stretching material and expanding pockets, it’s amazing that you can fit into this reasonably sized premium-priced pack.
From the back panel, you can access your well-protected and well-organized camera equipment.
While it isn’t big enough for large camera sets, the pack is designed for small or medium sizes, and there is still space in the top compartment for all your other gear.
Users rave about the tripod or drink pockets on the sides that can often be an afterthought in other bags.
Ideal for hikers, there’s also an inbuilt sleeve for hydration bladders so you can keep sipping when you’re on the move.
While many may love the minimal design, one downside is the lack of smaller pockets which can be useful for keeping equipment and gadgets neat and tidy.
A harness-style suspension system and a sturdy waistband with pockets make this a well-supported backpack for longer treks, especially as you can select a back panel that suits your build.
However, the straps could be improved with more padding to make for a truly state-of-the-art carrying experience, considering the amount you’ll fork out for the Atlas Pack.
The Atlas Pack is water-repellent and has a rain cover to keep all your essential equipment safely dry.
There are also nice touches that seem insignificant but can make a difference, like the fact that the hip belt is detachable. The whole pack also compresses nicely for storage when not in use.
Constructed with high-grade material and guaranteed for life, you get what you pay for in terms of quality.
At nearly $500, this seriously high-end pack is most likely useful for those with a professional interest.
7. Mountainsmith Borealis at Recycled Camera Bag, Black
Overall score: 76
- Plenty of space for additional gear
- Tough and durable
- Not a lot of ventilation in the back panel
- No warranty
The Mountainsmith Borealis is a highly functional camera bag with plenty of organization to suit any camera-carrying needs.
At 10 x 21 x 13 inches, it’s big enough to fit your camera gear and other kits you may need on a camping or hiking adventure.
Your camera equipment is safely cushioned in a separate clamshell-style padded bottom compartment with dividers that you can adjust to suit your needs.
Once your camera is secure, you can slot your laptop into the large laptop compartment, leaving the main pocket free for all your camping necessities.
The shoulder straps are comfortable, adjustable, and contoured. There’s a waist and sternum belt that hikers will be grateful for when carrying around a pack weighed down with camera equipment.
However, one negative is that there isn’t much ventilation in the back panel, meaning that your back can get pretty sweaty and uncomfortable if you’re in hot temperatures or doing more vigorous walking or climbing.
In addition to the great use of space, it has several other features. As it comes with a removable storm cover, you won’t get caught out in a shower with the Mountainsmith Borealis.
The design is also well thought through, offering easy access to your tripod storage so you can set up your shot without any hassle.
A small detail that’s important once you’re out on the trail – all of the straps have secure loops so that they’re never flapping around or against you when you’re moving.
Tough and resilient, the Mountainsmith Borealis can take nearly anything you throw at it, although, unlike some of its competitors, Mountainsmith does not offer a warranty.
At around $165, the Mountainsmith Borealis will set you back a bit of cash, but it’s by no means one of the more expensive camera backpack options.
8. AmazonBasics Large Camera Backpack
Overall score: 70
- Extremely low price point
- Good amount of organizational pockets
- Not very comfortable for trekking
- Limited number of features
This extremely low-budget bag has enough space for your camera, lenses, and other additional equipment, including a laptop in its own compartment.
There are also a decent amount of pockets regarding organizational features.
It’s not a huge pack by any means, but you’ll be able to slot in some essentials for a camping trip above the bottom camera section, although there may not be enough space for gear for a longer trip.
The straps are reasonably padded, and there is a sternum strap.
However, you’re likely to miss a waist belt if you’re hiking for a considerable distance to your camp, particularly if it’s loaded with heavy camera equipment.
As a budget pack, there are not many features, but a useful rain cover is included to protect your equipment and belongings in the event of showers.
Although it’s reasonably durable and designed with reinforcement to protect your expensive gear, this pack will not be as able to withstand extreme conditions as some of the specially-made packs considered.
However, a 1-year limited warranty is included at a very reasonable price.
At under $20, the price of this camera backpack is almost too good to be true. While it won’t pass muster for more adventurous trips, it will be perfect for an overnight car-camping session.
Whether you’re looking for the highest-spec camera pack to protect your valuable camera equipment on a camping trip through difficult terrain, or a more affordable hiking pack that you can adapt to suit your photography needs, we’ve got you covered.