10 Best Hiking Backpacks for Photography Equipment

Man capturing the nature

You’d think that purple ridges in the distant horizon and a golden afternoon sun would be all the ingredients an avid traveler and photographer would require. The best hiking backpack for photography equipment however will have to be chosen carefully as it’s imperative for keeping your camera safe and protected.

When you are looking for the best hiking backpack for photography equipment, there are heaps of categories for you to look at that are unique to your specific needs.

You’ll find camera bag descriptions such as best hiking backpack for a camera, best budget camera backpacks, best camera backpacks for travel, small, lightweight camera backpacks, best camera backpacks for wet weather conditions, and so on.

You’ll probably want to keep your cameras and a number of lenses readily available so that you can capture all kinds of situations. Things such as spare batteries, lighting equipment, memory cards, and laptop or tablet for editing will all need to have their own safe compartment for easy retrieval.

Useful little surprises from the best hiking backpacks for photography equipment

Luckily most camera backpacks are made from rainproof material, and they’ve got rain covers to keep them safe when you’re caught in a downpour. That’s the cool thing when choosing the best hiking backpack for photography equipment – when you do research you find that some come with handy little surprises that will make your photographic trip just that much more pleasurable and successful.

These camera bags are customizable too, giving you more latitude for adding in all those non-photographic extras you might need. You’re more than likely going to find extra space for a water bottle, an extra hoodie, and possibly even your drone.

Hiking backpack for Camera and Lenses

But which is the best hiking backpack for photography equipment and how big must the camera bag be? Will the fabric it’s made from be strong enough to not rip open?

As a nature- or wildlife photographer you will spend a lot of time outdoors scrambling under bushes, lurching over boulders and logs, and walking in pebble-strewn streams.

You’ll be out and about in all kinds of weather to get that once-in-a-lifetime shot and you want your hiking backpack for photography equipment to be made of ripstop, waterproof fabric that will stand up well to all kinds of harsh terrains and still hold your gear securely in place.

Wherever you decide to travel, you have to know how to pick the right hiking backpack for photography equipment and to think about how much photography gear you’ll be hauling with you. Then again, you have to think about your comfort when choosing a travel backpack.

It’s not only your camera you’ll need space for but all that extra gear, those important camera accessories. You’ll want those nifty elasticized side pockets to take all those small, but essential items along such as rubber lens caps, power bank, camera straps, memory card holder, tripod, lens cleaners, extra batteries, and other things too.

Let’s look at which hiking backpack for photography equipment gets a high-five from ordinary adventurers and serious photographers.

Know the differences

There are different styles of backpacks for photographers. You get different camera bags based on your mode of transportation. Traveling by plane might see you being restricted to just one carry-on-sized bag. Think of your photographic needs as then you can work on getting the right camera bag.

Size counts

You might be more than happy with the smallest professional camera there is – Canon’s super lightweight DSLR-SL1. It weighs just 14.36 ounces. If this is what does it for you then you won’t want a large camera backpack unless you want the additional space for other things such as a laptop, your phone, sunglasses, and sunscreen.

You might like to look at some of the small to medium camera backpacks such as Tahoe and Freeline. The Lowepro Tahoe BP 150 is a lightweight hiking backpack for photography equipment and yet its well-padded main compartment offers plenty of storage for essential gear. There is even a special spot for a 10-inch tablet. It’s also got useful, organized zippered storage pockets for daily essentials.

Waist- and Sternum Belt

If you don’t want to visit the chiropractor with your aching shoulders and back, make sure your camera backpack has a waist- or hip belt. These belts are adjustable and you simply adjust them until it feels comfortable. And if you are having issues with your toes while hiking downhill then check this article which provides some of the toe-friendly tips.

They’re imperative with a hiking backpack for photography equipment as they can carry up to 80% of your pack’s weight, giving your poor shoulders and neck a break by placing more weight on your hips.

Travel-friendly Camera bags

Of course, travel is always going to be part of the job of all kinds of photographers, after all the idea is to get to places known for their extraordinary beauty, or in the case of journalistic photographers to get to where the action is so they can get images that will contribute to the news media.

Photographers travel in small planes with limited space and also international airlines and their camera bags need to fit into all manner of compartments or even at your feet.

Luckily there are lots of great camera bags that can hold a lot of camera gear and still be under the maximum dimensions for carry-on baggage as set by the TSA. Yes, travel can be difficult for photographers, but even photographers have to learn to travel light and with a little bit of planning you can avoid most travel hassles.


This is probably the most important part of your travel backpack. It always pays to buy a good brand because comfort is a top priority. You want nice comfy back padding that makes the backpack comfortable for all body types.

The waist- and sternum straps also provide excellent support, making these backpacks a pleasure to travel with. The most important thing you can do when you buy a backpack for travel is to simply try it on in-store.

Buying a good backpack for your travels is an investment and you don’t want to necessarily settle on the cheapest one. Go to a reputable outdoor-type camping store to buy one where you will get proper help and advice from experts.

Whatever your particular requirements, their extensive range of products helps make light work of making the right choice.

Camera Backpacks for every Adventure

Take your pic(k) from the best camera backpacks to protect your valuable gear. Among the list below are budget, fairly low-capacity camera backpacks as well as larger, high-load camera bags that are more high-end.

The decision you make to buy a particular camera backpack will ultimately come down to budget, capacity, protective abilities, comfort, and style. So whether you need a cheap, simple, budget-friendly camera bag or a large, expensive multicompartment camera gear bag, these camera bag choices have you covered.

Top 10 hiking backpacks for photography equipment

1. Mindshift Gear Moose

For rainy weather, you can’t do better than the three-compartment MP-3 V2-O camera backpack from Mindshift Gear as it comes with a seam-sealed rain cover. It’s a large, strong bag – 14 x 20 x 8” and made from robust water-repellent material.

The hiking backpack for photography equipment makes use of sturdy abrasion-resistant YKK RC-fuse zippers to keep everything intact inside. You know what a hassle it is going through airport security, but this camera bag is designed to be compatible with most airline carry-on requirements.

The dual-density foam padded shoulder harness guarantees comfort on your photographic travels.

Mindshift Gear Moose
  • High quality product and reliable material
  • Brand: MindShift.
  • Designed for both enthusiasts and professionals

2. Pelican S115 Sport Elite

This camera bag is a bit different from your usual soft-type camera bags as it comes with a hard shell protective case for your vulnerable camera gear. You can imagine that the hard case can offer superb protection for your camera equipment.

True, it’s not the most good-looking backpack but it makes up by being a fine protector of your fragile equipment. The pack comes with multiple compartments with TSA0-approved locking mechanisms to keep everything safe.

Other features include quick clip side straps that allow for the attachment of a tripod, and lumber/should strap design, and ventilated pack panel help to ensure your comfort.

Pelican S115 Sport Elite
91 Reviews
Pelican S115 Sport Elite
  • Built-In Watertight, Crushproof Case
  • Top-Loading, Fast Access - TSA Ready & Under Seat Convenient; Three airmesh lid organizer pockets for fragile accessories
  • Slim case for use with Ultrabook laptops up to 15", also 17" Apple laptops. Weight-8.65 lbs (3.9 kg)

3. Peak Design Everyday Backpack

This is an award-winning camera backpack with its MagLatch hardware that provides super-quick top access. It’s a lightweight, expandable bag, capable of accommodating plenty of gear and has an attractive understated design.

Two UltraZips give you quick side access. The 400D weatherproof shell measuring 13″ x 11.8″ x 18″ ensures everything isn’t bashed about and a magnetic buckle clip means you get access to the top compartment just by using one hand.

FlexFold dividers make sure all your camera gear remains intact and protected. There is even space for a 15” laptop. Keep your water bottle and tripod safely in place with the expandable side pockets. This nifty camera backpack is available to you in 20L and 30L sizes.

Peak Design Everyday Backpack
  • The expandable design offers 20L of storage to hold a full-frame DSLR camera body & 3-4 lenses.
  • Protected laptop sleeve/pocket holds laptops up to 16" (See listing for exact measurements).
  • 3 Flexfold Dividers protect cameras, drones, and lenses. Works as a professional camera backpack.

4. Vanguard Alta Sky 51 D

This spacious backpack for camera equipment comes as highly recommended. With double security buckles, safety is ensured. Apart from your camera, it will have space for your laptop and tripod carrying system.

Everything is packed to allow quick action access to top, rear and side openings. There is a place for all those smaller camera accessories such as lenses, flash, and even a drone.

Vanguard’s Alta Sky can be adapted and configured to carry a quad-copter drone, and with all this equipment it is still comfortable. This is because it comes with an ergonomic harness, waist belt, and Air System back. Its lifetime warranty is a huge drawcard.

Vanguard Alta Sky 51 D
409 Reviews
Vanguard Alta Sky 51 D
  • Multi-access quick-action - full rear opening, side and top access and separate opening to individual, spacious lower compartment. Includes total coverage rain cover, sturdy divider kit and multi-connection straps.
  • Ultimate versatility - change from all gear to all personal. Adapts to perfectly fit photo gear, video gear, drones and gimbals (larger drones attach externally), laptop & tripod.
  • Well organized – numerous dedicated pockets, organizers and connectors for all essentials and stay hydrated - large water bottle side pockets.

5. Lowepro Trekker BP 550 Aw I

If you want to explore remote places where nature still has a big say you’ll want the best camera equipment. A stylish, robust camera bag will keep everything dry and intact. This is what you get with Lowepro – durability, and compatibility you can rely on.

Lowepro’s Pro Trekker backpack meets all carry-on requirements for airlines and comes with AW Cover for protection from the weather. It comes with a MaxFit divider system to ensure a snug protective fit for tablets, laptops, a couple of DSLR cameras with 4 to 6 lenses, flashes, and a tripod.

For your ultimate comfort, it comes with an ActiveZone back pane and a removable load-bearing waist belt.

Lowepro Trekker BP 550 Aw II
  • Travel friendly: Pro Trekker BP 550 AW II protects a maximum amount of gear in a modular system that converts into two carry-on size bags; waist belt is removable for easier handling
  • Fit to the max: Patent-pending MaxFit System carries more gear; sturdy tripod straps combine with stowable cup for full-sized tripod and two side zip stash pockets for quick access to travel items
  • Everything you need: Fits Pro Mirrorless or DSLR with 400 lens attached, 4-6 extra lenses two speedlights, 15 Inch laptop, 10 Inch tablet, Wacom type tablet, smartphone, full size tripod, accessories

6. Manfrotto MB SB 390-5BB Voloce V

This budget-friendly hiking backpack for photography equipment can really brag about the most robust materials, so it’s not a bag that will stand up to too much rough and tumble treatment.

It won’t do well with hauling it through the Amazon rainforest where vines and dense vegetation on the forest floor trip you up, and where it is damp and hot.

As a budget hiking backpack for photography equipment, it does have some useful benefits. One of these is the padded laptop compartment. There are also some partitions that provide a snug, safe spot for your camera and accessories.

The bag also provides a dedicated tripod compartment. One disadvantage however is the zipper. When you have the backpack on, the zipper is positioned against your back. This means if you want to fish something out of the pack, you first have to take it off your back.

Other than that, if you want an affordable camera backpack for short day trips and not too much equipment, it’s a great camera bag to consider.

Manfrotto MB SB 390-5BB Voloce V
128 Reviews
Manfrotto MB SB 390-5BB Voloce V
  • Top and body-side access fits Standard DSLR and Pro mirrorless cameras
  • Wider interior space with expandable compartment fits 3 lenses
  • Cradle Fit compartment safeguards up to 13-inch laptop

7. Lowepro Whistler BP 350 AW II

Trekking in Nepal requires excellent photographic equipment as the mountains are stunning and its home to 8 of the world’s summits that are higher than 8000m. The heavy-duty, nylon-constructed hiking backpack for photography equipment from Lowepro comes with adjustable padded shoulder straps.

The main compartment of the Lowepro Whistler, with an adjustable, rear-facing zippered panel is spacious enough to hold a large DSLR with room for several lenses. There is also a dedicated sleeve for your 13” laptop.

Two padded inserts ensure cushioned protection for foldable drones. Small electronics, memory cards, and things such as portable batteries all have a place in expandable pockets. It comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

Lowepro Whistler BP 350 AW II
1,045 Reviews
Lowepro Whistler BP 350 AW II
  • Fits 1-2 Pro DSLRs, one with up to 70-200mm f/2.8 lens attached, 8 lenses/speed lights, 15" laptop, tripod and accessories. The ProTactic 450 AW also fits the DJI Mavic Pro drone
  • Never miss a critical mission thanks four access points: the molded, turret-loading top, quick-grab from both sides, and full, back entry for set-up and security
  • Create limitless set-ups with a robust, Slip Lock compatible strap system. Internal Dimensions: 31.8 x 19.8 x 44 cm (12.52 x 7.80 x 17.32 in) External Dimensions: 34.8 x 27 x 48.8 cm (13.70 x 10.63 x 19.21 in). Weight: 2.6 kg (5.72 lbs)

8. Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW II

Top marks go to the versatile, all-rounder Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW II camera backpack. It’s large enough and versatile enough to carry a tripod too. The sturdy hiking backpack for photography equipment is a 25-liter backpack and it can hold 1 or 2 pro DSLRs, a 15-inch laptop as well as 8 additional lenses.

This is because of the camera bag’s generous dimensions – 20.47 x 14.17 x 8.66″. It doesn’t come with just one access point, but four – at the top, sides, and back. This hiking backpack for camera gear uses ActivZone technology that provides support for your shoulders, waist, and lumbar.

So comfortable is the bag, you’ll hardly notice it’s there. It also comes with a built-in all-weather cover to make sure your gear is safeguarded from all kinds of weather conditions.

Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW II
  • Tough eva moulded top armoured section and protective padding all round the bag ensures equipment inside is protected
  • Flexible and adaptive dividers inside allow multiple configurations of camera kit to be positioned with ease
  • Modular Includes two quick lock straps and a slip lock tripod cup to mount a tripod securely also fits multiple accessories in the lowepro range with the slip lock system

9. Nomatic McKinnon Camera Pack

The best way to enjoy off-the-beaten spots is to ensure you have the best camera gear for the most breathtaking landscape shots. It’s why the 35L Nomatic camera backpack with dimensions of 9.1 x 22.4 x 13 inches is such a popular choice.

What adventurers love about this camera backpack from Nomatic with its black tarpaulin material is that there is even a place for you to make your camping clothing in – all in the same bag. With this robust hiking backpack for photography equipment, you will have dedicated space for a 16-inch laptop and plenty of space for lots of other things.

In fact, every inch of the bag serves a purpose. Its storage capacity can increase to 40L, while still ensuring the backpack stays below the maximum carry-on size for your flight.

The strong camera bag puts a lot of focus on comfort. To this end, they have included internal supports which distribute weight evenly. There are plenty of adjustable support straps too and also a removable waist strap.

Nomatic McKinnon Camera Pack
  • Customizable: We partnered with Peter McKinnon and carefully designed this camera pack to allow you to pack and protect everything you need for your camera. This versatile backpack expands from 35L to 42L, providing ample space for all your travel essentials
  • Organized: Customizable dividers that allows you to organize your camera gear and other belongings efficiently. Made with plenty of other useful pockets to store cords, chargers or anything else you need to bring
  • Laptop Compartment: The Nomatic Travel Pack features a dedicated laptop sleeve, tablet sleeve and magnetic water bottle pockets on the side of the bag quickly snap back into place while not in use

10. Endurax Extra Large Camera Backpack

Well built, padded with added camera gear protection, and also weather-resistant, the dimensions of this large camera backpack are 12.5*9*21 inches and it has a dedicated spot for a 17” laptop. Not only that, it comes with a host of multifunctional zippered side pockets for a host of camera accessories plus your trusted water bottle.

This stylish hiking backpack for photography equipment comes with other things you count as important. These include the waterproof rain cover and the breathable airflow back padding that makes it perfect for striding forth into nature with no aching back and shoulders.

The large camera backpack also comes with adjustable shoulder straps and an innovative reflection strip that keeps you seen at night.

Endurax Extra Large Camera Backpack
  • Professional & Large capacity- Dimention:12.5 x 9 x 21 inch(L x W x H), Endurax hiking camera backpack is large to fit 2 DSLR camera with long lens attached like Tamron or Sigma 150-600mm lens. Top quick access compartment can still fit a DSLR camera with lens attached. An extra large protective padding included to prevent cameras from shaking.
  • Ultimate Protection Backpack for Mavic Series - Specialized zone compatible with DJI Mavic 2, Mavic Air, Mavic Spark, Mavic Pro or Mavic Pro Platinums etc. Specialized protective and detachable layer to prevent drones from shaking. All dividers in this camera bag are totally detachable and customizable.
  • Shockproof & weather resistant - Endurax camera and drone backpack features a hard shell PVA front armored panel both upper and lower compartment to provide extraordinary protection for your valuable gears, it is built for outdoor rugged use for years. All weather protection with waterproof raincover.


You can’t really tell someone that you have the best hiking backpack for photography equipment as these camera backpacks from leading brands all have their own special drawcards.

They’re all excellent backpacks but your specific needs will differ from what the next photographer considers important, drawing each to the one particular backpack that will meet every photographic requirement.