Which of These Is the Perfect Camera Backpack?

Photography is not all just bodies and lenses. There's lots of other equipment that goes into creating the perfect setup. One of the most vital is your camera backpack, so if you want to find the perfect one for your needs, take a look here.

As you get further into your photography journey and find yourself well and truly hooked by gear acquisition syndrome (GAS), looking at all the lenses and bodies you've accumulated over time begins to get a little daunting. That's because you suddenly realize that you really need something of high quality to hold your little fortune. An Amazon backpack for $30 might suffice at first, but when you've got thousands of dollars worth of gear accompanying you on your travels, you need the security of a backpack that will hold up to whatever you can throw at it and keep all your gear safe. But what goes into a great camera backpack?

That question brings us to this great video by Matt Granger, in which he compares eight — yes eight — different photography backpacks. For ease of viewing, he starts with the cheapest — a 65L Peak Design Duffelpack coming in at $220 — and goes sequentially through to the most expensive, a Compagnon Weekender, coming in at a cool $700. In between those two are bags made by TopShelf, Nomatic, and Mindshift, among others. We all have different needs in terms of backpacks, but the protection of gear must be at the forefront of our thinking. After that, we'll all set our own personal criteria. Give the video a watch, as I'm sure you'll find a backpack to suit your needs. Alternatively, let me know your own recommendations for a camera backpack.

Iain Stanley's picture

Iain Stanley is an Associate Professor teaching photography and composition in Japan. Fstoppers is where he writes about photography, but he's also a 5x Top Writer on Medium, where he writes about his expat (mis)adventures in Japan and other things not related to photography. To view his writing, click the link above.

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All my camera bags (I have 3 presently) are from Lowepro. Period. They do the job I require from them, are reasonably priced, look good and function well because they're well made.

Lowepro makes perfectly fine bags (I've owned a couple over the years), the problem is that they look like camera bags that probably have some really expensive gear in them. I bought a Wandrd bag that has that same problem but it holds a ton of stuff so I use it when I need to carry a bunch of gear. I've been looking at the ONA bags lately - they're expensive, but well built (a friend bought one almost a decade ago and it's held up unbelievably well despite the miles it has on it) and most importantly, don't look like camera bags - in fact, they're quite fashionable and stylish. It's probably what I'll use for travel from now on, and the Wandrd bag for day to day job use.

I have a Lowepro camera bag that looks like a messenger bag. Because I don't haul big lenses with me I find it suits my needs, and I can put it under the seat in an airplane.

Good video and interesting bunch of backpacks to look at which you never see in stores.

Kinda not a review but show and tell anyway Matt lost creditabilty with his recent video about the X2D and Dynamic Range real click bait and someone needs to school him on DR @ ISO...Hope Hasselblad gives you an XD2 for all your good deeds.

I personally own and use the Shimoda X70. It's been a great backpack. Perfect if you need the size and something more for hiking. It does differ from X50. The x50 has an easy access side zipper. The X70 does not. I still think the open back design makes it easy to access. As for the X50, you can use the much thicker X70 straps. That would fix one of his complaints. There are also straps for men and women. I got the X70 because I needed to carried much more than my kit. 30-50lbs. I ended using the Medium V2 core unit. I am still able to fit a 100-400m, 24-70m, 24m, 16-35m. I still have another 35-45 liters for other gear. Even with all the weight, it's more comfortable than the two Gregory packs I have.

I made the mistake of buying a backpack to carry my camera gear and my laptop.. It did everything but was far from practical. I wouldn't take my laptop on tricky ground close to water. As it was big it also meant I didn't have the footing of a mountain goat (might have scared some).

The next bag I got was small - just enough to carry some of my lens (not all), camera, filters, gloves beanie and headlamp. So I had to decide on the lens for the shoot. It was compact and allowed me to be much more mobile and got it for a really really good price.

So while there are bags that do everything - get the one that's most practical and allows you to go anywhere and do more.