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Best Camera Bag and Backpack for 2023

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$200 at Amazon

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LowePro FreeLine BP 350 AW

Quick access backpack for day trips

$150 at B&H

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LowePro Trekker Lite BP 150 AW

Lightweight backpack for active days out

$92 at Amazon

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Manfrotto Advanced BeFree Backpack III

Affordable everyday photography backpack

$92 at Amazon

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$275 at B&H

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MindShift Gear BackLight 26L

Comfortable and capacious hiking backpack

$335 at B&H

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Nomatic Peter McKinnon Camera Backpack

Sturdy, stylish photography day pack

$450 at PolarPro

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PolarPro Boreal

Large-capacity, sturdy camera pack built for tough shoots

$240 at Amazon

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Morally Toxic Valkyrie

Sturdy, capacious backpack with a unique design

$508 at B&H

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LowePro Photosport 55L

A camera pack for multiday hikes

$235 at B&H

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Manfrotto Pro Light Frontloader

Large-capacity, easy-access photo backpack

$340 at Amazon

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F-Stop Kashmir 30L (Essentials bundle)

Extremely lightweight adventure backpack

$340 at Amazon

Price alerts on for F-Stop Kashmir 30L (Essentials bundle)

$485 at B&H

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Gillis London Rucksack

Luxury, all-leather photography backpack

$944 at Hawkesmill

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Hawkesmill St James’s Street messenger bag

The ultimate luxury photography messenger bag

$440 at B&H

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F-Stop Ajna 37L

Lightweight and water-resistant hiking photo pack

$320 at Amazon

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Thule Covert DSLR Backpack 32L

Everyday roll-top backpack

$280 at B&H

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PeakDesign Everyday Backpack

Stylish, water-resistant backpack

$230 at B&H

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Peak Design Travel Backpack 30L

Large backpack for traveling or photography

$275 at B&H

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Shimoda Action X30

Rugged and supportive adventure backpack

$379 at Walmart

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Nomatic Peter McKinnon Photography Pack

Large-capacity, customizable backpack

$379 at Walmart

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$330 at Adorama

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ThinkTank Airport Advantage XT

Overhead bin-friendly rolling case (Update: On backorder)

If you’re a photographer, you know just how pricey cameras, lenses and other gear can get. And you’re also aware of how vital it is to protect your equipment when you’re on the go. Traveling with cameras and lenses can be a difficult task. There are a lot of affordable photography backpacks, though. The best camera bags and backpacks are lightweight, have ample room for camera gear and have small compartments for other accessories. ¬†

You certainly don’t want to take any risks with your gear, but with such a large market out there, it can be tough to know which is the best camera backpack for your needs.¬†

Read more: Best Camera to Buy in 2023

To make things easier, I’ve done the legwork, choosing and thoroughly testing a range of great examples, from messenger-style bags to adventure backpacks to rolling cases.

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Katie Collins/CNET

LowePro is known for its affordable, reliable backpacks and its new Freeline is a worthy addition to the range. Its compact size makes it great for day trips or photography excursions around the city, but it’s easily big enough to handle a DSLR and two lenses. Access is via side pockets on both sides, which makes it convenient for whipping out your camera when inspiration strikes.

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Andrew Lanxon/CNET

With its soft and lightweight design, LowePro’s Trekker backpack is a great option if you’re heading out for an active day trip. It’s comfortable to wear, with a chest strap for added stability, while its rip-stop nylon construction means you don’t need to worry about it taking damage when you casually place it on rough ground.

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Manfrotto is well-known in the photography world for its tripods, but its backpacks are pretty good too. The Advanced BeFree Backpack III is a no-nonsense affair, with an inoffensive all-black design that hides a wealth of storage options.

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The BackLight 26L is a compact backpack made for day hikes into the hills, but thanks to the camera storage section, which takes up the entire main section, it can house a lot of gear. I had no trouble getting my Canon 5D MkIV DSLR plus an extra two lenses in. Those of you with more portable mirrorless cameras will have more than enough room for any photography situation.

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I loved Nomatic’s larger camera backpack (seen further down this list) for its robust, rubberized outer layer and comfortable shoulder straps. This smaller version shares both those features, along with the cool stealthy black design, but reduces the internal space down to 25 liters. It makes it a superb backpack for day trips, or simply for those of you who want to travel light.

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PolarPro has impressed us with its pro-level equipment for photography and video for some time, so it’s no surprise that the company’s first backpack is a bit of a beast. Made from thick, weatherproof materials with chunky, glove-friendly zips, the Boreal is built to take on the elements and come back unscathed. I’ve had no problem in chucking it to the ground and throwing it casually into the trunk of my car while its water-repellent coating means it’s easy to wipe off mud and grime when you get home.

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Morally Toxic is a new bag brand from the people behind the tripod brand Three Legged Thing. I’ve used those tripods for years and have recommended multiple models in my roundup of the best tripods, and I’m pleased that the same eye for quality has been applied to this new bag brand. The Valkyrie has a look that certainly stands out from the usual slew of plain black camera bags on the market, but inside it still offers sensible features like a configurable divider system for securely storing multiple camera bodies and lenses.

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LowePro has been a staple of the photography bag world for years and with the ProTactic 450 it’s easy to see why. This rugged backpack opens fully from the back, although there are side and top quick-access points too. It provides a wealth of storage slots for a DSLR, multiple lenses, filters, batteries and other accessories — I even stuffed a small drone in amongst my gear.

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With its generous storage and heavily-padded waist and chest straps, the LowePro Photosport is aimed at those of you wanting to take your camera gear on multiday backpacking trips through the hills. It can expand to fit in all kinds of trekking or camping gear, with pockets on the side and front and a large internal space that holds plenty of kit along with the camera storage unit. This unit can also be removed if you just want to use the bag as a standalone trekking backpack.

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Manfrotto bags are common sights on the backs of photographers the world over and there’s a good reason; their products are well thought-out and built to handle a rugged life of being thrown around on photoshoots. The Pro Light Frontloader is no exception. It zips fully open at the front of the pack (hence the name) to reveal a large internal storage space with a variety of dividers for safely storing your camera gear.

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F-Stop’s Kashmir 30L backpack is a superb choice for more active photographers. Whether that’s fast hiking, cycling or trail running, the bag’s exceptional light weight makes it great for always having a proper camera setup with you. Its chest and waist straps are comfortable and supportive while the outer materials feel robust and are weather resistant.

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The Rucksack from Gillis London is a very different beast from most camera bags. It’s made entirely from thick, sturdy leather, which gives it an aesthetic that wouldn’t look out of place in even the fanciest parts of London. That leather will soften up over time as well as take on all the scuffs and bumps it gets while you’re out and about taking photos. And that’s absolutely the point; it’s a premium leather bag that will age while you use it, achieving a “well-loved” aesthetic that will be uniquely yours and will show the stories of all the shoots and day trips it’s been on.

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Like the Gillis Rucksack, Hawkesmill’s St James’s Street messenger-style bag is designed as an ultra-premium piece of luggage that aims to show that a practical camera bag can also be a luxury fashion item. It’s handmade in the UK with leather and custom triple-layer canvas from Scotland that’s naturally water-resistant thanks to its dense weave.

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As with other packs in the F-Stop range, the Ajna comes as a base backpack into which you’d fit one of F-stop’s small, medium or large camera storage units. It’s a handy system as it means you can use a smaller unit if you’re only going out with one camera and lens, leaving the rest of the bag available for storing other items.

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Swedish brand Thule might be better known for its range of car roof-top boxes but it turns out it knows how to make an excellent photography bag, too. The Covert is a superb all-round backpack for a day out exploring the city, with a rear-access camera compartment that’s big enough for a DSLR and an extra lens, or a smaller mirrorless and maybe two lenses.

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Thanks in part to its stylish design that doesn’t look anything like your average photography bag, Peak Design’s first-gen Everyday backpack was a hit, with models adorning the shoulders of urban photographers the world over. The second-gen model keeps the modern aesthetic and quick-access side zips of the original but makes subtle tweaks to the magnetic clasps (among other things) to make this backpack better than ever.

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By itself, Peak Design’s Travel Backpack is just a regular 30-liter backpack that zips open to offer plenty of storage for clothes and other items when you’re heading off on a weekend trip. However, the company also sells camera storage cubes in small, medium, or large sizes that fit perfectly in the backpack, turning it into a great backpack option if you’re going on a vacation and still want to take a camera and lens.

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Katie Collins/CNET

Action by name, action by nature: Shimoda’s Action X30 is ready for anything the mountain can throw at it. With rugged, weatherproof outer materials, a lightweight frame and comfortable, adjustable shoulder straps, it’s a superb backpack for multiday adventurers who don’t want to be limited by gear.

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If you tend to only shoot with just the one lens then taking a big kit bag with endless space for equipment is overkill. The Tenba Skyline 10 shoulder bag provides enough room for a DSLR with one lens attached, or a small mirrorless camera (such as a Fujifilm XT-20) with one additional small lens.

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Whether you’re a fan of photographer Peter McKinnon’s YouTube channel or not, this Nomatic backpack that bears his name is excellent. It’s a large pack that zips open from the back, has quick side access points and uses chunky zips that feel satisfyingly rugged — and don’t seem to mind when it’s crammed full of gear. The pack has a rubberized outer material that feels just as robust and can be wiped clean when it inevitably gets caked in mud upon being placed on the ground.

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Katie Collins/CNET

The Hadley Pro 2020 messenger bag eschews the urban, technical designs of many of today’s photography bags, instead leaning towards a more classic aesthetic that’ll go just as well with a shirt and tie as it will a mountaineering jacket. It’s made in England from real leather, brass and waterproof-treated canvas and feels robust enough to tackle a jungle expedition.

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ThinkTank’s Airport Advantage rolling case is, as its name suggests, aimed at the traveling photographer that hops between cities on planes and trains and needs a rolling case that won’t slow them down. It’s big enough to house a full-size DSLR with plenty of space for multiple lenses, batteries, chargers and other accessories, with movable dividers for you to spread things out just as you want.

More tips for photographers in 2023



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