Best Hiking Camera Backpacks In 2024

Best Hiking Camera Backpacks In 2024
Dustin Olsen
06/05/2024 01:40 am GMT

Ever tripped on a hiking trail while out taking photographs, only to have your heart stop, not from the fall, but the thought of your camera taking a hit? Navigating rough landscapes while making vlogs and capturing picturesque backdrops demands that you have more than just a good pair of boots – you also need to safeguard your expensive lenses and gadgets. 

This guide highlights the best hiking camera backpacks on the market in 2023 that will help protect your photography gear. So let’s get started.

What Is the Best Camera Bag for Hiking?

1. Peak Design Everyday Backpack

2. Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW II

3. MindShift Gear BackLight 26L

4. F-Stop Tilopa Backpack

5. Manfrotto Pro Light Camera Backpack

Best Hiking Camera Backpacks In 2024

An ideal camera bag will be large enough to hold all your gadgets, camera accessories, and belongings. But most importantly, the best camera backpack will be comfortable and properly protect your gear. It will allow you to navigate those steps, slopes, and stones while keeping your mind at ease. Here are our top 5 best hiking camera backpacks to consider: 

1. Peak Design Everyday Backpack

Peak Design Everyday Backpack Zip 15L Midnight, Carry-on Backpack with Laptop Sleeve (BEDBZ-15-MN-2)
$189.95
Pros:
  • Durable construction with weatherproof and recycled materials.
  • Customizable storage options for a variety of gear.
  • External carry straps add versatility for carrying more items.
  • Enhanced security with theft-deterrent zippers.
Cons:
  • The side access/flaps do not open as much wide as they should so getting a camera out requires caution
  • The laptop compartment's size has to be considered carefully or you might end up with a camera bag that doesn't fit your laptop (16" laptops may not fit)
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06/05/2024 01:40 am GMT

Overview

The Peak Design Everyday Backpack is a great backpack for any modern photographer on the go. It has efficient storage and is available in three sizes and you can choose from four colors, including Midnight Blue. 

You can wear it through an urban jungle or a mountain trail with ease and with a sense of confidence. It has separate a camera compartment for professional gear, other accessories, laptop compartment, and is well-stitched, has comfortable shoulder straps, and more.

Key Benefits

  • It has a great design that allows you to pack your everyday items, camera equipment, and laptop.
  • It comes with two extra straps that allow you to carry extra items externally when needed.
  • The bag’s exterior is waterproof and made from 100% waterproof recycled nylon canvas.
  • It has an external sleeve meant for laptops, tablets, and documents.
  • The UltraZip zipper provides top and dual-side access so you don’t keep fumbling around.
  • Access points can be secured using a looping mechanism (for extra theft protection).

Pricing

The backpack costs $189.95, excluding the shipping fee (if applicable). The 20L variant costs $219.95 (excluding the applicable shipping fee).

2. Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW II

Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW II Black Pro Modular Backpack with All Weather Cover, Camera Bag for Professional Use, for Laptop Up to 15", Backpack for Professional Cameras and Drones, LP37177-GRL, Bl...
$199.99
Pros:
  • Environmentally-friendly design with recycled materials.
  • Plenty of space and multiple access points for easy retrieval of equipment.
  • The sturdy construction offers protection against expensive gear.
  • All-day comfort with ActivZone targeted support.
Cons:
  • The 450 AW II might be bulky for some users.
  • Variants with non-recycled fabric options available might not be as eco-friendly.
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06/05/2024 01:45 am GMT

Overview

The Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW II is a cutting-edge hiking backpack designed for professional use. The best part about it is that it’s specifically designed for photographers. It’s available in four variants and you can choose between them as per what gear you own or what your exact requirements are. 

The bag seamlessly accommodates portrait grip DSLRs and various accessories. For those cautious about the environment, the camera bag marries functionality with sustainability.

Key Benefits

  • Boasts 63% eco-friendly fabrics, reducing water waste and environmental impact.
  • It accommodates everything from DSLRs to drones.
  • The backpack ensures quick and easy access from the top, sides, and back.
  • It provides targeted padded support at crucial points that ensure comfort and ventilation during long hikes.
  • Enables attachment of additional pouches, water bottles, memory card holders, etc.

Pricing

The Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW II costs $241 (at 35% off). However, the other four variants range from $189 to as high as $299.

3. MindShift Gear BackLight 26L

MindShift Gear BackLight 26L Outdoor Adventure Camera Daypack Backpack (Charcoal)
$299.00
Pros:
  • Effective protection against environmental factors such as dust, sand, wind, and light rain.
  • Enhanced security features make it difficult for potential theft.
  • Comfortable for long durations due to its fit and adequate padding.
Cons:
  • Limited airflow between the backpack and the wearer. It may induce sweating in hotter environments.
  • Only available in one color and size
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06/05/2024 01:50 am GMT

Overview

The MindShift Gear BackLight 26L is a robust and intelligently designed best camera backpack that is optimal for outdoor adventures and long trips. It has a charcoal finish and is tailored for photographers. Functionality-wise, it’s impeccable. Security-wise, it is reliable.

Key Benefits

  • Fits one standard DSLR, 4-6 zoom lenses, a flash, and two large mirrorless cameras.
  • Allows you to access all camera gear without taking off the backpack.
  • It has separate pockets for a 15” laptop, a full-size tablet, and 9L front space for personal gear.
  • It features front and side mounts for tripods or a monopod.
  • Discreet design without prominent brand logos, back access to the main camera compartment, and zipper loops for TSA-approved locks.
  • Ergonomic design for prolonged wear and it comes equipped with padded hip and shoulder straps.

Pricing

The MindShift Gear BackLight 26L costs around $275, but it’s worth it for the features.

4. F-Stop Tilopa Backpack

f-stop – Large Pro Internal Camera Unit (ICU) Pack Insert for DSLR, Mirrorless, Lenses - Photographer Carry and Storage
$119.99
Pros:
  • Available in multiple sizes.
  • Ergonomic and comfortable design tailored for both men and women.
  • Versatility in organizing gear with the ICU system.
  • Doubles as a storage bag at home.
Cons:
  • The medium-sized ICU might be restrictive for those wanting to carry more gear.
  • A bit untraditional and not good for those looking for conventional backpacks.
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06/05/2024 01:55 am GMT

Overview

The F-Stop Tilopa Backpack is a versatile, durable photography pack designed for both hobbyists and professionals. The thing that makes this backpack stand out is its build and the way it’s designed. 

Unlike most backpacks, which are traditionally loaded with other essentials, the F-Stop Tilopa only houses photography gadgets, prioritizing gear protection and ergonomic comfort.

Key Benefits

  • Utilizes Internal Camera Units (ICUs) allowing customizable storage based on gear size and needs.
  • Constructed with water-resistant DWR-treated nylon and High-Density Cross link foam ensuring optimal protection against impact and weather.
  • The interior features brushed polyester, adjustable dividers, and elastic straps.
  • Rear panel access offers quick and secure access to camera equipment.
  • External hook and loop tabs secure the ICU within the camera bag. Two metal D-ring attachment points and a handle offer multiple carrying options.

Pricing

This one’s a large size and it costs $120. The Pro XL comes at about $140. The prices do not include shipping.

5. Manfrotto Pro Light Camera Backpack

Manfrotto PRO Light Multiloader M, Professional Photographic Backpack for Cameras, 4 Access Points, Multiple Tripod Attachments, 3 Modes of Use, Interchangeable Dividers, Black
Pros:
  • Suitable for air travel, fits overhead or under-seat on most airlines without drawing attention.
  • Spacious interior that accommodates multiple cameras and lenses without squeezing.
  • Solid build quality with security features like cable locks for zippers.
  • Overall comfortable wearing experience.
Cons:
  • Backloading design can be cumbersome due to zipper placements.
  • Priced higher than some similar-sized competitor bags.
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Overview

The Manfrotto Pro Light camera backpack is a versatile camera backpack available in four variants (multiple sizes and pocket styles). The backpack is designed for professional photographers and videographers and features multiple points of access and customizable carrying configurations.

Key Benefits

  • Easily access your gear from the front, sides, or top.
  • It can be used as a camera backpack, sling bag, or duffle bag.
  • The bag features a dedicated 15″ laptop compartment.
  • It has an adjustable torso height, double chest straps, a padded waist belt, and multiple harness configurations to ensure maximum comfort.
  • Side attachment for a full-sized tripod and front attachment for monopods or small light stands.
  • It comes with a DuoFace sun and rain cover.

Pricing

The Manfrotto Pro Light Camera Backpack is available in four variants: Backloader S priced at $195.88, Flexloader L at $234.88, Frontloader M at $349.88, and Multiloader M at $279.88.

What Is a Camera Backpack for Hiking?

Best Hiking Camera Backpacks In 2024

A camera backpack for hiking is a bag specifically designed to accommodate the unique needs of photographers who venture into the wilderness with their expensive shooting gear. Unlike typical camera backpacks that typically only prioritize gear storage, hiking camera backpacks strike a balance between equipment protection and the ergonomic requirements of long treks.

Camera backpacks for hiking are typically crafted with a combination of features, including padded compartments to secure delicate camera gear and space for hiking essentials like water, food, and layers of clothing. Many will also incorporate weather-resistant materials and rain covers to shield equipment from the elements.

These types of camera bags also often consider weight distribution, ensuring the user’s comfort and gear protection during a hike — a feature that a traditional camera backpack lack. Features such as easy-access pockets, tripod holders, and modular compartments are commonly found in the best hiking camera backpacks for hiking. 

This ensures photographers can swiftly capture moments without undergoing the cumbersome process of unpacking. If you’re the type of person who likes to own statement pieces, you can look for unconventional designs like the F-Stop Tilopa Camera Backpack, which we’ve reviewed above.

How Can the Best Hiking Camera Backpack Benefit You

The best camera backpack is more than just a storage solution – it’s an essential tool for outdoor photographers. First and foremost, camera backpacks for hiking provide unparalleled protection for your valuable equipment. 

Uneven terrains, sudden weather changes, and accidental falls can pose threats to your gear. A premium camera backpack ensures that your photography equipment is cushioned against impacts and shielded from dust, moisture, and other environmental hazards.

The best hiking camera backpacks for hiking offer swift and hassle-free access to shooting equipment. Time is often of the essence in photography — the fleeting moments of perfect lighting or a rare wildlife sighting won’t wait for you to rummage through your bag.

Lastly, a hiking camera backpack should ideally house all your essentials so that you have easy access to all your gear, at all times. Since most photographers/videographers will also have a use for a laptop/tablet, many of the best hiking camera backpacks for hiking will also have a separate compartment for it.

Buyers Guide: How We Conducted Our Research

To provide you with the most comprehensive and trustworthy reviews, we adopted a methodical approach in conducting our research for the best hiking camera backpacks. Here’s an insight into our process:

Initial Shortlisting

We started by creating a list of popular hiking camera backpacks based on their prevalence in the market, recommendations from professionals, and top sellers from reputable retail platforms. Some of the features we considered in this case were:

Protection & Durability

A hiking camera backpack’s ability to protect photography equipment from shocks, bumps, and external pressures is extremely important. It’s important to check the customer reviews to gauge the material’s quality, padding, and build. 

This ensures that the photo gear will remain safe from potential damage. We also considered durability factors like water resistance and abrasion-proof exteriors.

Ergonomic Design

These backpacks are meant for hiking so ergonomic comfort is paramount. We made sure the bags we reviewed were all ergonomically designed. We considered features like padded shoulder straps, lumbar support, and adjustable harness systems.

Modularity & Organization

Hiking camera backpacks with customizable dividers or compartments were preferred. This modularity ensures photographers can adjust spaces according to their photo gear, facilitating optimal organization and easy access.

Security Features

Camera equipment is often extremely expensive, so we prioritized hiking backpacks that had added security features, such as lockable zippers, hidden pockets, or anti-theft designs.

Specialized Features

We also looked at the inclusion of specialized features that elevate the user experience for shortlisting, such as hydration bladder compatibility, tripod holders, or quick-access pockets.

Pricing Analysis

We compared the price points of each best camera backpack for hiking, taking into account both the brand reputation and the features offered. Then we gauged each product’s value for money.

Deep Dive into Features

We cataloged the unique features of each camera backpack for hiking, placing special emphasis on those that enhance the user’s experience in terms of comfort, protection, accessibility, and durability.

Identifying Negatives

By delving into customer reviews and expert opinions, we highlighted any recurring issues or missing features that potential buyers should be aware of.

Support and Refund Policies

We evaluated the post-purchase experience by examining if companies offered robust customer support. For instance, do they have a vibrant community for users to share insights and report issues? Will there be a fair refund or exchange policy for dissatisfied customers?

Versatility

A hiking backpack’s ability to cater to a variety of photography gear setups and adapt to different hiking scenarios was also a significant factor in our analysis.

Safety and Protection

We prioritized products that showcased cool ways such as padlock straps, hidden pockets, and rear-access zippers to ensure security.

How to Choose the Right Size Hiking Camera Backpack Based on Your Equipment

Best Hiking Camera Backpacks In 2024

When it comes to selecting the perfect hiking camera backpack, one size doesn’t fit all—especially when considering the unique needs of your camera gear.

Take a close look at your camera gear. If you have a robust collection of lenses, a DSLR, and various accessories, you’ll want a backpack with a spacious and well-padded camera compartment. Some backpacks even come with a removable camera compartment, providing flexibility for days when you might not need your full photo arsenal.

Do you carry a tripod, drone, or external flash? You have to store all of that somewhere. Make sure the best camera backpack you choose has designated spaces or attachment points for these items. A good hiking camera backpack is like a puzzle, with each piece of photo gear having its designated spot.

Your hiking camera backpack isn’t just for camera gear, sometime you will need it to accommodate your overall hiking needs. If you plan to carry additional items like a lightweight sleeping bag, spare batteries, or extra layers, make sure the backpack has enough room for both your photography essentials and the extra gear. For those who like to edit photos on the go, having a backpack with dedicated laptop storage is essential.

And while you want a backpack that can carry all your gear comfortably, you also don’t want to feel like you’re lugging around a boulder. Opt for a lightweight bag that won’t weigh you down during those long treks.

A Guide to Different Compartments in a Camera Backpack

Even on best camera backpacks for hiking, navigating the compartments can sometimes feel like exploring a maze. So let’s make it simple.

The main compartment is the heart of the backpack – a spacious arena for your camera body, lenses, and any other substantial gear. You’ll usually have a dedicated water bottle pockets, conveniently keeping your favorite hydration companion within arm’s reach without delving into the main compartment.

External pockets are your quick-access allies. Perfect for storing extra lenses or small accessories, these pockets eliminate the need to open up the entire bag to access gear. Internal pocetks are ideal for small items like memory cards, lens filters, or spare batteries, these pockets keep essentials within easy reach.

Some backpacks go the extra mile with entire bag accessibility, allowing you to reach the contents from the back panel. This feature is particularly handy when you need to swiftly grab something from the bottom without disrupting the carefully arranged layers.

Padded and separate from the rest, a dedicated laptop sleeve makes sure that your laptop is safe alongside your camera gear.

Comparing Hiking Camera Backpack Materials

A durable exterior crafted from materials like nylon or polyester often characterizes a robust hiking camera backpack. These materials provide resistance against abrasions, ensuring that the backpack can withstand brushes against rocks and branches. Choose a hiking camera backpack with water resistant materials to shield your precious camera gear from the elements. Some backpacks go the extra mile with water-resistant zippers for added protection.

When you set your backpack down on rough terrain, the base absorbs the impact. Look for a backpack with a reinforced base, often featuring additional padding or a durable material to ensure stability and protect your gear from below.

Your overall comfort during long hikes relies on a breathable back panel. Materials like mesh or ventilated padding facilitate air circulation, reducing the build-up of heat and sweat against your back.

The weight distribution on your hiking camera backpack is influenced by the straps and waist belt. Choose a backpack with a padded shoulder strap and waist straps for an ergonomic fit, reducing strain on your shoulders and back during extended hikes.

Wrapping Up

We’ve listed five of the best hiking camera backpacks above and our reviews indicate that the Peak Design Everyday Backpack is one of the top contenders. 

However, the other four products are also just as valuable, but vary a bit in terms of design, size, and color options. Remember, the right backpack isn’t just a storage solution – the right hiking camera backpack should also improve your overall travel experience. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are hiking camera backpacks weatherproof and durable for outdoor use?

Hiking camera backpacks are tailored to address the challenges of outdoor photography, including various weather conditions. They help to ensure that your equipment remains protected and most of these bags are made from water-resistant or even waterproof materials. 

With a high-quality hiking camera backpack, sudden rain showers or accidental splashes won’t damage your camera and lenses.

Even if the primary material isn’t entirely impermeable, many backpacks come equipped with detachable rain covers that provide an extra layer of defense during heavy downpours. Features like water-resistant zippers further ensure moisture stays out for good!

Durability is another important feature of these backpacks for outdoor use. The bags are usually crafted from high-density nylon or polyester, which makes them resilient enough to endure rough handling such as brushes against rocks or accidental drops. 

The bag interior often features a padded camera compartment that shield your camera and accessories from shocks, further reducing the risk of damage if the bag takes a tumble. 

Are there any camera-specific compartments or dividers inside the backpack?

Yes, there are often camera-specific compartments or dividers inside hiking camera backpacks. Typically, there are around two to three compartments crafted in a generic way to suit hikers. Other times, the bag is primarily aimed at photographers and has padded and strapped compartments. 

Aside from the main camera and lens compartments, there are often smaller pockets and slots designed to hold accessories like memory cards, batteries, filters, and cables. 

Some backpacks also come with a dedicated laptop compartment or sleeves for larger items like laptops or tablets, which can be useful for photographers who wish to edit their photographs on the go.

The F-Top Tilopa Backpack that we reviewed above has a specific ICU-labeled camera compartment for all your photography accessories. However, this backpack does not have pockets like a traditional backpack and so it’s not as versatile as the other ones. 

But if you’re looking for a backpack to specifically house all your camera essentials, the F-Top Tilopa Backpack is the one you should go for.

Can hiking camera backpacks accommodate a tripod or other photography accessories?

Absolutely! Hiking camera backpacks are specifically designed for the varied needs of photographers, and that often includes accommodating a slot for a tripod or two or even for a monopod. 

The easiest way that bag manufacturers incorporate a tripod/monopod pocket is through external straps at the sides or bottom of a bag. The base pocket might also have a reinforced lining to ensure that the sharp edges of the tripod don’t wear through the fabric over time.

Some hiking camera bags also feature removable compartments that allow you to increase your compartment size to fit in a larger piece of equipment like a tripod. 

What are the security features in these backpacks to protect expensive camera equipment?

One of the primary security features found in these backpacks is the incorporation of lockable zippers. Some hiking camera bags also have loops that allow for the attachment of padlocks. There may also be a rear-panel access design that ensures that the main compartment’s zipper is placed against the user’s back. 

Some backpacks also incorporate RFID-blocking pockets although that’s a rare one. This RFID-blocking feature protects digital data stored in credit cards or passports from being scanned and stolen by electronic pickpockets. 

For added peace of mind, certain designs integrate discrete pockets. This allows users to store valuable items like spare cash, memory cards, etc. in hard-to-find bag sections that the pickpockets are usually just unable to access. 

Are there any specialized features, like hydration bladder compatibility, in these backpacks?

Yes, many of the best camera bags are designed with the ability to accommodate photography equipment and address the specialized needs of outdoor enthusiasts. Hydration bladder compatibility is one such specialized feature that manifests this dual-purpose approach. 

Recognizing that hydration is essential during long treks, manufacturers often incorporate a dedicated sleeve or compartment in the backpack design to hold a hydration bladder. This camera compartment is separate from where the camera gear is stored, ensuring that any potential leaks from the bladder won’t damage the equipment. 

Additionally, there are strategically placed ports that allow users to thread the drinking hose from the bladder, providing easy access to water without the need to stop and unpack. Some photography bags also come with Aux cable features to let you listen to music from your phone without taking it out of the bag.

Best Hiking Camera Backpacks In 2024

Dustin Olsen

Mastermind behind DustinOlsen.com. When no one is telling me what to do or where to be, you'll find me outside (hopefully flying my drone) soaking up some sun.