Welcome to Creative Bloq's guide to the best camera bags. If you need to carry a camera, the best thing to do is get a bag or case specifically designed for this purpose. This holds true whether you've spent a chunk of cash on one of the best cameras on the market, or have picked up a simple point-and-shoot model at a discount (for bargains on creative kit, including cameras, check out our roundup of the best Prime Day deals).
Camera bags range from heavy duty hard cases to small clip-on pouches, via backpacks, messenger bags and more. There are so many types and so many brands it can be hard to know where to start. What type of bag is best for you? What does your setup need to be safe, secure and easy to transport?
That's where we come in. We've put together this list of what we reckon are the best camera bags on the market right now.
We've aimed to cover every major type of camera bag, from pouches and slings to rolling hard cases. Whatever your needs or budget, you should find the best camera bag here for you and your camera gear.
Right now, we think the Tenba Axis tactical backpack is the best camera bag overall. It gives you a decent build quality and plenty of room to expand for a reasonable asking price. But the right camera bag for you naturally depends on your personal requirements. While most find space to stash a tablet or laptop alongside photographic equipment, some are better for compact system cameras than bulkier DSLRs, while others offer space for a camera drone too. So study the following list closely in order to find your own best fit.
How to choose the best camera bag or case
Of course, it’s not just the gear you’re going to be putting in the bag you need to think about. Also consider what you typically photograph – and what environments that places you in. For example, a street photographer might be better suited to an equally unobtrusive shoulder-worn messenger type bag that doesn’t obviously scream ‘photographer’.
Landscape and wildlife photographers, used to covering a fair bit of terrain and being out in all elements, may be better suited to a waterproof backpack; something that has room for a water bottle and provisions as well as that camera and tripod, while being padded and featuring breathable fabrics for extra comfort. Those who regularly hop on and off aircraft meanwhile may favour a rolling trolley-style set up – while being mindful of whether it will match current carry-on luggage rules and regulations, naturally.
The more you think about it, the more choices there are to make. So, to help, let’s look at what we consider some of the best camera bags and cases right now (and why)…
Aimed at pro photographers and videographers with a couple of camera bodies and long lenses – who need to keep said gear protected from the elements – are these military inspired Tenba Axis expedition packs featuring a water repellent exterior plus YKK zippers and reinforced stitching.
There are three capacity options – 20L (specs listed here), 24L and 32L – all with space for a laptop plus two camera bodies and lenses. Three access points at the top, back and sides usefully enable cameras to be retrieved while the packs are being worn. An ‘airflow’ harness is height adjustable for comfort, while webbing on the exterior allows for battery pouches and memory card wallets to be added. A rain cover and space for a tripod ensures these options tick most photographers’ boxes, making these some of the best camera bags out there right now.
Ideally, a camera bag is something you don't want to think too much about. You just want to sling it on and get going. The Peak Design Everyday Backpack range, available in 20L (specs listed here) and 30L varieties, is designed for this kind of ease of use. It's a hardy, well-engineered camera backpack offering impressive capacity and lots of useful extras that are easy to make use of, such as the 16-inch laptop compartment (30L model) and the internal FlexFold dividers that make it a cinch to organise your gear, meaning using the bag for both camera gear and groceries (for example) is an easy task. It's weatherproofed too, down to the zips, and will protect your gear even in torrential rainstorms.
What's not to like? Well, the straps could arguably use a little more padding, as they can get uncomfortable when worn for long periods. That's pretty much it! Go forth and buy with confidence – the 20L model is best for mirrorless setups, while those using DSLRs will probably appreciate the greater depth of the 30L version.
This brilliant bug-shaped camera backpack consists of a hard – but padded – front lid that zips all around and drops down for easy access. Moveable dividers inside make it easy to secure your camera gear, and can be configured for a DSLR and two to three lenses, with a small zipped area for other items. Alternatively, you can use an UltraFlex divider to split the bag in half, with half dedicated to your camera gear and half to other things. The Tahoe BP 150 is fantastically flexible, so you can use it for anything from street photography to hiking. There's also an organiser area in the lid with a tablet pouch, and a few handy mesh side pockets.
When it comes to the best cheap camera bags, there are several size options available in this great series of Tenba Solstice Backpacks for the outdoor snapper with an array of gear – the specs above are for the middle-sized 20L version. A case in point; these packs can transport a DSLR or mirror-less camera with three to four lenses, or a DJI Mavic type drone, while also finding room for an iPad Mini type tablet.
Depending on your requirements, choose from the 12L, 20L or 24L models, which increase in size and capacity in line with their product numbers. Boasting both practicality and durability, naturally the interior is fully adjustable, with even the smallest pack being able to accommodate an equipment set up such as that detailed above, while the largest option can fit one or two DSLRs and a whopping five to seven lenses. With padded, adjustable dividers, this is a pack not just for the solstice then, but moreover a cheap camera bag for all seasons.
Every photographer – especially the pro – wants level horizons for their landscape shots and that means packing a tripod. Manfrotto manufactures both tripods and bags, so naturally they’re designed to work in unison – its compact yet expandable Advanced Befree backpack aimed at travel and landscape photographers being a case in point.
Cabin size friendly, it can comfortably stash its travel-sized tripods (Befree Advanced and Befree GT series models) alongside your camera gear via a specially provided expandable padded side pocket. Naturally it also finds space for your camera gear and personal belongings besides and comes with a protective rain cover. The dedicated camera compartment is padded and is located close to your body when the pack is worn for added security. Water resistance is provided via a rain cover.
This smart yet unobtrusive looking backpack from Lowepro for just over £100 features convenient side body access and a robust fabric construction in a choice of either grey Canvex or black Cordura with, typically for a bag of this type, a fully customisable interior with flexible dividers. This enables a mirrorless camera, DJI Osmo or Mavic type drone to be stashed.
An all-weather cover is also provided for those photographers who enjoy hiking in the great outdoors, while there’s a dedicated sleeve for a 13-inch laptop alongside that inevitable Thermos. A back panel provides a cushion and a low profile design for added comfort, too.
Shoulder camera bags
Designed especially to take a laptop as well as a DSLR or CSC, the Billingham Hadley One is the perfect choice for the many-headed creative. It's a little bigger than the similar Hadley Pro, and features a removable padded insert specifically designed for camera gear, meaning you not only give your camera and lenses an extra layer of protection, but also prevent it from damaging other items in the bag by knocking into them. The padded laptop sleeve can take a laptop up to 13 inches in length, while a padded top handle expands the ways you can carry the bag.
If space is still an issue, the bag can also take additional accessory pouches (sold separately), and the rear document pocket also has rainproof zip closure, keeping extra safe any vital documents you may be carrying. It comes at a premium price, as to be expected from Billingham, but it's a great choice for camera gear and more, arguably one of the most complete bags around.
Most cameras these days mix the classic with the contemporary, so why shouldn’t the bag you choose to carry it in function in the same way? This Think Tank Signature is a modern take on the shoulder bag that still features a tactile wool-feel fabric and hand-sewn construction, yet the weather protection and durability with it that today’s photographer would demand.
There a couple of options available in the ‘10’ (specs here) or ‘13’ bags – the numbers referring to the size of tablet or laptop in inches that can also be housed alongside a DSLR sized camera and lenses. You also get a dedicated mobile phone pocket, while the dividers and foam in the base can be removed to create a completely collapsible bag for convenient storage when not in use. This is one of the best camera shoulder bags you can get right now.
Slim but durable, the Streetline range of shoulder bags from Lowepro are perfect for exploring a city on a mini-break, with space for your camera gear as well as any extra small items you may need throughout the day, including a small laptop. The outer fabric is moisture resistant, meaning you'll be able to roam freely without worrying about rain, and the slim profile of the bag means that passing through crowds is an easy, painless process. Lowepro have also added plenty of extra pockets around the interior of the bag, allowing you to keep different items in different places for easy, fast access.
The Streetline shoulder bags are available in 120 (specs listed here), 140 and 180 versions, with 180 being the largest and most expensive.
If you’ve spent around £1,000 – possibly more – on a premium compact camera or CSC, you might want something equally classic and swish to transport it in at an a lot more affordable £100. Enter Billingham’s unobtrusive yet stylish vertical option. The British made, pouch-like Billingham 72 comes complete with handy shoulder strap and brass and leather fixtures.
With construction that includes hardwearing materials that manage to be both moisture and heat resistant, this camera bag also comes in a choice of five different colour combinations. There’s a useful front pocket for your camera batteries and cards, a padded interior divider, plus the peace of mind of a five-year manufacturer’s guarantee.
Rolling camera bags
Given how much gear you can pack into the Lowepro PhotoStream RL150, it's pretty amazing that it'll fit as standard airline carry-on luggage – a fact that makes it hugely useful for trips abroad, whether for work or pleasure. In a nice touch, the dedicated laptop compartment is both ultra-protective and quick to access, so you can be sure your computer is safe when you're travelling, and pull it out at a moment's notice should you need to.
Gear-wise, you can stuff a couple of hefty DSLRs in here without breaking a sweat, and still have space to keep an abundance of extra lenses, flashguns and other bits and pieces. Racking up those air miles? This is the case for you!
Another useful roller bag that fits as standard carry-on luggage, this bag from Manfrotto is actually two for the price of one, with useful hideaway padded shoulder straps positioned on its front pocket, which allows it to convert into a backpack. Able to handle a generous capacity of multiple pro-spec DSLRs with lenses to spare, this bag is also a good choice for large amounts of video kit, and its 14 protective dividers allow the user to tailor its space precisely to their requirements.
Manfrotto has kitted this bag out with its Pro-Light Rip-Stop fabric, which further expands its utility as an all-in-one travel bag. If you’re always on the go and need a bag that’ll keep up, this is a fantastic choice, with space for all your kit and more.
If you’re looking for pro grade robustness when it comes to keeping your kit safe, then the Peli brand comes highly rated. Not only does the Peli 1510 Protector Case claim to be crush-proof, waterproof and dustproof thanks to a rubber O-ring seal (meaning that your precious kit will be better protected than most options on the market), this trunk-like hard case features the added benefit of a retractable handle and wheels, with foam padding for the interior.
It can accommodate one or two pro grade DSLRs and up to eight lenses, while also featuring the swish addition of a pressure equalising valve, plus a degree of buoyancy. As well as the standard black, it also comes in a range of bright colours and can manage all of the above while remaining a size that means it can be taken aboard a plane as carry-on luggage.