Aside from essentials such as tents, sleeping bags, and camping stoves, most outdoor adventurers will also have that extra non-essential they can’t leave home without. For some people this might be a secret stash of Tunnock’s tea cakes, and for others, in the case of hiker Ursula Martin, it’s a pair of knitting needles and some wool. For many, however, that ‘non-essential’ is a camera.
Since the birth of the camera, photography has always been an excellent way to appreciate the outdoor world in all its natural beauty. From wildlife shots and awe-inspiring landscapes to gnarly action shots and visual hiking diaries; there’s no end to the photo opportunities you might find on the trail. Coined ‘photo hikers’; aside from DSLRs, you’re also likely to find drone enthusiasts nowadays, as well as the ultra-lightweight travellers who simply use their phone.
Though choosing the perfect outdoor camera is both a tough and highly subjective job (which we’ll leave to the experts), finding the right hiking backpack with in-built camera protection can also be somewhat of a challenge. With that in mind, here’s some of the features we find the most useful here at Outdoors Magic.
How To Choose A Camera Backpack
One of the most important aspects of a camera backpack will be its ability to protect your kit. Considering the price of cameras, and the unpredictability of the outdoors, you’re going to want something that’s both sturdy and very secure. This usually comes in the form of weatherproofing and extra padding. The former can include water-resistant materials, sealed seams and zippers, and built-in rain covers, whilst the latter usually involves shock-resistant padding and chunky kit dividers.
Storage capacity is also very important as you’ll need room for both your camera kit and some hiking gear too. In order to separate these storage compartments and avoid cross-contamination, most camera backpacks will have organisation dividers or dedicated camera cubes. These help to organise your lenses from your camera bodies and SD cards, whilst also keeping any potentially muddy hiking kit well away from your electrics. Attachment straps and loops on the exterior of the bag will also aid organisation and help to store items such as tripods, sleeping mats, and the like.
Related: Best Backpacking Sleeping Mats
Though camera backpacks will be on the heavier side because of the protective padding, they usually range between 1 to 3kg so are still light enough for multi-day adventures. This extra weight also means there’ll be more strain on your back so look out for waist straps, shoulders straps, back panels, and frame systems for ergonomic support.
Possibly the handiest feature to have on a camera backpack, however, is an easy camera access pocket. These are usually zippered side, top or back pockets, and enable you to quickly grab your kit without rummaging through the entire contents of the bag. This also means you’re less likely to miss that perfect shot.
From quick day trips to multi-day escapades, here’s a breakdown of our favourite camera backpacks for 2023.
Best Camera Backpacks 2023 | Our 10 Favourites
- Wandrd Prvke
- Mindshift Backlight
- LowePro PhotoSport III
- Vanguard Alta Sky
- Peak Design Everyday
- Mountainsmith Tanuck
- Thule Covert Rolltop
- Gitzo Adventury
- LowePro Powder
- Shimoda Explore