Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash
You’re heading out on your next vacation, you’ve got your camera, you’ve got your drone, and now you need the best camera backpack for travel to store all your goodies in. These bags differ from most travel bags in that they are designed to accommodate everything from a full-sized DSLR camera with a telephoto lens to a brand-new drone. These bags are designed to hold all the lenses, all the camera gear, a few extra pairs of socks, probably a jacket, maybe your laptop, and at least one tripod.
To get the best camera bag for travel, we have organized a list of the five very best, plus a bonus. These puppies are packed with features, allowing you to take your photographic journey on the road. Heck, on the train, on the boat, and even on the airplane. All these bags can be used as carry-on luggage. All of them are comfortable. But most importantly, all the bags on our list are specially picked to be your number one travel camera bag. While you may not fit your winter jacket into any of these bags, you are certainly going to keep all your professional camera equipment safe and secure while traveling.
1. Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L
This is the best DSLR camera bag for travel, no doubt about it. The bag itself is super compact, stylish, and crafted from a smart nylon/canvas material. It is also capable of holding your favorite DSLR camera plus all five of your favorite lenses. The key feature of the Peak Design backpack pack is the side flaps. Because it’s missing the normal front and rear openings, you have quick access to all your supplies via the flaps. This may seem strange, but the truth is that you are getting added protection from possible thieves. You never know on those foreign trains!
That’s not all. You have space for a ton of stuff, including a 13” laptop & tablet. For drone capabilities, you can fix one to the front. A travel tripod may be stuffed into the side. And the clever application of the internal dividers means that you can snap apart the internal to store one super long lens rather than a bunch of small ones. There is a small waist belt, very basic, that will help you carry the brunt of all your equipment.
- Side flaps are great
- Internal divider makes life easy
- Sleek style
- Great for on the go
- Can accommodate a tripod + 5 DSLR lenses + Laptop
- Top area is expandable up to 8 extra liters
- No hip pads for comfort
- Can’t open in the front or rear
- The waist belt is super basic
2. Manfrotto Pro Light 3N1-36 Camera Backpack
Undoubtedly the best travel camera backpack with one of the highest prices on our list. In fact, this bag is the second most expensive. But every penny you spend on the Pro Light Camera Backpack is worth it. This thing comes crafted from the strongest synthetic fabrics to be impervious to scratches and tears. And while it is incredibly compact and comfortable to wear, it still offers massive holding capacity. You can store personal items inside the bag, a massive 15” laptop, seven full DSLR camera lenses (don’t forget the DSLR camera itself), and even a small drone for video.
The unit is the Pro Light for a reason; it is very light. And even though the shoulder straps feel like they aren’t very wide, this bag is great for people with smaller frames. You can even transform the bag into a sling for a more versatile carry method, handy for hands-free climbing. You’re not going to get too sweaty, and you can carry this bag in conjunction with other travel bags.
- Can hold a lot of equipment
- Versatile and not too heavy
- Easy to carry for long periods of time
- One of the best for tripod carrying
- Designed specifically for use with a DSLR or a drone
- The shoulder straps are flimsy
- Hard to access through the top zip
3. Endurax ShellX P01 Hard-Shell Camera Backpack
Endurax has been making fantastic backpacks for years. Everyone in the game knows that when you want a rock-solid protective bag for hardcore adventures, you need an Endurax bag. These units aren’t expensive. Actually, they’re more affordable than most. And that is surprising considering people have nothing but good things to say about the Hard-Shell Camera Backpack.
The functions are endless. You have a side pocket to store oodles of accessories, a place to hold your water bottle or your tripod, a special compartment for your laptop (up to 17 inches), another compartment for your 10-inch tablet, a rain cover for rainy days, comfortable back padding with adjustable straps, reflective strips for night riding, and a standing pad.
Inside the bag is enough space to put your drone, camera, valuable gear, and additional accessories. But the classic trademark is the hard shell, designed to protect everything on the inside in case of accidental impact.
- Heavy protection for all your equipment
- Massive laptop storage for 17” computers
- Place for water bottle or tripod
- Spacious interior
- Comfortable back padding
- Rain cover
- Can fit your DSLR camera with the lens attached
- Could use more dividers
- Could use more inserts and more small compartments
4. Lowepro ProTactic BP 350 AWII Backpack
This Lowepro backpack is one of the better modular models. Though a bit pricier than the Endurax, it does come with great versatility.
You can take the Velcro dividers out of the bag when you don’t want to carry your camera equipment, converting it into a spacious daypack. You can also rearrange the dividers to hold a bunch of accessories, your camera, or a full-sized drone.
The back lid opens to a 13” laptop compartment, fully zippered. It also comes with a rain cover and a high-quality padded hip belt. However, where this bag shines is in the front. It has a whole series of loops that are used for fixing extra attachments: tripod, phone case, flash holder. This is definitely a minimalist’s camera backpack.
- Useful rain cover
- Tripod storage
- Padded hip belt
- Loop system for maximum accessories
- Laptop compatible
- Versatile, transforms into a daypack without dividers
- Only fits a 13” laptop
- Only fits 4 lenses
- You must purchase accessories for the front loops
5. Vanguard Alta Sky 66 Camera Backpack
The Alta Sky 66 is the big daddy of camera backpacks. This unit is big. We’re talking nearly 3 kgs big. This is the best unit for serious shooters who are going out to take spectacular photos of wildlife, and who need to bring all the appropriate accessories in one bag. And where most of the camera backpacks will hold an ordinary DSLR camera and some lenses, the Alta Sky 66 is going to hold a camera with a super-telephoto lens between 500 and 600mm.
Whereas the other packs on our list are small and compact, this unit is a real hiking and outdoors pack. It’s ultra-comfortable with adjustable straps and backing for long hikes while traveling. You get quick access to your gear through the side and back pockets.
The interior boasts impressive space, allowing for the storage of a 17” laptop plus a tablet. You’ve got small storage areas for cards, for your smartphone, your keys, and even a special hole for headphones
One of the biggest improvements with the Sky 66 is that it can’t hold just one tripod, it can hold three. Like we said, this is the ultimate unit for wildlife photography in the deep wilderness. You are even able to use the straps on the bag to hold a camping tent, miscellaneous survival equipment, and a heavy-duty rain jacket.
- Can hold literally everything
- Great for serious shooters going into the wilderness
- Can hold hiking equipment, including tent & jacket
- Capable of holding massive telephoto lenses
- Comfortable for days of long walking
- Not as expensive as one might expect
- It is a heavy bag, and this is felt if it’s not filled up all the way
6. Kattee Leather Canvas Vintage Camera Bag
Although this isn’t a backpack, this canvass bag absolutely must be on the list. It’s not expensive. It doesn’t carry the most equipment. It’s not even the best. But we’ll be darned if it isn’t a great budget bag with an old school vintage feel to it.
If you aren’t traveling into the stark wilderness of Siberia and are instead traveling domestically or in the cityscapes of Europe, you are going to love the ease of this bag. It has a handy shoulder strap, is crafted from tough canvas, and it is designed to hold a powerful DSLR camera with a pair of lenses.
The unit has a cotton liner for keeping your camera safe. You can use this bag for everyday items, for a change of clothes, or just for stuffing some souvenirs into.
- Looks cool, vintage feel
- Everyday use
- Brass buckles & quick lock
- Cowhide fasteners
- Comfortable with the shoulder strap
- Comes in a huge variety of classic colors
- Many small pockets for phone, keys, small camera equipment
- Less than fifty dollars
- Not the highest quality
- Not designed to hold a drone
- Not designed solely as a camera bag
Regardless of which bag you choose on our list, just remember to have fun. The price is going to always reflect the seriousness of the situation. For the cheapest overall bag, maybe for someone who wants the classical feel of an “old-time” journalist photographer, definitely go with the affordable Kattee Bag.
However, for those with a bit of prestige, who need a lot of lenses, and who are keen to take non-stop photos while traveling, a compact bag is more your style. Try the Manfrotto or the Peak Design.
Adventure travelers are going to want the heavy-duty hiking/photography bags, like the Vanguard or the Endurax. These offer more versatility when outside in the elements, being hammered by rain or stuck in the falling snow.
No matter where your travels across the world take you, always be prepared with one of these stellar camera bags for travel. These bags can all be stowed in the overhead compartment on an airplane, and they are all comfortable enough to take with you on any journey. And considering how critical these bags are to any travel photographer, the price of even the most expensive is nothing compared to what you paid for your equipment. Travel safe and take amazing photos.
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