Camera Backpacks, Cases and Bags
Keep Your Pro Gear Organized and Safe
Whether your photography gear is simple or complex, the wide range of camera backpacks offers plenty of innovative choices to make your photo outings a success.
Don’t leave a special lens behind because your pack is too small or struggle with unloading lenses from a large pack that makes it a pain to switch gear for the perfect picture.
Most photographers, whether amateur or pro, look for two critical features: suitable size with easy access and equipment protection. As your photographic skills progress, you’ll probably add more lenses and haul more gear.
Deciding on the best camera backpack really depends on your preference for carrying a full complement of lenses versus reducing your camera kit to only a few pieces that will do the job. Sometimes it takes two different camera bags to satisfy your photographic lifestyle requirements.
Camera Backpacks: Factors For Selection
Backpack or Shoulder Bag – Getting the right kind of bag makes all the difference for a photographer. A two-strap backpack distributes your gear weight better and allows your arms freedom of movement. A sling style bag is much easier to slide from back to front to access your gear and switch lenses on the move. Try to satisfy three key criteria. First, the bag must fit all your essential lenses and accessories. Secondly, it has to be easy to carry whether on long hikes for landscape shots or spending a day in the city chasing architecture. And lastly, be able to capture any moment in a flash by being able to get into your gear bag with minimum effort for a smooth transition to the best lens for the situation.
Backpack Size – Photographers tend to start small with just a camera and lens and then grow into a larger pack when the gear load and skill level increases. Backpack size also depends on how you like to travel, either fully equipped with every lens and gizmo or just two or three key lenses for a particular outing. A common mistake is to try to find the perfect bag for all occasions. Instead, determine your load requirements for a variety of assignments or shoots and then see if two backpacks are better than one.
Backpack Protection – Expensive camera and video equipment requires special treatment. Camera backpacks add extra padding and provide multiple compartments to organize and protect delicate lenses and electronic gear. Be sure all your gear fits snug without any shifting around and protect LCD screens and exposed control knobs from scratches and knocks.
Backpack Security – A target for potential theft, determine how easy or difficult it is for a stranger to access your camera backpack. Double zippers are handy but they also make it easy to gain entry, especially when all your gear is exposed from your back. Some backpacks are designed to open from the strap panel so your back actually protects the bag contents. There are no guarantees for keeping your gear totally safe, just remember to consider the advantages of extra security measures and not just convenience factors.
Backpack Appearance – There are two main reasons for deciding on the appearance of a backpack or bag: security and professionalism. Expensive camera backpack brands tend to be more visible and can attract attention from pickpockets. To avoid this problem, choose a less flashy or less common brand that doesn’t scream that you’re carrying expensive stuff. If you are a professional or freelance photographer, your bag choice should be appropriate for your work assignments. Rough and rugged packs are fine for the great outdoors, but weddings, hotel shoots and special events require a more professional style.
Camera Backpacks: Tips For Buyer Satisfaction
More Gear=More Specialized – As your camera gear gets more sophisticated to handle all your shooting requirements, your backpack or bag must keep pace. Try to anticipate your future gear needs and plan ahead for the right sized pack with special features.
Customized Compartments – Look for packs with customizable compartments that change position with velcro strips, rather than fixed slots, that allow for odd-sized gear to fit easily and prevents too tight or too loose placement with possible damage to the camera body.
Tripod Position – Tripods are an essential tool for any shoot, but many photographers leave it at home because it’s a pain to carry. Some camera backpacks have a special attachment added to the bottom or back panel to haul a tripod without too much hassle or discomfort.
Non-Camera Gear – Some packs provide plenty of camera gear space, but forget to add additional pockets for travel essentials. Consider your non-camera gear space requirements, such as jackets for rainy weather or food and water supplies for long days in the outdoors. Otherwise, you’ll end up stuffing snack bars with your long lenses.
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Camera Backpacks: Popular Brands and Models
|Lowe Pro Slingshot 200 – For avid amateurs and professionals alike, the Lowepro Slingshot 200 provides single bag satisfaction with more capacity to carry larger cameras and more accessories. The best Slingshot series option for carrying a basic kit without too little or too much gear.|
|Lowe Pro Flipside – Another of Lowe Pro’s innovative designs, the Flipside is a compact and lightweight digital SLR carrier with a unique twist, the pack opens up from the back, not the front. A perfect bag for the avid amateur photographer that carries a light inventory and requires top-notch security and durability.|
|Tamrac Expedition 7x – The Tamrac Expedition line allows you to take a full load of electronic gear on the trail. With over a dozen adjustable dividers in the main compartment, you won’t have to leave anything behind. A built-in frame and hip strap makes these photography packs a serious gear hauler for outdoor shooting.|
|Kata Ergo Tech Sensitive V – An intelligent design without any wasted space, the Sensitivity V is ideal for day use and fits an SLR, laptop and more. More suitable for urban communters that want to carry a variety of camera or office gear with a zippered main compartment that unfolds into one large space. One of many great Kata camera bags choices without being too large.|
|Crumpler Barge – Just like the name implies, the Barge is good for carrying a lot of other gear besides your camera and laptop equipment in a well-built and padded pack. With plenty of room for a rainy weather jacket or a few books, you can opt to use the camera section too with easy pull-out and removable velcro strips. A versatile choice with a reputation for toughness from Crumpler camera bags.|
|Case Logic TBC-307 – Combining obsessive organization with function, Case Logic camera case products are known as “stuff wranglers”. The TBC-307 features a suspension hammock, lashes for a tripod and has an understated, non-flashy appearance.|
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