Home » Gear » Best Camera Backpacks for Hiking in 2020 – Top 10 Rated Reviews

Best Camera Backpacks for Hiking in 2020 – Top 10 Rated Reviews

Shimoda Explore 40 Backpack

Shimoda Explore 40 Backpack

f-stop - Ajna Bundle (Anthracite)

f-stop - Ajna Bundle (Anthracite)

Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW Camera Backpack

Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW Camera Backpack

Almost every individual photographer has a different selection of gear. What’s more, the choice of a camera backpack to transport that gear can vary greatly. This could depend on such things as; the actual amount of camera gear to be carried, the distances and terrain to be covered and the balance of camera gear to personal items.

Here, we’ve listed what we believe to be the best camera backpacks for hiking to fit a broad spectrum of needs and specifications.

best camera backpacks hiking

We’re sure, whatever your needs, that you’ll find the right camera backpack in our top ten list. So, let’s get down to business…

Top 10 Best Camera Backpacks for Hiking Reviews

1 Lowepro Flipside Trek BP 350 AW Backpack for Camera

We begin our review with one of the three Lowepro offerings. The BP 350 AW is the most compact and not surprisingly the more-affordable of the three.

It has easy access to the camera compartment without having to place the bag on the ground. This is via the patented flipside’s access. A great feature, this can help to keep your eyes on the shot, whilst locating and preparing your gear.

This camera backpack also has the same high quality as its bigger brothers. Further, it has a good mix of separated camera and non-camera storage.

Its compact size makes it ideal for those looking for a bag that’s lightweight and easier to carry. A great pick when hiking light with a selection of gear to match.

Features and Specifications

The internal dimensions are 9.06” x 5.51” x 11.42”. The external dimensions are 11.02” x 7.87” x 20.08”. The camera backpack weighs 1.4 kgs and has an all-weather bag included.

Camera equipment can be accessed without the need to put the bag down. And there are split compartments, for camera and non-camera storage. It can accommodate a standard DSLR with an attached lens, plus one or two extra lenses, depending on their size. Additionally, there are multiple attachment points on the outside of the backpack, allowing for added gear to be carried.

Lowepro Flipside Trek BP 350 AW Backpack for Camera
Our rating:4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Pros

  • Good storage for personal items.
  • Comfortable to carry and easy to adjust.
  • Divided storage compartments.
  • Access to gear without the need to take it off the bag.

Cons

  • Cannot store larger sized tablets over 10”.
  • Compact gear storage section.

2 Lowepro Whistler Backpack 350 AW II

Do you have plans to get off the beaten track? If so, this could be the bag for you. This a large-sized bag designed to stand up to the worst the weather can throw at it.

One of the best camera backpacks for hiking when the going gets tough. It’s highly durable and a great choice for photographers who are planning on getting off the beaten track.

It’s rigid internal design, and superior external attachment systems allow for some heavyweight carrying. Therefore, if you need to carry skis or a snowboard, or poles, no problem with the Whistler 350 AW II.

Features and Specifications

The external dimensions are 11.84” x 9.80” x 21.63”. The camera backpack weighs 2.65 kgs and has an all-weather bag included.

The Whistler Series II fabric is constructed from hard-wearing 420 Nylon Ripstop. This offers high levels of both tear-resistance and waterproofing. Further, it features quality attachment options, with the use of Duraflex hooks and Nifco side-release buckles. This, coupled with its rigid design, make it suitable for attaching heavy and long objects, such as; skis, snowboards, poles, or even the best camping axes and hatchets.

The camera bag is separated into equal parts. It has sufficient room to hold a DSLR with attached lens, plus up to a further two lenses. What’s more, there is also space to store video, drone, and gimbal equipment. It also has a sleeve compartment suitable for laptops up to 15”.

This all-weather camera backpack also has an ActivZone back panel for improved comfort.

Lowepro Whistler Backpack 350 AW II
Our rating:3.9 out of 5 stars (3.9 / 5)

Pros

  • Hard wearing.
  • Drone storage space.
  • Sleeve compartment for 15” laptop.
  • Attachments are able to fasten heavy and long objects.

Cons

  • Heavy and bulky.
  • Chest strap liable to slip.

3 Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW Camera Backpack

This offers a large storage area for your gear, with a good selection of lock compatible accessories. And with the capability of carrying two DSLRs, lenses, 15” laptop, tripod and drone, this is a real load carrier. The good news is that the bag is also designed to carry this high load.

Firstly, it’s well built with quality materials, straps, and zippers. Secondly, it uses what they call ActivZone system technology. This is their system to provide and maximize back support. We’re sure you’ll agree, anything to help minimize potential back issues can’t be bad.

Features and Specifications

The internal dimensions are 12.52” x 7.80” x 17.32”. The external dimensions are 13.70” x 10.63” x 19.21”. The camera backpack weighs in at 2.6 kgs, and like its smaller brother, an all-weather bag included. All Slip Lock compatible there are five modular accessories. These include a water bottle pouch, a tripod cup, accessory case, and two cinch straps.

Uses ActivZone System technology to provide high levels of lumbar, waist, and shoulder support.

The dedicated camera compartment can fit 1-2 DSLRs, one with a 70-200mm lens attached. It can additionally hold a 15” laptop, a DJI Mavic Pro drone8, lenses/speed lights and tripod with accessories.

Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW Camera Backpack
Our rating:4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

Pros

  • High levels of lumbar support.
  • Solid build quality.
  • Drone storage capability.
  • Can fit 15” laptop or tablet.
  • Five Slip Lock compatible modular accessories.
  • It can be stored in an airplane overhead locker.

Cons

  • Small side pockets.
  • It cannot be stored under an airplane seat.

4 Burton F-stop Camera Backpack

This is a good solid, and durable offering from Burton. The Burton F-stop backpack would be suitable for photographers looking to carry a large amount of gear. Measuring an impressive 25.5” high, with good width and depth, here’s a bag that should be large enough for almost every hiking photographer out there.

It’s the largest of all camera backpacks we feature here in our top ten. But not only is it large, but it’s also comfortable to carry. With well-designed shoulder straps and waist harness, this is easy to hike with over large distances. Good news, we’re sure you’ll agree.

Features and Specifications

Furthermore, this camera backpack also has a side accessible cooler pocket. For any of you old-school photographers, great for storing film. If you’re not storing film, you could always sneak a bottle of vodka in there.

This is a big camera backpack and in fact, is the largest one on our list. The external dimensions are 7.5” x 12” x 25.5”. The camera backpack weighs 2.3 kgs and is constructed of durable polyester. And it has external attachments for fixing auxiliary cameras and hiking equipment.

The separate camera storage area has moveable compartments, customizable to your personal camera equipment needs. Additionally, the cool thing is, well, it’s got a side accessible cooler pocket and an oversized beverage stash pocket. We like that.

Finally, the Burton F-stop Camera Backpack has a well-designed and adjustable shoulder harness.

Burton F-stop Camera Backpack
Our rating:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Pros

  • Tough and durable.
  • Large Internal capacity.
  • Customizable internal compartment in camera area.
  • Comfortable.
  • Good tripod slot mount.
  • Side cooler pocket.

Cons

  • No separate computer compartment.

5 Shimoda Explore 40 Backpack – Sea Pine

This is another larger style camera backpack. But check this out, it’s also one of the lightest, at only 1.33 kgs. How? By use of a lightweight nylon shell. A shell that is also coated with their own proprietary resin which will both repel water and condensation.

It should be noted that the weight of the camera backpack does not include the core unit. The core unit must be purchased separately. Remember that typically a core unit will add approximately a further half kilo of weight. The price of a core unit should be factored into any potential purchasing decision.

This is a bag with a good selection of access points. Particularly innovative are the two fast access points available through the shoulder straps. A nice option when speed is required to get that shot.

Features and Specifications

The external dimensions are 10.2” x 11.4” x 22.4”. The camera backpack weighs 1.33 kgs. It is made from a nylon carbonate ether PU carbonated shell. Further, it’s coated with Shinoda’s own resin formula, to provide excellent water resistance.

It has a height-adjustable harness, making it suitable for shorter and taller people alike. Being height adjustable helps to evenly distribute the weight. This will make your gear more comfortable to carry over those long distances we all hike at some point.

The Shimoda Explore 40 has a good selection of access options, to both the side and rear. It additionally has underarm access for those times quick access is required. Each shoulder strap has a fast option access point.

This camera backpack features an excellent, well thought out, modular core insert system. However, it should be noted that these, though in conjunction with the Shimoda Explore 40, must be purchased separately.

Shimoda Explore 40 Backpack - Sea Pine
Our rating:4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)

Pros

  • Comfortable and adjustable design.
  • Large internal capacity.
  • Durable and lightweight.
  • Good selection of access points.
  • Will fit in an airline overhead bin.

Cons

  • Computer pocket only fits 13.5” laptop.
  • No rain cover included.
  • Core units must be purchased separately.

6 Tamrac Anvil 23 Photo Backpack with Belt

This is another high-quality camera backpack to add to our list. It’s constructed out of some quality materials. It has high levels of water resistance. And as if that’s not enough, it comes complete with a seam-sealed outer cover. This makes it a camera backpack to take some of the worst the weather and elements can throw at it.

This has a large gear carrying capacity with plenty of versatility to customize and arrange the internal compartment to your personal preferences. It can take two DSLR bodies, one with a 15” lens attached, with more room for additional lens and gear.

It has the usual array of attachment options and the space for a 15” laptop or tablet. As you would expect from a bag of this quality and size.

Finally, it’s good to know this is a bag that will nicely fit into an overhead airline bin.

Features and Specifications

The Tamrac Anvil 23 has internal dimensions of 11” x 6.5”x 17”. The internal dimensions are 12” x 10” x 18.5”. It weighs in at 2.1 kgs and is made with a combination of materials. The exterior of the bag is made from Codura Nylon and 840D Polyester Dobby fabric. It is further coated with a PU layer. Plus there is a 210D Oxford Nylon lining.

There is sufficient storage space for A DSLR body, together with an attached lens of up to 15”. We think you’d have to agree that’s impressive. It will also store three or four additional lenses, flash unit and tablet of up to 15”.

It has a quality harness and a removable belt, and is fully waterproof and comes with a quality seam-sealed rain cover.

Tamrac Anvil 23 Photo Backpack with Belt
Our rating:4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)

Pros

  • Light-weight and versatile.
  • Slim low profile.
  • Fits long lenses.
  • Holds a lot of gear.
  • Easily customizable.
  • High quality.

Cons

  • Shallow outer pockets.
  • The laptop pouch is located in the outer compartment.

7 Vanguard Alta Sky 45D Camera Backpack

The Alta Sky 45D is the smallest of the Vanguard range. As the title suggests, no surprises here folks, this camera backpack has a capacity of 45 liters. For those needing more carrying capacity, the Vanguard Alta Sky backpacks go all the way up to 66 liters.

There’s plenty of versatility on offer with this camera backpack. It’s got a very respectable internal and external gear hauling ability. This is especially the case when considered it’s actually the smallest in the Vanguard line-up. However, this is yet another solid, well built, and comfortable bag.

The good news is that it’s also a bag you can take as hand luggage on airlines.

Features and Specifications

The external dimensions are 12.25” x 9.0” x 19.5″. It weighs 2.2 kgs and includes a rain cover. This provides total coverage for the backpack.

The gear compartment of the bag can hold; a DSLR with an attached lens, an additional two to three lenses, flash, and accessories. There is further space for a compact system camera, plus lenses, in the lower third of the gear storage area.

The Vanguard 45 also is able to store a 13” laptop, gimbal and drone. The laptop has its own padded sleeve provided. Large-sized drones can be attached on the outside. There are multiple attachment options to allow for tripod and other accessory attachments.

There are multi-access points, as well as, top, side and rear opening for easy access. Also, a separate opening to the lower compartment is provided.

Vanguard Alta Sky 45D Camera Backpack
Our rating:4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)

Pros

  • Easy access.
  • Well configured internal design.
  • Solid build quality,
  • Able to store in airline overhead bins.
  • Well-padded laptop/tablet sleeve.
  • Comfortable and well-padded carrying straps.

Cons

  • A heavy bag.
  • Rear of bag may feel hard.

8 f-stop – Ajna Bundle (Anthracite)

This is a high-quality bag and is the most expensive that we feature on our list of best camera backpacks for hiking. However, we’re sure you’ll agree that, with the f-plan, it really is a case of you get what you pay for. The quality of materials used on this bag and its level of manufacture is excellent. The f-stop will provide the very best protection for your gear.

It has a good and comfortable carrying capacity. Plus, the internal core unit provided with this bag can be changed out for different sizes, if required. The f-stop has plenty of room for storage and attachments for your gear and sundries.

A camera backpack that really does offer a good level of versatility for any hike.

Features and Specifications

The external dimensions are 23.5” x 13” x 10.5”. The camera backpack weighs 1.7 kgs. It is made from a water-resistant 420D ripstop nylon and is treated with a TPU laminate for extra protection against the elements. Further, the camera backpack uses Hypalon in those areas where extra protection is needed. And a rain cover is provided.

It comes complete with the 40L camera backpack, the internal core unit, and attachments straps. The internal core provided is the Medium Slope unit. The Medium Slope unit is designed for gripped bodies that have attached optics.

It has multiple attachment options. The internal core unit has the capacity for two DSLR’s, one with a mounted lens. There is additional space for multiple lenses, filters, and accessories. Plus laptop storage is available.

For comfort, the f-stop has an aluminum frame and enhanced Eva-padded shoulder straps and hip belt. And for convenience, the back panel, which is jersey laminate padded, unzips to allow for easy rear access to the internal core.

f-stop - Ajna Bundle (Anthracite)
Our rating:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Pros

  • High-end quality bag.
  • Hard-wearing and durable.
  • High levels of water resistance.
  • Comfortable.
  • Easily-accessible internal core unit.

Cons

  • Narrow side pockets.
  • Thin grab handle.

9 MindShift Gear Backlight 26L Outdoor Adventure Camera Daypack Backpack

No doubt about it, this is one for those hikers/photographers looking for a quality made, but smaller-sized camera backpack. However, its small size means you can store it under an airline seat. In fact, it so small, it can be fitted in the overhead compartment of a bus.

The built-in harness allows you to swivel the back around to your front and gain access to your gear. This is all possible without the need of putting the bag down onto the ground. In order to do this, you must first take off one of the shoulder straps. Handy, we’re sure you’ll agree.

Features and Specifications

The exterior dimensions are 11.4” x 20.3” x 7.9”. The interior dimensions are 10.2” x 19.3” x 5.9”. The Mindshift weighs 1.8 kgs. It has a total capacity of 26 liters. This includes 15 liters for camera gear and 9 liters for personal items. And a rain cover is included.

The gear compartment has space for one standard DSLR. Plus there is room for a further 4-6 lenses and flash and a separate compartment for storage of laptops or tablets up to 15”. There are external attachments for tripod and additional camera accessories.

The backpack, like most of the other camera backpacks featured in the list, allows for easy back panel access.

MindShift Gear Backlight 26L Outdoor Adventure Camera Daypack Backpack
Our rating:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Pros

  • Will fit under an airline seat.
  • Spacious outer pocket.
  • High-quality materials.
  • Good waterproofing.
  • Well-padded and comfortable.

Cons

  • Stiff back section.
  • No shoulder strap adjustments.

10 Osprey UltraLight Camera Case

We’re not going to lie to you. This one isn’t going to be big enough to attach a pair of skis or a snowboard. In fact, you’d be lucky to attach much of anything to the Osprey UltraLight. Also, other than your camera and a small lens, you’d struggle to fit much else in.

This is a camera bag that we’ve probably all owned as our very first. I’m sure you’ll all remember way back when first getting into cameras and photography. It’s a classic, simple design. Carried and demonstrated by tourists and dads all around the world.

We know that strictly speaking it shouldn’t be in a list for the best camera backpacks for hiking. It’s more of a shoulder bag, really. However, we suppose it could be used when hiking or trekking and traveling super-light. So regardless, we like it, so here it is anyway.

Features and Specifications

This is the XL version we are listing here. But don’t let that fool you. It’s still small. How small? Its outer dimensions are a mere 8” x 7” x 7”. It also weighs in at a super-lightweight 500 gms. The fabric is nylon, and it has room for an extra battery in the inner pocket.

The Osprey has a handle at the top of the bag as well as a shoulder strap. Further, there is an option to attach it to a belt or backpack hip belt. Given its lightweight and low gear carrying capacity, the available carrying options are more than sufficient.

The main compartment is both zipped and padded. Additionally, it offers a basic level of protection from rain, dust, and other external elements. If you’re looking for better waterproofing, check out our best waterproof backpack reviews.

Osprey UltraLight Camera Case
Our rating:4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Pros

  • Strong Velcro strap.
  • Lightweight and durable.
  • Easy to access.
  • Easy to carry.

Cons

  • Fits most standard-sized DSLR’s, but not all.
  • Will not fit a zoom lens.
  • Not fully waterproof.

Best Camera Backpacks for Hiking Buyer’s Guide

If you’re looking for a camera backpack to carry a large amount of gear, then look no further than the…

Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW, the Vanguard Alta Sky 45D, and the Burton F-stop

All of these offer superior camera gear carrying abilities. Whilst the Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW and the Alta Sky 45D do have better capacity than the rest, but it’s the Burton f-stop that has the highest of them all.

camera backpacks hikingFor those who are searching for the best of both quality and durability in their choice, we’d recommend the…

Tamrac Anvil 23 Photo Backpack with Belt

…and the…

MindShift Gear Backlight 26L Outdoor Adventure Camera Daypack Backpack

However, it’s a fact that all the camera backpacks on this list do have a high-level of basic build quality and protection against the elements.

If you’re considering either of these, it should be noted that they are two of the more expensive and smaller backpacks on the list. Either of these would be a choice where quality was of a higher priority than size.

A worthy mention should also go out to the…

Lowepro Whistler Backpack 350 AW II

For all of those serious adventures out there, this is the one for you. The whole Lowepro series offers truly great quality and value. But we particularly like the Lowepro Whitler for its added ability to attach heavy and long objects. Such as skis or a snowboard.

Finally, we want to say something more about the…

Osprey UltraLight Camera Case

We have to say that it’s inclusion on our list is a bit of a curveball, due to its relatively small size compared to the others. Yes, we agree it’s not strictly a camera backpack. And that its waterproofing may fall short of requirements in poorer weather. But, despite some of its shortcomings, we believe it offers a truly niche position on the list.

Due to its compact size, it can offer functionality that even the smaller backpacks are unable to offer. For this reason, it shouldn’t be completely dismissed, and for some circumstances is worthy of consideration.

So what's the Best Camera Backpacks for Hiking?

Though any of these camera backpacks are great choices, our pick of the best is the…

Shimoda Explore 40

We believe this has the best thought out internal layout. It has excellent quick gear access and is one of the most comfortable bags to carry. It is constructed with the very best of materials and is one of the best weatherproof backpacks on the list.

Though it’s not one of the largest bags, and is also one of the most expensive, we believe its design and quality shine through.

So, there you have it.

Whatever your camera and hiking needs, we hope that we have helped you find the perfect camera backpack.

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