Your shiny new DSLR or mirrorless camera is going to have its golden hours in your hands, capturing life’s little moments, the stunning scenery of your adventures, or letting you make some cash snapping the photos that others can’t. But when the shutter is closed, the power is off, and the lens cap is on, the last place you need your hefty photographic investment is left hanging around your neck. Even if your camera is built to handle harsh environments, you’ll be doing it a disservice by not keeping it in a camera bag when you’re not shooting.

A great camera bag isn’t just going to keep your camera safe, but it can even help you be a more effective photographer. The best camera bags give you easy access to your gear, so you can get it out and get shooting quickly. They also neatly organize the storage for all your other camera essentials. No more rifling through a duffle bag to find your 50mm prime lens or for an extra battery that has sunk to the bottom of your pack. Handy compartments make your camera gear more organized, better protected, and easier to access. So, forget about keeping your camera dangling by a strap or jammed in a traditional backpack, and keep it safe instead. These camera bags will protect and organize your camera equipment, so you can focus on getting the shot.

TL;DR – These are the Best Camera Bags

1. Peak Design Everyday Messenger 13L v2

Best Camera Bag

A great camera bag needs to protect and organize your gear while also keeping it all readily accessible. You should be able to change out lenses quickly without worrying about dropping dust covers or worse – dropping lenses. So, when it comes to a bag that’s ready for your camera gear, the Peak Design Everyday Messenger 13L V2 is a top option.

The messenger bag style lets you throw it behind your back when you’re on the move between shooting locations, but it can just as easily live at your hip when you are in the thick of it. Magnetic latching hardware makes accessing gear in the bag easy to do with one hand, and FlexFold dividers will let you organize your equipment. There’s also room to hold up to a 15-inch laptop, so you can bring your editing equipment with you. And, with a weatherproof exterior and zippers, the bag can keep your gear safe from the elements.

2. AmazonBasics Backpack

Best Budget Camera Bag

AmazonBasics Backpack

Big enough to hold two camera bodies but with a price tag small enough to keep your bank balance healthy, Amazon’s own take on the camera backpack deserves a shout out. Internally, it measures 10 x 4.2 x 14.2 in space, which is enough for 3-4 lenses plus some accessories. You should be able to squeeze in a laptop too.

For the photographer who’s just starting out, there should be enough pockets and compartments here to satisfy, but as your hobby matures, you’ll probably want to upgrade to something bigger and better looking. Still, this is great for first-timers. Amazon’s nifty SLR Camera Sling Backpack is also worth a look if you want something a tad smaller.

3. Billingham Hadley Pro 2020 Camera Bag

Best-Looking Camera Bag

Billingham Hadley Pro 2020 Camera Bag

Chances are you’re familiar with Billingham’s camera bags; they’re pretty iconic. Its Hadley Pro Camera Bag is an easy top choice for us, with a perfect mixture of style and utility. The new 2020 version gets an improved top handle and an added luggage trolley strap on the back for convenience.

Beyond that, you’ve got a (removable) adjustable shoulder strap, and a weatherproof zipper on the back for holding important documents. Better yet, the padded insert can be removed, transforming it from a camera bag to something more general in a flash. It will handle a DSLR or mirrorless camera with enough space left over for two to three lenses.

4. Wandrd Prvke Lite

Best Compact Camera Bag

Wandrd Prvke Lite

The Wandrd Prvke Lite knows how to keep it tight. A big bag can be great when you’ve got a lot of gear, but it may not be your favorite on a day you’re traveling a little lighter. The Wandrd Prvke Lite starts compact, but also offers a degree of expandability that gives you more flexibility.

The main 11-liter compartment of the Wandrd Prvke Lite can hold a decent bit of kit with room for a camera (lens attached) and several more lenses, batteries, and a charger. It’s also got a large laptop sleeve. If you need more space, the roll-top closure can be left open for another 5L of space. The side also has space for a water bottle or tripod in a pocket that stays flush to the bag while empty. You can also attach gear to the bottom of the bag with accessory straps. Naturally, the bag comes with a ton of organization options for all of this gear, and it protects it all with cushions and water-resistant materials.

5. Ona Brixton Bag

Best Leather Camera Bag

Ona Brixton Bag

For the more style-conscious among you, the Ona offers camera protection wrapped in high-quality leather. It’s one of the more compact bags on our list, but still big enough to hold a DSLR, three lenses, plus accessories.

There’s space for a 13-inch laptop, while the rear open slip pocket will take a 10-inch tablet. It will, however, get quite heavy should you max out all that space. A bag for the photographer who wants to be photographed, but not a great choice if you plan to be out in the rain.

A little out of your price range? A bit bigger than you need. Ona’s Bowery bag still exhibits plenty of style.

6. Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L V2

Best Camera Backpack

Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L V2

If you prefer to keep our camera gear stored on your back, then you’ll want the Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L V2. This backpack has plenty of room for camera gear without getting overly bulky, and it includes FlexFold dividers you can use to compartmentalize your different pieces of kit. The top flap of this backpack gives you easy access to your gear, and can expand the backpack an extra three liters. Meanwhile, side zippers will let you go straight to whatever’s packed at the bottom of your backpack without having to dig through everything else.

Your camera gear is protected in this backpack as well, as it uses a DWR-impregnated 400D nylon for most of its construction and 900D nylon for the bottom, helping keep water away from your equipment. Carry straps on the outside of the backpack will let you bring even more stuff with you without needing to cram it in next to your gear. And, there are plenty of comfort features to make this a good companion on long, adventurous days of shooting.

7. Moment 10L Camera Sling Bag

Best Camera Sling Bag

Moment 10L Camera Sling Bag

Backpacks are great and all, but if you’re serious about shooting, it can be helpful to have easier access to all your camera gear while you’re on the move. The Moment 10L is a sling back built for the job. It’s designed for easy top-down access to all of your gear, and you can use it just as easily slung on either side of your body.

The Moment 10L will help you organize and access your gear just as much as it’ll help you protect it all. The bag is designed with a waterproof material and water-resistant zippers, keeping the elements out. Padding will also let your gear stay safe, so you don’t have to worry about the bag bouncing around on your hip or the occasional bump.

8. Wandrd Duo Daypack

Best Camera Laptop Backpack

Wandrd Duo Daypack

The Wandrd Duo daypack looks like a fairly typical backpack from the outside, but once you pop it open, you’ll see just how cleverly it was designed for the on-the-go photographer. This backpack offers up 20 liters of storage space that’s split up into a host of pockets and sleeves to store your most vital camera gear.

At the base, you’ll get a long compartment that can hold a hefty DSLR camera as well as a long zoom lens or two. Additional pockets above that can hold more lenses or a flash. There are also sidewall pockets to hold even more gear. Topping it off, there’s a laptop sleeve that can fit even a 16-inch MacBook Pro. All that’s wrapped inside of a weather-resistant shell to keep your gear safe between shoots.

9. LowePro ProTactic 450 AW II

Best High-Capacity Camera Bag

LowePro ProTactic 450 AWII

Casual photogs may be able to get away with a small pack, and you might want a light bag for a day of shooting. But, if you’re straying far from home base and have a lot of kit you need to take with you, then you’ll want the LowePro ProTactic 450 AW II. That may be a mouthful of a name, but the product will give you a bag-full of gear. It’s also built with protective padding all around as well as a weather cover, ensuring that gear is safe inside.

The backpack is designed with sleeves and compartments galore as well as modular dividers you can use to customize the space inside for the gear you need. The backpack can readily fit two thick camera bodies and a handful of lenses while the smaller pockets will readily store your filters, lens cleaning tools, and memory card. This bag also has room for a 15-inch laptop inside. That’s all just what you can put inside. The back features a molle system like you’d find on military-style backpacks, letting you attach any number of items or pouches to the exterior of the bag.

10. Nomatic McKinnon Camera Pack

Best Camera Bag for Travel

Nomatic McKinnon Camera Pack

If you’re doing some serious travelling, a small camera bag might not cut it. So, when you’ve got to bring a bunch of gear with you on a long trip, the Nomatic McKinnon Camera Pack should be your pick. This bag goes big with a 35-liter capacity that can stretch to 42 liters using a special expansion area ideal for packing extra clothes.

Inside, the Nomatic McKinnon Camera Pack has a special compartment for all your camera gear with dividers to help keep everything organized. There’s also a handy side opening that lets you get your camera into and out of the bag without having to fully open it. There’s a similar laptop pocket as well that can fit up to 15-inch models. Making the whole package that much more convenient for travel, it’s built with sturdy aluminum stays for structural integrity, a luggage handle pass through to attach it to a rolling suitcase, and a water resistant outer material.

Camera bags: What should you look for?

Backpacks: Camera bags come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Backpacks aren’t as good for easy access, but they often provide better protection. They’re also often more spacious than messenger and shoulder bags, and distribute weight across two shoulders, making them a better choice for bigger excursions.

Messenger/shoulder bags: These bags have just one strap, which means all the weight is put on one shoulder. The benefit here is access: it’s easier to grab your camera and accessories in a flash, making them perfect for the type of photography where time is of the essence. However, they’re not as good for big outdoor trips where you’re carrying a lot of gear.

How many compartments do you need? When browsing camera bags you’ll see details of dimensions and the number of compartments. How much space you need comes down to how much gear you have and how you plan to travel. You may only have one camera, but if you like to carry around a lot of lenses, make sure the bag can hold them all. Some bags also come with modular compartments, so you can rearrange according to your needs.

Hugh Langley is a tech journalist who’s fascinated by wearables, health tech, the smart home, and more. You can find him tweeting (often nonsense) over at @hughlangley.

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