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After my trusty backpack of 17 years finally bit the dust, I was ready to upgrade to a camera bag even better than the bag that had escorted me through high school and accompanied me on trips around the world. Quality was key, but could I find a bag that would serve me another 17 years and meet my needs? They just don’t make ’em’ like they used to, right? I spent a year searching for the perfect camera backpack, almost certain I would need to make concessions, but to my pleasant surprise, I found what I was looking for.

Table of Contents

What should I look for in a camera backpack?

Each person’s needs are different, but I wanted an all purpose travel camera backpack I could use as a carry-on, a daypack, and hiking bag. I realize I had high expectations, but I had hoped the perfect travel bag was out there. Here are the requirements I was looking for:

  1. Backpack with camera compartments that fit a DSLR Camera, 17-20 mm lens, 70 mm lens, and 150-600 mm lens.

  2. Small enough fit under the airplane seat, but large enough to fit a 3-day weekend’s worth of clothes. 

  3. A nondescript backpack that easily transitions to a daypack

  4. Comfortable for long hikes with removable hip straps for non hikes

  5. Fits a 15 inch laptop

  6. A place to store a large water bottle because no matter what activity I am engaged in, I need to stay hydrated.

Each airline has different requirements, but on average a personal item is about H 17″ x W 10″ x D 9″ (22 cm x 25 cm x 43 cm). Carry on size is about 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches (22 cm x 35 cm x 56 cm). 

Photography Backpack Reviews

Lowepro Fastpack BP 250 AW II

Dimensions: H 19 x W 11 x D 9, personal item size
Flat Lay of black Lowepro Backpack with photography and travel equipment



This Lowepro camera bag was my top choice because it met all the requirements listed in the previous section, which goes to show more money doesn’t always mean better. The bag fit comfortably for long periods of time, so much so I thought for a moment I left the bag behind somewhere. 

Peter Mckinnon Backpack

Dimensions: H 22 x W 13.5  x D 9, carryon size

Large carryon size backpack with a DSLR camera, 3 lenses, a tripod, a laptop, and clothes



Nomatic’s Peter Mckinnon backpack is designed by a professional photographer who included every feature on the go photographers need. This high-quality bag leaves nothing to be desired and is the perfect all-in-one travel bag that allows you to go from the airport to the trails in style and comfort. If you carry minimal gear, you may consider the insert that converts to a backpack when you need to carry less gear.

Lowepro Freeline Camera Backpack 350 AW

Dimensions: H 19 x W 11.5 x D 8, personal item size
Small black camera backpack carrying camera equipment and a few other items



The Lowepro Freeline 350 AW is perfect for everyday use, but is not a suitable all-in-one camera backpack for weekend travel or hiking. This lightweight camera bag converts to a regular backpack and great for street photographers.

PRVKE Travel and DSLR Camera Backpack

Dimensions: H 17 x W 11 x D 6.5, personal item size
Flat Lay of blue soft shell camera Backpack with photography and travel equipment



The PRYVKE is a versatile bag that converts from a camera backpack to a regular backpack. The bag is stylish and functional with its waterproof exterior, and theft resistant design gives you peace of mind on the trails and exploring the city. 

Mindshift Gear Backlight

Dimensions: H 18.5 x W 10.6 x D 7.1, personal item size
Flat Lay of green hiking camera Backpack with photography and travel equipment



I’m going to be honest here, how did this bag make other top camera back pack lists? Any positive features one can say about this back are overshadowed by its inaccessibility and weight. To access your gear, the expectation is to turn the bag to your front with the hip pads clipped in the back. Then you open the back of the bag all the way and use the neck strap to keep the flap open, which blocks your view in the bag. I cannot stress enough how unnecessarily ridiculous this approach is, and I would not recommend this bag.  


Woman wearing a backpack while hiking in Arizona