From backpacks to shoulder bags, from hard cases to slings, everyone needs a camera bag and we list our favorites.
It’s tough to choose the best camera bag. There are loads of different types, all designed for a slightly different user, and it’s important to get the right one for your needs. Maybe you’re carrying a big DSLR setup with at least three extra lenses, or maybe all you have is a diminutive travel compact that you want to carry safely along with your other travel essentials.
The choice is extensive. If you have a simple point-and-shoot cameras then all you need is a small holster-style bag or a simple camera pouch. However, if you’re carrying mirrorless or DSLR cameras with a host of extra lenses and other items like flashguns, filters and various camera accessories, you’ll need a bigger bag. Protection is also a factor. Are you likely to be travelling out in the rain, or the baking heat? Your bag can help protect your gear, or not, depending on what you buy,
That’s why we’ve put together a guide to the best camera bags on the market right now. First, let’s run through the types of bag typically available.
Shoulder bags are the most traditional type of camera bag. Shoulder bags are easy to put on and take off and you can get access to your gear quickly. Their only disadvantage is that carrying a heavy weight over one shoulder for a long time can become uncomfortable. Messenger bags are like shoulder bags for commuters. They’re wider and slimmer, and in addition to space for camera gear they have laptop sleeves and often pockets for paperwork, pens and other accessories.
Backpacks are the top choice for walkers, landscape photographers and travellers who need to carry heavy gear over long distances and keep it well protected too. Access to your gear isn’t so easy, though, since you have to take the backpack off, even with the best camera backpacks.
Sling bags aim to offer the comfort of a backpack with the access of a shoulder bag. They can swing round to the front to be opened like a shoulder bag and swing round to your back like a backpack. They’re are kind of halfway-house between a shoulder bag and a backpack.
Holsters and pouches are designed to carry a single camera with lens attached. Depending on the size, these could be designed for compact cameras, mirrorless cameras or DSLRs. They’re great if you’re not planning on taking or changing lenses.
Roller bags are designed specifically for travel, with wheels in the base, an extending handle for pulling them along like suitcases and often with dimensions chosen to fit international cabin baggage requirements.
Hard cases for cameras offer the ultimate in protection against impact, rough handling and harsh environments. They’re not really designed for carrying any great distance, but they can keep your camera gear protected in environments where no other bag can.
We’ve got every type of bag in our list of top choices, below, and if you want to see more of a particular type, don’t forget to click on the links.