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The Hiking Camera Backpack of the 21st Century: A Comprehensive Guide
Do you enjoy photography and hiking? If so, you know that the camera can add weight to your bag, which could ultimately harm your experience. Getting the right backpack for your camera is essential, but this is easier said than done because there are plenty of packs to choose from. We researched which backpacks are most popular amongst photographers, then took notes on what’s good and bad. If you enjoy photography and hiking, read this guide to find out how to buy the best hiking camera backpack of the 21st century!
What is The Purpose of Having an Ideal Hiking Camera Backpack?
Many people do not use backpacks because they fear their cameras will get scratched, crushed, or damaged. However, if you plan to hike, you must have a hiking camera backpack that can withstand such challenges. The last thing you could want is for your camera to be damaged while on your hiking trip.
Below is a detailed guide on choosing an ideal backpack for your needs. Read through our suggestions below to learn more.
The 8 Best Hiking Camera Backpacks of 2022
Every brand has its unique style, and it’s up to you which one best suits your needs. This is not an exhaustive list, but we’ve found that many backpackers like these brands:
1. The Lowepro Flipside Trek BP 350 AW
This lightweight pack from Lowepro provides a lot of room and good features for hiking or traveling. The large main compartment has several smaller pockets and pouches for items you want to access quickly, like your wallet, water bottle, keys, or point-and-shoot camera.
There are also padded internal dividers to keep all your gear neatly organized. You can store your DSLR and three lenses in the partitions with no problem—there’s still plenty of room left over if you want to bring a sweater or sweatshirt.
- Internal Dimensions: 9.06×5.51×11.42 inches.
- External Dimensions: 11.02×7.87×20.08 inches.
- Weight: 1.4 kg (3.08 lbs).
Open Space Compartments: The backpack features a split camera and open space compartments to enable you to carry essential gear without any compromises.
Flip Side’s Access: The pack boasts flip side’s access that allows you to access your gear without dismounting the bag from your back.
ActiveZone Suspension System: The straps and ActiveZone suspension system afford you comfort and make carrying hassle-free.
- The pack is comfortable to carry.
- It has an integrated rain cover.
- It features external tripod storage.
- You can easily access your gear.
- It boasts a customizable camera compartment.
- It has adjustable shoulder straps.
- Small side pockets (2 inches) that cant hold a water bottle well.
2. The Manfrotto Gitzo Adventury 30L Hiking Camera Backpack
The Gitzo Adventury 30L backpack is suitable for a bag that can fit a camera, an extra lens, food, and other necessities. It would be ideal if you considered it over any different model out there because it has fantastic design and offers unbelievable comfort to those using it over long periods.
You can use the Adventury 30L while trekking or hiking with your friends, constantly feeling comfortable with your belongings and able to take great pictures from wherever you desire.
- Internal Dimensions: 28×17×47 cm.
- Camera Insert Dimensions: 23×16×38 cm.
- External Dimensions: 31×19×48 cm.
- Weight: 2.05kg.
Cushioning: the Adventury backpack boasts the new GITZO G-Cushion that protects your camera and other devices while on the go.
Interchangeable Dividers: You have the luxury of fitting a complete CSC setup and a foldable drone while on the go, thanks to the interchangeable dividers.
The Expandable Roll-top: The backpack has an expandable roll-top that can hold your accessories and allow you the freedom to have the equipment you want for your outdoor experience.
Coated Zippers: The Adventury 30L has coated zippers that make it possible to use the pack in humid surroundings. Besides the coated zippers, the bag also boasts a water-repellent fabric and a coated bottom.
- The backpack is water-resistant.
- It is comfortable.
- It entirely protects your camera.
- The bag is versatile.
- It could be junky for some hikers.
3. The Mountainsmith Tanuck 40L Camera Hiking Backpack
Mountainsmith is a leading brand in outdoor gear, and we are excited to see that they have included a photography-specific backpack in their latest line. The Tanuck 40L boasts the usual high-quality materials, build quality, and attention to detail that you’d expect from Mountainsmith.
Made from durable nylon fabric with integrated padded dividers, you can store your DSLR camera (with attached lens), lenses, and accessories in various pockets within two large main compartments.
Besides ample storage space for your camera gear, the bag has several smaller pockets for quick access items like cell phones or keys.
- Dimensions: 23.5×15×13 inches.
- Weight: 3.5 lbs.
- Load capacity: Up to 50 lbs.
- Volume: 38.5L
- Material: 610 Cordura nylon, 630D nylon carbonate, 210 nylon liner, EVA foam.
Roomy Main Compartment: The main compartment of the Tanuck 40L backpack can hold Mountainsmiths’ kit cubes hassle-free.
The Rear Padded Compartment: The bag boasts a padded rear compartment that ensures your device stays protected while on the go.
Side Accessory Pockets: The dual side accessory pockets feature a drawing closure that you can use for water bottles or the tripod base.
Compression Straps: The Tanuck also has three detachable compression straps that you can use to secure your gear. You can secure extra equipment with the M.O.L.L.E side attachment panel.
- It is roomy for your gear.
- It is durable.
- The pack is versatile.
- It is water-resistant.
- Camera-specific cubes don’t come with the backpack.
4. The WANDRD FERNWEH Backpack
Is it possible to take a camera with you on your hike? WANDRD says YES, without taking up too much space in your backpack. This backpack has all you need for hiking with a DSLR camera or smaller cameras like mirrorless or point-and-shoot.
WANDRD FERNWEH is not just any camera backpack; it’s an ultra-light (1.7kg/3.75lbs) hiking daypack that can fit everything for your day trip. It can also be used for outdoor activities like biking and skiing with adequate padding, weatherproofing, and many extra pockets.
- Weight: 5lbs.
- Exterior Dimensions: 25/26×13.5×9.5 inches.
- Capacity: Small/Medium =48L, Medium/Large =50L.
- Materials: Internal frame, rip-stop nylon, and weatherproof zippers.
- Accessories: Internal camera cubes, interchangeable straps.
Roomy Padded Camera Compartments: The WANDRD has well-padded and spacious camera compartments that can carry much of your camera gear.
The size of the compartments allows you to carry your camera and lenses, your motion-control device, a drone, and your laptop.
You have the freedom to customize the main camera compartment with camera cubes to maximize the protection of your devices.
Construction: The FERNWEH’s side panels comprise 420D TPU coated nylon. Its main body features 630D Robic nylon, renowned for durability. The Robic nylon material provides the bag with an exceptional water-resistant shell.
The Bucket: The top half of the bag is separated by a lightweight nylon liner, and the upper portion is christened “the bucket.”
- the pack is spacious.
- It is water-resistant.
- It is comfortable to carry.
- It is well padded.
- The pack is heavy to carry for an extended period.
5. The WANDRD PRVKE 31L
This backpack combines hydration capabilities with a place to keep all your photography gear. This is important for any photographer who goes out into nature because they need a way to keep their cameras, lenses, and other photography equipment dry and have a convenient spot to store them.
There are plenty of hiking backpacks on the market geared toward camera enthusiasts and some that aren’t. If you can find one that combines both worlds, you’ll be ahead of most photographers on your next adventure.
- Type of Closure: Zipper for camera and hook buckle for top compartment.
- Interior Type: Camera and laptop compartments.
- Color: Black.
- Carry Options: Trolley sleeve, handle, backpack straps.
- Tripod/Monopod Holder: Available.
Removable Camera Cubes: The PRVKE 31L has customized protective cubes that provide the flexibility of turning the camera bag into a travel bag seamlessly.
Side Access: The quickdraw side access affords you the luxury of quickly accessing your camera or snack.
Weather Resistant: The pack boasts waterproof materials and zippers that keep your gear dry regardless of the prevailing weather.
Expandable Rolltop: The rolltop enhances the waterproof capabilities of the bag and adds 5 liters of extra space whenever the need arises.
- The pack is comfortable to carry.
- It has customizable cubes.
- It features an expandable rolltop.
- It is water-resistant.
- It is versatile.
- It doesn’t have a small external pocket.
- It has a tight water bottle pocket.
6. The WANDRD PRVKE Lite
Modern hiking backpacks offer plenty of storage and hydration. If you’re carrying any valuable electronics, you probably also have a padded camera backpack to protect them from shocks, bumps, and drops during your adventures.
This means you’re probably still lugging around two backpacks for a day hike. That’s not ideal, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Enter WANDRD PRVKE Lite (known to Wandrd fans as the Pravack Light). This is one backpack that can hold all your gear in a stylish package that won’t slow you down on your next adventure.
- Dimensions: 40×28×14 cm (H×W×D).
- Camera Cube Dimensions: 24×28×11 cm (H×W×D).
- Laptop Sleeve Dimensions: 33×24×2.5 cm (H×W×D).
- Weight: 2.5 lbs.
- Volume: 11L to 16L
Materials: The PRVKE Lite is made of waterproof Tarpaulin, Robic 1680D Ballistic Nylon, and water-resistant zippers.
Quick Draw Side Access: This backpack has a quick draw side access that puts you within easy reach of your camera or other stuff.
Customized Camera Protection: The bag has inbuilt customized camera protection compartments that provide optimal protection to your camera.
Interior Organization: If you are a hiker with a soft spot for photography and you crave a bag with better interior organization, the PRVKE Lite is your go-to backpack. The bag has an exceptional interior organization that allows you to pack your gear easily.
- The bag provides optimal camera protection.
- It is water-resistant.
- It allows quick access to your gear.
- It boasts excellent interior organization.
- Comfortable and durable.
- Water might seep in at the point where the zippers meet.
- Requires extra straps to carry a tripod.
7. The Sitka Leather Messenger
The Sitka is an excellent hiking camera backpack with padded dividers and a waterproof tarp. It has two compartments, one for your camera gear and one for anything else you want to carry. It fits a 16-inch laptop in a padded pocket and has a unique hidden compartment that can hold cash and other valuables when traveling.
The waist belt is adjustable to keep your bag stable while walking, and it also comes with ergonomic shoulder straps that are breathable.
This bag will ensure easy access to all your gear, even if you’re moving at a good pace through rough terrain. The main drawback is that it is not light, so it is only suitable for long treks where weight isn’t an issue.
- Exterior Measurement: 18×13×6.5 inches.
- Interior Measurement: 16×12×6 inches.
- Laptop Sleeve: 15.5×11×1.25 inches.
- Shoulder Strap: Adjustable length from 49 to 55 inches.
Materials: The Sitka comprises full-grain buffalo leather, heavy-duty nylon liner, brass hardware, and YYK zippers.
Padded camera case Insert: The Sitka features padded inserts with removable dividers. These dividers not only transform the Sitka into a camera bag but can also carry your laptop.
A Broader Base: The bag has a broader base that offers extra storage space on the bag’s interior.
- The bag is durable.
- It ensures the safety of your camera, thanks to padded inserts.
- It is light and easy to carry.
- Comfortable and breathable.
- It requires expensive maintenance.
8. The Bagsmart Camera Backpack
Keeping your camera gear and laptop safe while you’re on a hike is a challenge. The Bagsmart backpack features impact-proof padding, non-slip padding, and an additional small compartment to place your items, like keys and wallets.
There’s also an LED light on both sides, meaning you’ll never have to worry about having trouble walking at night. This is especially useful for traveling photographers with little time off-road with their equipment.
- External Dimensions: 11.8×7.5×15.7 inches (L×W×H).
- Inner Upper Dimensions: 10.6×6.7×6.2 inches (L×W×H).
- Internal Lower Dimensions: 10.6×6.7×9.5 inches (L×W×H).
- Laptop Compartment: 11.2×6×15.2 inches (L×W×H).
- Weight: 1.57 kg
- Volume: 20L
The Camera Zone: The Bagsmart has a lower camera zone featuring removable dividers that affords you the luxury to customize the fit to suit your camera and lenses.
Water Bottle and Accessories Pockets: The bag boasts a left side stretch featuring a tall pocket for carrying a large water bottle and other accessories such as an umbrella. Additionally, it has an accessories pocket that helps organize chargers, batteries, and other accessories.
Laptop Compartment: Besides carrying your camera and other hiking essentials, the Bagsmart also has a padded laptop compartment that protects your laptop while moving.
Clothing Zone: the clothing zone provides a place to store a few clothes and personal effects such as the passport, sunglasses, wallet, keys, chargers, and many more.
Tripod Pocket: The Bagsmart features a tall pocket on the right side with a compression strap for holding a tripod base.
- The backpack is stylish.
- It is all-weather.
- It is comfortable to carry. It holds a thermos and tripod with ease.
- It is roomy.
- It doesn’t have a waist strap.
What Should I Consider When Purchasing a Hiking Camera Backpack?
Choosing an ideal hiking camera backpack is not an easy task. Remember the following tips before choosing your next bag:
Cost: as a rule of the thumb, always go for the product within your budget. However, don’t compromise on quality.
Durability: Ensure that the bag you choose is made of quality material that can extend its lifespan. Otherwise, you will be visiting the shop often.
Size: Be aware of the amount of gear that will accompany you on most of your hikes. This will guide you to the right size for you to buy.
Materials: It will do you a volume of good if you choose a waterproof and quality material. Mother nature is unpredictable; hence a waterproof backpack ensures you hike stress-free without fearing for your gear’s safety.
The Future is Bright for Hikers and Photographers regarding hiking and photography. Your options are endless. In a few years, we’ve gone from using standard smartphones to shoot pictures while on a hike to carrying professional cameras that weigh over 1 pound with multiple lenses weighing hundreds more.
While you can certainly still hike with just your phone, we hope that our top eight list gives you enough information to help inform your decision when choosing a camera backpack. Whether you’re looking for something small but durable or something big enough to carry everything you need, there is no shortage of options available when shopping for hiking camera backpacks.