The number of camera bags out there is overwhelming. And perhaps because we are in the age of Instagram where even non-photographers are getting in on the action, more and more camera bag manufacturers are popping up. Your list of options, therefore, is as long as your arm, even longer, which makes it almost impossible to choose the best one for you.
Some of those camera bags are better than others, tried and tested out in the field by pro and experienced shooters as well as fledging ones working hard on their craft. Here are five such bags, one for each type of photographer.
The Boy Scout: Atlas Athlete Camera Pack
Much like the Boy Scouts’ motto, Be Prepared, Atlas Packs’ Atlas Athlete Pack doesn’t just have enough compartments to fit several lenses and two camera bodies. It also has space for your hiking or quick backpacking essentials, allowing you to be prepared for any shooting and hiking scenarios while on the trail. And yet, that’s only the beginning.
This expandable backpack, voted by NatGeo as one of the best camera bags for travelers, has a back panel for quick gear access, an Origami camera core so you can reconfigure the camera section based on your packing preferences, space for a 15-inch laptop, and a water repellent ripstop shell in case of rain.
When you’re not in photographer mode, you can use this handsome TOPO backpack for every-day use. Its design is smart enough for the office or a meeting but casual enough for activities like traveling and light hiking. Plus, it has a padded compartment for your laptop, a front internal organization panel for your small essentials, two self-adjusting side pockets, and a hydration/electronic cord port.
When you switch to photographer mode, you can easily fit one or two TOPO camera cubes in there to pack two camera bodies and four lenses, and you still have space left over for personal essentials. The best part is that you’re also keeping your gear protected and organized, so you won’t be going home with a backpack whose inside looks like the aftermath of a tornado. You’ll never, ever feel the need to buy a separate camera pack.
The Stylish: Vinta Type-II: Camera Backpack
If you’re the sartorial type of photographer, style—alongside utility—is of the utmost importance, whether you’re roaming the streets of Venice for photographic opportunities or taking on a tough trail for the sake of that epic mountain shot. Which leads us to Vinta’s Type II: Camera Backpack Kit…
This smart-looking pack fits two camera bodies, five lenses, and your 15-inch laptop comfortably, and still has enough room for a water bottle, a tripod, an extra shirt, and your lunch if you’re the latter. You can even fit it with Vinta’s leather attachment straps to secure things at the bottom—a blanket, perhaps. And don’t worry; Vinta includes a Compact Field Pack because you shouldn’t pay extra to protect and organize your gear.
The Practical: Think Tank Photo TurnStyle 20 Sling Camera Bag V2
There’s a reason Think Tank is named the way it is, and it shows in its products designed for the pragmatic, rather than the trendy, users. For the practical photographer who only wants to carry the absolute essentials, this compartmentalized sling camera bag tucks in a camera body and two lenses, or a body, a lens, and a speedlight, with extra space for your iPad and small essentials, which is all you need whether you’re doing street photography or going on day excursions.
The Photo TurnStyle 20 Sling Camera Bag also boasts a stabilizer strap to keep it stable when you’re on the go. Best of all, you can wear it in the back to get it out of the way or up front for easy access to everything.
The Casual Shooter: ZKIN Cetus
Casual shooters need not carry several lenses when traveling or out on day outings. More likely, they’ll be carrying a fixed lens camera or a compact mirrorless with its kit lens attached or even just an instant film camera and their camera phone. In that case, ZKIN’s small yet stylish Cetus, which comes in six different colors/designs, might just be the ideal camera bag.
It’s big enough to fit a camera as well as a few traveling essentials like your wallet, passport, an 8-inch tablet, and power bank, to start, but it’s also compact enough so as not to be a burden when you’re on the go. It’s also water repellent so light rain won’t scare you back indoors.