When doing travel photography, one of the most important things to consider is your backpack. You have hundreds of options – but unfortunately, not all backpacks are adequately sturdy, comfortable, spacious, and cost-effective.
That’s where this article comes in handy. I share the best travel photography backpacks you can buy in 2023, so whether you’re a newbie looking for your first travel photo backpack or a more serious photographer in search of a high-quality backpack to take on lengthy trips, this article is guaranteed to help you out.
Let’s get started.
How to choose a travel photography backpack
A travel photography backpack is ultimately your best companion, and it should be designed to serve a range of needs; after all, you may require a bag for long countryside walks, hiking in the hills, air travel, or even city breaks and rural adventures.
As you’ll probably carry your backpack at all times throughout your travels, you’ll want a product that feels comfortable, is highly practical, and (if style is important to you) looks great. Your camera equipment should be easy to access, and the zippers should be well-placed. A suitable bag will be able to store and protect your camera gear successfully in all weather, so you should definitely consider the durability and strength of the material as well as any rain-protection measures.
The bag’s size is important, too. You may require a large pack with extra space and compartments for your photography accessories and other items (e.g., clothing, food, storage drives, laptops). Or you may prefer a more compact, lightweight bag. If you frequently take (or wish to take) a travel tripod on your trips, it’s important you get a backpack that can carry one.
Below, I help you choose from the diverse selection of backpacks currently on the market while highlighting their unique features. Let’s start by taking a look at the best travel photography backpack you can find:
My first travel photography backpack pick is the LowePro Tahoe BP 150, a lightweight option with an adaptable and well-padded main interior. Thanks to the smaller build, it’s ideal for traveling by car or plane, and the reasonable price makes it a favorite of beginners and hobbyists.
Designed with strong and moisture-resistant fabrics, this backpack will keep your gear safe in all types of weather and is perfect for outdoor travel shoots. It has the capacity to store a DSLR or mirrorless camera with a zoom lens attached in addition to a second lens and even a flash. Extra room is provided for personal items (such as a 10-inch tablet), and the side pockets offer space to store a water bottle and some camera-cleaning gear.
Due to its impressive performance and versatility, the LowePro ProTactic BP 350 AW II Backpack is one of the best travel photography backpacks money can buy.
It costs significantly more than the LowePro Tahoe (above), yet it’s also far more spacious, making it a better choice for serious photographers. The LowePro ProTactic offers enough room to carry a pro mirrorless camera or DSLR, extra lenses, and even a drone. It has multiple access points to your gear, has an adaptable interior you can tailor to fit your equipment, and can hold a 13-inch laptop.
And you get a handful of useful additional features, including an all-weather cover to protect your gear, an all-purpose utility pouch, a bottle pouch, and a tripod cup (so you can carry a tripod without difficulty).
The Manfrotto Pro Light RedBee-310 Backpack doesn’t come cheap, but the larger capacity, rugged build, and stylish exterior make it worth every penny.
The RedBee-310 offers a spacious interior – you can store a handful of lenses in addition to a sizable DSLR or two – yet it’s still suitable for airline carry-on luggage. The backpack also includes handy dividers, easy rear access to your equipment, and a 15-inch laptop sleeve.
The backpack looks very stylish and is ideal for serious photographers, though it may be overkill for hobbyists just hoping to travel with a camera and a couple of lenses.
F-stop makes some of the best travel photography backpacks around; although they’re more expensive than competitor products, the bags are high quality and designed to last. They’re made to fit, comfortable to carry, and are my backpack of choice as a professional travel photographer embarking on adventures.
The Loka Ultra-Light Travel Camera Backpack isn’t huge, but it offers space for a camera, a few lenses, and key accessories. It’s also incredibly comfortable, and fitted inserts can be bought as a bundle with the bag and adapted to suit your needs.
If your goal is to keep your camera as protected as possible while traveling around the globe, this F-stop backpack is reliable and incredibly durable.
These days, the Peak Design Everyday Backpack is much loved in the photography community; for one, it looks amazing, though not so much in the standard “camera backpack” sense and more in the designer-clothing vein. It also feels great, thanks to plenty of internal support, adjustable shoulder straps, and a comfortable hip belt.
As the name suggests, this backpack is suitable for everyday use, from city breaks to rural escapes. It also fits as carry-on luggage, making it perfect for plane travel. Made with durable (and weatherproof) outer fabric, the Everyday Backpack will protect your gear in snow, rain, and sleet, and it’ll also prevent damage from the standard bumps and knocks.
The easy-to-configure internal FlexFold dividers make it incredibly easy to organize gear; you can customize the backpack interior to fit a camera body with a lens attached as well as 4-5 extra lenses and even a 13-inch laptop. The bag comes in a range of colors, and for those who need to carry more gear when traveling, there’s a 30 L option with plenty of additional space.
The MindShift BackLight 26 L isn’t especially stylish, but it is spacious, which is why it’s the perfect bag for serious travel shooters who spend day after day in the field. It’s designed to carry heavy gear for long periods, and it offers enough room for multiple camera bodies, a handful of lenses (including longer telephoto glass), and accessories, plus you get a handful of inner and outer compartments to fit storage drives, filters, cleaning cloths, and more.
The rear-panel compartment offers rapid access to your equipment, and your back covers the main access point for increased security. The bag is comfortable, too, and a waist belt keeps wearers feeling good during long outings.
The Thule Aspect is a midrange camera backpack that’s perfect for smaller or more informal travel adventures; no, it can’t carry multiple camera bodies and 4+ lenses, but it’ll have no problem carrying a camera, a couple of lenses, and even a tripod and a drone. Plus, because the bag includes handy pockets for a jacket, memory cards, and a laptop, you can store all of your essentials while traveling.
The backpack is well-padded, so you won’t have a problem wearing it for hikes or long walks. The waist belt provides comfort, and the storage space is adjustable. The Thule Aspect is well-built and comes with a Thule guarantee, yet it’s not too expensive, either – so if you’re looking for a reasonably priced backpack that’ll keep your gear safe, it’s certainly worth a look.
The Tenba Fulton v2 backpack isn’t extremely expensive, yet it’s a great product for travel photographers who work in rough conditions, including rain, snow, dust, and hail. The backpack contains the ultimate protective features including water-repelling fabric and a water-resistant rain cover designed to protect your camera in all weather.
And while the Tenba Fulton v2 might not be as spacious as some of the other options on this list, it can still carry plenty of gear, including a camera, 5+ lenses, and plenty of accessories. Really, the backpack is perfect for long trips, and it includes a protective sleeve for laptops, a trolley strap for convenient travel, adjustable dividers you can change to suit your requirements, and support for a tripod or monopod.
The K&F Concept Multifunctional Camera Backpack is an elegantly designed product that is ideal for transporting your equipment on planes, in cars, or when hiking.
The inside is spacious, yet the bag itself feels reasonably sized, so you should have no problem carrying it on a plane. You get an equipment compartment, which is capable of housing a camera body and 3-4 additional lenses, as well as a general-purpose compartment, which fits accessories, a jacket, and other clothing.
The bag comes with a rain cover to protect your gear in case of inclement weather, and it even boasts a tripod attachment. It’s well-priced, relatively lightweight, and includes a laptop compartment and access from the back and side. What more could you want?
The Ajna 37 L backpack is the most expensive product on this list. But for those who care about quality above all else, it’s also the best travel photography backpack on the market. It is an outstanding pick for photographers looking for a mix of volume and versatility, and it’s ideal for adventures of all types.
Key features of the bag include a superbly comfortable aluminum frame; well-designed pockets and a back panel to help organize and store items neatly; a hip belt and foam shoulder straps; and a safety whistle.
The backpack’s unique material is extremely durable, and the fabric and zippers are weatherproof. The pack is pleasant to transport on long excursions and works as carry-on luggage. Gatekeeper straps are great for adding extra gear from a tripod to snowboards or skis and are available to purchase separately or as a bundle with an insert and rain cover. And for the ultimate travel photography backpack, you can even buy an attachable drone pouch.
The best travel photography backpacks: final words
Picking the perfect travel photography backpack might seem tough, but it doesn’t have to be! If you’re still struggling to choose, here are my quick recommendations:
For more serious photographers and professionals looking for a high-quality backpack to take on lengthy trips, the LowePro ProTactic BP 350 AW II, F-stop Loka, or F-Stop Ajna are fantastic choices thanks to their excellent capacities, easy access, airline compliance, comfort, and functionality.
The best travel photography backpacks FAQ
Yes! Camera bags protect equipment against theft, impacts, weather, and more.
Camera bags can be used as carry-on or checked luggage.
Cameras are fragile items, so I recommend you always pack them in your carry-on luggage. Make sure that your camera bag is small enough to fit in an overhead carry compartment (though if you can get away with it, stow it at your feet as a personal item).
Keep the front body cap on, pack your equipment snugly so it doesn’t move around, and store lots of accessories in zipper pockets.