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Last updated on August 27th, 2021

Going on an outdoor adventure can mean different things to different people. Some consider it an escape from work, a short time to breathe in the fresh air, a bit of an exercise, or spending some quality time with loved ones.

For a small group of people who enjoy photography, it may also be an opportunity to capture some great shots of what mother nature has to offer. The thought of being able to capture these majestic photos seem exciting. However, the problem begins when harmful external elements, such as rain and dust, start to invade your precious, expensive equipment.

In early times, this may be a difficult issue to address, but with the wide variety of hiking backpacks available in the market today, there is undoubtedly a bag that is going to meet your needs. In the following sections, you will see the best camera backpacks for hiking.

What to Look for in Buying a Camera Backpack

Looking for a backpack that will suit your needs is a tricky task. However, knowing the right things to look for in buying a camera backpack for hiking will make things easier for you as you shop for it.

Protection

Photographers take good care of their equipment because aside from their love for it or profession, camera equipment is quite expensive. The best cameras for hiking easily sell over $2000. With that said, you need to have a backpack that will keep your equipment secure whenever you are out hiking in the backcountry and mountains. 

When it comes to camera gear protection, there are two main factors that you need to consider; these are ample padding and exceptional weatherproofing.

Whatever terrain you face during your hike, you can never avoid mishaps from happening, which could cause your gear to go into unlucky circumstances.

Scratches, dents, and cracks are only some of the many things that could happen. Human error is quite difficult to account for, so you must provide adequate padding to your camera gear to prevent damages from happening.

When looking for a hiking backpack, check if there is adequate padding. The storage spaces should have thick, chunky dividers, which protects the camera gear from crashing into each other. The walls of the backpack should also have padding, which protects your equipment from any external forces.

On the other hand, liquids can easily penetrate your backpack and make their way to your gear, which could cause permanent damage. Although you can easily purchase a rain cover for your backpack, it may come as an inconvenience to some people. 

Comfort and Weight

If you are carrying camera gear while hiking, it could quickly cause discomfort to you. It could lead to sore shoulders or back pain. Much more if your backpack is heavy and unpadded. Look for a backpack that is comfortable and lightweight. It should have paddings in the shoulder strap, back panel, and waist belt. There must also be adequate ventilation.

Organization

Most photographers carry so much equipment with them, including accessories. Gear organization is essential, so you can quickly reach through what you need. The more sensitive equipment, such as the camera body and lenses, should be secured. Whereas accessories, such as memory cards, filters, and spare batteries, should be easily accessible.

Camera Compartment

Apart from good padding for your gear, having a compartment that could hold it in place is another important feature. Compartment dividers can either be built-in or removable, depending on the backpack’s design. It should have sufficient padding, weather resistance, and be adjustable. The compartment should allow easy access to your travel camera through the backpack’s main, back, or side opening.

Laptop Storage

Having laptop storage in a backpack is a nice feature for those who bring a laptop with them. Although you might not need it at this time, you might want to consider getting a backpack with a laptop compartment for future-proofing. Many photographers travel around with a laptop for on-the-go photo filing or saving photos to the cloud.

External Attachement Points

On the outside of your backpack, it is good to have straps or loops. You can use these to hold a monopod, tripod, or trekking poles. You can usually find these adjustable straps on the bottom, middle, or side of the backpack. It is also a great feature to have an external pocket that can hold a water bottle.

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15 best camera backpacks for hiking

Best Camera Backpacks for Hiking

Now you know what features you should look for in a hiking backpack, it’s time to review some of the best camera backpacks for hiking.

1. Lowepro Powder Backpack 500 AW

Lowepro Powder Camera Hiking Backpack 500 AW

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The Lowepro Powder backpack 500 AW weighs only 5.3 lbs. Its dimensions measure 13.19 x 8.86 x 21.26 inches. The Lowepro 500 AW can carry a standard DSLR, a mirrorless camera, and a few lenses. It has a laptop compartment that can carry up to a 15-inch laptop.

The backpack’s interior allows for up to 50% of its capacity for non-camera storage. You can find compartments in front, at the side, and on top of the backpack. There are also slat pockets, which can hold small accessories, such as a memory card. Aside from using this bag for hiking, you can also use it for other outdoor activities. You can attach your snowboard, skis, and other sports equipment to the side of the bag.

2. Shimoda Explore 60 Starter Kit

Shimoda Explore 60 Starter Kit hiking camera backpack

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When looking for a backpack that gives you a wide array of options, the Shimoda Explore 60 Starter Kit is the way to go. The outer material uses polyurethane, making it lightweight and durable at the same time. Because of it, the entire starter kit weighs in at only 4.9 lbs.

Multiple access points allow entree to the side, top, and rear. The rear opening can handle wide objects ideal for access without any obstructions. The side opening allows for quick arm access without needing to remove the backpack from your shoulder.

The Shimoda Explore 60 has four height options with about four inches of vertical adjustment. It makes it compatible with both short and tall people.

The side of the bag has a removable pouch. It allows for a secure hold of a tripod. You can also mount a shoulder harness to act as a holster for large DSLR cameras with lenses as long as 70-200mm f2.8. The front panel has a sub-pocket and hanger loop, which can hold a hydration bladder of up to 3L.

3. MindShift Gear Backlight 26L

MindShift Gear Backlight 26L camera backpack for hiking

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The MindShift Gear Backlight 26L measures 7.87 x 11.42 x 20.28 inches and weighs only 4 lbs. Inside the bag, you can fit a standard size DSLR, four to six standard zoom lenses, and a flash. If you do not have a standard size DSLR, you can fit two large mirrorless cameras, five to seven lenses, and a flash. The maximum lens size this backpack can hold is 200-400mm f4.

Looking at the back panel of the backpack, you get access to your camera gear without needing to take your backpack off. There is also a dedicated compartment for up to a 15-inch laptop and a full-size tablet. This bag’s front pockets can carry up to 9 L of personal gear for a day trek.

4. Vanguard Alta Sky 45D Camera Backpack

Vanguard Alta Sky 45D Camera Backpack for hiking

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The Vanguard Alta Sky 45D is the ultimate backpack for versatility. It adapts perfectly to your needs, such as video gear, photo gear, gimbals, drones, tripod, laptop, and other personal essentials. 

It has external dimensions of 12.25 x 19.5 x 9 inches and weighs only 4.9 lbs. It features multi-access quick-action compartments, which allows you to reach your gear quickly. It has a full rear opening, top and side access, and separate access to a spacious lower compartment.

The Vanguard Alta Sky 45D comes with a rain cover, which keeps your gear dry whenever it starts to rain. It also offers smart storage for your gear, such as a flask or a water bottle, secure zipper pockets for your valuable items, and a phone pocket that has a headphone port.

5. Manfrotto Pro Light 3N1-26 Camera Bag Backpack

Manfrotto Pro Light 3N1-26 Camera Bag Backpack

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The Manfrotto Pro Light Camera Bag Backpack is flexible, letting you carry it in one shoulder like a bag or cross shoulder straps. The bag appears compact but can carry up to 2 DSLR cameras and a few lenses.

Side access allows you to reach through the items you need. You can use the front compartment of the backpack for your personal effects. On the other hand, you can use the back compartment for your photography equipment.

During the rainy days, the backpack’s protective shield is effective against strong sunlight and rain. With all its features said, the Manfrotto Pro Light Camera Bag Backpack measures 10.24 x 10.24 x 18.11 inches, weighs only 3lbs, and is excellent for hiking.

6. Tamrac Anvil 27 Photo Backpack

Tamrac Anvil 27 Photo Backpack

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The Tamrac Anvil 27 Photo Backpack is the perfect camera backpack for travel photographers. It fits nicely in the overhead compartment as carry-on luggage on flights.

The dimensions of this backpack are 20.87 x 12.2 x 9.84 inches and weigh only 4.9 lbs. It has ample storage space for multiple DSLR bodies with a lens. You can also carry a laptop with a screen size of up to 15 inches.

The Tamrac Anvil 27 has ten compartment dividers, which you can use to customize the way you divide your gear inside the backpack. This backpack is ideal for photographers in all weather conditions. The rain fly that comes with the backpack makes it possible to prevent weather penetration.

7. NOMATIC McKinnon Camera Pack

NOMATIC McKinnon Camera Pack

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The NOMATIC McKinnon Camera Backpack allows you to protect and pack all your essential needs for your camera while having enough room in a separate compartment to pack clothes. You can customize the inside of the backpack through the foldable and removable dividers. If you need more room for storage, you can expand your backpack from 35L to 42L quickly.

There is a side pocket that you can use to access your camera conveniently. However, if you want to have full access to the entire camera compartment, you can unzip the main front zipper. Should you need to carry a laptop with you, the NOMATIC McKinnon Backpack can support a laptop with a screen size of up to 16 inches.

There are also plenty of useful pockets to store accessories, such as cords, chargers, SD cards, and batteries. All these features come in a compact dimension of 9.1 x 22.4 x 13 inches. The backpack itself is light, weighing only 5.8 lbs. 

8. USA GEAR DSLR Camera Backpack

USA GEAR DSLR Camera Backpack

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If you are looking for a camera hiking backpack with the best value, the USA GEAR DSLR Camera Backpack is a great choice. It has almost all the features of more expensive camera backpacks.

Other camera backpacks are bulky and oversize. The size of the USA GEAR Backpack is just right — not too small nor not too big. The dividers in the backpack’s compartment are removable, which means you can remove, add, or organize them quickly, depending on your needs.

Should you wish to carry a laptop with you, the USA GEAR can fit up to a 15.6-inch laptop. The soft rubber pullers and metal zippers slide smoothly without any fear of zipper breakage. Weighing at only 2.42 lbs, all features come in a compact dimension of 18 x 12 x 8 inches only.

9. National Geographic Medium Backpack for Camera

National Geographic Medium Backpack for Camera

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The National Geographic Medium Backpack for Camera carries all your photography needs in an old-fashion looking backpack. It’s a medium-size backpack that measures 10.83 x 5.51 x 16.93 inches and weighs only 2.9 lbs. Inside the backpack, you can find a compartment that keeps your lenses and camera body safe.

There is also room to store a tripod and a laptop up to 15 inches. The shoulder straps are adjustable, making it easy for anyone to use. If you want to hide some items, there are several hidden pockets inside and outside the backpack.

10. f-stop Shinn 80L

f-stop Shinn 80L

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The f-stop Shinn 80L camera backpack has a storage capacity of 80 liters, suitable for large camera kits. It provides weather-resistant protection against harsh conditions that you may encounter while hiking. When looking to purchase this backpack, the bundle comes with the Master Cine ICU, 80L Shinn, and one pair of Gatekeepers. The Shinn 80L backpack measures 27 x 16 x 12 inches and weighs 5.1 lbs.

For durability and dependability, the Shinn 80L backpack uses a weather-resistant 420D ripstop nylon with TPU laminate. Its zipper hardware is also industry-leading, ensuring quality and durability are top priorities. It has a multiday-hike volume capacity with expandable side zipper pockets.

Due to its high volume capacity, this backpack has exceptional all-day support through an internal aluminum frame. The EVA-padded jersey laminate hip belt and shoulder straps provide comfort to whoever is carrying the backpack. 

This backpack also comes with several expansion slots, such as accessory loops, shock cord attachment points, D-Ring attachment points on shoulder straps, angled MOLLE accessory attachment points, and fourteen Gatekeeper attachment points.

11. f-stop Sukha 70L

f-stop Sukha 70L camera backpack for hiking

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The f-stop Sukha 70L has 70 liters of internal storage and has plenty of outside expansion capabilities. The Sukha is the successor to the Stori EXP, which was the ultimate multi-day photo backpack during its time.

When purchasing a Sukha 70L, you get the XL Pro ICU, 70L Sukha backpack, and a pair of Gatekeepers to expand external storage. This backpack is ideal for photographers who have large kits and super-telephoto lenses. Its external dimensions are 27 x 14 x 12 inches and weigh only 4.6 lbs.

For durability and dependability, the Sukha 70L backpack uses a weather-resistant 420D ripstop nylon with TPU laminate. Its zipper hardware is also industry-leading, ensuring quality and durability are top priorities. Its capacity is expandable with side zipper pockets.

Due to its high volume capacity, this backpack has outstanding all-day support through an internal aluminum frame. The EVA-padded jersey laminate hip belt and shoulder straps provide comfort to whoever is carrying the backpack.

12. f-stop Tilopa 50L

f-stop Tilopa 50L

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If you are looking for an all-rounder backpack suitable for any occasion, the f-stop Tilopa 50L is a great choice. It provides weather-resistance and easy access to the internal compartment unit through a rear access panel.

When looking to purchase the Tilopa 50L, you get one Pro Large ICU, the 50L backpack itself, and one rain cover. The main backpack has external dimensions of 23.5 x 14 x 12 inches and weighs only 4.1 lbs.

For durability and dependability, the Tilopa 50L backpack uses a weather-resistant 420D ripstop nylon with TPU laminate. Its zipper hardware is also industry-leading, ensuring quality and durability are top priorities. It has a volume capacity of 50 liters with expandable side zipper pockets. 

Due to its high volume capacity, this backpack has excellent all-day support through an internal aluminum frame. The EVA-padded jersey laminate hip belt and shoulder straps provide comfort to whoever is carrying the backpack.

13. K&F Concept DSLR Camera Backpack

K&F Concept DSLR Camera Backpack

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The K&F Concept DSLR Camera Backpack has an external dimension of 11.8 x 17 x 6.7 inches. It can hold up to 1 DSLR camera, two lenses, a flash, a laptop up to 15 inches or a 12.9-inch tablet, a tripod, and other small accessories.

There are two main storage zones in this backpack. The top compartment holds up to two sets of clothes, while the bottom compartment can hold your camera gear. Should you wish to convert this backpack into a flexible city daypack backpack, you can remove the camera compartment dividers.

This backpack uses a waterproof 600D polyester material, which is resistant to tears and scratches. The 210 linings and EPE foam divider provide protection and relief against shock. For easy and comfortable travel, the wide breathable air mesh and thick-padded shoulder straps provide comfort as you carry the backpack.

In case of rain, you can use the rain cover that comes with the backpack, which protects your bag and its contents against rain. When storing the K&F Concept Backpack, put it inside its anti-dirt and anti-dust bag.

14. TARION Pro 2 Bags in 1 Camera Backpack

TARION Pro 2 Bags in 1 Camera Backpack

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If you are in the market for a hiking backpack with two large compartments, the TARION Pro 2 Bags in 1 Camera Backpack is a great choice.

The top compartment can hold one camera and five lenses. The bottom compartment can hold one camera and four lenses, or six prime lenses. The accessory shoulder bag that comes in the bundle can carry one camera and two lenses.

Moving on to the shoulder and waist strap design, it features a well-padded shoulder and waist strap, which helps in reducing load weight while maximizing comfort. The adjustable suspension in this camera backpack enables this large backpack to fit a range of torso heights for a more precise fit. 

Aside from cameras, lenses, and camera accessories, this backpack can also hold up to a 15.6-inch laptop. The laptop compartment is accessible through the side zipper. For security and safety, the shock-proof EPE dividers in the compartment protect your gear from shocks and drops. The Tarion Pro 2 Bags in 1 Camera Backpack has a dimension of 12.2 x 7.48 x 1.69 inches and weighs about 6.6 lbs.

15. Lowepro Photo Sport 300 AW II

Lowepro Photo Sport 300 AW II

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The Lowepro Photo Sport 300 AW II Backpack can fit a DSLR with a lens, one extra lens or flash, one 2-liter hydration reservoir, and other essential gears. You can also fit a DJI Mavic Pro in this backpack.

Lowepro’s UltraCinch Technology keeps your hiking camera gear secure and in place while doing outdoor activities, such as biking, hiking, snowboarding, climbing, or running. This technology tightens the photo gear space through a custom pull-tab, which results in bounce-free protection.

If you are worried about the rain and other elements, the 300 AW II has a built-in all-weather cover that safeguards all your equipment from snow, dust, rain, and sand. Multiple attachment points all over the backpack allow you to secure extra gear, such as a monopod, trekking poles, or a tripod. However, note that the following camera models will not fit in this backpack: Canon EOS 1D/1Ds/1Dx Mark II, Nikon D4/D4s/D5, and Sony Alpha A850/A900.

Conclusion

There are several camera backpacks to choose from for your hiking needs. Some people may not find everything they need in one backpack, while others may find the ultimate backpack that meets their needs.

In case you cannot find everything you need in one backpack, we suggest you pick the one that checks the majority of your needs. We also suggest you prioritize your needs starting from the most important and ending at the least important.

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