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The Best Camera Backpacks for DSLR Cameras

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A good camera bag is a need to have for any photographer. It is essential if you want to safely store and carry your precious camera gear. When choosing a camera bag, you can generally choose between two types of bags. You’ve got the ‘classic’ over the shoulder camera bag on one side and the camera backpack on the other side.

Every photographer has got their preferences when it comes to camera bags, but the backpack has drastically gained popularity. This is no surprise, as a backpack is generally more comfortable to wear for longer periods of time. If you move around a lot with your gear, a camera backpack is definitely the smartest choice.

But how do you find the best camera backpack, suitable to your needs? There are a lot of camera backpacks on the market, we’ve put together this article to help you find the best camera backpack for DSLR cameras. For a quick overview of the top 5 camera backpacks in 2016 / 2017, check out this comparison chart. For more detailed reviews, scroll down the page.

Best Camera Backpack 2016 / 2017 – Top 5

PhotoModel.Size.CapacityLaptopTripod holderPriceRating
Lowepro-Fastpack-BP-250-AW-II-best-camera-backpackLowepro Fastpack BP 250 AW IIH 19.7”
D 10.2”
W 12.2"
1 DSLR
3 lenses
1 flash
15"Yes$$

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Tamrac Adventure 9_pic1_150Tamrac Adventure 9H 20”
D 11”
W 13”
1 DSLR
4 lenses
1 flash
17"No$$$

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Manfrotto Pro Light 3N1-35 Best Camera BackpackManfrotto Pro-Light 3N1-35H 18.1”
D 10.6″
W 13.0”
1 DSLR
3 lenses
1 flash
15"Yes$$$

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Case Logic Kilowatt KSB-102 pic1_150Case Logic Kilowatt KSB-102H 18.5”
D 10.2″
W 11.8”
1 DSLR
3 lenses
1 flash
17"Yes$$

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Vanguard Adaptor 46 pic1Vanguard Adaptor 46H 17.9”
D 9.9″
W 10.6”
1 DSLR
4 lenses
1 flash
13"Yes$$$

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1. Lowepro Fastpack BP 250 AW II

Price range: $$
Exterior Size: 12.2″ x 10.2″ x 19.7″
Interior Size: 11.4″ x 6.1″ x 10.8″
Weight: 4.0 lbs 
Room for laptop: 15”
Tripod Holder: Yes
Opening photo compartment: bottom left / bottom front
Rain cover: included
Lowepro-Fastpack-BP-250-AW-II-best-camera-backpack Rating check_latest_price

The Lowepro Fastpack BP 250 AW II is a great camera backpack. This backpack is designed with the traveling photographer / videographer in mind, thus it offers maximum versatility. The bag is split into two parts. The bottom part is designed to store your main camera and gear, whereas the top compartment is used to store various everyday items (or extra equipment).

The 250 AW also has a compartment to store a laptop up to 15″. The photography compartment is accessed by unzipping a zipper at the bottom-left part of the bag. This makes it easy to quickly reach to your gear if you swing the backpack over your left shoulder. The photo compartment is quite big, it has enough room to store a regular sized DSLR camera with a telephoto lens attached, alongside with three medium sized extra lenses and a flash unit.

The bottom compartment is padded with thick fabric and offers adjustable internal dividers, so you can organize it the way you like. It is also possible to attach a tripod or a video rig on the right side of the backpack.

 

Lowepro Fastpack BP 250 AW II Back

 

The top compartment can be used to store extra gear or everyday items. It includes a special pouch for cables / cards / adapters. Like all Lowepro bags in this series, the 250 AW also has an attached rain cover. You can pull it out when you run into bad weather conditions. The backpack features waist and chest straps for extra comfort and stability. The padded waist belt is completely removable, so you can adjust it to your needs.

Verdict

The Lowepro Fastpack BP 250 AW II is an excellent camera backpack. It has a perfect size, big enough to fit enough of your camera gear, but not too big to become bulky and heavy. It’s very comfortable to wear and offers good protection for your gear in all weather conditions.

Is there a downside on this backpack as well? We’d say there are two minor flaws. If you want to carry around more gear then a camera body plus three lenses, then you might want to consider a larger backpack or a backpack that has one big camera-compartment (of course you’d be sacrificing the top compartment for this). The other drawback is that its looks are perhaps a bit dull, the backpack looks a bit square and bulky in our opinion. But of course that’s a matter of taste and doesn’t affect its functionality.

2. Tamrac Adventure 9

Price range: $$$
Exterior Size: 13″ W x 11″ D x 20″ H
Int. Size – Photo Compartment: 11,5″ W x 5,5″ D x 8,5″ H
Int. Size – Second Compartment: 11″ W x 6,5″ D x 8,5″ H
Weight: 4.3 lbs
Room for laptop: Yes, 17”
Tripod Holder: Yes (bottom)
Opening photo compartment: bottom middle
Rain cover: none, but weatherproof without one 

Tamrac Adventure 9_pic1 Rating check_latest_price

The Tamrac Adventure 9 is a nice modern looking camera backpack that comes in two color combinations: red-black and grey-black (we personally like the red one most). This camera backpack is divided into two main compartments, the bottom part is used to store your main gear (camera body and lenses) and the top compartment can be used to store other items. What’s unique about the Tamrac Adventure 9, is that you can actually remove the divider between the two spaces, so that you can make one big compartment.

 

Tamrac Adventure 9_pic2 - best camera backpack for DSLR
61dpjWqFkzL._SL1070_

 

The camera compartment is quite deep and can hold a larger camera body/lens combination (with battery grip), plus 3-4 extra lenses. Adjustable dividers offer the possibility to arrange the compartment to your needs. Aside form the main compartments, there are smaller compartments on the inside. These have built in memory card and battery slots, perfect to store all the little stuff.

There’s also a dedicated laptop space in the back, where you can store a laptop up to 17″. A chest strap and a middle strap are present as well, providing you with extra comfort and stability. The Tamrac Adventure 9 is made out of a weather resistant fabric, that also covers the zippers. This makes it a very waterproof backpack, so there is no need for an extra rain cover.

Verdict

The Tamrac Adventure 9 is a decent camera backpack with a modern look and a waterproof design. The camera compartment is quite big and can hold a good amount of gear. The fact that you can remove the middle divider to make one big compartment is also a big plus. This makes it an excellent choice for people that occasionally want to pack a lot of gear, but do not want to have a dedicated photo backpack all the time.

What we don’t like about this backpack is the fact that the water protective cover of the zippers often gets stuck when zipping it. This is very annoying when you quickly want to access the photo compartment. Another minor flaw is that the opening of the camera compartment is on the front, so you have to take your backpack off every time you want to access it. You can’t quickly sling it off your shoulder.

3. Manfrotto Pro-Light 3N1-35

Price range: $$$
Exterior Size: 18.1″ x 13.0″ x 10.6″
Interior Size: 12.6″ x 11.0″ x 6.3″
Weight: 4.4 lbs
Room for laptop: Yes, 15”
Tripod Holder: Yes
Opening photo compartment: bottom front, bottom left and bottom right (triple-entry)
Rain cover: included 

 Manfrotto Pro Light 3N1-35 Best Camera Backpack Rating check_latest_price

Manfrotto is a brand that is best known for it’s high quality tripods, but they also manufacture some very decent camera backpacks. Out of their impressive camera bag line-up, we like the Manfrotto Pro-Light 3N1-35 the most. Like the other bags in this overview, the Pro-Light 3N1-35 consists of a dedicated camera compartment in the bottom, and a ‘general’ compartment on top. The bag also features a dedicated 15″ laptop compartment in the back.

The camera compartment (located in the bottom part) is big enough to hold a medium to large sized DSLR with a medium tele-lens (70-200) attached, 3 extra lenses and a flash unit. Reaching the compartment is very convenient, as you can open it from multiple sides. This allows you to reach for your camera without putting the bag down. You can just sling it over your shoulder.

 

Manfrotto-Pro-Light-3N1-35-Best-Camera-Backpack
Manfrotto Pro-Light 3N1-35 - back

 

The top compartment can hold various stuff, camera or non camera related. There is dedicated space for a 15″ laptop and there are a lot of internal dividers to keep your stuff organised.

The bag is constructed out of high quality durable fabric. The zippers and buckles feel very sturdy as well. To ensure complete protection in the rain, a removable rain cover is also included. A nice feature is the ability to rearrange the straps, allowing the bag to also be used a a right or left sling bag.

The Manfrotto Pro-Light 3N1-35 feels very comfortable on your back and shoulders, a waist strap provides extra support when the bag is fully loaded. The only thing we miss here, is a chest strap.

Verdict

The Manfrotto Pro-Light 3N1-35 is a well designed, good looking and versatile camera backpack. It’s camera compartment offers enough room to carry a basic kit, while still leaving room in the bag to carry other items. The fact that you can reach the camera compartment from multiple positions is a big plus, this will allow you to reach for your camera without putting the bag down on the floor.

It is a very comfortable backpack, but if you overload it, you will notice a slight drop in comfort level (adding a chest strap would probably improve this). Overall the Pro-Light 3N1-35 is a very decent camera backpack for everyday use, that comes in at a slightly higher price than most competitors. But owners of Manfrotto tripods will know: few brands can beat this high level of construction.

4. Case Logic Kilowatt KSB-102

Price range: $$
Exterior Size: 11.8″ x 10.2″ x 18.5″ 
Interior Size: 10.6″ x 6.5″ x 9.1″
Weight: 3.65 lbs
Room for laptop: Yes, 15.6”
Tripod Holder: Yes
Opening photo compartment: bottom middle
Rain cover: Included 

 Case Logic Kilowatt KSB-102 pic1 Rating check_latest_price

Case logic is known as brand that’s slightly more on the ‘budget side’. However, they offer a very decent and spacious camera backpack with the Kilowatt KSB-102. This backpack has a big camera compartment, that’s accessible from three sides (left, right and middle). A very nice feature that allows you quick access to your gear in any situation. You can store a larger DSLR with a lens up to 8 inch, plus 2-3 extra lenses. The camera compartment has adjustable dividers, so you can make a configuration suited to your needs. There’s also a possibility to attach a tripod to the front.

 

Case Logic Kilowatt KSB-102 pic2
Case Logic Kilowatt KSB-102 pic3

The top compartment can hold smaller stuff like cables, memory cards or daily essentials. The top side also features two pockets on each side and a special 15.6 inch laptop compartment. The camera backpack is comfortable to wear thanks to a back mesh and adjustable chest and middle straps.

Another unique feature: you can detach one of the shoulder straps and use the bag as a sling pack as well (could be over your left or right shoulder). The fabric on this backpack feels a little cheaper and is less weatherproof then its competitors. For instance, the zippers are not covered by a waterproof strip. To make up for this, the  Kilowatt KSB-102 does include a waterproof cover.

Verdict

The Case Logic Kilowatt KSB-102 is an affordable and spacious camera backpack. It has some unique features, like a camera compartment that is accessible from three sides and an adjustable carrying configuration.

The fabric quality is a little less then its competitors, but it has a waterproof cover to keep your gear safe. Another drawback is that the bag might be a little too big and bulky to easily carry around. Make sure to don’t overpack it, because it will get too heavy.

5. Vanguard Adaptor 46 Camera Daypack

Price range: $$
Exterior Size: 10,6″ x 9,9″ x 17,9″
Interior Size: 9,5″ x 6,1″ x 10,3″
Weight: 2.2 lbs
Room for laptop: Yes, 13”
Tripod Holder: Yes
Opening photo compartment: bottom left and bottom right
Rain cover: Included 

  Vanguard Adaptor 46 pic1Rating check_latest_price

The Vanguard Adaptor series consists of 4 backpacks. We think that this model, the Vanguard Adaptor 46 Camera Daypack, is the most convenient size of the 4. It’s a little smaller then its bigger brother, the Adaptor 48, but it is a more versatile bag. It consists of two separate main compartments: one to store your camera body plus lenses and one to store other items.

Like almost all of its rivals, the camera compartment of the Adaptor 46 is also located at the bottom. You can acces the compartment from 2 different sides (right and left), similar to the Case Logic Kilowatt KSB-102. The camera compartment is big enough to hold a standard sized DSLR with lens attached plus 3-4 extra lenses.

It has adjustable dividers to make custom arrangements. Within the camera compartment, there are 2 convenient internal side pockets on each side to store memory cards.

 

 

The top compartment is on the small side, but it has enough room to store some extra gear (cables, adaptors, etc.) or food / other essentials.

Another feature that is similar to the Case Logic backpack: there is also a possibility to convert it from a backpack into a slingback, by simply tucking one of the shoulder straps away. When used as a sling bag, it’s very easy to just sling it over your shoulder to quickly grab the camera. The backpack has a built in tripod holster on the back, that can hold a medium sized tripod.

The bag feels comfortable on the back and shoulders, but we do miss a middle and chest strap for extra support. The backpack is crafted out of strong, high quality and waterproof material. The stitching is outstanding and for extra protection they even included a water-repellent cover.

Verdict

The Vanguard Adaptor 46 Camera Daypack is a very well built, versatile best camera backpack. We like that it has a camera compartment that is accessible from 2 sides and that there is the possibility to use the backpack as a sling bag as well. It might be just a tad too small if you want to pack more then 3-4 standard lenses (if so, you might be more interested in the Vanguard Adaptor 48). We didn’t like the fact that it doesn’t has any waist or chest straps, this makes it less convenient for longer hikes.