The 5 Best Camera Backpacks for Hiking | 2016

Best Camera Backpack 2016

What are the absolute best camera backpacks for hiking available in 2016 for carrying that expensive, valuable photo equipment in the backcountry? If you’re seeking to answer this question you’ve come to the right place my friend. So buckle those hip belts because here we go:

Let’s start with why you need a camera backpack:

  1. Compartmentalization meant specifically to isolate and protect that expensive electronic equipment
  2. Padding to separate camera gear from hiking gear
  3. Extra room meant solely to accommodate that extra load that only you are willing to pull into the backcountry (kudos to you!)
  4. Having the best camera backpack for hiking means getting the best outdoor photos

What should you watch out for in a camera backpack?

Keep an eye on pack size. To accommodate camera gear and hiking equipment you’ll want to be in the 16L – 35L for day hikes.

Planning to do some overnight hikes? You’ll want to go up to a 65L or bigger depending on your gear.

Please note that the following article is based on my experience with day packs and hiking not, necessarily, each specific pack herein. Affiliate links are used and we really appreciate your contribution.

Let’s just jump right into it because I know every minute you’re reading you’re not shooting sick pics in the outdoors. We’re going to break it down into the best camera backpacks for day hiking as well as the best camera backpacks for hiking overnight.

1) Mind Shift Ultralight Sprint 16L

Best for:

  • Short Hikes
  • Front Country or Sidecountry Hiking
  • One DSLR and *possibly* a small lens if you’re lucky
  • Lifestyle Use

Price $120 (Amazon)

Weighing in at a mere 1.9 LBS or ~30 oz the Ultralight Spring camera backpack is somewhere between a college day pack, a camera technical bag, and a day hiking pack.

It won’t pass the test for those of you looking for focused, intense, and purposeful design but it will absolutely pass the test for those of you looking for a one-bag-quiver.

Want a camera backpack that can keep up with the fast paced lifestyle you live in 2016 as a successful photographer? This bag is going to follow you through the airport, into the woods for the afternoon, and back through the streets of downtown for the evening.

DWR coating on this day hiking camera backpack means that it will repel light drizzle and heavy mist. Do not mistake DWR  for true all-protective water proofing though because, as the name suggests, it is simply highly water resistant.

2) Dakine Sequence 33L

Best for:

  • Long or remote day hikes
  • Backcountry or technical terrain requiring extra gear (the ice ax loop might come in handy)
  • Moderate loads or hikes requiring several lenses

Price $143 (Amazon)

Being a full time ski instructor for the past five years, I’ve personally seen Dakine evolve from rare and unknown to prolific and reputable.

There’s enough room in this Dakine pack for plenty of equipment and enough snacks, supplies, and goodies to get you through even the most demanding days of photographing, video shooting, and following your clients up those gnarly slopes, brah.

External daisy chain attachments and ice pick loops mean there’s room on this camera backpack for some accessories but make no mistake; you won’t be stuffing enough contents in here for a multi-day excursion.

A full size padded hip belt will help with load bearing so this camera bag can handle the heavier loads that the extra capacity will require. However, they are not full suspension hip belts that you might expect to find on, say, a 65L Osprey pack. They’re definitely a hybrid and I’m left wondering how comfortable they’ll be.

Added benefit: this backpack has a laptop sleeve.

3) Lowe Pro Whistler BP 450

Best for:

  • Balance of budget, size, and quality
  • Moderate load capacity with an appropriate suspension system
  • Backcountry skiing or sidecountry skiing

Price $299 (Amazon)

It’s no secret that Lowe Pro is marketing this camera backpack straight at the heart of sidecountry skiers. Plenty of external strapping leaves room for skis, axes, avalanche gear, etc.

If you want to shred the pow with your bros and get some sick photos for that next backcountry edit, the Lowe Pro Whistler BP 450 might be your backpack.

I really like that the gear compartment is actually big enough to get critical hiking needs other than your camera to readily fit.


4) Lowe Pro – Pro Trekker 650 AW

Best for:

  • Huge camera loads
  • Extended travel and airline travel where you’ll need every piece of equipment you’ve got
  • Beefy suspension worthy of just about anything you can manage to shove in the pack

Price $286 (Amazon)

This pack is definitely a beast of a camera backpack. If you’re traveling the world and carrying some lenses that are larger than many small dogs, this is the pack for you!

Absolutely less technical than the Whistler BP 450 , this pack is all about camera gear and not about backcountry gear.

You’ll want to stick close to a support team or a town while carrying this pack but it’s exactly what the doctor ordered for traveling photographers that won’t take no for an answer.

If you’re a gear head and want a bag that can handle everything but the kitchen sink, this one’s for you.

5) Osprey Ultralight Camera Case

Best for:

  • Adding to your existing pack
  • Ultra low budget camera protection for hiking
  • Versatile sizing with many options depending on your camera setup

Price $20 – $40 (Amazon)

Here’s the right hook! Osprey is one of my all time favorite brands. When I’m looking for a reputable brand of outdoor bag to recommend to new hikers, I usually go to Osprey.

But this is an article about the best camera backpacks so what gives? Well, if you’re like me, you are very particular about your gear. You’ve already selected and spent hundreds of dollars on the perfect pack.

Instead of buying a whole new pack, maybe all you need is one of these Ultralight Camera Cases from Osprey.

Buy with confidence because Osprey makes a quality product I would recommend to anyone.

About the author

Casey Fiedler

Professional ski instructor and backpacking guide, Casey Fiedler went to school with CWC and NOLS for Outdoor Education and Leadership.Want to read more about what it takes to lead great adventure trips? Casey writes about outdoor education at