Photographers often spend more money on gear than they care to admit, between cameras, lenses, flashes, and other accessories. A good bag will help protect that investment, but the best camera bags will do it in style. Whether you need a shoulder bag, backpack, or sling bag small or large, here are our favorite bags for all walks of photographer.
No camera bag brand is as synonymous with style as ONA. The Bowery is one of their smaller options, a messenger bag that holds a camera and a couple of lenses. ONA offers it in various finishes and has made multiple special editions over the years. The base canvas model starts at $169, is weather-resistant, and features leather and brass accents. Prices go up from there for the full leather version and other options. The bowery’s front buckle can be easily released with a hidden clasp, providing the best of form and function, and the shoulder strap can be completely removed if you’d rather use the bag as an insert.
The Bowery lives at the starting point of the ONA line. If you’re looking for something larger, you may want to try the Brixton.
Domke is to camera bags what Levi’s is to jeans. For decades, photographers turned to Domke to keep their gear secure, and the brand is still used by photojournalists the world over.
Starting at $59, the F-5XB shoulder bag presents an affordable entry point into the Domke family, complete with that retro styling taken straight from the 1970s. Perfect for small, mirrorless systems, the F-5XB comfortably fits a camera body and two lenses, and is available in a variety of colors and editions (including the Fujifilm X Series collaboration shown above).
Of course, the Domke F-5XB is far from the only option in the brand’s catalog. Check out the original F-2 shoulder bag if you require more capacity.
The original goal of Kelly Moore Bag was to make a camera bag that didn’t look stupid, by adding fashion to functionality. At the time, few bag manufacturers bothered to do this and the Kelly Moore brand exploded, particularly with women photographers.
The Woodstock 2.0 is a stylish backpack that’s small enough to be carried by hand with a built-in grab handle. Its chic, minimalist exterior hides a deceptively technical interior, with 19 compartments in all, including three clear pockets that let you see what’s where. The camera insert holds a DSLR or mirrorless body with lens attached, plus one to two additional lenses. Padded all around, it will keep your gear safe without drawing attention to it (other than the occasional comment about what a nice bag you have).
Kelly Moore now offers many different styles for both men and women, as well as a number of camera straps and personal accessories.
A sling bag only needs to do one thing to be successful: grant unimpeded, quick access to your camera. The Moment Rugged Camera Sling does that and much more. Made from 100% recycled sailcloth, it is green, durable, and water-resistant. In fact, Moment says it is the first company to put that material on a product. We also really like the unique clips, which use a combination of magnets and physical buckles for a quick, secure clasp.
What really sets the Moment Sling apart from the competition, though, is comfort. With a contoured back panel, it hugs the wearer’s back for a snug, stable fit, while a secondary support strap adds further stability when needed. Available in both 6-liter and 10-liter sizes, it can hold a variety of gear while straps on the bottom can carry a tripod.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about this bag is that it came from a company that didn’t make bags. Moment is known for its high-quality add-on lenses for mobile devices; the Rugged 6L and 10L is its first bag.
Wandrd has made a name for itself with high-quality, stylish backpacks. When we reviewed the Wandrd Prvke (pronounced “provoke”), we found it to be one of the most versatile camera backpacks we had ever tested. But if you don’t need the expandability of a roll-top, the new Duo Daypack may have it beat.
Our favorite thing about the Duo is its sleek, minimalist exterior that doesn’t scream camera bag. Unzip the large main compartment and a host of storage options are revealed. A pop-out camera cube at the base can hold a mirrorless camera or DSLR with a lens attached, plus one additional lens separated by a moveable divider. You can access the cube from either side of the bag, or fully unzip the main panel to access both sides at once.
Don’t need the camera cube? Simply fold it closed to open up more general-purpose space within the main compartment.
Two expandable pockets above the camera cube can hold more lenses, if desired, or are perfect for things like chargers and flashes. Cable management is a breeze thanks to several other pockets that are liberally scattered throughout the interior, which also offer good places to stash extra batteries. Naturally, laptop and tablet sleeves are included.
The Duo is also one of the most comfortable backpacks we’ve tried, with perfectly positioned shoulder straps and a removable chest strap. Two grab handles, one top and one side, also allow for quick get-up-and-go.
If your notion of style is less Coach and more Columbia, the MindShift Gear Rotation180 Horizon may be for you. Of all the backpacks on this list, this is by far the most unique. MindShift Gear is a division of Think Tank Photo, so the brand has a lot of experience behind it. The Rotation180 Horizon combines a quick-access belt system into a camera backpack. Packed inside the bottom of the Rotation180 Horizon 34L is a dedicated compartment that can house a DSLR and up to three lenses. This compartment locks into place inside the backpack, but with the quick lift of a magnetic connector, you can swing the compartment around from your back, granting instant access to your gear without needing to take off the pack. Above the rotating belt pack, you’re given a generous amount of storage space for clothing, food, chargers, tablets, and more. For photographers who enjoy back-country hikes, it doesn’t get any better than this.
If streetwear is more your style and you want a backpack that can serve as both a camera bag and travel pack, Los Angeles-based Mission Workshop has a setup that fits the bill. Mission Workshop’s Radian roll-top backpack paired with its Capsule camera insert makes for a solid setup that gets the job done without looking like a camera bag. The massive, 42-liter bag somehow manages to still look stealthy when you carry it about town. It offers a dedicated side-access laptop pocket on the rear of the bag and is compatible with Mission Workshop’s rail accessory system, which lets you slide on different pocket modules to fit your needs.
It comes in a variety of colors, including gray, black, and black camouflage. It’s also produced using strong material- a two-layer weatherproof substance designed to prevent your bag and equipment from getting wet or damaged in the elements. The Capsule camera insert slips straight into the bag’s central compartment, but you can also opt to carry the bag by itself with the unique zippered cover and grab handle. This spacious pack can carry up a maximum of two cameras and three to four lenses, depending on your specific recording situation. The Radian costs $585, and the Capsule is available for $130 (our kitted-out review unit came to over $800). The price might seem a bit on the high side, but remember that all Mission Workshop retail is made in the U.S.A. and offers a lifetime warranty, so you can feel certain that you’re making a good investment. If you need to downsize, we suggest considering the Rhake.
The V2 is an updated and eco-friendly version of the popular and highly-rated Peak Design Everyday Backpack. It offers a lifelong guarantee and comes in 20- or 30-liter sizes. The convenient internal dividers can be repositioned to fit your preferences and accommodate many different lenses and cameras.
The modernized new model of the V2 features a watertight and completely recycled outer shell, durable zippers that won’t get stuck, more spacious laptop sleeves, and shoulder straps with added padding for extra comfort. The Everyday Backpack V2 even has side pouches that expand to accommodate water bottles and other various items, plus anti-theft zipper pulls.
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