Photography backpacks for hiking need to be just as durable as any other type of hiking backpack, but should deliver a specific set of features that make taking photos a snap.
Camera backpacks come in a range of sizes, to fit a wide variety of camera sizes.
But don't let size be the only feature you consider when selecting the best photography backpack.
by Diane Spicer
Before you think features, first think about the type of photographer you are, or aspire to be.
If you like to snap casual photos of your hiking escapades, you probably don't need a camera bag on every day hike.
Your regular day hike backpack might have enough room for your camera in an outer pocket.
And if your pack has a rain cover, your camera (or smartphone with a camera) will be well protected from the elements.
Are you carrying a more robust camera, plus a tripod?
Then you need a sturdy but comfortable pack that delivers lots of storage space along with rugged protection for your expensive camera gear.
If you specialize in "catch the action" shots (think of a deer suddenly materializing on the trail), be sure you can get to your camera quickly without making a lot of noise.
If you are all about cameras, maybe even carrying more than one at a time, or multiple lens with a tripod, then you really need to carefully consider how to squeeze comfort, durability, protection, and affordability into one little camera backpack.
There are three good ways to go about finding the perfect photography backpacks for hiking..
Let's take a look at each, and mention a few down sides as well.
Buy a pack based on the size of your camera and level of hiking expertise.
Give it a try on your next hike.
Return or exchange it until you find "The One".
If you go this route, I'd recommend sticking with tried and true backpack manufacturers to minimize any return hassles.
Some good choices are mentioned below.
Read every review of photography backpacks for hiking that you can find.
Based on your findings, narrow down your search to two or three options.
Then go shopping, knowing that your pre-planning will shorten your trajectory to the perfect photography backpack for hiking.
Chat up every photographer you meet on the trail.
Ask not only which camera they use, but what they think of the camera pack they're using.
When you find the hiker who matches your style of photography and your camera, use the camera pack they recommend.
I am a huge fan of Mountainsmith photography packs.
They never seem to show wear and tear, the zippers and other closures never stick or jam, and they're comfortable to wear.
REI carries their Spectrum Camera Pack.
The price is reasonable, but note that you won't be taking this pack on long or arduous dayhikes. That's not really what it's built for.
For more rugged hiking conditions, consider another trusted name in photography backpacks: Lowe.
Here's an intermediate pack to take a good look at:
It has a detachable rain cover, plenty of internal organized compartments for your camera gear, and attachment points for a tripod.
But for a pack that combines the best hiking backpack features with camera pack features, consider this features-loaded Lowe photography backpack:
It will appeal to the hiker in you, with room for your 2 liter hydration reservoir, a rain cover, multiple attachment points for your trekking poles and tripod, and zippered pockets on the hip belt.
Plenty of room for your camera, either mirrorless or DSLR with attached lens.
Protect your investment by choosing the best method of carrying your camera gear on your next hike.
Don't carry more than you need, but definitely don't skimp on durability, convenience and weather proofing.
Photography Backpacks For Hiking
Looking for other types of backpacks for hiking?
About the author
Diane is the founder of Hiking For Her.
She's been on a hiking trail somewhere in the world for 5+ decades & loves to share her best hiking tips right here.
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Photo credits: All photos on this website were taken by David Midkiff or Diane Spicer except where noted.
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