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Photography Backpacks
For Hiking

Love to photograph your hikes? Hiking For Her has some tips on how to pick the perfect pack for both your trail gear and camera gear. #outdoorphotography #hikingphotos

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.

Features you need in
photography backpacks for hiking

By Diane Spicer

Before you think features, first think about the type of photographer you are, or aspire to be.

In the moment photos

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.

Camera + tripod

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.

  • Do the zippers on the pack slide quickly?
  • Is there a Velcro closure that you have to r-r-r-r-r-ip open?

Serious photographer

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.

Camera packs - how to choose?

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.

Option 1

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".


  • Wastes your time
  • Return or exchange policy might be difficult to use
  • Exposes your camera gear to less than ideal conditions

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.

  • Just don't abuse their good humor.

Second option for picking a pack

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.


  • Locating a store where you can try on the backpack
  • Taking a chance on ordering the pack, only to return it when it doesn't fit or has the wrong dimensions
  • Your top pick not being available any longer, replaced by something new that hasn't been reviewed yet

Third option

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.

  • If they're not using photography backpacks for hiking, ask what features they'd really love to see on a pack.
  • Or how they've modified their hiking backpack to accommodate camera gear.

When you find the hiker who matches your style of photography and your camera, use the camera pack they recommend.

  • Why not leave the leg work to someone else?
  • Definitely shortens your learning curve!

Camera backpacks to consider

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:

Lowepro 350 AW DSLR Video Fastpack

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:

Lowepro Photo Sport BP 200 AW II

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.

Camera bag -vs-
photography backpacks for hiking

Protect your investment by choosing the best method of carrying your camera gear on your next hike.

  • Maybe all you need is a waterproof bag for your lightweight inexpensive camera. Even a ziplock bag might do it for you.
  • Or maybe you need a dedicated photography backpack for your camera gear, with room for additional lensesa and a tripod.

Don't carry more than you need, but definitely don't skimp on durability, convenience and weather proofing.

Happy Snapping!

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