One thing I’ve learned during traveling the hard way is that there’s one piece of equipment you shouldn’t save money on: your backpack! Seriously, if you’re traveling and hiking around the world taking photos, you should definitely have the best travel backpack for photographers with you that fits in your budget. I’ve taken some strenuous hikes in the past while travling around the globe where I had to carry my DSLR camera with me. For example I climbed Huyana Picchu in 9.000 feet altitude in Peru with just a normal backpack on my back. At approximately half-way up, my back started to hurt because my backpack did not fit for my cameras I took and the lens kept bumping into me. Same goes for Angkor Wat: carrying the gear through the jungle for a whole day of photographing on your back makes you realize you definitely need the best travel backpack for photographers available out there!
What does the best travel backpack need?
Should you just go out and buy the very first backpack that reads “I’m the best travel backpack for photographers”? Definitely not! There are certain key things to look at when chosing the best travel backpack for you:
- Weight: Your backpack needs to be as lightweight as possible for long hikes
- Size: The best travel backpack for photographers always is just large enough to carry all necessary gear
- Sturdiness: A photographer’s travel backpack needs to be sturdy enough to protect your precious lenses everywhere you go
- Weather Proofing: The best travel backpack for photographers protects your gear in rain, sandstorms and snow
The Top Five Best Travel Backpacks
Rank 5: Canon Deluxe Photo Backpack
If you’re on an extremely(!) tight budget, the Canon Deluxe is the best travel backpack for you. It has plenty of compartments for your gear so you won’t run out of space. It will fit two smaller DSLR bodies and three lenses – but you’ll have plenty of additional space for your accesories like cloths, batteries or storage cards. Some photographers I know even fit a small tripod in it – so it’s quite enough room for “normal” photographers. As it is coated, it will repell water and withstand wet conditions – not as well as more expensive products though. The padded shoulder straps and back will make the Canon Deluxe the best travel backpack for photographers on a budget!
Pros: Very good price, enough space for your photography gear
Rank 4: Case Logic SLRC-206
The Case Logic SLRC-206 is one of the sturdiest travel backpacks out there. It has an awesome protection system at the bottom of the backpack where normally the biggest impacts might be. The hammock system there really makes sure that your DSLR at the bottom of the backpack is perfectly protected. It is also a great choice for photographers that need to have their laptop with them as it has its own laptop compartment (up to 17″ laptops). Additionally, you can move around all the interior compartments to your liking so it will fit your camera best. Of course, it is waterproof as well. The only drawbacks that makes it maybe not the best travel backpack for photographers out there are the big size of the compartment dividers (reducing space) and the huge size of the bottom protection (reducing space and adding weight).
Pros: Very sturdy, great protection from all sides
Rank 3: Tamrac 5729 Zuma 9
The Tamrac 5729 Zuma 9 is a different backpack compared to the other ones here. It is rather small, but not too small; it will fit your camera, lenses and accesories perfectly. It is also a very discreet backpack. If security is an issue at your travels (e.g. in crisis regions) you do not want to catch much attention of possible thieves. Showing around your 10.000 USD camera gear in a flashy camera backpack can be a bad thing to do then. Another feature that plays into that: you can only open this camera backpack through a zipper in the back of it. This way, thieves at even the busiest street markets can’t steal something out of your bag. It comes with a rain cover that will protect it quite nicely against extreme conditions as well. Taking all this into account, the Tamrac Zuma 9 is the best travel backpack for photographers in dangerous parts of the world!
Pros: Very discreet, small, quality
Rank 2: Koolertron Canvas Backpack
The Koolertron Canvas Travel Backpack is a very different backpack. If you see it, you will never guess that someone os carrying expensive photography gear in it – which is an awesome feature! You just look like a regular backpacker and not like the photographer of the year that you are (yeah…sure). It has nice padded compartments inside (again, no one would expect that) and will fit and protect your camera perfectly. It is made from cotton water canvas and is very comfortable to travel around with. Of course, it does not have the features like other ones. Just the fact though that it will take your expensive gear into complete stealth mode makes it the best travel backpack for photographers that are into safety.
Pros: “Incognito” travel backpack for photographers
Rank 1: Case Logic Kilowatt KSB-102
Finally, the Case Logic Kilowatt KSB-102 is the best travel backpack for photographers in my opinion. Although it is the most expensive, you should invest the extra 50USD to get the best protection for your expensive photography gear. The greatest feature of this backpack is that you can carry it in three different ways: as a backpack, but also over your left or right shoulder as a sling pack. It has enough space for your cameras and laptops, as well as awesome fittings and paddings inside to protect them. Elastic straps inside the backpack will keep your gear in place. Additionally, you can access your camera, lenses and accessories through different compartments and openings on all sides. Tripod straps will also carry your tripod around, and the included weather hood keeps it dry during rain. You will also get a 25 year warranty on the basic functionalities! All these factors combined, the Case Logic Kilowatt is the best travel backpack for photographers out there for me!
Pros: Awesome features, flexibility, great value