Some camera backpacks are all-rounders and can be used to hold quite a lot of gear plus enough of the other travel essentials. Some are good as carry on bags for flying, while others are more like daypacks for those photography jaunts around a city. Nature enthusiasts may prefer a hiking backpack with hydration features, while large body DSLR users may find that they’ll need large packs overall.
The following reviews cover quite a few styles but they’re all good for female travelers even if they’re are unisex in design. If you’d like to see more camera backpacks for travel, check them out at Amazon now!
If you’re looking for the best camera laptop backpack, we’ll cover that in a separate post, as they tend vary in features and size themselves. If you’re not after pack specifically designed for your camera gear, read our reviews for travel backpacks to carry on your flight or our picks for best daypacks.
Best Camera Backpack for Travel in a City
Lowepro Photo Hatchback 16L AW
For a casual, yet highly functional all-round camera backpack, consider the Lowepro Photo Hatchback. It may not look like a particularly feminine option like the Isaac Mizrahi one below, but as a technical backpack, it’s pretty good looking and is high performance for an urban photography tour or even for an all day adventure. It is the most secure pack you can get if you’re worried about theft of your camera while out and about in a big city. It does not have a dedicated hydration reservoir pocket, but there are two external side pockets for water bottles.
This pack measures 10.8 x 7.3 x 18.5 inches and weighs just under 2 pounds.
The removable camera hatch is located at the bottom with double zippered access from the back, so it’s completely secure when you’re wearing the pack. It has its own storm flap and two grab handles to safely remove your gear and store it separately from the pack. When the hatch is removed, this backpack can be used as a regular daypack. The camera hatch has dividers and enough space for a small DSLR with attached lens and 1 or 2 extra lenses or flash, a compact camera with attached lens and 2-3 extra lenses, or a GoPro with accessory kit.
A dual compartment on the front of the pack houses a padded pouch for a tablet or compact laptop and other quick access items. A top compartment gives you space for other personal items, like a jacket, packed lunch, sunglasses, etc., and there is a smaller zippered pocket here for keys, a memory card pocket for extra camera memory, and two stretched mesh pockets for other small items. There are special attachment loops on the shoulder pads to allow you to add extra storage capability.
The waist, sternum and shoulder straps are all padded and adjustable and the back panel is mesh-covered and provides all day breath-ability. A top webbed grab handle lets you quickly grab and go. An all-weather cover protects the entire bag from the elements.
While this is the most secure bag, it is not designed to be quick access. You have to remove the pack to take out your camera gear. However, as long as you’re not carrying one of the largest cameras out there, this is probably the best DSLR camera backpack you can buy.
Isaac Mizrahi The Kathryn Camera Backpack
This is the most stylish of our picks, as the Isaac Mizrahi Kathryn Full Size Backpack is styled like a backpack purse and not a camera bag even though it can hold quite a lot of camera gear. The coated canvas leather-look exterior is waterproof and easy to wipe clean, and the gold toned hardware and leather accents and straps make it one of the best camera backpacks for women to wear while photographing a city’s sights.
Inside the main compartment is a well padded divided camera insert that can hold the body of a DSLR camera plus 7 lenses and accessories. This insert is removable, so the pack can be used as a regular backpack purse when not moving around with your camera. There is an interior divider with space for a tablet that can be accessed from a vertical zippered pocket on the exterior rear of the pack. This interior space also features several pockets and compartments for your cards, smartphone, keys, etc.
It features a secure magnetic closure flap over the top. There are dual zippered vertical openings to the inside near the front. When the main compartment is zipped closed, the flap hides the zippers and the top of the bag’s interior is additionally secured by Velcro. Two slip pockets on the sides are useful for anything that needs quick access.
The leather backpack straps are adjustable and there’s a top grip handle to grab and go, although this can cause the magnetic closure to pop open if the bag is completely full.
This pack measures 15″ x 12″ x 5″ and weighs 3.8 lbs. There is also a mini version of this Kathryn backpack, which holds fewer lenses or accessories.
Case Logic FLXB-102 Reflexion DSLR with iPad Backpack
For a backpack that does not look like one but comes with unique features that blend into quite a chic bag, the Case Logic Reflexion is a winner, with a trendy polyester shell and breathable back panel material. The design features two horizontal halves that are stacked on top of one another in a split-pack style and joined by a zipped closure. When unzipped, the top half flips up and back to reveal the bottom half that is the camera compartment covered by a flap.
The camera compartment holds a removable pod with padded walls and dividers, a cinch-top closure and grab handles to lift out of the compartment so that you can leave your camera gear behind and use the pack like a regular backpack whenever you want. This compartment also features a side padded pouch to hold a tablet. The pod has space for a DSLR camera, one or two additional lenses or flash and accessories.
When you zip close the bottom compartment of the split pack, you can then fill the top compartment through a full zipped opening with things like books, jacket, snacks, etc.
The front of the bag features two pockets. The top one is smaller with a slanting zipped opening where you can store things you need to get to quickly, like a smartphone or lens cap. Below that is a full pocket with a flap cover that fastens with easy to use snap buttons that don’t require you to push into the bag because of built in finger loops. This flap hides a zip top organizer pocket that has space and secure pockets for a phone, passport, wallet, adapters, cords, earphones, pens, etc. This design deters thieves from trying to slyly steal your important things.
One side of the bag features an elastic top mesh pocket for a water bottle, while the other side features a similar one where you can either store another bottle or travel umbrella, or you can use it to store a tripod and secure the top of it with the loop fastener that is above it.
For carrying the pack, you have adjustable padded shoulder straps and a top grab handle. The bottom is anti-slip so you need not worry about it sliding off a ledge or seat in the car and this also protects the contents from getting wet if you set it down on a wet surface.
This backpack weighs 2.7 pounds and measures 12.2 x 7.9 x 18.5 inches. While it is a very roomy bag, you may not want to pack too much stuff, as there are no waist or sternum straps to help even out and distribute the load.
Best Camera Backpack with Tripod Holder and Hydration Compartment
Lowepro LP36421-PWW Flipside Sport 10L AW
If you’re a sports or active adventure photographer, you’ll probably need to take a tripod with you, in which case it is good to have a dedicated tripod holder in your camera backpack. The Lowepro Flipside Sport is a great technical pack made of ripstop nylon with PU coating. It is a minimal pack with a sleek and low profile and is great for small kits. It measures 8.9 x 7.3 x 16 inches and weighing under 2 lbs. You can fit in a DSLR camera with an attached lens, 1 or 2 extra lenses or flashes, a tripod, a 1 liter hydration reservoir in its own pocket, as well as other extra accessories.
You can have quick side access to the main compartment without removing the pack from your back. Just rotate it to your front to reach your camera. This camera hatch features a storm-flap closure so your gear doesn’t get wet if you open the bag when it’s raining. The hatch can be completely removed if you want to use the bag just as a daypack. A back panel pocket is meant for other small accessories. The tripod holder keeps your tripod or monopod secure at all times and there are additional attachment points for hiking gear too.
The back and shoulders remain comfortable in hot weather because of the breathable padding and moisture wicking material. The shoulders, sternum and waist straps can be adjusted for maximum comfort. A built-in all-weather cover provides protection in storms or at the beach.
Keep in mind that while there is a hydration reservoir pocket on this pack, it is too small to hold a standard 2 litre Camelbak, so this pack is not meant for long day hikes or extremely large camera kits. For that, see the Photo Sport below.
Best Camera Backpack for Hiking
Lowepro Photo Sport BP 200 AW II
While this is not a small backpack by any means, the Lowepro Photo Sport is very light, weighing just 2.6 lbs, and features the ActivZone harness for targeted carrying comfort even when in motion. The padded stabilizing waistbelt, shoulder straps and sternum belt are all adjustable. Its external dimensions are 9.7″ x 7.6″ x 20.5″ and works great as a carry on. It fits a mirrorless or compact DSLR camera with attached lens and an adapter and flash or extra lens. You can get this pack in black or blue.
If the photographer is on the move a lot, a special UltraCinch design lets her cinch and secure photography equipment quickly with just one pull of a tab, so nothing gets bounced around inside. This padded camera hatch has side access and sits below the top compartment. This top main compartment is top loading, with a space big enough to carry a day’s worth of personal stuff. A built in all-weather cover ensures that all the equipment is safe from the elements, be it rain or sand. The front pocket is meant for hiking and other outdoor equipment, like a bike helmet, gloves, light jacket, etc.
There is even a dedicated pocket for a 2 litre Camelback or Platypus reservoir (not included) that features quick release and internal routing if needed. While there is no dedicated holder for a tripod, there are multiple attachment points for one as well as for trekking poles.