We’ve tested a lot of camera bags. Here are others that we really like but that have been eclipsed by our top picks.
Wandrd Roam 9L Sling for $149: Wandrd’s new sling comes in three sizes: 3, 6, and 9 liters. I tried the latter, and it’s become the pack I carry on all my bike and e-scooter rides. It can be carried as a sling, messenger, or waist pack, and because the soft padding conforms to my back, it’s really nice to wear for long periods. The mix of 840-denier and 1680D ballistic nylon and water-resistant YKK zippers make it feel like it’s worth twice its price too. There’s also plenty of space for cameras, lenses, and other accessories. Need to carry a tripod? Cinch it to the bottom with the included straps. Need to bring a large tablet or laptop? Get Wandrd’s laptop case ($46), which elegantly slots in vertically in the rear-most pocket. The only reason this pick isn’t listed above as a full recommendation is because of shipping delays; it’s not expected to arrive until the spring of 2022.
Domke F-832 Shoulder Bag for $162: This is the bag I (Julian) used to cover the 2014 December march on Washington, DC, (Domke bags are also the official camera bag of the White House News Photographer Association). Fair warning: The padding at the bottom isn’t thick, and the included inserts are flimsily attached via a single line of velcro on the bag’s interior. But I still like this bag because it’s so roomy. Back when my photo kit consisted of my camera and a single extra battery, I was able to toss spare clothes, a laptop, and toiletries into this bag without needing to think much about organizing anything. The waxed canvas exterior doesn’t immediately let on that you’ve got camera gear inside, which is an advantage while traveling.
Gitzo Legende Camera Backpack for $230: This Gitzo bag arguably has the best aesthetic of all the backpacks in this guide, as if you’re Indiana Jones heading off on a new adventure. There’s a side access pocket, but getting to anything else in the bottom camera cube is a chore. It’s just not very intuitively designed. There’s a separate section for your laptop, but many of the zippered pockets, side pockets, and pouches are very small and can only fit so much.
Lowepro PhotoSport Outdoor Backpack III 15L for $180: This pack only looks good on the trail and can only fit a small DSLR or mirrorless in its removable cube (with side access!). It’ll mesh well with your other hiking gear, and there’s a good amount of room for snacks and anything else you’d want on short hikes (including a 2-liter hydration bladder). It’s made of 75 percent recycled fabrics.