A Guide To 15 of the Best Camera Bags:  Backpacks, Shoulder Bags and Roller Bags

Every photographer needs to keep their camera and kit safe and protected, and from backpacks and daysacks to holsters and rollers, photographers can now stow cameras and accessories away for that city stroll or mountain hike.  A well-built bag or backpack could mean the difference between a functioning system and a broken one.  It is important to choose a camera bag that suits the amount of kit you need to carry, how far you’re going to carry it and what kind of access you will need while you are on the move.

1. PEAK DESIGN EVERYDAY MESSENGER 13 V2

A top quality and stylish shoulder bag for your DSLR or mirrorless camera with lens attached, 1 to 2 additional lenses, 13-inch laptop, tablet and accessories.  With a spring-loaded flap-catch with four fastening points, its easy to use and secure.  The flap has a zippered top for easier access, and everything is supported by a wide and supple shoulder strap and a stabilising waist strap that prevents the bag from bouncing. 

Get it online                                                                        https://www.takealot.com/peak-design-everyday-messenger-13-charcoal/PLID46858230

2. Lowepro Photo Sport BP 300 AW II

This Backpack fits DSLR cameras with attached 24-70mm lens and another extra lens.  The UltraCinch design secures your photo gear for bounce-free protection.  This bag comes with built-in All Weather AW Cover to safeguard photo gear from rain.

Get it online                                                                                             https://www.ormsdirect.co.za/lowepro-photo-sport-bp-300-aw-ii-blue

3. Gitzo Adventury 30L

This quality backpack has a capacity for 1 to 2 Pro DSLRs with 70-200mm lens attached, 3 to 4 additional lenses, mirrorless camera with 2 to 3 lenses, 15-inch laptop, tablet and accessories.  With ample space on the inside, stretch pockets on the front and two side flaps, there is more than enough space.

Get it online                                                                                                 https://www.ormsdirect.co.za/gitzo-adventury-45l-camera-backpack

4. Wandrd PRVKE 31

One of the best camera bags out there due to its awesome design, excellent protectiveness and great customisability.  This bag offers a good amount of space for a mirrorless camera, but full frame users might find it insufficient.

Get it online https://www.bidorbuy.co.za/item/432724125/Wandrd_Prvke_Travel_and_DSLR_Camera_Backpack_With_Laptop_or_Tablet_Sleeve_and_Rain_Cover_Green_31.html

5.  Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW

This bag fits 1 to 2 Pro DSLRs, one with up to 70-200m f/2.8 lens attached, 8 lenses/speed lights, 15-inch laptop, tripod and accessories.  The ProTactic 450 AW delivers high-performance to pro photographers who need an urban-inspired pack that delivers on all fronts – accessibility, versatility, comfort and organisation.

Get it online                                                                                            https://www.cameraland.co.za/lowepro-protactic-450-aw-slr-camera-and-laptop-backpack-black

6.  LowePro Streetline SL 140

The Streetline SL 140 has a capacity for a small DSLR or mirrorless camera, 1 to 2 additional lenses, 11-inch laptop, tablet and accessories.  This pocket-packed shoulder bag flat-packs when empty and is probably not rugged enough for landscape photographers but is ideal for around the city and makes for a great carry-on bag for flights.

Get it online                                                                                         https://www.outdoorphoto.co.za/lowepro-streetline-SL-140-CSLWSTLSL140G

7. Vanguard VEO Discover 46

Ideal for DSLR users that may want to switch between backpack and sling options.  The Vanguard VEO Discover 46 bag has a capacity for DSLR, 3 to 4 lenses, flashgun, 13-inch laptop, tripod and small accessories.  You can access your kit from the right or left sides and the base is scratch and water-resistant to keep everything safe.

Get it online                                                                                  https://cameratek.co.za/products/vanguard-veo-discover-46-sling-backpack

8. Peak Design Everyday Backpack

This backpack has a tripod attachment and an additional compartment for a laptop or tablet.  The Peak Design Everyday range is available in 20L and 30L varieties and is designed for ease of use.  This bag is weatherproofed down to the zips and will protect your gear even in harsh rainstorms.

Get it online                                                                                                https://www.cameraland.co.za/peak-everyday-backpack-20l-charcoal

9. LowePro Tahoe BP 150

This budget backpack camera bag has movable dividers inside making it easy to secure your camera gear and can be configured for a DSLR and 2 to 3 lenses, with a small zipped area for other items.  This flexible bag can be used for street photography to the great outdoors for hiking.

Get it online                                                                                     https://cameralandsandton.co.za/lowepro-tahoe-bp-150-red/

10. Manfrotto Advanced Befree Backpack

This is one of the best bags for professionals and is a roomy bag for photographers on the move.  This bag is cabin size friendly and can comfortably stash its travel-sized tripods alongside your camera gear and comes with a protective rain cover.

Get it online                                                                                                 https://www.takealot.com/manfrotto-advanced-befree-backpack-v2-black/PLID52859054

11. Think Tank Signature

This Shoulder bag/sling offers modern durability and protection.  The Think Tank Signature is a modern take on the shoulder bag that still features a tactile wool-feel fabric and hand-sewn construction, with weather protection and durability which is what a photographer would demand.  This bag will house a laptop/tablet alongside a DSLR camera and lenses, and you get a mobile phone pocket.  The dividers and foam in the base can be removed to create a completely collapsible bag for convenient storage when not in use.  One of the best camera shoulder bags you will find.

Get it online                                                                     https://www.outdoorphoto.co.za/think-tank-signature-13-camera-shoulder-bag-slate-grey

12. Lowepro PhotoStream RL150

A Streamlined roller, ideal for airline carry-on.  You can fit a couple of hefty DSLRs in this bag and still have space to keep an abundance of extra lenses, flashguns and other bits and pieces.  Given how much gear you can pack into this rolling case, it is amazing that it will fit as standard airline carry-on luggage, which makes it very useful for trips abroad.

Get it online                                                                                https://www.dtsales.co.za/products/lowepro-photostream-rl-150-black

13. Domke F-5XA

This bag is ideal for a digital SLR with a short lens, or a point and shoot plus all your wires and accessories.  There are 2 pockets that can fit your mobile phone, MP3 player or PDA.  The Domke F-5XA is one of the best small travel camera bags out there.  This bag is perfect for travel photographers that use smaller compact or mirrorless cameras with only a lens or two.

Get it online https://www.ubuy.za.com/brand/domke?q=domke&brand=fujifilm&node_id=541966

14. Lowepro Toploader Zoom 50 AW II

This holster style camera bag is great for photographers that want quick access to their camera.  By wearing your camera at your waist or on the front of your person, you can grab your camera and start shooting fast.  The Lowepro Toploader Zoom 50 AW II can accommodate a large DSLR with a lens attached.

Get it online                                                                                         https://www.cameraland.co.za/lowepro-toploader-zoom-50-black

15.  Case Logic SLRC-206

This backpack fits SLR camera body with attached lens, drones up to 320mm x 270mm x 140mm and a variety of accessories.  The waterproof EVA base withstands the elements and allows the case to stand up on its own.  The various spacers and dividers inside can be readjusted to fit any lens or camera.  The most notable feature is the camera hammock found near the top of the bag – this conveniently suspends your camera inside of the bag, allowing for quick access and excellent protection.

Get it online                                                                     https://www.fotodiscountworld.co.za/product/case-logic-slrc-206-slr-camera-laptop-backpack/

With simple point-and-shoot cameras all you need is a small holster style bag or a simple camera pouch, but if you are carrying mirrorless or DSLR cameras with a couple of lenses, and maybe flashguns, filters and other accessories, you will need a bigger bag with more protection.

Messenger/Shoulder Bags

The most traditional type – they are easy to put on and take off and you can get access to your gear quickly.  Roomy enough to carry everything you need for a long day’s shooting, with a variety of compartments that can house your camera, drone, charger, lenses, SD cards, and other accessories.  Their only disadvantage is that carrying a heavy weight over one shoulder for a long time can become uncomfortable.

Holsters

Holster bags are smaller than shoulder bags and are meant to hold just one camera with a lens at a time.  You can usually find one that fits your make and model exactly and are a useful addition to your kit that can fit inside your suitcase, travel bag or other larger backpack.

Camera Backpacks

Camera backpacks are another popular way to carry gear.  Backpacks must be removed before accessing contents, but this also means that the bag is out of the way, a preference for many photographers.  Backpacks are a great way to carry not your DSLR and a variety of lenses and accessories, but also your tablet or laptop.

Roller Bag

With similar capacity to a standard backpack, roller bags are meant to be rolled on the ground and obviously not meant for rugged, remote work, but rather for urban projects where the bag can easily navigate.