We’ve tested a lot of camera bags. Here are others that we really like but that have been eclipsed by our top picks.
Clever Supply Camera Sling for $249: I love the look of this waxed canvas bag and its flourishes of full-grain leather. It’s a classic and classy design that makes me happy whenever I head out the door with my camera in tow. It’s comfy and easy to adjust the shoulder strap, and there are three grab handles on the top and sides so you have a lot of carrying options. It can fit my Nikon Z 6, two small lenses, and a compact tablet. (Smaller than 11 inches; it didn’t fit the OnePlus Pad.) There’s a zippered pouch inside to store storage cards, and a zippered pocket on the exterior for cables. My main gripe is that opening the main compartment sometimes requires two hands—the zipper gets stuck on the corner so I need my other hand to keep the bag in place. I wish the front pocket also had more give; when the bag is full, it feels too tight to put anything in there.
Peak Design Everyday Backpack for $280: This is the slightly bigger and more feature-packed version of the Everyday Zip we recommend above. Instead of a zipper that goes all the way around, you have two zippers for each side and a flap at the top that you can use Peak Design’s MagLatch system to cinch up if you don’t need the extra space up top. There are various pouches for organization throughout, as well as side pockets that can hold a compact tripod. I tried the 20-liter model, but if you have a lot of gear, you may want to spring for the 30 liter.
Peak Design Everyday Sling for $160: The Everyday Sling has long been one of my (Jaina) personal favorites for everyday carry or heading out for a day of shooting. It comes with flexible dividers you can adjust or remove, depending on how much organization or storage space you need. It comes in 3-, 6-, and 10-liter sizes. The 10-liter version has room for a 13-inch MacBook Pro, a charger, and my FujiFilm X-Pro 2 camera. If you need room for additional lenses or a larger camera body, you might want to forego the MacBook; it can get a little tight in there.
Hex Cinema Backpack for $240: This very similar to the Backloader, except it has a larger 28-liter volume instead of 20 liters, so it can fit a lot more gear. That’s not the only change: It swaps out the straps on one side of the bag in favor of a side-access pocket, so it’s even easier to access the camera. Where the Backloader feels like an everyday backpack, the Cinema feels like a bag you’d take on multi-day shoots.
Hex Backloader Backpack for $200: I usually prefer bags with side access, but I’ve been quite happy with the Hex Backloader. Yes, you need to take it off your back to access all your gear, but an access point at the very top makes it easy to quickly pull out the camera. The main compartment in the back is really spacious and is outfitted with tons of Velcro dividers, so you have lots of room for customization. There are organizational mesh pouches and pockets galore, a padded section in the front that can fit a 15-inch laptop, straps on one side for a tripod, and a pouch on the other for a bottle. It’s super comfy to carry around, sternum strap and all.
Shimoda Explore V2 25 Backpack for $373: I really like this backpack, but it’s a touch too expensive. It’s supremely comfortable to carry, thanks to its extensive padding, and the whole thing is water-resistant to keep your gear safe. I was able to stuff it with a surprising number of items despite its relatively slim size (all of which you can access from the rear), including a tripod in its side deployable pocket that you can cinch tight with a strap. There’s side access to the camera, tons of pockets for organization (I love the little pouch on the arm straps), and a padded sleeve for a 13-inch laptop.
Wotancraft Scout Daily Camera Bag 9L for $299: If you’re after a stylish messenger, I’ve always liked the designs from Wotancraft, and the Scout is no different. It’s made of durable Cordura with some cowhide leather thrown in for the straps on the flap. The main compartment is spacious and separated by sturdy dividers, along with a padded laptop pouch that can just barely fit a 13-inch MacBook Air. There are two pouches in the front that can loosely carry some small items, but there’s not much in the way of organization here. There is a luggage pass-through and a rear zippered pocket, but no side pockets and no easy way to attach a tripod.
Ona The Bowery Compact Messenger Bag for $209: I’ve owned this bag (the black waxed-canvas version) for seven years, and it remains in great shape. It’s attractive and perfect for short outings, with plenty of padding and a divider to keep your gear protected. You’ll only be able to fit a camera and one extra lens. There’s a pouch on the back I’ve used to stow a Nintendo Switch or a Kindle, and I shove my cables, batteries, and SD cards in the pouch on the front. Unfortunately, the two side pockets are too tight to fit anything bigger than a pen or a microfiber cloth. One perk? You can quickly detach the strap to turn the Bowery into a camera cube for a bigger backpack. It comes in an array of colors and materials.
Tenba DNA 16 DSLR Backpack for $230: You can access your camera from the front of this bag, and the compartment cooly folds out, like a drawer. There’s enough space to fit a big camera and a few lenses, but don’t forget the padded laptop compartment in back, a roll-top you can expand, and another zippered area for additional items. You can comfortably put a water bottle and a tripod into each side pocket. I took it with me on a trip to DC, and the front looks a bit scuffed up already, but it’s an otherwise fine bag.
Manfrotto Pro Light Frontloader Backpack for $235: Unzip the main front compartment and you can access all your camera gear neatly sectioned apart by the included Velcro divider system. This 25-liter bag is roomy, but that also makes it quite puffy on your back—you might bump into folks in crowds if you’re not careful. There’s side access for the camera, which is nice, but it’s an otherwise dreary-looking pack.
Tenba Fulton V2 16L Backpack for $140: I really prefer bags that have some way to quickly grab the camera, and that’s why the Fulton V2 isn’t higher above: The only way to pull out camera gear is by taking the bag off and unzipping the back compartment. (Technically, you can access this compartment from the roll top, but that requires undoing a lot of Velcro.) Otherwise, it’s a nice, small bag that can fit a good amount of gear, with an expandable roll top to store lunch or spare clothes, a stretchable mesh side pocket for bottles, and a canvas side pocket that can fit small tripods. Tenba says this can fit a 16-inch laptop in the padded compartment on the front, but I could only squeeze in a 13-incher. It’s water-resistant and comfy to tote around.
Lowepro PhotoSport Outdoor Backpack III 15L for $190: This pack 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.