Camera Backpack Guide

Tips on how to choose the right camera backpack

Camera backpacks allow you to protect and comfortably carry lots of gear over extended periods of time – all while giving you fast access to everything you need. Whether you are a professional photographer going on a backcountry excursion or an eager beginner who wants to carry your camera and a laptop, Lowepro has a camera backpack that will protect your gear and support your creativity.

What equipment will you carry?

Knowing the type of camera and supporting gear you plan to carry is good place to start when looking for a backpack. Some equipment has very specific needs or size requirements that a purpose-built pack will best support. Below is a quick view of product lines we recommend for various types of gear.

Small-medium Camera Kits – Backpacks for DSLR, mirrorless and point-and-shoot cameras plus a few accessories.




Photo Sport


Photo Hatchback

Large Camera Kits – Backpacks for DSLR and Pro mirrorless cameras with multiple additional lenses and accessories.



Pro Trekker

Pro Runner

Photo Classic



Laptops & Small Devices – Backpacks and daypacks for travel* and commute







*For more on our travel packs, see our Travel bag guide.

Drone & Multimedia Kits  – Backpacks and cases for organizing drones, quadcopters and accessories.





*For Drone Backpacks and cases, see our Drone bag guide

What is your subject and environment?

Different subjects and shoot locations bring unique challenges and requirements for photographers. From exotic wildlife to children in the local park, your subject will drive what lenses and gear you bring while your environment will determine the level of protection and features required in your backpack.

Daily Carry and Event Photography

Find a versatile camera backpack that travels well and performs in many different situations
Capture the Moment with Fast Access

If your photography demands mobility and fast access to your gear, look for a camera backpack with side access to quickly reach your camera without fully removing or setting down your bag. Two packs that feature dual side access are the FreeLine and the ProTactic camera backpacks. Both packs provide fast-access on BOTH sides of the bag as well as via the top of the pack. The ProTactic II also includes full body side access for easy setup and access to ALL the gear in the pack at once.

Stay Secure in the City

Bags with body-side only access such as m-Trekker or Photo Hatchback prevent access to the camera compartment while you are wearing the bag. If you are working in crowds and tight spaces such as subways and trains consider a slim urban-styled backpack like the StreetLine BP 250 that doesn't broadcast "camera bag" to thieves.

Stay Connected

We all carry multiple devices these days. Backpacks that contain a dedicated compartment for a tablet or laptop ensure these devices are protected and available during travel. Many of our camera backpacks also fit laptops or tablets. The Pro Runner BP 350 AW has dedicated space for up to 3 screen devices so you can bring your entire workflow with you.


In nature your subjects are often far away
Get Close with Big Glass

In the wild your subjects may be a shy and hard to reach. Getting close may not be physically possible, or could be dangerous to the photographer. In these situations, you might use long lenses, such as a 400mm or 500mm to photograph subjects at a distance.

If you will be carrying these heavy lenses over long treks, look to the Pro Trekker AW series. It includes premium adjustable harnesses and waistbelt, as well as numerous outdoor-friendly features like a hydration reservoir to keep you hydrated on the go. If you are carrying the largest super-telephoto lens such as 600mm lens, then the Lens Trekker 600 AW III is for you.

If you have large lenses but need a more lightweight solution look at the Flipside 400 II or Flipside 500 AW II DSLR backpacks which have a high-capacity for larger lenses. If you are looking for a backpack to carry lenses up to 400mm in extreme conditions, consider the Whistler II series.


Challenging conditions require specialized backpacks

Adventure sports such as climbing, skiing and mountain biking bring you into extreme environments and call for a pack that is comfortable and purpose-built for the weather, impact and rugged outdoor conditions. Sleeping pads, trekking poles and hydration reservoirs are just a few additional items you may need to carry in a backcountry backpack. Carrying all of this gear requires an advanced suspension system and multiple attachment points.

Whistler II camera backpacks are designed for extreme conditions where you need super robust materials and impact protection. Whistler II backpacks are built from abrasion resistant and waterproof materials and have a rigid internal structure for the ultimate protection.

Bring Photo AND Outdoor Equipment

Spending the day shooting in the outdoors means carrying more than just camera gear. When shooting landscape or nature photography for more than a few hours, look for a bag that has room for personal gear as well as your camera kit.

Our new Powder Backpack is a technical backpack designed for multi-day travel in the backcountry. Powder Backpack 500 AW is a lightweight carry with space for all your outdoor gear plus protection for camera gear. 

The Flipside Trek series is a camera daypack that strikes the perfect balance with room for clothes, water and food with plenty of external attachment points for tripods, trekking poles or even a solar panel.

For basic protection from everyday weather and rain showers, check out all of our camera backpacks with a built-in All Weather Cover™. If you want to explore lakes, oceans, rivers and waterfalls, look for a fully waterproof bag such as the DryZone 200.


Versatile travel packs that adapt to multiple scenarios

When touring or on vacation, consider a hybrid bag to hold non-photo related gear in addition to your camera. A camera bag like the Fastpack II or Flipside Trek has a dedicated space to carry and protect your laptop, tablet and personal items, in addition to a camera compartment.

Sometimes you won't be carrying around your camera. In these scenarios, look for a camera backpack that is convertible like the FreeLine or  has a removable camera compartment such as the Photo Hatchback BP 250 AW. When you need more space, you can turn your camera backpack into an everyday bag. Check out all of our camera backpacks that have a removable camera compartment.



Find the right daypack for your everyday adventures

For the best daily carry, look for a backpack with the flexibility to fit your camera gear, laptop or tablet, plus personal items. The Lowepro FreeLine backpack was built to be easy to customize because the gear you carry may be different every day.

If you are looking for a flexible entry-level camera daypack, the Tahoe BP 150 is a great choice that fits a DSLR or mirrorless camera kit on a budget.

Lowepro's legendary build quality and attention to detail has been infused into our travel bags like the HighLine Series adventure travel packs and roller. The HighLine (Roller) RL x450 AW is the perfect companion to the Whistler BP 450 AW II.


Airplane travel and the need for a carry-on backpack
Keep Calm and Carry-on (Your Camera)

You never want to check in your expensive camera gear, so finding a camera backpack that will fit in the carry-on compartment is a must. The key is to find the right size bag that will let you carry what you need, but still be small enough to carry on.

Look for camera backpacks such as the ProTactic Series  that will fit in the overhead compartment, but also perform in the field. Some other photographer favorites that are travel friendly include: Pro Runner BP 450 AW and the Pro Runner RL x450 AW which is both a backpack and a rolling case. Higher capacity packs like Whistler, Flipside are also great choices for the overhead bin.

As a precaution, it's always recommended to check with your airline for the most up-to-date weight and size restrictions before you travel. At this time the accepted carry-on size for domestic flights is 22" x 14" x 9" or 55.88 x 35.56 x 22.86 cm with a carry-on weight limit of 40 pounds or 18.14 kilograms.

See our full list of carry-on camera backpacks.


Active and sports or a quiet contemplation with your camera
Fast & Light

Photography and outdoor sports go hand in hand. Stay active on the trail and bring your camera. For hiking, biking, trail-running or mountain climbing, check out the super-light Photo Sport AW II series. For skiing and mountaineering where extra capacity is needed but weight is an issue, the Powder is a great choice. 

For a lightweight backpack in the city, the m-Trekker is a great choice for today’s super compact mirrorless cameras. While the FreeLine is a lightweight bag that makes a great everyday carry.

Steady & Measured

Are you heading out for a day of photography where organizing your full camera kit is more important than snapping a quick shot. Perhaps you will use a tripod while waiting for the perfect moment to capture your image. Look for camera bags which carry a tripod and have the capacity to bring all the gear you may need. The latest version of our popular Flipside series is a favorite for its security and ability to carry additional gear such as tripods. The Photo Classic BP 300 AW is perfect for the beginning enthusiast photographer with a full camera kit.

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