If you're a photographer, you know how it goes. Sometimes getting a new camera bag to carry everything can be just as thrilling as getting a new lens. The right bag can change the way you work, making a cluttered closet full of scattered gear suddenly a well-organized stash.

Camera bags are cross-functional! They work the same across various formats and lens mounts. Also, you can never have enough of them, it seems. If you've got a large bags for carrying the whole kit, couldn't you use a smaller bag for a quick photo walk around the block?

We've taken a look at some of the most popular types of camera bags and picked out some of our favorites. Read on to learn some of the benefits of various backpacks, messenger bags and sling bags.


Being the classic carry option, most of us used a backpack at some point in our youths. They haven't changed design much since then, although these options generally offer padded dividers, extra organizational pockets, and easy-access flaps to make them ideal for the photographer who's got a lot of gear to haul.

Ape Case ACPRO 1720W Converta-Pack

This backpack actually gives you two in one. The ACPRO 1720W gives you a fully-equipped backpack with customizable padded dividers, pocket organizers and access to your gear from both the top and the front of the pack. You also get a detachable DSLR case that works as a shoulder or hip bag when you only need a couple of lenses and a camera instead of the entire kit.

Manfrotto Windsor Explorer

Manfrotto injects some style into the traditionally-black-on-black camera backpack. The Windsor is a heathery grey on top, with dark chocolate strap and zipper details. This one also offers two separate compartments to keep your camera gear safely padded and your lunch or change of clothes in the larger top section.

Manfrotto Adventure 1 Camera Pack

This lightweight pack features a flip-down door in the front for quick access to your DSLR and two lenses. Like the options above, this one also has a divider-free section on top to add personal items. This pack also has a padded compartment for a 15" laptop or tablet.

Mindshift Firstlight 30L

Designed for traveling outdoor photographers, this pack from Mindshift is comfortable for all-day carry. Featuring an adjustable harness system, padded hip belt and a huge storage capacity while staying carry-on compliant, this backpack was built for adventurers and trailblazers. Oh, and it's also large enough to fit a 500mm f/4 lens in case you're taking safely-distanced photos of polar bears. You can't say that about any of the sling bags below.

Peak Design 20L Charcoal

Peak Design's—uh... designs have been shaking up the comfortably-stable world of camera carriers for a few years. This backpack features full-length side zippers to allow super easy access to the entirety of the bag. With many thoughtful features and tons of different padded divider layouts available, this pack can truly be made into a personalized fit, perfect for any photographer. You can also remove all of the dividers and have a perfectly usable everyday backpack as well.

Shoulder Bags

A bag on one shoulder can provide easier access to your equipment than a full-blown backpack. Typically, these follow the messenger style with a large protective flap over the top and front of the contents, and can be adjusted higher or lower on the body. A bit more sylish than the backpack, a messenger bag is slimmer and fits closer to the body, but loses a fair amount of storage space when compared to its larger counterparts.

Billingham 555

In certain parts of the world, the name Billingham can cause photographers to quake in the knees. Prized for their very high quality and rugged style, these bags tend to fly off our shelves as quickly as they arrive. In this example, the 555 shoulder bag is their largest camera bag, capable of carrying 2 DSLR cameras and several lenses, plus a 15" laptop.

Domke F-5XB

This is another bag that can pull double duty. Toss it on your should for a small messenger bag or remove the strap and loop your belt through it for a superhero-style utility pouch. Large enough to carry an SLR with an extra lens or two, this tough canvas bag is great for day trips.

Manfrotto Bumblebee M-10 Pro Light

This messenger bag is large enough to carry a 13-inch laptop, plus a DSLR and three large lenses with accessories. The top flap is held securely with a large velcro strap, but it can be silenced with a built-in flap so your subject doesn't get freaked out by a huge skkrrriiiiip when you flip it open to swap lenses. rrrrt when you flip it open to switch lenses.

Peak Design 13" Charcoal

Peak Design's first camera bag design brings weather-resistant materials, quality stitching, and a proprietary locking system to secure the top flap in place. With built-in capacity expansion features, this shoulder bag works well hanging loosely on the shoulder or cinched up tight on your back for hiking or cycling.

Sling Bags

Coming in typically even smaller than the messenger-style bags, sling bags are unique for their ability to allow even faster access to your equipment, but once again at the cost of some storage space. With a unique single-shoulder carry, these bags quickly swing up into a horizontal orientation so that it's easy to grab a camera or lens and swing the bag back on the shoulder without a thought. These bags are perfect for the photographer who doesn't need to bring the entire closet of gear with them on every trip.

Lowepro Slingshot 200AW

Comprised of tough, water-resistant nylon, this sling bag easily holds a DSLR or film camera with a mid-range zoom attached, plus 3-4 extra lenses. The camera compartment has a large unzippable door that opens entirely to make packing and unpacking easy. Several smaller accessory pouches and a tuck-away strap make this sling as convenient as it is functional.

Lowepro offers a wide range of Sling, Backpack and Shoulder bag styles. Click here to see what other LowePro gear we've got in stock.

Manfrotto Pro Light FastTrack-8

At first glance, this may seem like any other sling bag on this list, but don't be fooled. Have you ever seen a camera bag with a built-in camera strap? Not only does this bag hold a camera, some extra lenses and some accessories-- it also features adjustable quick-release buckles to attach your camera to the shoulder strap. That means you can have your camera ready at the hip for quick-draw exposures without struggling with shoulder straps.

Mindshift Photo Cross 10 Orange ember

Holding a mirrorless camera and five extra compact lenses, this sling bag by the folks at Mindshift has features that you may not even know you needed. Multiple organizational pockets allow batteries, cards or cables to always be within quick reach. An additional front panel pocket makes a great spot for notebooks, snacks or a sweatshirt. Well-padded with an optional hip belt, this gear bag is great for just about anyone.

Peak Design 5L Sling

This compact sling bag is designed to let you carry all the things you need without being weighed down by the dreaded 'pack everything' bug. With adjustable padded dividers, the Everyday Sling can be configured to carry a mirrorless camera with small lenses, a large DSLR kit or even folding drone kits.


Yes, of course there are other ways to pack and haul your gear around. We have an entire section of our store devoted to hard-shell cases and another for individual camera cases or lens cases. Here are a couple of other options to consider.

Tamrac CyberPro Flyer with Wheels

This rolling case may not be considered a bag by some. Designed for travelers, this gear crate is carry-on compatible, allowing you to stack other bags on top using the telescoping handle and wheel your kit along like all of the best-designed luggage. There's also a removable shoulder strap so you can carry it while walking if that's your thing.

Think Tank Photo Digital Holster 20

Absent for much of this list only because they have too many options to list, Think Tank pushes the envelope when it comes to useability, durability, and speed. Their Digital Holster line gives you the option to strap your camera and lens to your belt and feel like a cowboy again. Draw cameras at dawn, or any other time you like.

Click here to see more Think Tank options, or click here to see our gallery of Think Tank products.