The best camera bag of 2024

Protect that precious camera gear with a practical bag that won't let you down

someone puts a lens into possibly the best camera bag

by Chris Duffill |
Updated on

So, you've splashed out one of the best cameras, extra lenses, some filters, spare batteries, memory cards, and if you have enough budget left over, you should protect your investment with the best camera bag you can buy. Depending on the sort of photography you do, you might need to safely transport a lot more kit too.

You'll be needing your lens cleaning supplies, but you might also have a compact tripod, a flash gun, and more. The key to finding the best camera bag will start with listing and measuring up what you have. Once you've carefully considered how much digital camera kit you'll be carrying and where you can narrow down your options. So, which camera bag is right for you?

You may prefer to travel light on your photography excursions; Others might want the equivalent of a mobile studio on their back - thankfully camera backpacks cost as little as £90. But knowing what you want from the best camera bag and how much kit is only half the story. There's weatherproofing, practicality and more to consider too. We've put together a buyer's guide and some FAQs at the end of the article to help you choose.

Best camera bag of 2024 at a glance:

• Best overall camera bag: Lowepro LP37123-PWW Nova 180 AW II Camera Bag - View at Amazon
• Best budget camera bag: TARION Camera Backpack Waterproof Bag - View at Amazon
• Best backpack camera bag: Lowepro Pro Trekker BP 550 AW II Outdoor Camera Bag - View at Amazon
• Best camera sling bag: Amazon Basics Camera Sling Bag - View at Amazon

And this is no small task. As most lense-lovers know, there are thousands of options out there ranging in size, price and function. Our photography experts have found a selection to suit all use cases - from smaller compact camera bags for daytrippers to shoulder bags, sling bags and weather-proof backpacks for more adventurous types. When it comes to the safety and protection of your expensive gear (or even your beloved budget DSLR camera) there is no better way to spend what's left of your budget.

The best camera bag of 2023

Best overall camera bag

Lowepro LP37123-PWW Nova 180 AW II Camera Bag- possibly the best camera bag

Rrp: $106.95

Price: $96.38
Alternative retailers
B&H Photo Video$70.92View offer
Adorama$109.95View offer
Walmart$109.95View offer

Lowepro has been around for decades now, and they never seem to disappoint. The Nova 180 AW II isn't the biggest camera bag on this list, nor is it the most eye-catching - but it is absolutely brilliant when it comes to balanced features. It's large enough to carry essential equipment needed for most DSLR shoots, and it's highly durable and well-made. You can adjust the dividers for a snug fit with your kit. Although, we do think that it could benefit from an extra layer of inner base padding if your camera and lens are larger and heavier than most. That said, for most photographers, this is going to tick all of the right boxes when it comes to practicality, portability and overall quality.

Pros

  • Perfect size for portability with enough practical space
  • Fits pro-DSLR with lens
  • Adjustable dividers
  • Waterproof all-weather design
  • Excellent sturdy Lowepro construction
  • Shoulder strap and belt loop for comfort

Cons

  • Heavier equipment may need some extra base padding added

Best budget camera bag

TARION Camera Backpack Waterproof Bag  - possibly the best camera bag
Price: $40.40

Budget can mean cheap and nasty - but not here. Users report that this camera backpack offers a lot more than the price tag would suggest. TARION has a large range of camera storage gear on the market, and this one really stands out for a number of reasons. Firstly, this is large enough and inconspicuous enough to double as a normal day bag for trips out and about, and it's also designed to take a laptop. There's a removable rain cover (although it's only up to withstanding light drizzle) and it has lots of compartments and adjustability. Handy straps mean you can even attach a small tripod. Amazing for the price.

Pros

  • Plenty of room
  • Doubles as a rucksack or laptop bag for days out
  • Reasonable waterproof rain cover
  • Lots of compartments and straps
  • Amazing value

Cons

  • The rain cover is not suitable for extreme weather

Best holster camera bag

THINK TANK Digital Holster 10 V2 Messenger Bag  - possibly the best camera bag
Price: $66.50
Alternative retailers
B&H Photo Video$63.75View offer
Walmart$97.51View offer

More of a traditionally styled option, this Think Tank Digital Holster 10 V2 Messenger Bag is the best camera bag for anyone looking for a more standard camera case. It fits one standard DSLR camera body with a compact or telephoto lens attached. It also has some extra breathing room down the bottom with an extendable zip. There's an easy-access pocket for batteries and other smaller accessories too. One excellent feature of a bag this size is that the height can be increased slightly to accommodate a longer lens.

Pros

  • Easy access while on the move
  • Can fit a camera with a compact lens attached
  • Extendable bag height
  • Solid construction

Cons

  • Limited storage
  • Velcro belt attachment is not as secure as a belt release

Best camera sling bag

When Amazon's 'Basics' range gets the balance right between affordability and quality, they really do get it right. This Camera Sling Bag is perfect for throwing over your shoulder on a day out. It's large enough to carry your camera, lens and some essentials. You get the obligatory adjustable dividers of course, but the padded waist belt and some easy-access external pockets make for a practical all-purpose bag too. A really well-considered feature is the two-step access to reach the camera itself - ideal if you're wearing this cross-body in crowded streets. Of course, at this price, not everything is perfect - the rain cover is reportedly unreliable; so, buy a separate one and you'll be all set for slinging this over your shoulder and heading out to shoot.

Pros

  • Practical size and weight
  • Can fit a camera with a lens attached and more
  • Well-designed two-stage access
  • Removable internal dividers
  • Good accessible external pockets
  • Adjustable padded waist belt

Cons

  • The rain cover is not the best - buy another cover

Best waist camera bag

Mantona ElementsPro 20 Outdoor Camera Bag - possibly the best camera bag
Price: $113.17

Not everyone wants to wear their camera around their middle, especially if it's one of the heavier ones, but if you do this Mantona ElementsPro 20 is ideal. It's large enough, yet well-balanced enough, to stay where you need it as it keeps your essential gear close at hand. The waist belt has zipped pockets and side mesh pockets as well, putting practicality first. This is a fantastic choice for anyone who wants their camera bag to have a quick-access design. And if you're sitting down or need a change, there's a strap to use this as a shoulder bag too.

Pros

  • Option to wear as a shoulder bag as well as around the waist
  • Quick access design
  • The waist belt includes zipped pockets
  • Mesh compartments on the side
  • Adjustable dividers

Cons

  • Limited storage
  • Waterproofing is not the best in very heavy rain

Best messenger camera bag

MOSISO Camera Case Crossbody Shoulder Messenger Bag - possibly the best camera bag
Price: $35.99

We think this crossbody messenger bag from MOSISO is a refreshing alternative to all of the black and grey nylon that seems to dominate camera cases. Not only does it have a softer, more relaxed look to it, but it also has all the features you need in an ergonomic camera bag. Again we have the padded adjustable dividers, but there are also front-facing pockets to help it double up as a general-purpose messenger bag. There's an included rain cover too, but don't expect too many external straps - understandable as they would break the whole messenger bag look. There is, though, a clever hidden anti-theft pocket that's just the right size for your phone or wallet. Put your DSLR, spare lens and extras into one of these smartly designed bags and your shoots will take on a whole new, more casual feel.

Pros

  • A more casual look and feel
  • Lots of room
  • Padded adjustable dividers
  • Easy access to front pockets
  • Rain cover included
  • 1 hidden anti-theft zipper pocket

Cons

  • Limited configuration options
  • Not many straps

Best backpack camera bag

Lowepro Pro Trekker BP 550 AW II Outdoor Camera Bag - possibly the best camera bag
Price: $549.95

This list wouldn't be complete without an absolute beast of an outdoor all-weather backpack. And it's no surprise that Lowepro is back on the list as they have a reputation for making these very well indeed. Not only is the build rugged enough to take a battering out in the wilderness but if you're flying to your destination, it's been designed to fit into overhead luggage. There are more attachment points and straps than you'll probably need and of course a huge amount of storage space. Importantly for a bag of this type, it's been built for comfort - so you can hike as far as you like and be ready to shoot when you get there.

Pros

  • Extremely rugged
  • Huge storage capacity
  • Lots of configuration options
  • Perfect for air travel
  • Plenty of attachment points and straps
  • Comfortable and practical

Cons

  • Only buy if you like camera bags large and bulky
  • Expectedly a little on the heavy side

Best secure camera bag

Neewer Pro Camera Case Backpack with Anti-theft Combination Lock - possibly the best camera bag
Price: $86.99
Alternative retailers
Walmart$78.50View offer

Not too many camera bags come with a combination lock built-in and those that do often aren't worth using. The Neewer Pro Camera Backpack has been designed with security in mind, and that includes having access to the camera compartment via the back panel. The combination lock is neatly integrated too, so you can relax knowing that all of your precious gear is safe and sound on your back. With side pockets and straps a-plenty, you can really treat this as a travel companion just as much as a photographer's bag. A huge benefit is the anti-shock construction which, alongside waterproofing, will keep your lenses and the rest snug and secure. It looks great too and is another departure from the more utilitarian design to be seen in other backpacks.

Pros

  • Great looking
  • Excellent secure back-opening design
  • Lots of flexible and accessible space
  • Built-in combination lock
  • Side pockets and straps
  • Shockproof and waterproof

Cons

  • On the large side
  • Secure, but not rugged enough for rough terrain

The best camera bag of 2024: Buyer's guide

Budget for the best

Our recommendations come from established brands and cover a range of budgets. Choose wisely and your kit will be well-protected and easily accessible wherever you go.

When looking for the best camera bag it's very easy to keep getting bigger and better. But we think you should resist the urge to overspend. Make sure your bag has the core features you're going to need: build quality, cushioning and enough space. If money is tight, our advice is to keep things simple now and upgrade later. If you're the proud owner of one of the best cameras for photography enthusiasts you probably should consider an equally serious camera bag.

Carefully consider your accessories

Not all of your accessories are needed on every shoot. But you're bound to have a collection of go-to essentials you'll need with you no matter what, like a camera cleaning kit. After that, carefully measure up the nice-to-haves. That could be a Gorillapod, extra filters, more lenses, reflectors and more. Line everything up and guestimate the space you'll need in your new camera bag. In our experience, by the time you've played around with the storage compartments to keep things accessible, you'll fit a lot less inside than you think. So, even if you've only got enough beginner's photography gear, overestimate the storage capacity a little if you can.

It's also a great idea to find the best camera bag with flexible adjustable storage areas. Padded dividers with Velcro attachments mean you can customise the interior spaces of the bag for a snug fit with all of your equipment.

Prioritise your camera body and lenses

Owning a great range of lenses for your DSLR comes with the territory for many photographers. Having a wide-aperture prime lens for landscapes and architecture, or a sizable zoom lens, means you'll need to protect them. The same goes for your all-important camera body itself.

And yes, that goes without saying. But having chosen a high-quality camera bag with enough compartments, you should make sure your most expensive kit is as close to the centre of the bag as possible. This will provide maximum protection from any bumps or drops. In short: keeping your prized kit in a properly cushioned bag or case, made from waterproof material or with a rain cover, is ideal.

THE MORE THE BETTER WHEN IT COMES TO PADDED COMPARTMENTS © GETTY IMAGES

The best camera bag of 2024: FAQs

Should I buy a camera backpack or a camera shoulder bag?

This may seem like a simple choice of more or less space, but there's more to it than that. If you're just starting out on a photography-led holiday for example, then it's likely you'll need more space and protection than many shoulder bags can muster. Plus, of course, a shoulder bag won't be comfy over long periods if you're covering a lot of ground.

If you're more of a day-tripper and want a multipurpose bag that holds more than a standard case, shoulder bags are ideal. And that's especially true for casual photographers with instant cameras.

What's the best camera bag for wildlife photography?

Much like the reasons for buying a backpack above, wildlife photography typically attracts a larger and wider variety of kit. And this is especially true when it comes to lenses. The Lowepro Pro Trekker BP 550 AW II is an excellent choice for storing multiple large lenses alongside room for various accessories; plus it's rugged and weatherproof.

Are expensive camera bags worth it?

Not always. The price of any photography accessory isn't necessarily a guarantee of quality. But, assuming you've chosen a well-engineered and designed camera bag, it's only worth it if you'll actually use it. We've all been there - you buy something on the spur of the moment and it stays in its box. While the best camera bag will look the part and protect your kit, if it doesn't suit your shooting style you'll just stop using it.

So, we recommend that entry-level camera owners buy their first camera bag without spending serious cash. As in our picks above, there are some excellent and practical bags at all budget levels. That'll give you the chance to try out a type of bag first, refining your choice when you upgrade.

Chris Duffill is a Tech Product Writer for What's The Best. He specialises in audiovisual, computing, and gadgets. He also writes for Yours.

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