To take your camera with you and keep your photographic equipment protected, well organized and close at hand, here is the up-to-date list of the best photo backpacks to buy right now.
The camera bag allows us to carry our equipment safely when we go out with the camera. To be truly useful (photographers know this) it must be comfortable and easily accessible even in the most adventurous situations, and have enough space to transport camera bodies, lenses and accessories in an orderly and organised way.
Some photographers will prefer to choose a light, small backpack, perhaps for trekking, mountain or city walks, others will be more oriented towards a camera backpack that contains the greatest possible amount of equipment for professional outings. In any case, before purchasing the camera backpack, consider all the needs and features important to your needs, so as to choose the best one when purchasing.
The feature we recommend putting first is build quality, as the backpack will contain expensive gear that you will surely want to protect. There are also different levels of protection. If you have to use the camera in wet environments, there are waterproof photographic backpacks, but if your purpose is simply to go around the city to take pictures and make videos, a backpack with a basic level of protection will suffice.
As birds and wildlife photography will mostly happen out in the wild, in this article we’ll concentrate on the best waterproof camera bags, as this will be the main feature you’ll be looking for when choosing the best camera bag for birds photography. Fortunately, unlike some time ago, today there are numerous options and different models, for all tastes and all price ranges, at all sizes and for all types of photographers.
Now let’s see which are the best photographic bag models currently available for value for money, from professional backpacks to economic models, for the different needs of space and type of use.
1. Lowepro DryZone 200
For the adventure photographer who often has to deal with rain, waterfalls, wet areas, humid and dusty environments, this professional photographic backpack is the best you can buy, as it provides complete protection and total resistance to external agents.
To ensure the waterproofing factor is the presence of a special patented TIZIP zipper that provides the same characteristics of a diving suit. The underwater layer is then followed by a normal internal zip to access the instrumentation. If you visit wet places it is therefore recommended to use the TIZIP closure, which can be left open if not needed, to have faster access to the camera in normal situations.
The customizable internal pockets can hold a reflex with lens, 5 extra lenses, flash and accessories, with external tripod mount. The external pockets are built in such a way as to facilitate water drainage, the back is designed for lumbar support. Among the waterproof photographic backpacks, the Lowepro Dryzone is suitable for the photographer who goes out to sea, for very hostile environments and where total protection of the equipment is required.
We don’t recommend it to those looking for a do-it-all backpack for everyday use, because access to photographic equipment is not as agile as that of other backpacks, and this could cause some frustration. Another aspect to consider is that the tripod attachment is positioned in the front, not suitable for large tripods and adds more weight on the back when compared to other models that offer the attachment closer to the backs.
- TIZIP zipper system.
- Customizable internal pockets.
- Not suitable for everyday use.
- Access to the equipment is not very agile.
- Odd tripod attachment placement.
We recommend buying this camera bag, to those who actually need an extreme level of waterproof protection. If you often find yourself photographing birds in rivers, ponds or boats, this is the camera bag to go for.
2. Lowepro Photo Sport BP 200 AW II
Backed by its experience in designing photography transport solutions, Lowepro has seen fit to provide a perfect solution for photographers who enjoy hiking. The Photo Sport BP 200 AW II is a trekking photographic backpack with lots of options designed specifically for adventure and wildlife photographers.
It is available in two sizes of 20 and 30 litres, the 200 AW II and 300 AW II, and in two color options blue and black. It can obviously be used both as a normal trekking backpack, or as a photographic backpack, depending on whether you want to take advantage of the internal elements or not.
The important elements for the user of this type of product are all there, lined and comfortable to wear shoulder straps, breathable ActivZone technical back, well distributed weight, belt strap, numerous multipurpose pockets and anchor points. The side pocket is made of elastic material and can serve several purposes, even for carrying a light tripod or monopod, locked by a buckle at the top to stop its travel.
The front is made of the same elastic material and is perfect for storing personal belongings, mountain bike helmet, spare jersey, food or other accessories. There are no zippers to close this department, but it is kept closed by buckles on the back that keep it in tension.
In the back along the backrest there is also a dedicated compartment (and isolated from the rest of the backpack) for a 2-liter water bag, a detail designed specifically for trekking and sports activities in general. The lower part of the bag hides a slot from which to extract the waterproof rain cover, for those situations of unexpected rain and to keep the contents dry and protected.
- Comfortable shoulder straps for long days out.
- Plenty of pockets, including an isolated water bag sleeve.
- Not so roomy
It’s the best waterproof camera bag if you are looking for a small, practical, light and comfortable backpack for trekking but only if you have a low-end reflex camera with few accessories. Otherwise, I recommend the larger version or another product.
3. Manfrotto MB MP-BP
When it comes to SLR camera accessories, Manfrotto is one of the top brands, and when you buy one of its products you can rest assured that the quality is superb. Even in the field of bags and backpacks for photography, this brand is able to satisfy any type of need, at a somewhat premium price, you know, but it is worth spending a little more for a product that lasts over time and that comes used constantly.
The Manfrotto MB MP-BP travel photographic backpack is available in three sizes PRO 20, PRO 30 and PRO 50, depending on your needs and budget, and represents the professional line of photographic bag of this brand. The external design is totally black, in a technical but simple style, with red inserts like all Manfrotto products.
The level of protection is very high, well padded thanks to the Exo-Tough structure which is a resistant plastic type coating and covered by a layer of fabric. In the hand you feel that this backpack is well coated and that it can easily withstand bumps and falls. The lining material resists light rain and splashes, for heavier rain there is the dedicated pouch that can be extracted to completely cover the backpack.
Inside the Manfrotto backpack you will find very thick and well-lined padding compartments to protect the camera and lenses and provide a good level of cushioning. The larger version can contain a professional SLR with attached zoom lens, a second camera body, 5 lenses, flash, 17 ”laptop and various accessories. For the tripod, you can use the flap placed under the backpack as a support, and secure it using the strap provided, we recommend this use if you have a large tripod. For smaller tripods, you can also use one of the side pockets, always equipped with a strap to stop them from running.
As always, there are many pockets and compartments for accessories of all kinds, to keep your gear organized and have easy access to various gadgets and personal effects. The upper opening allows easy access to the camera, while if you want to have a total view of the equipment contained, you will have to remove the backpack from your shoulders, place it and open it completely, impractical for those looking for a leaner and faster solution.
On the other hand, it is great for professional photographers who travel and have to carry practically the entire photographic studio with them and then have it available resting on a surface close to the shooting area.
- Very well padded.
- Pro quality.
- Model options available.
- Very heavy.
- Not so handy to access to the equipment.
It’s not an everyday backpack, but for long journeys or short journeys unless you really need an immense photographic set, it’s probably better to have something smaller, lighter and less expensive.
4. Manfrotto Bumblebee
Another very popular photographic bag among expert and professional photographers is the Manfrotto Bumblebee, available in different sizes and in the classic Manfrotto colours, black with red finishes.
One of the most useful features of this model is the ability to be able to divide the upper compartment from the lower one via an internal zip, for example if you want to store personal items in the upper part and keep the equipment separate in the lower part. When the backpack is totally used for photographic equipment, a possible configuration is a 70-200mm telephoto SLR plus 8 lenses, or a 400mm lens and 3 other lenses. There is space for a laptop, in the special pocket protected by padding.
The backpack is very comfortable to carry, with a breathable system and optimal weight distribution for the shoulders and back. The external structure is made of water-repellent material, to be used even when the weather conditions are adverse. For even more difficult conditions and torrential rain, a removable rain cover is available, which also protects against high temperatures and sunlight.
Portable as hand luggage when traveling by plane, this is a large photographic bag, great for the professional who needs to move a good amount of high-value equipment.
- Customisable upper compartment.
- Airplane’s hand luggage size friendly.
- Shoulder strap are not so comfortable, especially in the warmer months due to the plastic-like material they’re made of.
- Not so many pockets.
Good value for money, it’s shape and the possibility of carrying a laptop make it a good backpack also for everyday use.
5. Beschoi 813010001
The best budget camera backpack for sporadic users and in order not to spend too much if you’re only getting started, the Beschoi 813010001 is one of the best cheap camera bags for photographers, among the most popular in the amateur photography environment due to its affordable price and large capacities.
Suitable for carrying a camera body with attached lens, 4 to 6 additional lenses, flash, 13 inch laptop, lightweight tripod and other small accessories. The shell is in water repellent material with reinforced seams and anti-theft zip system. The shoulder straps and the backrest are lined and comfortable to wear, and the internal compartments can be configured according to needs using Velcro inserts.
The features of a camera backpack are all there, and the build quality is quite good but perhaps less durable than a professional backpack, so it shouldn’t be used heavily and every day, best for photography enthusiasts who occasionally go out with the camera. Very basic to use, it is necessary to remove the backpack, place it on a surface and open the zip to take the camera and start shooting, there are no side openings to access the equipment while wearing it.
- Roomy and configurable internal compartments.
- Not durable, shouldn’t be used heavily and frequently.
This is probably the most price sensitive option if you’re just getting started with birds and wildlife photography and can’t afford larger sums on your first camera bag.
We have tried in this guide to give you a broad spectrum of the main features that a waterproof photographic bag should have, as well as the main models available in circulation. In our opinion, the models proposed are all excellent. Obviously, you should figure out your needs first, to understand which waterproof camera bag is most suitable for you. However, we are able to guarantee that the quality of the suggested models is always above average.
In short, we hope that now you too are able to make your own decision in choosing the best camera waterproof camera bag for birds and wildlife photography!
Now get out in the wild and have fun photographing birds!