There is no getting around the fact that a DSLR camera is a bulky piece of equipment. Photographers need a way of transporting their cameras in a safe, and comfortable way. Ideally, they will have easy access to their equipment for when a sudden time critical shot presents itself.
In this post, we are going to be looking at the best DSLR backpacks on the market right now to give you a head start in your search for the perfect DSLR backpack for you and your camera.
We have graded each backpack on the three main areas that matter the most.
A good DSLR backpack needs to be able to protect your camera from whatever the world throws at it. We will be looking in particular for backpacks with exceptional padding and additional safety features. We are also looking to check how discreet the backpack is. Ideally, it will not advertise to the world that you are carrying thousands of dollars of equipment.
The majority of photographers will have a whole host of equipment that needs transporting. We will be looking for backpacks that have simple, novel storage features that make transporting your equipment a breeze.
Long gone are the days when backpacks were simply a utilitarian method of easily transporting objects. These days backpacks are a fashion statement. We will be critiquing the design of the backpacks for style, and giving points for any noncamera related functionality. Perhaps most importantly we will be looking at how easy it is to access the camera. This is for those sudden, time sensitive shots require quick and easy access.
The Absolute Best DSLR Camera Backpack – Protactic 450AW
The Protactic 450AW really stands out to us as one of the best all-rounder DSLR backpacks on the market. It’s minimal, inconspicuous design combined with its excellent storage capabilities make it worthy of anyone’s consideration.
The Protactic uses their patented “Max Fit” dividers that take a unique approach to storing equipment and accessories. The bag contains a series of padded (and durable) dividers that can be set up and configured however you wish. This enables lenses of all sizes to be stored securely alongside batteries, chargers, and whatever else you require.
The problem with movable divider systems is that they can often limit the amount of storage space inside the backpack. This is not the case with the Protactic and it can hold two DSLR cameras, one with a lens attached. A DJI mavic pro, an OSMO handheld camera, a 15” laptop, an iPad, a tripod – and it still has room for a whole bunch of chargers and accessories.
If you need to carry more than this, you should probably have an assistant anyway.
The Protactic is a discreet camera backpack that does not openly advertise the fact the owner is carrying an expensive DSLR camera. However, we will say that it doesn’t look quite like a “normal” backpack either. There is a quality to its design that may make it unsuitable for situations where maximum discretion is required. But if you are not planning on shooting in the bad part of town at midnight – this is not something you should be worried about.
The camera equipment itself is secured very safely, and each individual divider of the Max Fit system is covered entirely in protective shock absorbing foam. Due to the advanced design of the divider system, no two items will ever come into contact with each other – minimizing the risk of equipment banging togeather while in transit.
This backpack comes in a sleek, modern slightly glossy black fabric that will look great with any style of clothing. There are heavily padded straps that are incredibly comfortable to wear, even when fully loaded with several pounds of equipment. Comfort is further improved by the breathable padding on the backpack which allows ventilation while on the move.
The sliplock strap system that is on the front of the Protactic allows you to store various accessories and objects in different configurations. Things like water bottles, tripods, and easy access pouches can all be set up to be in exactly the position you want for tailor made storage.
There are three quick access pockets that have been designed to allow photographers quick and easy access to their cameras at a moment’s notice. It is the most accessible product on this page, and these pockets are one of the main reasons why we think it is the best DSLR camera backpack.
They are located on the left and right sides of the backpack, and there is an additional one at the top. We particularly like the side pockets because it gives a super speedy access option without needing to fully remove the backpack. You can slide off one of the straps so it is slung over your shoulder, then you can unzip the pocket and grab the camera.
With access this easy, you will never miss a spontaneous shot again.
The Second Best DSLR Rucksack – Bestek DSLR
The Bestek DSLR rucksack is a tough rugged camera rucksack that will protect your equipment all day long. What it lacks in customization it makes up for in safety and durability.
There are two main compartments in the Bestek. The upper pocket is an open pocket similar to what you would find in a normal backpack. It is ideal for transporting none DSLR related objects such as food or clothing, but it also has elastic netting on the walls of the compartment to store small things such as camera cables or spare batteries.
The lower pocket is the dedicated camera compartment and is set up to store a very respectable amount of equipment. You will be able to transport a full-size DSLR camera with a lens attached, alongside 4 additional camera lenses or flashes. There is a dedicated padded laptop section at the back of the backpack, and two large and secure side pockets for tripods and water bottles.
This is a DSLR camera rucksack that will blend in. Both main compartments are completely lined in durable, soft foam to protect against accidental knocks and bumps. Each dividing section in the camera compartment is also covered with the same material, and they are all securely fixed in place. Your equipment will stay where you want it to – regardless of what you are doing.
We love the way this rucksack looks. The monochrome combination of the charcoal gray canvas with the dark black straps is understated, yet beautiful. The main straps are padded for comfort with a breathable ventilation system, and the drawstring closing mechanism of the none DSLR compartment allows easy access to your other items.
The Bestek has an easy access mechanism, so you can get your equipment at a moment’s notice. It’s not as easy as the Protactic above – but it’s still pretty darn quick. Simply unzip the middle zip and the bag unfolds in half, which reveals your perfectly organized equipment.
The Third Best Backpack For DSLR Camera – USA Gear DSLR
The USA Gear DSLR camera backpack has taken a unique approach to its design and can be worn either as a backpack or as a sling bag. It’s a versatile product for people who need a backpack for a DSLR camera that works around them – instead of them working around it.
Like the Bestek above, the USA Gear contains two main compartments. The upper compartment is a padded open compartment that is ideal for storing less fragile objects such as DSLR chargers and spare batteries.
The lower compartment has a front opening design and is partitioned into 5 separate sections. The camera section can easily hold a regular sized DSLR with a large lens, and the 4 other pockets are designed to safely grip an additional lens each. There is a dedicated tripod holder on the side of the bag for easy access and a secure laptop pouch on the rear suitable for both laptops and tablets.
We particularly like the dedicated media card and cable storage compartment on this product that can easily be accessed directly from the front. It enables you to easily swap out an SD card if your current card unexpectedly fills up in the middle of time sensitive session (so you don’t have to rummage through your bag to find the replacements).
If we are honest, this camera rucksack looks like it is carrying something expensive (this has been noticed by other DSLR backpack reviews too). The interior pockets are all incredibly sturdy and will not wobble or slide about while in transit. The padding is reasonably firm, but also shock absorbing to ensure maximum safety and stability. We particularly like the dedicated camera strap in the DSLR section, it’s a small feature that many other brands overlook but gives you that little bit more peace of mind.
The stylish black exterior of the USA Gear is very neutral, so it will look great with whatever you are wearing. Like the Protactic there is a side mounted quick access section that allows you to directly get into the camera section of the lower compartment. (This gives you the same shoulder sling quick access option we described earlier.)
The Fourth Best Small DSLR Camera Backpack – K&F Concept
Good things can come in small packages, and the K&F Concept backpack manages to pack all the storage you could need into a portable, compact, small DSLR backpack.
To pack all this storage into such a small space K&F have made the Concept a single compartment backpack. It has padded dividers that can fit a full-size DSLR (with lens attached) a large lens, and 3 smaller lenses. There is a free storage section in the front of the backpack which is secured by two zippers. This storage section is not large enough for anything of substantial size, but it has more than enough room for a few essentials that you may need throughout your shoot.
It has an optional side storage pouch and straps to carry a tripod, and it can fit a 13” laptop inside a dedicated case at the back (larger laptops will not fit).
The Concept looks like any other backpack, and it’s not obvious you are transporting camera equipment. The padding on the dividing sections is exceptionally thick (thicker than others on this page) and the roof of the main section is also heavily padded (separating your miscellaneous objects from your camera equipment completely). This is not a waterproof DSLR backpack, but it does come with a rain cover – just incase you get caught out by mother nature on a shoot.
The strong matt black nylon material contrasts wonderfully with the bright orange highlights on the zipper and logo – it’s really quite a stunning backpack. The straps are padded, but the padding is considerably thinner than the other backpacks we have mentioned on this page. This is common among most small DSLR backpacks and is, unfortunately, one of the minor tradeoffs you need to make for a super compact size. This being said it is an incredibly comfortable product that is lightweight, which minimizes the need for padding.
The Fifth Best DSLR Hiking Backpack – Evecase DSLR
Some of the best shots are off the beaten track, so a good DSLR hiking backpack is something that no photographer worth their salt should be without.
The Evecase has two main compartments, one for hiking equipment and the other for camera equipment. The hiking equipment section opens from the top and provides ample room for the supplies that are required for a day hike (or even an overnight hike). The camera section is located directly beneath the hiking compartment and has a dedicated DSLR slot, a space for chargers or cables, and storage space for three lenses.
Side pockets are available (with side straps), that can be used to transport a tripod and a water bottle at the same time. A convenient front pocket is secured with two large clips that is perfect for storing maps and compasses that need to be regularly accessed.
As you can imagine, when hiking you (and your camera equipment) are at the complete mercy of mother nature until you return home. The Evecase is 100% water resistant and will protect your equipment from even the most torrential downpours while you find shelter. The hiking equipment section is unpadded, but the camera equipment section has impact absorbing foam. The high-quality foam will protect your gear from the normal rigor of hiking.
This backpack is indistinguishable from a regular hiking backpack. Blending in is not really a concern when hiking. However, this does make the Evecase perfect for use as a DSLR travel backpack. This is ideal for when you don’t want to look like a tourist. The back of the backpack and the two main carry straps are covered in super comfortable ventilated padding. This makes it very comfortable even on the longest hikes.
You will not get the same super quick access to your camera. The Evecase does not have side opening sections. That being said it is still reasonably speedy.
Some people leave the camera section unzipped and keep it secured by the two robust clips instead. This allows you to quickly access your camera without having to unzip the whole thing each time. That being said we don’t recommend you do this.
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Last update on 2018-03-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API