The Best Travel Camera Cases and Backpacks of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

Keep your cameras and lenses organized and protected while on the go

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Thule Aspect DSLR Camera Bag Backpack

TripSavvy / Debbie Wolfe

Cameras are still essential travel gear, but unlike flip-flops and toiletries, cameras require special handling and, ideally, a dedicated camera case. If you’re hitting the road (or tarmac) with expensive camera gear, it’s worth investing in a camera-specific travel bag or case that not only protects your investment but has a home for each camera, lens, and accessory you might bring along.

To help you find the perfect travel camera case, we had more than a dozen testers get hands-on with 21 of the most popular camera-specific travel cases and narrowed it down to our nine favorites. We reviewed bags on their design, layout, comfort when carrying, and even tested the waterproofing on bags that advertised it. These nine travel camera cases fit different niches within the category, giving you a wide range of options since not all photographers and videographers travel the same.

Our favorite camera bag overall was the Thule Aspect because of its smart design and layout and its minimalist, streamlined style in a size that should work for most photographers on the go. And because it doesn’t scream “photo case,” it can be used as an everyday pack even when leaving the camera gear at home. Read on for more about the Aspect and the eight other camera cases our testers found were worthy of your consideration.

Best Overall

Thule Aspect DSLR Camera Bag Backpack

Thule Aspect DSLR Camera Bag Backpack


What We Like
  • Camera accessible while wearing

  • The understated design doesn't scream "camera bag"

  • Fits under airline seats

What We Don't Like
  • No cover, not fully waterproof

While they’re not an endemic camera brand and are probably best known for their ubiquitous roof racks and bike carriers, Sweden’s Thule makes exceptional camera luggage. Their XX-liter Aspect strikes an outstanding balance of simplicity and functionality and is unassuming enough to work great as an everyday carry pack even if your camera stays at home. The primary camera and lens storage area has a convenient side entry zip and enough space for a DSLR body with a lens attached and two to three additional lenses and accessories. Our testers loved the placement of this side access compartment because it’s accessible without removing the pack to unzip and pull the camera out quickly if needed.

You can easily rearrange the padded internal dividers to fit your specific gear needs, and there’s a mesh zippered pocket on the inside of the opening flap to hold loose items such as extra batteries and cables close at hand. The top-access compartment provides a separate area to carry extra equipment if you’re gear-heavy or miscellaneous non-camera gear, such as layers, snacks, and water. The laptop sleeve holds up to 15-inch laptops or tablets and is roomy enough that you don’t have to fight to get your device in properly, like some similar sleeves. Like most camera bags, your tripod storage is along the side and uses a mesh pocket and strap to secure it.

The Aspect is water-resistant, not waterproof, but stood up to direct water exposure in our testing. It also wears like a standard daypack and has a sternum strap and substantial hip belt if you fully load the pack. The hip belt also has mesh quick-storage built-in, so you don’t have to overload pockets with things like lens caps and batteries when you’re in the thick of shooting. There’s plenty of room for gear for your average photographer, but the size and shape are small enough to fit under most airplane seat storage areas, so you don’t have to worry about contents shifting during flight.

Price at time of publication: $175

Capacity: XX liters | Weight: 3.2 pounds | Maximum Laptop Carry Capacity: 15.6-inch | Materials: 100 percent nylon

Thule Aspect DSLR Camera Bag Backpack

TripSavvy / Debbie Wolfe

Best Overall, Runner-Up

Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L

 Everyday Backpack 20L

Peak Design

What We Like
  • Waterproof

  • Innovative design touches

  • On-body access

What We Don't Like
  • Pricier than similarly sized bags

Peak Design started as a Kickstarter launch, and their camera bags and accessories are now some of the most sought-after camera equipment. Their Everyday Backpack (now in its second iteration) isn’t just another camera backpack and has loads of intelligent design features you’d expect from Peak Design. Our tester appreciated the ambidextrous side access that lets you into the main compartment from either side by removing one arm from the shoulder strap and slinging the bag around to your front. Inside, Peak’s innovative, origami-like FlexFold dividers keep your camera items from bumping into each other. 

The side-access panels have zippers, but the top flap closes with a dead-quiet MagLatch closure that can clamp down less or more depending on how full that compartment is. The laptop sleeve holds up to a 16-inch size but can be adjusted for smaller computers so they don’t fall down, making them harder to dig for. We tested the 20-liter model, but for a modest additional $20, you can get the same pack in a 30-liter version if you carry more gear than average. If you occasionally need even more capacity, stowaway external carry straps permit multiple configurations for lashing things like jackets, tents, or whatever your adventures call for. There are smart travel features as well. The pack’s back has a sleeve that slides over a roller bag’s handle, and there’s a quick stash top pocket for miscellanies such as phones, chargers, and passports.

Price at time of publication: $280

Capacity: 20 liters | Weight: 4.43 pounds | Maximum Laptop Carry Capacity: 16-inch | Materials: 400D recycled plastic

Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L

Tripsavvy / Robert Caponetto

Best Budget

Bagsmart Photo Camera Backpack

Bagsmart Photo Series/ Photo Camera Backpack


What We Like
  • Stylish non-techy look

  • Built-in rain cover

  • On-body access

What We Don't Like
  • The top compartment lacks padding

Despite being one of the few bags we tested that retails for less than $100, this is a stylish backpack you could use for everyday carry without anyone knowing you're wearing a camera pack. Our tester said, "It looks like a nice, modern backpack that doesn't scream, 'I have expensive equipment in here!'" Inside the water-resistant canvas, however, is a large lower compartment with padded dividers that holds a camera with a lens attached and three to four additional lenses or other gear items. And like more expensive camera bags, there's a side access pocket that lets you quickly grab your camera while keeping the bag slung on one shoulder.

The expandable top compartment captures the rest of your stuff with a water-resistant cinch top beneath the canvas flap that closes securely with belt-like leather straps. Side pouches with elastic hold water bottles or tripods, and the laptop sleeve keeps your computer up to 15 inches secure against your back. The canvas is water-resistant but also has a pull-out cover in case the weather takes a serious turn.

Price at time of publication: $74

Capacity: Not listed | Weight: Not listed | Maximum Laptop Carry Capacity: 15-inch | Materials: Canvas

Bagsmart Photo Series/ Photo Camera Backpack

TripSavvy / Abby Mercer

Best Sling

Peak Design Everyday Sling 6L

Peak Design Everyday Sling 6L

Peak Design

What We Like
  • Easy on-body access

  • High durable exterior

  • Collapsible for travel

What We Don't Like
  • Not fully waterproof

If you want to travel light with a stripped-down camera gear kit, a bag or pack can be overkill, making it harder to access what you need. For situations like this, I’ve used an earlier version of Peak Design’s 6-liter Everyday Sling for years, and it’s durable enough that it still looks like new. The updated version remains largely unchanged but comes in additional sizes (you can get it in 3-, 6-, or 10-liter versions) and new color options. The latest version also adds more durable zippers and uses recycled materials. The 6-liter is only big enough to hold a tablet, but you can use the external carry straps to bring a tripod when necessary.

The collapsible sling is thick, padded, and fairly stiff and can flatten enough to store inside a larger suitcase. Alternatively, you could pack the smaller sling sizes with your gear and place it inside other luggage to keep your equipment protected in transit and ready to be deployed for lighter trips at your destination. Our tester loved carrying the smaller pack when traveling, taking just enough equipment, and quickly swinging it around to access gear.

Price at time of publication: $160

Capacity: 3-liter, 6-liter (tested), 10-liter | Weight: 1.72 pounds | Maximum Laptop Carry Capacity: 11-inch tablet | Materials: 400D recycled plastic canvas

Peak Design Everyday Sling 6L

TripSavvy / Mariah Tyler

Most Durable

Neewer 2 in 1 Rolling Camera Backpack

Neewer 2 in 1 Rolling Camera Backpack


What We Like
  • Three carry options

  • Large capacity

  • Attached rain cover

What We Don't Like
  • Shoulder straps aren't removable

  • Heavy

If you carry a lot of gear, many travel camera packs can make you feel cramped trying to fit Speedlites, large telephotos, and extra camera bodies. Not an issue with Neewer’s luggage-style roller bag that converts to a backpack and also has a regular suitcase carry handle and plenty of interior room and is rated to handle over 120 pounds of gear. The non-removable wheels and telescoping handle give your back a break when navigating airports and city streets, but the backpack straps (including a waist belt) let you go off-road when needed.

Our tester loved the solid structure and substantial padding to protect their gear and felt the bag could withstand drops and other abuse in transit. The exterior is made from waterproof nylon but has an attached rain cover, just in case. This extra-large backpack is just small enough to fit in overhead storage on a plane, but our tester found a few downsides. Because of the size and weight, it’s not the most comfortable for long-term wear as a backpack, and the backpack straps aren’t removable to prevent snagging when used as a roller bag.

Price at time of publication: $176

Capacity: 60-kilogram weight-rated | Weight: 9.43 pounds | Maximum Laptop Carry Capacity: 15-inch | Materials: Nylon

Neewer 2-in-1 Rolling Camera Backpack

TripSavvy / Jacob Fox

Best Organization

Think Tank Photo Airport Security V3.0

Think Tank Photo Airport Security V3.0


What We Like
  • Extra-durable exterior

  • Lots of interior space

  • Meets carry-on size requirement

What We Don't Like
  • Heavy

You expect durability with “tank” in the brand name, but this airline-ready roller carry-on bag should withstand nearly anything with ballistic-grade waterproof nylon outside and heavy padding. Think Tank designed this bag to meet US and international carry-on requirements, but there’s still tons of room inside, and our tester loaded it up with two bodies and large lenses and still had about 20 percent of the volume left unused. Think Tank’s highest-capacity roller bag accommodates up to 600 millimeters of telephoto lenses.

There’s a laptop compartment that will hold up to a 17-inch device, but otherwise, the bag is essentially one giant equipment compartment with tons of dividers, giving you maximum flexibility to arrange the bag to hold your specific gear configuration. While you could fit smaller tripods inside, the bag has tripod-specific straps for exterior carry and a TSA-approved padlock and cable lock for theft prevention. Our tester loved the build and durability, but the downside is that the pack is heavy, which gets magnified when fully loaded, so you’ll want to use the rolling wheels whenever possible to avoid carrying the total weight.

Price at time of publication: $450

Capacity: Not listed | Weight: 12.76 pounds | Maximum Laptop Carry Capacity: 17-inch | Materials: 1680D ballistic nylon

Think Tank Photo Airport Security V3.0

TripSavvy / Victor Protasio

Most Comfortable

Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW

Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW


What We Like
  • Armored build

  • Lots of available accessories to attach

  • Ergonomic build for all-day comfort

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

For long days shooting in the field, you want a comfortable, ergonomic backpack, and it’s no surprise that a brand with backpacking roots makes our Most Comfortable pick. Colorado-born Lowe Alpine made the first internal frame backpacking pack, and they’ve been making camera-specific years for over 50 years. The ProTactic 450 AW is for adventurous photographers who need to keep their pack on over countless miles and long days with ActiveZone support that uses firm but supportive padding that leaves room for airflow against your back. Our tester specifically called out the extra-wide waist strap for putting the weight on their hips where it belongs instead of the shoulders. Beyond simple padding, the ProTactic 450 employs FormShell construction lands it somewhere between a backpack and hard-sided luggage.

Everything about the ProTactic 450 AW says “tactical,” and its webbing-wrapped exterior permits attachment of LowePro’s many sold-separately SlipLock accessories, such as pouches for water bottles, phone, and other accessories. Included straps and a tripod cup securely attach to the outside. Despite being stiff and armored, there are four ways into the main compartment for easy access to your gear, no matter where the pack is.

Price at time of publication: $371

Capacity: 25 liters | Weight: 6.26 pounds | Maximum Laptop Carry Capacity: 15-inch | Materials: Not listed

Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW Camera Bag

TripSavvy / Gregory Dupree

Best Storage

Nomatic McKinnon Camera Pack 35L

Nomatic McKinnon Camera Pack 35L


What We Like
  • Stylish

  • High volume

What We Don't Like
  • Very expensive

  • Helpful accessory pouches not included

Salt Lake City-based luggage company Nomatic likely paired with popular YouTube photographer/videographer Peter McKinnon partly because of his massive following, but the 35-liter McKinnon Camera Pack has developed a loyal following of its own. The pack stands out for its ruggedly urban looks and enormous storage capacity, expandable up to 42 liters to accommodate lots of content creation gear but a few days' worth of clothes and basics. The TPU-coated 900D nylon is rugged and waterproof, forming a durable armor that's still flexible enough to feel like a backpack and retain some flexibility despite ample padding everywhere. 

We tested the Nomatic pack in the field, and both testers appreciated how the pack forms to your back and the extra padding in the shoulder straps to ease the weight when fully loaded. Like an excellent backpacking pack, the shoulder straps also have load-lifter straps to help position the weight on your shoulders, and sternum and waist straps help distribute the weight more evenly. The pack is heavy compared to backpacking packs, and it needs to be to pad and protect your equipment, but it's light for its capacity compared to other high-volume camera bags we tested. Even for such a nice pack, the price is high, so we wished Nomatic threw in a few helpful accessory pouches and packing cubes that are part of the McKinnon camera gear line.

Price at time of publication: $400

Capacity: 35 liters (expands to 42L) | Weight: 5.75 pounds | Maximum Laptop Carry Capacity: 16-inch | Materials: EVA back panels, 900D TPU-coated nylon  exterior, Hypalon lashing points

Nomatic McKinnon Camera Pack 35L

TripSavvy / Henry Wortock

TripSavvy's Picks

Our testers loved the Thule Aspect and the Peak Design Everyday 20L packs for their streamlined profiles and photography-specific builds packed with many innovative features. While the Peak Design bag has tons of unique features we loved, the Thule Aspect edged it out just barely by having a more accessible price point, making it an excellent option for pros and casual photographers alike. We also got most of the same features out of the surprisingly capable Bagsmart Photo Camera Backpack, which has most of the features we loved in pricier packs but was the only one of our picks that retails for less than $100.

Other Camera Cases We Tested

Thule Covert 32L Camera Pack: This well-designed, high-capacity pack is an excellent option for balancing personal and camera gear storage via a removable camera pod that works as a sling. However, we felt Thule Aspect was a better option for most travelers, thanks to a much lower price point. Pros who want more storage and versatility should consider the Covert if they find the Aspect too small or simplistic.

Manfrotto Advanced III Rolling Camera Bag: This basic camera roller bag ticks most of the boxes on paper, but our tester found the padding lacking and expected more storage from a carry-on-sized piece of luggage.

Think Tank Photo Airport Accelerator Backpack: Our tester loved this bag's size and build quality, but other options in this category edged it out by having more carry options to ease the burden of carrying a higher volume of gear.

Boundary Prima System: We loved the design and modularity of this pack and its components but wished there wasn't an extra charge to make it waterproof and that they included more parts of their system.

Manfrotto MB MA2-BP-GM Advanced² Gear M Camera and Laptop Backpack: We appreciated the comfort and design of this pack despite lacking a hip belt, but felt it was a bit small for travel since there isn't much space dedicated to clothes and personal items.

Wandrd PRVKE: We tested the 21-liter size, and our professional photographer tester felt there wasn't enough gear storage for most pros. We also felt the price was high, especially considering the additional cost of including the "essential" photography bundle.

Brevite The Jumper Camera Backpack: This stylish, small backpack scored high marks from our tester for being lightweight and easy to carry. It comes in many bright solid colors and could be an excellent choice for someone with a streamlined kit.

Hex Ranger DSLR Sling V2: This is a more modestly priced sling than our Best Sling pick from Peak Design that could be an excellent option for photographers that don't want to spend over $100 on a camera sling. Compared to the Peak Design sling, it lacks some structure and durability but is about half the cost.

Bellroy Venture Sling 10L: This oversized sling got high marks from our NY-based tester, who loved the quality, design, and ease of use while walking around for street photography.

Tenba DNA 16 Pro Messenger Bag: If you prefer the ease of access of a shoulder-slung bag like this, the Tenba may be a great fit as a day trip bag, though our tester wished it was a tad smaller.

Lo & Sons Claremont: While it's not for everyone, this shoulder bag looks like an oversized purse and has some basic camera-specific design touches—an excellent choice for someone who wants a camera bag that's a bit chic.

ONA The Bowery Messenger Bag: Another stylish, purse-like shoulder camera bag. Our tester loved the style and could fit her entire kit inside but felt the price was too high.

Gatta Rae Noir: Another leather purse/shoulder bag option. Stylish and reasonably priced but bulky for travel and better-suited for day shoots closer to home for photographers that want a stylish bag.

Poler Elevated Camera Cooler: A fun, lunch tote-style camera bag that converts to a light-duty lunch cooler after removing the padded dividers. A more unisex option for folks that want a shoulder carry day bag for a small camera kit.

How We Tested

More than a dozen recreational and professional testers took 21 camera bags out around their home bases and on road and air travel trips. Testers spent time customizing the travel bag’s organization and trying different configurations. They then took the bags into the field, testing for ease of use and accessibility of gear while worn and comfort in transit. 

We also tested the weatherproofing of the bags when present by taking them out in bad weather when possible and spraying them down at home to gauge how well they keep gear dry. Testers examined zippers, fasteners, pockets, storage compartments, and special features for durability and ease of use.

What to Look for When Buying a Travel Case for Camera


Camera bag makers use various materials to achieve their design goals, and there’s no “best” material to watch when evaluating your camera bag options. Some bags use fabrics such as nylon, and many employ coatings such as DWR or rubbery TPU to give them weather resistance. Many manufacturers will list the Denier rating of fabric, and if durability is important to you, look for exterior materials with higher Denier numbers. However, remember that higher Deniers are usually heavier, bulkier, and less flexible.


Most backpacks and camera bags measure storage volume in liters, which can be a useful way to compare the size of different bags when shopping online. We tested some slings 10 liters or less in volume, and most packs fell between 20 and 40 liters. While you can undoubtedly buy camera bags and cases larger than this, they become too big to carry on and fall more into the luggage category than travel bags. When choosing a bag size for your travels with camera gear, consider not only the amount of camera gear you need to transport but any personal items, such as clothing, computers, hard drives, water, snacks, etcetera, that you’ll want to include to estimate the volume that’s right for you.

Additional Features

With most photographers operating in the digital world, most camera bags have a slot for a laptop, and we’ve included the maximum laptop size for any bags with that feature. If you usually employ a tripod, look for bags with a dedicated tripod storage solution. More advanced bags will often have special, smaller compartments for odds and ends that photographers carry, such as memory cards, hard drives, batters, filters, and more. 


All but one of our picks above cost over $100, and camera bags are generally more expensive than comparably sized backpacks and bags because they include extra features and materials used to organize and protect your gear. You can expect to pay $150 up to $400 for a high-quality, higher-volume camera-specific pack though smaller bags and slings will generally cost less.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How do I care for and clean my camera case?

    Cleaning and care for camera bags will vary from model to model and brand to brand, but your best bet is to spot clean whenever possible. Waterproof bags can be easier to clean as they repel water, resist stains more readily, and can also be sprayed down if they get dirty. A few bags are machine-washable, but always consult manufacturer recommendations on how to clean individual bags.

  • Can a camera case be a carry-on or personal item?

    Smaller bags can qualify as personal items, and several of our picks will meet size requirements for carry-ons for domestic flights. Because these requirements can vary depending on your location, destination, and airline carrier, it always makes sense to consult your airline’s specific requirements and fees before you fly.

  • What should I pack in my camera case?

    When traveling with camera gear, bringing any equipment you might need for a particular trip or a photo shoot is a good idea. While no one wants to lug around more gear than they expect to use, it can be expensive, difficult, or even impossible to replace items you didn’t bring when you’re far from home. If you’re like me and prefer to overpack camera gear, get a bigger pack than you think you need.

    Also, anticipate your non-camera needs, such as extra clothes, personal electronics, and food/beverage considerations. If you want one pack to hold everything, choose a camera bag that holds more than just camera gear. Especially when dealing with food and liquids, it’s a good idea to have separate compartments for personal and camera items.

Why Trust TripSavvy

Over 15 years as a professional photographer and videographer, Justin Park has tested and owned dozens of camera bags and cases for both work and play. He has employed and destroyed slings, backpacks, and hard cases filming Olympic games and backcountry sporting events such as mountain bike races and ultramarathons, including Colorado’s Leadville 100.

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