11 Camera Bags For Every Assignment

April 22, 2015

By Greg Scoblete

Whether you’re at home in the urban jungle or out in the real thing, these new camera bags will keep your gear safe and sound through your next photographic adventure.

LowePro Pro Trekker 450 AW

When it’s time to leave civilization behind, LowePro’s Pro Trekker 450 AW backpack might just be your go-bag. It can store a pair of DSLRs with lenses attached, plus up to four additional lenses, speed lights, batteries and an action cam. The bag uses the company’s ActivLift System harness, which LowePro claims sends the bag’s weight from the waist to the hips, following the natural curve of your back. It is constructed with 630D nylon with a 1000D Cordura base that’s both durable and weather-resistant. You can stave off dehydration with a seam-sealed side pouch that can store 70 ounces of liquid in an optional hydration reservoir. The internals offer the usual padded, adjustable dividers. A laptop sleeve sits in the front pocket and you can clip a tripod to the bottom of the bag. You’ll find a rain cover at the bottom of the bag, for when the skies open up. 
Price: $380

Tamrac Apache Six
Tamrac’s Apache 6 photo messenger bag is capable of transporting a DLSR with a 6-inch lens attached, two or three extra lenses, plus all the requisite photo accessories. Tablets or small laptops up to 12 x 9.5-inches can be stowed in an interior foam compartment as well. Expandable side pockets can accommodate phones, water bottles and other personal items. A zippered front pocket features numerous organizers for neatly stowing memory cards, batteries, notebooks and more. The Apache 6 is made from waterproof sailcloth and features a bottom lined with Hypatex, a scratch- and water-resistant synthetic rubber. There’s also a pocket for slipping the bag over a luggage handle, and the interior Velcro flaps can be “silenced” using built-in flaps.
Price: $150

Jill-E Jack Hudson

The unobtrusive yet impeccably styled Jack Hudson can fit a DSLR and up to two lenses and basic accessories in its padded interior. You’ll find a few other nooks and crannies to store gear, such as a zippered pocket inside the bag’s flip lid, plus a rear pocket on the outside of the bag. The Hudson is clad in Colombian leather, with a leather top handle and an adjustable, removable cloth shoulder strap. It’s available in brown or tan (pictured here). 
Price: $120

Kelly Moore Jude

The Jude is eerily reminiscent of a classic doctor’s bag, but even if house calls aren’t your thing, working photographers should find much to like about this handy case. The interior can be sub-divided by using seven adjustable Velcro dividers. The sides and bottom of the bag are padded to protect your gear, and the bag will stay upright when you place it down. You can fit a DSLR body, 10-inch lens and a 13-inch laptop or 10-inch tablet, and an armful of odds and ends inside the Jude—the dividers come out to make for more space. Both the front and the back offer a zipper pocket and a snap pocket for quickly accessing smaller items. The Jude is stitched from gray canvas and trimmed with leather.
Price: $299

Manfrotto Off Road Back Pack 30L

Manfrotto’s first foray into outdoor photo backpacks is the appropriately named Off Road. Half of the bag’s carrying capacity is devoted to photo gear; the other half dedicated to personal items. And in those rare moments that you don’t want to carry your camera, you can convert the bag to carry just your personal items. Manfrotto says the Off Road can stash a pro DSLR with a 70–200mm f/2.8 lens, plus additional lenses and accessories, in its interior. There’s a removable insert with handles that you can pop out of the bag. You can also clip a tripod and a pair of walking sticks to the back of the bag. Manfrotto will offer a color-coordinated pair of walking sticks—made by the Italian firm Fizan—that have a removable cap at the top to double as a monopod with a max payload of 5.5 pounds. The sticks are sold separately for $100. 
Price: $200
Mountainsmith Andy Mann Spectrum

The Spectrum is a lightweight bag capable of toting a DSLR and lens plus accessories onto the trail. Your camera and lens are stored in a compartment at the bottom of the bag that can be quickly accessed through a side panel. You can slip laptops as large as 17 inches into a compartment in the back, which also has a quick-access side zipper. Accessories can be placed into the top compartment of the bag, or into the side-slip pocket. The Spectrum features a detachable waist belt, an air-mesh back panel, a waterproof fabric coating and a removable rain cover.
Price: $99

Think Tank Urban Approach 15

The Urban Approach 15 is roomy enough to accommodate up to two mirrorless cameras with lenses attached, between five and eight additional lenses, plus a 15-inch laptop, 10-inch tablet, smartphone and your personal ephemera. APS-C-sized DSLRs, like Canon’s EOS Rebel t5i with an 18–55mm f/3.5–5.6 lens, will also feel at home. Your laptop is secured in a zippered compartment while camera lenses and bodies are held in place by removable foam inserts. A plush-lined front pocket keeps your smartphone secure. The back of the pack has a pass-through so you can slide it over a rolling luggage handle, and you can dangle a tripod off the side of the bag with the included strap. Stretchable side pockets accommodate a water bottle, flash or modest umbrella. The bag is water-resistant, and there’s a rain cover, should the going really get tough.
Price: $170

Tenba Switch 10

Are you the indecisive type? Tenba’s Switch bag offers a choice of interchangeable covers so you can switch up your style on a whim. Your choices include red faux leather, blue mélange, pink mélange, blue/grey geometric and black/grey camoflauge. Each sell for $20, and Tenba promises that more color options are forthcoming. The bag is designed to carry a mirrorless camera with lens attached, and up to three additional lenses and other accessories. Its front flap has a magnetic clasp, so you’re not loudly tearing open Velcro straps and catching dirty looks, plus a secondary snap enclosure for added security. It also features a top-access zipper so you can dip into the bag without having to open the main cover. There are side loops for attaching additional pouches plus MOLLE loops on the bottom for carrying a tripod. A rear padded sleeve houses a 10-inch tablet. The bag is made from water-repellant nylon, but for a serious deluge, there’s a rain cover provided as well. 
Price: $110

Clik Elite Luminous

If you’ve got some serious hiking and gear-toting on your agenda, Clik Elite’s Luminous pack could fit the bill. The internal camera compartment can hold a DLSR, 70–200mm and 24–70mm lenses, a flash and other accessories. As you’d expect, the camera compartment has removable and customizable foam dividers for keeping gear separated and secure. Reinforced compression straps on the exterior of the bag can hold skis, a snowboard or large tripod, and you can slip your camera strap over the bag’s Clik Draw gear loop when you need to free your hands. You also get a foam-padded waist belt with a bi-directional buckle to redistribute the bag’s weight around your waist. 
Price: $289

Domke Chronicle

Part of Domke’s Journalist line of photo bags, the Chronicle has three dividers that let you stash your DSLR and 70–200mm lens, plus up to three other lenses and a 9.7-inch tablet. An expandable zippered side pocket gives you room to throw in notebooks (the good old-fashioned paper kind) and voice recorders. There’s space on the outside, too, with a pair of expandable front pockets and two expandable zippered pockets for tucking away memory cards, business cards and the like. It comes in canvas, Cordura, and RuggedWear versions. 
Price: from $217

Ona Prince Street

Capable of stowing an 11-inch laptop or tablet, a DLSR with small lens attached, two additional lenses and a variety of small personal items, the Prince Street camera messenger bag looks as good as it feels. A thin back pocket can hold documents, while a pair of front pouches stores memory cards, batteries and other accessories. The main compartment is clasped shut using two brass buckles, while a pair of side flaps help keep inclement weather at bay. The exterior is made from weather-resistant waxed canvas and detailed with full-grain leather, while the interior’s padded compartments keep your gear safe from the inevitable bumps and bruises. You can sling the bag around your torso or use the removable top-grab handle to carry it, briefcase-style, to your next assignment.