15 Great Camera Bags for Gear of All Sizes

February 14, 2018

By Greg Scoblete

Vanguard Alta Rise 28

This messenger bag can house a DSLR with lens attached and up to three extra lenses, a flash, accessories and a 10-inch tablet. Using the company’s +6 system you can expand the bag by an extra 6cm when you need extra room. There’s a quick-access zippered opening at the top of the bag and a secure rear pocket for wallets, passports, etc. There’s a rain cover and you can slip the bag through the handle of rolling luggage.

PRICE: $80


Pelican Air 1637

One of the newest members of Pelican’s refreshed Air line, the 1637 is 40 percent lighter and 45 percent deeper than its predecessor, but doesn’t sacrifice the durability that Pelican hard cases are known for. Indeed, the 1637 features a watertight O-ring gasket and is crush- and dustproof. You can outfit it in a Pick N’ Pluck foam interior that you customize yourself. You can also order the case without foam or with padded Velcro dividers.

PRICE: $340

SKB 3i-2011-7DL

Approved for airline carry-on but tough enough to endure being checked in, this SKB hard case features Think Tank dividers and lid organizer. The rolling case is dustproof and watertight. The interior features a Nylex-wrapped closed-cell fitted foam liner and 10 nylon dividers with heavy-duty hook-and-loop tabs. The lid organizer includes laminated clear mesh pockets and a polyester-lined iPad/laptop top-loading pocket.

PRICE: $230

Billingham 72

This stately shoulder bag is ideal for advanced compacts or mirrorless models with a single lens in tow. Two overlapping foam layers protect your gear and there’s a front pocket for batteries and memory cards. The padded interior base is removable if you need more room. There’s leather grain accents and solid brass fittings.

PRICE: $156

Shimoda Explore

If you’re the type who looks at mountains as things to climb rather than frost-covered death traps piercing the sky, the Explore camera bag family might be for you. Each bag features an aluminum frame and can adjust to different torso heights so you can adequately distribute heavy loads. There are rear and side access points and the Explore 60 model adds a top access point as well. The interiors of the Explore bags are designed for one of two customizable Core Units that can be arranged in ten different configurations. These Core Units have a removable skin with a shoulder strap so they can be used as a camera bag in their own right. There are also optional accessory cases in three sizes that can house batteries, hard drives, mics, etc. These also have tiny straps and a weather-resistant exterior if you want to use them as standalone cases. The Explore 60 has a floating lid design that can expand to accommodate up to 15 liters of added volume for things like jackets, flares and your last will and testament.

PRICE: $380 (Explore 40 Starter Kit with two small Core Units); $420 (Explore 60 Starter Kit with two small Core Unit).

Ona Bowery Red

This seventh anniversary edition of the Bowery shoulder bag has a detachable shoulder strap and a water-resistant, waxed canvas exterior that’s detailed with full-grain leather and brass hardware. You can fit a DSLR and up to two lenses and accessories in its elegant confines. The top lid closes shut with a tuck clasp. Buy it through the Ona site and the company will kick in $10 to its Storytelling Fund for emerging creatives.

PRICE: $149

Temporary Forevers 48Hr Switch

The handsome Switch pulls double duty as a briefcase or a backpack via two detachable shoulder straps. Its slim profile can be expanded by unzipping the exterior compression slip, which increases your available space by up to 70 percent. It features a detachable camera bag compartment that can house a smaller DSLR or mirrorless body with lens attached plus up to three additional lenses. There are several interior sleeves for accessories and a laptop.

PRICE: $340

Miggo Agua Stormproof Versa

If your assignment has you trekking through the Brazilian rainforest or Seattle, the Versa can endure downpours without exposing your gear to harm. You can wear it as a backpack or as a sling off either shoulder via quick-release buckles. It can store a full-frame DSLR with 24-70 f/2.8 lens attached alongside a 14.5-inch laptop and additional lenses and accessories. Your gear is stored in a detachable bag that can be left open inside the main bag when you need quick access. You can also pull the gear bag out and use the Versa to store other items. The bag has an external two-port USB connector and an interior compartment for storing a power pack so you can recharge your devices without having to open the bag.

PRICE: $200


Tamrac SpeedRoller International

This rolling case has been brought back into Tamrac’s line by popular demand. It will store two DSLR bodies and up to six lenses, accessories and a laptop as you whiz through the TSA checkout (we kid). The wheels are oversized for extra stability.

PRICE: $350

Peak Design Everyday Sling

The smallest member of the Peak Design bag family, the Everyday Sling works as a shoulder bag or, if you’re fearlessly fashionable, as a fanny pack (go on, we promise not to laugh). The strap is adjustable. The weatherproof zipper protects Peak’s FlexFold divider system, which can be folded and manipulated to hold your camera and lenses more snugly. You can fit an 11-inch tablet in a dedicated sleeve and there are four stretch pockets for accessories. You can wedge in a DSLR and
lens or even a Mavic-sized drone and remote.

PRICE: $100


Wolffepack Capture

The Wolffepack is unlike any photo backpack we’ve ever seen. With the pack on your back, you push a button on the strap to release the Capture from your shoulder straps so you can pull it around to the front of your body and access the goods inside. The bag remains tethered to the shoulder straps by three strong Dyneema cords. The cords are rated to hold up to 661 pounds, though good luck lugging that much around. If you swing the bag to your front, you can hook it across your chest through webbing loops. There’s a removable camera pod that can hold a DSLR with lens attached, two spare lenses and a flash. You can slip a tripod into the exterior loop clip and a 15-inch laptop into the padded sleeve on the interior.

PRICE: $150


Mindshift Gear PhotoCross

For the jobs or journeys that take you into punishing elements, the PhotoCross sling bag features a weatherproof exterior and a waterproof tarpaulin bottom panel. Its body-conforming design features a shoulder strap with a stability wing and a three-point harness. The zipper pulls can also be linked together to help stabilize the bag. There are exterior straps for attaching a tripod and a padded pocket for 10-inch tablets (on the 10 model) and 13-inch laptops (on the 13 model). The PhotoCross 10 can hold a DSLR and up to two lenses while the 13 is roomy enough for a DSLR and up to four lenses, including a 70-200mm f/2.8.

PRICE: $115 (10); $130 (13)

Manfrotto Pro Light Bumblebee

The Bumblebee messenger bags feature a breathable harness that can be quickly adjusted to accommodate a range of fits. Inside you’ll find customizable dividers enclosed in a removable insert. The messengers are available in two sizes. The M-30 PL is roomy enough for a DSLR with a 70-200mm/2.8 lens attached and three additional lenses, a handheld gimbal (such as a DJI Osmo) and a 15-inch  laptop. You can fit a gimbal, 13-inch laptop and a compact DSLR or mirrorless camera with a 24-70mm attached and two extra lenses in the M-10 PL.

PRICE: $130 (M-10 PL); $150 (M-30 PL)

LowePro Nova AW II

This compact shoulder bag comes in three new sizes. The 140 can house a DSLR with a 17-85mm lens attached and a flash for your street-shooting forays. The 160 is big enough for all of the above plus two additional lenses. The largest model, the 170, can house a DSLR with 24-105mm attached plus two extra lenses and a flash. All the models offer a weather-proof cover in case the skies open up and plenty of zippered compartments and small flaps for safely stowing accessories and personal items.

PRICE: $50 (140); $60 (160); $70 (170)

Tenba DNA 15 Backpack

This backpack features a rolltop design that protects your gear from the elements when it’s rolled tight and expands to accommodate extra gear when it’s unfurled. It has a removable camera insert that sits in either the top or bottom of the bag and is big enough for a DSLR and up to six lenses, including a 70-200mm f/2.8. There are adjustable straps, a hip belt to distribute weight and ventilated mesh to keep your back comfortable and cool. There’s a side strap for securing tripods, a rear strap for sliding the bag over rolling luggage plus a Fidlock magnetic clip to open and close the rolltop.

PRICE: $200