The best camera bag
Photography is an endeavor that can involve a simple smartphone camera, a DSLR camera with multiple lenses and other gear, or something in between. As a general rule, those with more photography experience tend to collect quite a bit of gear that's usually of high quality -- this allows photographers to gain more control over the camera's settings.
As you begin accumulating more gear, you need a safe way to carry it. Camera bags are designed to organize camera gear while also keeping it safe in transport. Your bag should have handles that match the way you want to carry it.
Our favorite camera bag is the K&F Concept Multifunctional Waterproof Nylon Bag. It has plenty of space for all your gear while keeping it organized.
Considerations when choosing camera bags
Backpack: A backpack-style camera bag is nice when you carry gear for a few hours while hiking or sightseeing because it helps split the weight of the gear between your two shoulders.
Hard-sided: A huge camera bag that looks like luggage with its hard sides and wheels. This makes it safer to check on a flight. Additionally, it has thick padding inside the bag.
Shoulder: A shoulder-style camera bag combines style and padded storage for camera gear. This style of bag is better for lightweight camera gear that you don't need to carry all day.
Sling: A sling-style camera bag fits across the shoulder and chest. It gives photographers quick access to the gear for spontaneous photos, but it cannot handle large amounts of gear.
The design of the camera bag plays a large role in your ease of use. Think about how you want to carry and use your gear, and then find features that match that.
Buckles: Metal buckles and zippers are more reliable than plastic versions, but they also increase the price of the bag.
Capacity: If you only carry one camera body and a couple of lenses, a bag with less capacity will meet your needs. Other photographers who need to carry a lot of gear to match whatever photography situations they encounter will need something roomier.
Organization: Having pockets and individual compartments inside the bag is helpful for keeping your gear organized and readily accessible.
Weatherproof materials: You never know what kind of weather you may encounter during a photography session. Having a waterproof bag means you're ready for any kind of precipitation.
Camera bag prices
Camera bags have a wide range of potential prices. The least expensive bags cost less than $50. However, they don't offer much padding or many organizational compartments. A mid-range camera bag costs $50 to $200 and serves most photographers who need to carry gear from site to site. For those with huge amounts of gear, a professional-style, hard-sided camera bag may be necessary. Expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $1,000 for the biggest bags.
Q. How much padding should a camera bag have?
A. Padding should be anywhere in the bag where it's possible that pieces of gear could bump into each other. The sides and bottom of the bag need extra padding. Padding between storage compartments is important, too.
Q. Is a camera bag the best way to carry a camera?
A. In the majority of cases, the answer is yes. Camera gear, especially DSLR camera gear, can be bulky. It's difficult to fit in a pocket or carry by hand, making a camera bag the best option. However, a thin point-and-shoot camera could be carried in a pocket for convenience.
Camera bags we recommend
Best of the best: K&F Concept Multifunctional Waterproof Nylon Camera Bag
Our take: Space inside the bag is smartly designed, making full use of the storage space available.
What we like: It has versatile handles so you can carry it as a backpack, by hand, or over the shoulder. Extra space for a laptop.
What we dislike: A bit more expensive than some other options.
Best bang for your buck: Case Logic SLR Camera and Laptop Backpack
Our take: Far more capacity than you might think at first glance, and the price is a pleasant surprise.
What we like: Includes plenty of foam padding inside for protection. Has room for a large laptop.
What we dislike: Difficult to sort small items, as this bag doesn't have enough compartments.
Choice 3: Qipi Sling Bag-Style Camera Case
Our take: Compact-style camera bag that's great when you need to be able to move freely.
What we like: More padding than you'd expect for a below-average-sized bag. Easy to organize all your gear.
What we dislike: Durability is a question. Can't handle large camera gear.
Kyle Schurman is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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