A favorite among hardcore outdoors people, F-Stop’s series of backpacks offer a wide array of options depending on your equipment and expedition needs. The Sartori EXP is the company’s largest backpack, perfect for adventures that take you out into the wilderness for multiple days or simply a half-day shoot that requires all the bells and whistles. Premium durable water-repellent nylon makes it virtually weather proof, but for the worst of conditions, a rain cover can be purchased separately. A super-duty EVA padded suspension system and stabilizing straps mean it can handle a heavy load.
Debuting in 2014, Mountainsmith’s Spectrum pack works for both urban and outdoor adventures alike. Accommodating photo necessities, along with a laptop and other personal gear, a cover flap over the top compartment keeps everything safe. One of its best features is its side-panel DSLR door, which makes it easy to swing the bag sideways to access your camera for quick use. High tenacity nylon and 5000mm polyurethane waterproof fabric coating make this durable enough to set down in the snow or withstand a bit of rain. Perfect for someone with a smaller frame, it carries all your essentials without weighing you down.
Built with backcountry skiers and climbers in mind, the Contrejour 40 is both a camera case and a full-featured pack. With an internal aluminum frame, this pack is stable and durable. Gear loops on the hip-belt are designed to hold climbing gear, while reinforced board straps can hold skis diagonally or a snowboard vertically. The padded internal Cradle Zone and dividers keep all your equipment safe and a swing-around side camera pocket makes for easy in-and-out accessibility. As a bonus, an ingenious outer sleeve can accommodate a snow shovel or tripod sleeve depending on what you have in mind for the day’s adventure.
Launched by Think Tank Photo, MindShift was founded by a group of professional photographers with a special interest in conservation—people who know a thing or two about outdoor adventure photography. This particular model offers a unique solution for immediate, hands-on camera access: a rotating waist pack. The backpack portion can hold an impressive amount of extra gear as well, including a spare body, flash, and up to five lenses.
Dubbed the ultimate photo daypack, this works for everything from peak-bagging to snowshoeing. Utilizing Thule’s trademarked Cloudburst construction with welded and taped critical seams and DWR-treated fabric, this bag is built to withstand wind, rain, and snow. The inside compartment features a pod system that allows you to separate and protect fragile gear. You can even customize the construction depending on whether you prefer to keep a lens attached to the body of your camera or everything stored separately. Lightweight and compact, this serves as an ideal grab-and-go solution.
Built for the long haul, Naneu’s Adventure K5 is a true multi-day hiking photo pack. Made out of water-resistant materials and designed with splashguard zips and a rain cover, it’ll keep your gear safe no matter the weather. It features a removable camera insert, as well as plenty of other pockets to separate wet shoes, garments, food, and other essentials. With an adjustable padded back-length system, side compression straps, and shoulder and lumbar padding, the pack remains comfortable even when fully packed. The camera compartment fits a DSLR camera, three or four additional lenses, a flash, and portable media device.
With 20L, 15L, and 10L options, the Flipside Sport’s design makes for a lightweight and technical daypack. All models feature removable camera compartments, so they can also be used as more traditional packs. The body-side access design allows you to easily rotate the pack to the front to grab your camera on the fly. With a hydration-ready pocket for a hydration reservoir and trekking pole or ice axe attachment points, these packs are built for just about any outdoor journey. A lightweight construction, featuring resilient and high-performance fabrics make these bags ultra-durable regardless of the conditions.
$180 (20L), $145 (15L), $120 (10L); lowepro.com
This bag is perfect for kayakers and other water sports enthusiasts. Utilizing tough PVC tarpaulin, welded seams, and a trademarked Fold Seal System on top, it will protect your camera from water, mud, snow, and just about anything else Mother Nature can throw at you. The bag will even float if it ends up overboard. Touting a heavily padded compartment, your camera will be protected even if the bag is rolling around in the bottom of a boat.
If you’re not looking to carry more than simply your camera gear, check out the Bataflae. A streamlined design, it provides supreme organization, great for working in tight spaces. A full-front opening allows for easy loading and unloading, and special attachments give you the option of affixing a tripod to the side or back of the pack. With 18L, 26L, and 32L options, each bag is made with water-resistant materials and comes with a rain fly to pull over the pack and protect your equipment.
$299 (18L), $399 (26L), $449 (32L); guragear.com
Featuring vertical board-carry straps, Dakine provides an ideal option for riders. With a removable camera block in the main compartment, along with a specially designed tripod carry system and smaller side organizer pockets, a good amount of gear fits into this compact pack. For convenience, the bag opens from the back giving your full access to your camera body and various lenses all in one place. A built in rain cover can also be easily pulled over the pack in inclement weather up on the mountain.