When it comes to choosing the best camera bag for you, the most important factor to consider is how you'll use your camera bag.\n\n\n\nA camera bag serves two purposes:\n\n\n\nTo protect your photography equipmentTo transport your photography equipment\n\n\n\nNext you have to look at how much gear you have and where you're going with it.\n\n\n\nSo, to help you decide which is the best camera bag for you we'll look at the four types of camera bags you can buy and why each one is good.\n\n\n\nBut first I think two frequently asked questions need to be answered...\n\n\n\n1. Why are camera bags so expensive?\n\n\n\nThe best way to explain why good quality camera bags are so expensive is with a little story.\n\n\n\nMany years ago I was on my way out of a venue at the end of a wedding. I\u2019d packed up all my gear and was wheeling my camera case away from the partying wedding guests. Just as I was reaching the door a tipsy guest accidentally dropped his full glass of beer and it landed on my \u201cexpensive\u201d camera case.\n\n\n\nNot one drop reached the inside of the case, even though it didn\u2019t have it\u2019s rain cover on (because why would you when you\u2019re indoors?). My very expensive cameras, lenses and flashes weren\u2019t harmed at all. This was of course a massive relief, but even more so because I had another wedding to photograph the next day and wouldn\u2019t have had enough time to get more gear before the 10am start.\n\n\n\nMy bag stank like a brewery until I cleaned it, but who cares when it could have been so much worse.\n\n\n\nAlso, the bag is now 12 years old and still going strong. The only reason I\u2019d replace it is that newer roller bags are lighter.\n\n\n\nAll of a sudden the bag doesn\u2019t seem expensive at all!\n\n\n\nYou\u2019re paying for good design, top quality materials and a solid build to protect camera equipment that cost a lot more than the bag.\n\n\n\n2. Which camera bag brand is best?\n\n\n\nJust like with good cameras, there are so many great camera bag manufacturers who cater for every type of photographer from hobbyist to professional.\n\n\n\nSome camera bags are aimed at photographers who just want something practical (like me) to carry and protect their gear. Other photographers value style, so prefer to have something stylish that\u2019s also practical.\n\n\n\nWhatever your criteria, it\u2019s essential you make high quality your first priority when choosing a camera bag.\n\n\n\nMy brand preferences are:\n\n\n\nLoweproPeak DesignThink TankManfrotto\n\n\n\nThat said, I have slipped in one extra brand to my favourite picks listed below, because it's just so stylish!\n\n\n\n3. How do I choose a camera bag?\n\n\n\nBecause photography is my job, I have three of these four types of camera bags and they\u2019re all great for different reasons:\n\n\n\nCamera roller bagCamera backpackShoulder bag aka messenger bagSling bag\n\n\n\nMy activity and how much gear I\u2019ll need determines which camera bag I\u2019ll use that day.\n\n\n\nEach type of camera bag comes in different sizes. So, regardless of the type of bag you choose, you need to assess if it\u2019s big enough for your gear. In fact, I\u2019d go slightly larger than you need, especially if you\u2019ve got your eye on another lens. This way you won\u2019t outgrow your camera bag too quickly.\n\n\n\n(PS - If you do purchase through one of these affiliate links, it won\u2019t cost you anything extra, but we may get a small commission.)\n\n\n\nCamera roller bag\n\n\n\nYesterday I had a personal branding shoot on location at my client\u2019s office, so I needed to take quite a bit of gear, including lighting, to the shoot. My roller bag was the best camera bag on this occasion.\n\n\n\nWhen I travel by air to a shoot my roller bag is ideal, because I can take quite a bit of my gear, including my laptop, as cabin baggage. So there\u2019s no risk of my bag going missing and I avoid the potential nightmare of having to hire photography gear at very short notice in a foreign country.\n\n\n\nEssential requirements of a camera roller bag:\n\n\n\nRetractable handle for easy wheelingShoulder straps (folded away) to carry if neededWell made, but replaceable wheelsLaptop pocketSolid construction with firm outer wallsMovable, padded dividers to arrange your gear to suit youSized to be able to carry on as cabin baggageBig enough to carry 2 camera bodies and several lenses\n\n\n\nMy top 2 roller bag picks\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nManfrotto Manhattan Runner-50\n\n\n\nRugged35 x 20 x 50 cmWater repellant fabric + rain cover\n\n\n\n\n\n\nView on Amazon\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nLowepro LP37272-PWW Pro Trekker RLX 450 AW II\n\n\n\nRuggedFits 2 camera bodies + up to 6 lensesFits 15" laptop\n\n\n\n\n\n\nView on Amazon\n\n\n\n\n\n\nCamera backpack\n\n\n\nIf I\u2019m shooting at an outdoor location with minimal gear and the likelihood that I\u2019ll move from one location to the next, I usually opt for my camera backpack.\n\n\n\nThis way I can keep my backpack on my back while shooting. With my gear on my back I don\u2019t need to be distracted by having to keep an eye on it, which is particularly important in a busy area.\n\n\n\nI can also pack my laptop into my camera backpack, which is great if I want to stop for coffee between shoots and catchup on emails etc.\n\n\n\nThis is also the bag that I take on holiday.\n\n\n\nEssential requirements of a backpack camera bag:\n\n\n\nAdjustable, padded shoulder strapsPadded backRain coverLaptop pocketMovable, padded dividersBig enough to carry 1 camera body and at least 3 - 4 lensesQuick and easy accessSeparate compartment for other items, e.g. a jacket\n\n\n\nMy top 2 camera backpack picks\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nPeak Design Everyday Backpack 20L \n\n\n\nStylishWeatherproofFits 15" laptopSide and top access\n\n\n\n\n\n\nView on Amazon\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nLowepro ProTactic 350 AW II Modular Backpack\n\n\n\nRuggedWell padded2.2kgFits 13" laptop\n\n\n\n\n\n\nView on Amazon\n\n\n\n\n\n\nShoulder bag \/ messenger bag\n\n\n\nThe bag I use least is my shoulder bag (also known as a messenger bag), mainly because I prefer to carry a bag on both shoulders so that I don\u2019t pick up any back strain.\n\n\n\nI\u2019ve also found that when photographing with a bag hanging off one shoulder it\u2019s difficult to avoid movement blur in the photos. The movement of the hanging bag, even if subtle, affects my stability so there\u2019s more of a chance of camera shake, especially with longer focal lengths.\n\n\n\nThat said, shoulder bags are great if you don\u2019t carry much gear and you\u2019re photographing in a busy environment. In my opinion the biggest advantage is that nobody can sneakily open up a zip to get their thieving hands on my gear. Sad, but true.\n\n\n\nEssential requirements of a shoulder bag:\n\n\n\nPadded, adjustable shoulder strapMovable, padded dividersRain coverBig enough to carry 1 camera body and at least 2 lensesMemory card pockets\n\n\n\nMy top 2 camera shoulder bag picks\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nPeak Design Everyday Messenger\n\n\n\nLifetime warranty30-day returnsFits up to 15" laptop1 handed MagLatch closure\n\n\n\n\n\n\nView on Peak Design\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nBillingham Hadley Pro Camera Bag\n\n\n\nSuper stylishGreat range of colorsWaterproof zippered back pocket\n\n\n\n\n\n\nView on Amazon\n\n\n\n\n\n\nSling bag\n\n\n\nSling bags are great if you want to get easy access to your camera without taking your bag off your back. For this reason they\u2019re popular for street photography.\n\n\n\nSling bags are a mix between a camera backpack and a shoulder bag, because when not in use they hang across the back. To access your camera, you just swivel the bag around to hang across your front.\n\n\n\nThe only reason I don\u2019t have a sling bag is that I don\u2019t like having a strap going across my chest.\n\n\n\nEssential requirements of a camera sling bag:\n\n\n\nPadded, adjustable strapPadded backMovable, padded dividersSmall laptop or tablet pocketBig enough to carry 1 camera body and at least 2 lenses\n\n\n\nMy top 2 camera sling bag picks\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nThink Tank Turnstyle 20 V2\n\n\n\nStabilizer strap for active shootingAttached rain cover in pocketSuits all heights\n\n\n\n\n\n\nView on Amazon\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nPeak Design Everyday Sling 10L\n\n\n\nPadded cross-body strapWeatherproofFits 13" laptop\n\n\n\n\n\n\nView on Peak Design\n\n\n\n\n\n\nLeave a comment\n\n\n\nIf you have any questions about how to choose the best camera bag for you, let us know in the comments.\n\n\n\nAlso, we love good news, so if our camera bag tips have helped you, share that too.