Looking for the best DSLR or mirrorless camera bag for travel? We can help!
We know just how personal it is be to find the perfect travel bag, especially when it will be carrying your prized photography equipment.
There are lots of objective qualities that can make a bag “good”, but you’ve still got to find one that feels just right for your own preferences. That’s why we put so much time and energy into making this big guide to the best options on the market.
Whether you’re looking for a backpack, a messenger bag, or a simple camera sling, we did the research to help you find exactly what you need.
TL;DR Cheat Sheet
- Best Camera Backpack: Peak Design Everyday Backpack
- Best Camera Sling: Lowepro Slingshot 250 AW
- Best Messenger Camera Bag: Tenba DNA 15 Messenger
- Best Cheap Camera Bag: Altura Photo Camera Sling
- Best Leather Camera Bag: Ona – The Bowery
- Best Stealth Camera Bag: Fjallraven Kanken Classic + Fjallraven Kanken Photo Insert
Best Camera Backpack for Travel
Peak Design Everyday Backpack (20L or 30L)
- 20L Price: (Click to check current 20L price on Amazon)
- 30L Price: (Click to check current 30L Price on Amazon)
- Type: Camera Backpack
- Pros: Extremely versatile & customizable, Very Well-made, Looks great
- Cons: Expensive
Oh boy. There are a lot of things we love about this one. You can take one glance at the spec sheet and see that Peak Design did their homework when they created this concept.
In a saturated market full of camera bags, the Peak Design Everyday Backpack truly stands out. And that’s not an easy thing to do.
This backpack is one of the most well-thought-out camera bags for travel of all kinds. Whether you’re running a bulky DSLR camera set up or a more compact mirrorless one, you’ll get the performance you’re looking for out of the 30L or 20L option.
The 30L makes a great all-around traveler. It works great as a bigger carry-on that can fit all of your camera gear, a jacket, and a good travel pillow. (We actually have a guide to our favorite travel pillows too)
First and foremost, we love how accessible the Everyday Backpack is. It’s just about as good as it gets for a backpack this size.
The main compartment of the bag is accessible from three different spots: the top, the left side, and the right side. The convenience of this can’t be overstated, as you can easily access all of your important gear from every angle.
If you’re wondering how exactly that works, here’s a video breakdown of the backpack from Peak Design:
Sitting in an airplane seat and need to pull your camera out of the back? No problem, just open the top flap.
Taking pictures around town and need to quickly change a lens? Just sling the backpack around and access your stuff with zippers on either side.
Innovative Divider System
We all know that there are lots of products out there that claim to be customizable, but aren’t actually useful or practical. This is another area in which the Everyday Backpack nailed it.
The standout customization feature of this backpack are the customizable dividers inside the main compartment. Dividers in bags aren’t a new concept, but Peak Design did some wheel-reinventing in this backpack.
The shape of the bag and the design of the dividers allows you to lay out the inside of the bag in whatever way you’d like. You can align them into layered horizontal shelves that are accessible from both sides of the bag, align them vertical to create a tall compartment inside the bag, or create somewhat of a mixed layout.
There are multi-directional teeth on the dividers’ velcro, giving you the freedom to put them wherever. The ends of each divider flip and fold, making it super easy to completely reconfigure your bag’s interior on the go.
Extra Features Everywhere
From the unique magnetic latch system on the front pouch to the riveted shoulder strap anchor points, there are cool features all over this bag.
There’s a place for pretty much anything you’d want to bring with you while traveling. Dedicated laptop storage, cord storage, tiny pockets for SD cards- you name it, it’s got it.
One of the best travel features on the bag is the inclusion of a pass-through on the back of the backpack. It lets you slide the bag over a rolling luggage handle to keep everything secure. Anyone who has ever tried to keep a backpack secured to their luggage while running through an airport knows just how helpful this is.
Carry-on approved and luggage compatible, the Everyday Backpack is a true do-it-all camera bag for travel. Peak Design knocked it out of the park with this one.
It doesn’t really matter if you’ve got a full size DSLR or something lower profile like a mirrorless Sony A7III (the A7III has some amazing travel lenses, by the way), you’ll be good to go.
It’s not the cheapest option, but it’s an awesome choice for travelers who want the perfect backpack for hauling all of their gear. The ultralight 400D nylon exterior with weatherproof DWR coating will make sure that your investment holds up over time.
Add a couple of Peak Design’s own packing cubes to the setup and you’re ready for anything.
Best Camera Sling Bag for Travel
Lowepro Slingshot Edge (150 AW or 250 AW)
- 150 AW Price: (Click to check current 150 AW price on Amazon)
- 250 AW Price: (Click to check current 250 AW price on Amazon)
- Type: Camera Sling Bag
- Pros: Small, Lightweight, Great layout, Built-in weatherproof cover
- Cons: Too small for large DSLR cameras or lots of gear
If you’re looking for a low-profile bag to fit a mirrorless camera or a compact DSLR, it’s really hard to beat the Lowepro Slingshot. These are some of the most efficient camera sling bags on the market.
The Slingshot is a great choice for travelers who already have primary travel bags or backpacks and want a separate smaller bag for a simple camera setup.
This is perfect for something like a Sony a6000 or a6500 with a few of your favorite lenses. (If you need some help picking, check our favorite a6000, a6300, a6400, and a6500 travel lenses)
The smaller 150 AW is also a great choice if you have a kit full of GoPro or Sony Action cam gear.
A Big Bag in a Small Package
Pound for pound, inch for inch, the Lowepro Slingshot is a champ. There is a ton of utility crammed in this small package.
Unless you’re extremely serious about your travel photography, you’re probably not going to need to pack a massive bag full of camera gear every time you go out. Most of the time it’ll make more sense to carry a simple setup with a camera and a lens or two. That’s where the Slingshot shines.
The camera/lens compartment is big enough to keep your camera body with a lens attached, along with a few spare lenses. Its layout is nice and efficient.
The top part of the bag is a spacious compartment perfect for keeping any accessories and snacks, and the front of the bag has a small pouch perfect for keys, wallet, passport, and so on.
You can even fit a Mavic or other similarly-sized drone in there.
The Slingshot strikes a perfect balance between having a lot of excellent features and keeping the bag at a reasonable size. It’s easy to carry and it’s easy to swing around for quick access.
Built-in Weatherproof Cover
The “AW” letters in the Slingshot AW 150 or AW 250 stands for “all weather”. All Lowepro bags that use this acronym come equipped with built-in weatherproof covers.
This is a lifesaver for a camera bag. It’s very nice to go out and explore without worrying bringing an extra cover.
All you have to do is pull the cover out of a clever little hiding spot on the bottom of the bag. It pulls right out and easily wraps over the top of your bag.
This is one of those little things that you don’t know what you’re missing until you have it. Especially when so many companies choose to sell weatherproof covers separately.
If you’re looking for a really good camera sling bag, start with the Lowepro Slingshot. The 150 AW is a good choice for smaller mirrorless setups, while the 250 AW is the way to go if you have a compact DSLR. Either way, you’re getting an efficient bag that is super easy to carry anywhere.
This won’t be your pick for hauling around a massive DSLR with a battery grip, but it’s perfect for just about everything else.
Best Camera Messenger Bag for Travel
Tenba DNA 15 Messenger
- Price: (Click to check current Tenba DNA 15 price on Amazon)
- Type: Camera Messenger Bag
- Pros: Great protection, Plenty of space, Smart layout, Stylish design
- Cons: Magnetic buckles could be stronger
The Tenba DNA 15 may be the perfect camera messenger bag for travel. It looks and performs as great in an airport as it does out in the field. And for a messenger bag, it’s pretty much bombproof.
Unlike a lot of messenger bags, the DNA 15 can handle even the bulkiest DSLR setup. Mirrorless or compact DSLR photographers may find that they’d prefer to bump down a size to the Tenba DNA 13.
A Black Hole of Storage
The Tenba DNA 15 is a particularly deep bag. It’s the first thing you’ll notice when you start packing it. This is the perfect bag for travel-sized gear setups when you’re carrying a lot, but not quite everything you own.
There are a couple of pockets on the front of the bag, but the main compartment is where you’ll put almost all of your stuff. A removable insert keeps your camera, lenses, and other gear well-organized. The insert has a few segmented compartments and some pockets.
Another cool touch is the bag’s accessibility by both the main flap and by a zipper on top of the bag. This makes it really easy to get into the main compartment quickly.
Here’s a video breakdown Tenba did on one of their special edition DNA bags:
Overall, the DNA 15 Messenger is just the right size for travel. It strikes a nice balance between capacity and maintaining a convenient size.
If you find it to be just a bit too big, simply go for the smaller DNA 13. Same bag, just one rung down the size ladder.
Tough as Nails
Tenba really designed the DNA series bag to go above and beyond the durability you’d expect from a camera messenger bag. This is definitely not a flimsy bag designed only to handle quick urban strolls.
You can take the DNA 15 anywhere. The bag is constructed from an ultra durable 600D Helix material. It’s weather resistant and extremely sturdy. A protective bottom layer keeps the bag dry on wet surfaces.
Extra touches like waterproof flaps along the edges, an included waterproof cover, and a luggage pass-through complete the whole package. Safe, secure, and weather-resistant.
If you want a messenger bag that can go anywhere and do anything, the Tenba DNA 15 is a great fit. This is a bag that is at home in any environment. You can take it for a plane ride, on an outdoor excursion, and a business meeting all in the same day.
The only real gripe with the bag is that the magnetic buckles on the flap could stand to be a bit more powerful. They’re very convenient to pop off for quick flap access though, so it’s not a bad trade-off.
- Price: (Click to check current WANDRD PRVKE price on Amazon)
- Type: Camera Backpack
- Pros: Versatile, Stylish, Comfortable
- Cons: Expensive
The WANDRD PRVKE was birthed out of Kickstarter campaign aimed at creating a do-it-all backpack for travel, photography, and everyday use. It does a pretty good job of delivering on all fronts.
From top to bottom, there are whole host of features scattered throughout this backpack.
Three points of access (side, front, top) make it very usable while on the run. The roll-top design on top is especially useful for travel, expanding to give you an extra 5 liters capacity when needed.
Inside, there’s a removable camera cube that comes in and out easily. This gives the bag some extra versatility for the times you may not want to lug around your whole setup.
Other nice features include a built-in rain cover, a collapsible water bottle pocket, and multiple external gear tie-downs.
A hidden passport pocket on the back is an extra travel-friendly touch.
Altura Photo Camera Sling
- Price: (Click to check current Altura Photo Camera Sling price on Amazon)
- Type: Camera Sling Bag
- Pros: Very inexpensive, Great layout
- Cons: Build quality, Durability
If you’ve spent any time at all scouring the web for camera bags, you’ve almost certainly seen the Altura Photo Camera Sling before. It’s on almost every list out there.
Overall, this is a great bang-for-your-buck sling. It’s super inexpensive and it’s incredibly handy, especially for compact DSLR or mirrorless camera setups. The only knock on the bag is its construction and durability, but that’s to be expected for such a low price.
This bag gives you very easy access to all of your gear while you’re wearing it. The layout is intuitive and efficient, placing everything right where it needs to be.
This is a great light-use option for travelers wanting a simple camera bag that won’t break the bank. It’s not going to be the kind of bag to hold up over years and years of heavy use, but it’s a solid performer for the money.
Ona – The Bowery
- Price: (Click to check current Ona – The Bowery price on Amazon)
- Type: Camera Messenger Bag
- Pros: Classic style, Great for light travel, Simple
- Cons: Too small for lots of gear, Expensive
Ona’s “The Bowery” is a leather camera messenger bag (other materials are available too) that evokes a certain sense of style. It’s a darling in the world of hip, urban photographers. More importantly, it’s just a very good bag.
This is a perfect travel bag for keeping things light and simple. Throw in your camera, a couple of extra lenses and accessories and you’re good to go. It’s just big enough for your personal items and travel photo gear.
You’re obviously not going to be able to cart around everything you own in the Bowery, but that’s not its purpose. It’s meant to be simple, which is what almost all travelers need. Unless you’re a professional doing big shoots on the go, this will be more than enough.
The Bowery is very well-made and will last you a long time. It’s classic, sharp, and able to go anywhere you take it.
For those looking to get away from bags that scream “camera bag”, this is a wonderful choice. If there’s one bag on this list that can effortlessly accompany you around town in your Sunday best, it’s this one.
- Price: (Click to check current Thule Aspect price on Amazon)
- Type: Camera Backpack
- Pros: Low profile for a larger bag, Lots of space
- Cons: Dividers could be better
The Thule Aspect is a great no-frills camera backpack. It’s simple, well-made, and it gets the job done.
If you’re looking for a good camera backpack that doesn’t necessarily look like a camera backpack, the Aspect is perfect. You can easily haul all of your photo gear without anyone noticing.
The Aspect is laid out well, with side-accessible camera/lens compartment on the bottom and plenty of regular storage on top. Plenty of pockets are scattered around the bag for everything else.
It’s easy to pack this one down as heavy or as light as you want. The capacity is plenty big enough for carrying big loads, but the bag also works well as a day pack when you want to travel lean.
Peak Design Everyday Sling (5L or 10L)
- Price: (Click to check current 5L Everyday Sling price on Amazon)
- Price: (Click to check current 10L Everyday Sling price on Amazon)
- Type: Camera Sling
- Pros: Simple, Efficient, Looks good
- Cons: Not big enough for large setups
The Peak Design Everyday Sling is one of the best camera sling bags on the market. It’s minimalist dream with a perfect feature-to-size balance.
You can get it in either a 5L or a 10L size. The two sizes give are very different in their application
The 5L is perfect for small setups and it gives you just enough room for a mirrorless camera with 1-2 lenses or a DSLR with a lens. It’s perfect for keeping things light and tight while traveling.
The 10L is basically a full replacement for a backpack or a messenger bag. You can load it down with plenty of camera gear and you also have a dedicated tablet/small laptop sleeve.
You can also compress both sizes down to lay flat when not in use. This makes it a no-brainer to bring the Everyday Sling with you on any trip to use as a day pack.
Both sizes are carry-on approved and will fit under pretty much any airplane seat.
Fjallraven Kanken Classic with Photo Insert
- Kanken Classic Price: (Click to check current Kanken Classic price on Amazon)
- Photo Insert Price: (Click to check current Kanken Photo Insert price on Amazon)
- Type: Standard Backpack with Camera Insert
- Pros: Classic style, Versatile, Lightweight
- Cons: Not a dedicated camera bag
The Kanken probably needs no introduction as a daily-use backpack. It’s Fjallraven’s most popular, iconic bag and it’s a common sight all over the world.
Even though the Kanken is traditionally a standard backpack and not a camera bag, Fjallraven makes an insert that converts the backpack into a full-featured gear bag.
The insert has a number of divided sections for storing your camera, lenses, and other gear. Everything is padded and the outside of the bag is constructed with Fjallraven’s G-1000 material. It’s one of the best materials out there in terms of durability and outdoor performance.
It may sound inconvenient to have a separate insert to turn the Kanken into a camera bag, but it’s actually a great fit for a lot of travelers. Having a standalone insert makes it easy to remove it and use the bag as a standard backpack. It’s also nice to have the camera insert for use in regular luggage or a duffel bag.
If you’re looking for a stealth camera bag in the form of a stylish but durable backpack, the Kanken is perfect. It works well for both small mirrorless and large DSLR setups.
- Price: (Click to check current f-stop Dalston price on Amazon)
- Type: Camera Backpack
- Pros: Smart layout, Great for outdoors, Cool style
- Cons: Can be pretty large for smaller people
The Dalston backpack is a solid performer from the well-known f-stop brand. Their bags are known for quality and performance and the Dalston is no exception.
A large main compartment is accessible from both side and from the top. This design is the way to go when you’re trying to get maximum accessibility out of a backpack-style camera back.
The Dalston is a sizable bag with plenty of capacity. That capacity gets even bigger when you account for the roll-top feature that expands to give you a a decent bit of extra space when you need it.
420D ripstop nylon and a weatherproof laminate keep the bag durable and dry.
The Dalston may be a bit too much bag for a smaller person, but it’s awesome for anyone who wants a large do-it-all camera bag.