The subject came up recently on our forums and as we were responding we thought that this was something that might be of wider interest so we’ve posted it here too.
If you are looking for a camera bag to lug your gear around there are some terrifc choices out there.
Key factors when deciding will be: (a) how much gear have you got? (b) where are you going? will you be in vehicles or on foot? (c) will you be flying? All our recommendations are carry-on compatible.
Here are the ones that we think stand out from the crowd, sorted into the different styles.
If you want a traditional shoulder bag then there are two companies that make brilliant gear – Billingham (https://www.billingham.co.uk) and Domke (https://www.domkebags.co.uk).
Personally I like this kind of bag because it has fast access to the gear inside. If I’m in a game vehicle I can put it on the seat or the floor and quickly get what I want. The downside is that if you’re going to be doing a lot of walking it is not the most convenient to carry over any distance.
A lot of photographers like the backpack style. They are great if you’re going to be doing a lot of walking or hiking. For me, the downside is that with almost all of them you have to take them off your back to get at the gear inside. They are good if you have space to lay them out on the ground but may be a big awkward if you’re trying to open them up on the seat next to you or on the vehicle floor by your feet.
There are quite a few backpacks to choose from and the choice is a bit bewildering. A few that we’ve seen and can recommend are:
Kiboko 22L from Gura Gear (https://www.guragear.com)
Satori EXP from fstop (https://www.fstopgear.com)
Lowepro also have quite a selection of camera backpacks (https://www.lowepro.com/photosport) The LowePro website also has a page with tips on how to selct a backpack for your camera gear but it is naturally biased towards their own stuff.
A surprising number of wildlife photographers use rolling bags. When you are not using the wheels they double up as a backpack.
The best of them come from Think Tank (https://www.thinktankphoto.com) and are in their Airport range. In particular the International and, for those with bigger/longer lenses, the Security.
Try before you buy
Before splashing out on any camera bag it is a good idea to try and handle it first. Make sure it will accommodate everything you need.
This is particularly true if you are tending towards the backpack style of bag. It must be comfortable for you.