Best Backpacks for the Landscape Photographer

Photo by Annie Spratt / CC0

When looking for a camera bag aesthetics, functionality, price, and durability all vie for our attention. Each bag here takes these factors into account and are highly rated as being some of the best bags for the landscape photographer. While other bags may look nicer, a leather bag won’t protect your sensitive electronics nearly as well as treated nylon in a sudden rain. Satchel bags are sometimes easier to access tools from but are not as comfortable as a backpack when hiking hours to your scenic vista. Therefore, the bags here are all backpacks using mostly durable synthetic blends that resist the elements and snagging branches.

Altura Photo Wanderer Series Camera Bag

First up is a budget option from Altura. At $49.99 this bag won’t break the bank yet is sturdy enough to trust with your gear. The bag is constructed out of 840D Nylon fabric. Nylon is a plastic creation and is what the majority of backpacks are made with nowadays. Nylon is water resistant and strongly resistant to tearing and shearing forces but not punctures. The product listing mentions it being made with “tough reinforced stitching.” Ripstop nylon is much stronger than regular nylon due to an interlacing of thicker threads at regular intervals. The average camping bag uses 400-600D nylon so the Altura Photo wanderer is made to last.

The design also allows for up to two camera bodies and a host of lenses. 6 to 8 is easily doable and there’s space for a flash unit, mini tripod, and a laptop sleeve. The traveling landscape photographer will be happy to know that this bag is TSA carryon compatible, saving you time at the airport. And the compact 12″ x 6.5″ x 17″ design keeps everything organized in a small space.

The only issue with the bag is the lack of an included rain fly for extra moisture protection. Zippers are sometimes a weak point in even waterproof bags and we don’t want to take any chances with sensitive electronics.

Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW Camera Backpack

The hip belt of this bag allows you to take tons of load off of your shoulders and transfer it to your hips and legs where it’s far more easily managed. This makes the ProTactic 450 well suited for landscape photographers to have to hike long distances to site. The pack also uses a modular design which means you can attach and remove extra units as needed. The water bottle holder, accessory case, tripod cup and two cinch straps can all be used or set aside as needed.

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The ProTactic 350 also grants access to the pack from four separate areas. When you’re walking on the trail and want to swing your bag to your front for quick access it pays to have flexible entry points. And unlike the Altura Photo Wanderer, we have an extra rainfly for added water protection. But at 13.70″ x 10.63″ x 19.21″ this bag is significantly larger than the last and isn’t guaranteed to fit into an overhead compartment while flying. And at the current retail price it is slightly more expensive than the other options listed here.

Evecase Canvas DSLR Camera Travel Backpack

Unlike the first two bags, the Evecase uses a “canvas blend” construction that’s durable and waterproof. Pure cotton canvas is not waterproof so most likely this bag blends cotton canvas with synthetic fabrics to retain the classic flavor of canvas while adding durability and partial water resistance. Since a canvas blend doesn’t have the water repulsion power of Nylon the bag does include a rain fly for added all-weather protection.

This backpack is more of a hybrid pack. The top half houses an extra large compartment that can hold a journal, a lunch, or a large piece of photography equipment. The bottom has a zipper entry and has enough space for a single body and 4-6 lenses. 3 front pockets and one large rear laptop sleeve completes the package. The metal rings also offer great places to clip carabiners as needed.

Peak Design 30L Everyday Backpack 

Peak Design’s 30L backpack might be the best looking bag on this list, even though at its high price it’s certainly not a budget option. The Everyday pack has access from both the top and sides with a weather sealed zipper system. The side pockets use a cotton twill interior that’s easy on gear and soft to the touch. The shell is waterproof 400D Nylon, not as strong as that of the much cheaper Altura Photo wanderer, but in line with most of the nylon backpacks on the market. The high-density padding adds some extra durability and the fabric is coated twice with DWR (durable water repellent) that effectively improves the innate water resistance of nylon and is made to last the lifetime of the pack.

The pack has seams reinforced with Hypalon, a synthetic rubber that’s extremely resistant to weathering from chemicals and UV exposure. And a MagLatch system ensures quick access without compromising on security or aesthetics.

The pack is an aesthetic choice that also allows owners to be supremely flexible in how they organize and what they add to the pack. Instead of a modular design, the 30L Everyday Pack has 4 tension straps that can be hidden away in magnetically sealed side pockets to prevent loose straps from getting in the way or released to attach additional bags and gear as needed.

ILE Ultimate Photographer’s Bag

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Last and certainly not least is the ILE Ultimate Photographer’s bag. Made out of ballistic nylon, a fabric created during WWII to protect soldiers from exploding shrapnel, the fabric rates at 1000D and is the most abrasion and tear resistant here. The material is also treated with Codura to make the pack incredibly water resistant.

The bottom compartment is weatherized a second time and holds the camera and lenses as well as customizable dividers while the top section has a separate top access and can hold extra photography gear or personal items as needed. The front is latticed to allow you to add extra modules, attach carabiners, and otherwise customize the bag as needed. With its high price this bag is certainly oriented towards the pro market, but is built to last you years, making it a solid investment for the dedicated landscape photographer.

Best Backpacks for Landscape Photographers

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