Hiking takes you to some spectacular places with incredible scenery, so it’s only natural that you’ll want to be able to capture the sights with your camera. But given the amount of photography gear you need to take, some people wonder what kind of hiking backpack to use.
A specialty hiking backpack designed with shock-resistant protection and compartments for photography equipment is essential for hiking trips with your camera. Look for a weatherproof backpack that’s lightweight, comfortable, durable, spacious, and is compatible with your camera.
There are many considerations to think about when choosing a hiking camera backpack, which also depends on the kind of traveler and photographer you are. Read on below to learn more.
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Choosing the Best Camera Backpack for Hiking
There are many different kinds of hiking backpacks out there, but if you enjoy hiking with your camera gear, it’s important that you invest in the right type of pack that will protect your photography equipment.
Hiking and photography go hand in hand so often, both among professionals and enthusiasts of each. For this reason, bag manufacturers have come up with specialty backpacks that can cater to this niche.
There are several things to look out for when shopping around for the best backpack for camera and hiking:
A lightweight hiking backpack is always recommended because it’s always the more comfortable option compared to heavy-duty models. This is especially important when you’re taking camera gear along with you, because gear tends to be heavy considering the camera body, and other accessories such as lenses.
Keep in mind that a hiking backpack with camera compartment already tends to weigh more than most lightweight backpacks since they already come with multiple dividers and padding to keep your equipment safe while preventing damage that can occur while hiking. That’s why they tend to weigh more than the average hiking backpack.
While you may not find an ultralight hiking camera backpack, you can still find one that weighs under 6 pounds. Anything more than that may be a liability and cause you pain as you hike with all that gear in your back.
A comfortable camera and hiking backpack is critical because if it isn’t comfortable, you won’t get to enjoy the journey. A high-quality model can be comfortable even if they are heavier than the typical hiking backpack provided that it’s made correctly.
Look for backpacks that have ventilated and padded back panels so that any sharp or blunt tools you may have within the pack won’t be poking you. Additionally, breathability care of ventilated features will ensure that you don’t sweat so much. Adjustable and padded shoulder and sternum straps, as well as hip belts, are extremely beneficial in improving overall comfort too because they help distribute the weight evenly from the shoulders down to the hips.
There are different types of protection available in a hiking camera backpack, though the most important one you should look for is waterproofing.
One is a water-resistant or waterproof outer shell, which already does a good job at providing the entire bag with a fairly good level of protection though they do increase the bag weight. In some instances, these bags are equipped with an additional rain cover which comes in handy in case you experience extreme weather.
The other is a rain cover; if a hiking photography doesn’t have an outer shell, it will usually have a rain cover. They are usually hidden and may be attached to the pack, though rain covers are not dependable forms of protection in case you get wet, or if the bag is accidentally drenched or submerged in weather.
A durable hiking photography backpack should be durable because peace of mind that your camera gear is going to be safe from falls caused by accidental tears or breakages in the bag. Look for well-constructed backpacks; polyester or nylon are the most common materials used, and both are excellent choices.
Nylon is particularly strong, known for its ability to withstand abrasions and harsh temperatures. It lasts long because it resists insects and mold naturally, though it doesn’t do well holding up to UV rays. Constant exposure to UV rays will eventually degrade nylon backpacks, though polyester is a better choice if you will be under the sunlight for long periods of time.
On the other hand, polyester is also a good choice especially for those who want a fast-drying backpack. Polyester is strong, lightweight, and wear-resistant though it’s not as durable compared to nylon. This is a better choice if you will be hiking in the rain, but many hiking packs already come with waterproof features or a rain jacket.
No matter which choice you go with, be sure to check the denier count. A high denier rating of at least 500 should be the standard for a hiking camera backpack. In addition, look for high-quality zippers; the YKK brand is common and known for superior durability.
Going on a hiking trip means you would be needing more things other than just a camera. That’s why you should be sure to have enough storage space for what you need. Backpacks vary in volume, though they generally accommodate anywhere from 20 liters up.
Some types of hiking camera backpacks are made to store camping gear too, and their volumes are usually 45 to 70 liters. Be sure to choose one that’s just the right size for your trip.
Always be sure that the backpack you’re buying is compatible for your camera model. There are backpacks that are suitable for more compact cameras, others are made to accommodate drones, while others are made to store SLR cameras.
Other Optional Features
Carry-On Backpacks: If you are a travel photographer too, you may want to consider a hiking camera backpack that can double as a carry-on. The standard carry-on size for most airlines is 9 x 14 x 22 inches.
Laptop compartment: For photographers who need to send or upload their photos during a trip, having a laptop is essential. If you’re one of them, it would be beneficial for your backpack to also have a padded laptop compartment.
Loading area: Most camera packs are designed with rear-loading openings, so to access your photography equipment, you have to open or unzip a panel located behind the bag. Then there are packs that are side-loading, enabling you to easily access your camera without the need to take off your backpack. This is purely a personal preference.
With this information, you now have everything you need to know in order to find the best camera hiking backpack for your needs.
Best Camera Backpacks for Hiking
Here are some great examples of backpacks for hiking with camera gear, you can compare their full features and specification at the links below:
- Lowepro Photo Sport 300 AW
- Endurax Extra Large Camera Backpack
- Beschoi DSLR Camera Backpack
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you carry a tripod when hiking?
A tripod is an essential camera accessory that reduces shake and enables photographers to improve their composition. However, when going on hikes, tripods can be challenging to carry because they are often heavy and bulky – making it difficult to take to rough terrain.
Thankfully, there are many ways to successfully bring a tripod along to a hiking trip:
- 1A tripod strap is a convenient way to carry a tripod around. There are numerous designs out there, though the straps that are attached to each end of the tripod is the most convenient because you can put it over your shoulder or around your head.
- 2Attach a tripod to your backpack. This is the best solution if you want to keep your hands free, especially if you will be using trekking poles. Many photography hiking backpacks make it easy to attach tripods to the bag, but be sure to consider the tripod’s size before you decide on a backpack, or vice versa.
- 3Use a tripod bag. Carrying a separate camera backpack with tripod holder or attaching your tripod to the exterior of your backpack isn’t feasible if you’re passing through areas with lots of rocks or trees, since the straps can easily get caught. This is where a tripod bag comes in handy, since they help you pack up the tripod and store it within the pack.
With these in mind, carrying your tripod either in or out of your backpack can easily be done while hiking.