We’ve tested a lot of camera bags. Here are others that we really like but that have been eclipsed by our top picks.
Peak Design Everyday Sling for $160: The Everyday Sling has long been one of my (Jaina) personal favorites for everyday carry or heading out for a day of shooting. It comes with flexible dividers you can adjust or remove, depending on how much organization or storage space you need. It comes in 3-, 6-, and 10-liter sizes. The 10-liter version has room for a 13-inch MacBook Pro, a charger, and my FujiFilm X-Pro 2 camera. If you need room for additional lenses or a larger camera body, you might want to forego the MacBook; it can get a little tight in there.
Shimoda Explore V2 25 Backpack for $373: I really like this backpack, but it’s a touch too expensive. It’s supremely comfortable to carry, thanks to its extensive padding, and the whole thing is water-resistant to keep your gear safe. I was able to stuff it with a surprising number of items despite its relatively slim size (all of which you can access from the rear), including a tripod in its side deployable pocket that you can cinch tight with a strap. There’s side access to the camera, tons of pockets for organization (I love the little pouch on the arm straps), and a padded sleeve for a 13-inch laptop.
Wotancraft Scout Daily Camera Bag 9L for $299: If you’re after a stylish messenger, I’ve always liked the designs from Wotancraft, and the Scout is no different. It’s made of durable Cordura with some cowhide leather thrown in for the straps on the flap. The main compartment is spacious and separated by sturdy dividers, along with a padded laptop pouch that can just barely fit a 13-inch MacBook Air. There are two pouches in the front that can loosely carry some small items, but there’s not much in the way of organization here. There is a luggage pass-through and a rear zippered pocket, but no side pockets and no easy way to attach a tripod.
Ona The Bowery Compact Messenger Bag for $209: I’ve owned this bag (the black waxed-canvas version) for seven years, and it remains in great shape. It’s attractive and perfect for short outings, with plenty of padding and a divider to keep your gear protected. You’ll only be able to fit a camera and one extra lens. There’s a pouch on the back I’ve used to stow a Nintendo Switch or a Kindle, and I shove my cables, batteries, and SD cards in the pouch on the front. Unfortunately, the two side pockets are too tight to fit anything bigger than a pen or a microfiber cloth. One perk? You can quickly detach the strap to turn the Bowery into a camera cube for a bigger backpack. It comes in an array of colors and materials.
Tenba DNA 16 DSLR Backpack for $230: You can access your camera from the front of this bag, and the compartment cooly folds out, like a drawer. There’s enough space to fit a big camera and a few lenses, but don’t forget the padded laptop compartment in back, a roll-top you can expand, and another zippered area for additional items. You can comfortably put a water bottle and a tripod into each side pocket. I took it with me on a trip to DC, and the front looks a bit scuffed up already, but it’s an otherwise fine bag.
Manfrotto Pro Light Frontloader Backpack for $235: Unzip the main front compartment and you can access all your camera gear neatly sectioned apart by the included Velcro divider system. This 25-liter bag is roomy, but that also makes it quite puffy on your back—you might bump into folks in crowds if you’re not careful. There’s side access for the camera, which is nice, but it’s an otherwise dreary-looking pack.
Tenba Fulton V2 16L Backpack for $140: I really prefer bags that have some way to quickly grab the camera, and that’s why the Fulton V2 isn’t higher above: The only way to pull out camera gear is by taking the bag off and unzipping the back compartment. (Technically, you can access this compartment from the roll top, but that requires undoing a lot of Velcro.) Otherwise, it’s a nice, small bag that can fit a good amount of gear, with an expandable roll top to store lunch or spare clothes, a stretchable mesh side pocket for bottles, and a canvas side pocket that can fit small tripods. Tenba says this can fit a 16-inch laptop in the padded compartment on the front, but I could only squeeze in a 13-incher. It’s water-resistant and comfy to tote around.
Lowepro PhotoSport Outdoor Backpack III 15L for $190: This pack only looks good on the trail and can only fit a small DSLR or mirrorless in its removable cube (with side access!). It’ll mesh well with your other hiking gear, and there’s a good amount of room for snacks and anything else you’d want on short hikes (including a 2-liter hydration bladder). It’s made of 75 percent recycled fabrics.