We’ve curated and shared our 2015 gift guides for cameras, lenses, lighting and accessories. Now, we’re on to our last collection, camera bags. You know the thing that you buy at the begging of each new year when you make the resolution to not buy any other piece of gear this year other than THAT bag.
Below is a round-up of some of our favorite camera bags to pick up for yourself or loved ones this holiday season.
Incase DSLR Pro Pack – $139 (Amazon | B&H)
Simple. That’s the best way to describe Incase’s most spacious DSLR camera bag. Large enough to hold a laptop, tablet, smartphone, as well as a non-gripped DSLR and up to 4 lenses, the DSLR Pro Pack is a wonderful take on a daily photography bag that won’t break the bank.
Sometimes it’s not your mirrorless or DSLR you need to carry around. Enter Incase’s Action Camera Pro Pack. Designed for action cams, specifically GoPros, this small backpack features a unique organization method to keep your camera and accessories a zip or two away. As you might expect, the backpack itself features a GoPro mount on the shoulder strap, which in and of itself could replace a designated harness you might otherwise need to carry.
Pelican cases are designed to withstand almost anything you can throw their way. The 1514 case is no exception. While normally Pelican cases come with their signature ‘Pick-n-Pluck’ foam, you can order the Pelican 1514 with a set of dividers designed specifically for camera gear. This setup was my first true photography ‘bag’ setup and even after six years of putting it through hell, it still keeps my gear safe and sound. For those wondering if it truly is waterproof – yes, I’ve tested it multiple times, both on purpose and accident. It’s also very much worth it to buy the lid organizer for your cords, batteries and accessories.
This is one of the most interesting camera backpacks you’re going to find. Designed for adventurers, the MindShift Rotation 180º features an interesting design wherein your camera gear is stored inside of a belt pack that swings around for easy access to your gear. I’ve spent a great deal of time with this bag and although it takes a few times to get used to the strange design, once you master it, it becomes almost impossible to switch back to any other backpack.
Peak Design Everyday Messenger – $250 (Peak Design Store | B&H)
Peak Design knows a thing or two about making photography accessories. But the Everyday Messenger, designed with the help of photographer Trey Ratcliff, shows they know a thing or two about creating camera bags as well. Raising almost $5 million on Kickstarter, the bag blew well past its $100K goal – breaking all sorts of records. One of the more unique features is its MagLatch™ closure and ‘Origami-inspired FlexFold™ dividers.’ Technically, the bag isn’t for sale yet, but you can pre-order it now and get your hands on it as soon as possible.
So, you like the idea of the Pelican roller case, but want something a list more professional, eh? Well, Lowepro has you covered. There are three bags in the Pro Roller series, but the X200 AW falls perfectly in the middle with enough room to house 1–2 gripped DSLRs, 6–8 lenses, a 17” laptop and a whole heck of a lot of accessories. Besides the proprietary ‘MaxFit’ divider system, the most unique feature is the ability to completely remove the internal compartment of the bag and use it as a backpack. Built-in TSA-compliant locks are an added bonus as well for those who travel with their gear.
ThinkTank’s Senior product designer Lily Fisher teamed up with Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Deanne Fitzmaurice to create the Lily Deanne messenger bag lineup. Designed specifically with female photographers in mind, the Lily Deanne bags offer the aesthetics of a purse with the protection of a camera bag. There are three bags in the lineup: Lucido, Mezzo and Tutto, each of them designed to carry a specific camera setup. Well worth checking out for a mother, wife or daughter who’s looking for a camera bag.
f-stop Lotus $199 (f-stop store)
If you like modularity and customization, f-stop bags are right up your alley. One of the smaller bags in their Mountain Series lineup, the Lotus is perfect for those shorter backpacking adventures. The key to its modularity is f-stops Internal Camera Units (ICUs), which allow you to choose exactly how much of space you want to dedicate to your photo gear.
When you need your camera bag to look as good as you do, the ONA Union Street Leather is what you’ll be needing. It’s not cheap, but that’s exactly the point – ONA strives to make no compromises in quality. Having spent a great deal of time with this exact bag, it’s the perfect bag for a DSLR photographer who holds fashion as high as function. With a little bit of conditioning here and there, this bag should last a lifetime – definitely a buy it for life camera bag.