There are so many camera bags and backpacks on the market, and yet, finding the perfect one is not easy at all. After trying out a bunch of them, photographer Mark Denney shares some features an ideal backpack for landscape and travel photographers should have.
Of course, this is a personal opinion of a landscape photographer and something that works for Mark may not work for you. Still, I believe these features are worth taking into consideration if you’re still looking for the ideal camera backpack for your needs.
1. Exterior material and design
If you travel, hike and climb with your camera backpack – you sure want it to be resilient. It should be made from a tough and weather-sealed material, so you don’t have to worry about the rain or fiddle with a rain cover. It should also have large and strong zippers. If you buy a strong and durable backpack, it will protect your gear properly and it will last you a long time.
Another important thing to mention here is the size. You want the photography backpack to fit the overhead compartment in an airplane. So, go with the backpacks of maximum 40 liters capacity.
What I’d add here is the comfort. You will most likely spend a long time with the backpack on your bag, so you want it to be as comfortable for wearing as possible.
2. Dedicated water bottle holder
This may not be important to many of you, but Mark points out that he’s an “old-school guy” who prefers good ol’ water bottles over water bladders. So, it’s handy if the backpack has a separate pocket for storing a water bottle.
3. Dedicated tripod attachment
If the camera is landscape photographer’s most important tool, the tripod is the second most important. And if you are to carry it around all day, it’s good to have a dedicated solution for attaching it to your backpack so it’s secured properly. Mark mentions that Shamoda bags have a neat solution for attaching a tripod, with a pocket that can be pulled out of the bag, but of course, there are other good solutions too.
4. Good exterior and interior pockets
Alongside gear, you probably carry a bunch of other stuff in your camera backpack and it’s good to have an easy access to those items.
When it comes to external pockets, it’s important that they’re easy to reach, so you don’t have to take the entire backpack off if you need to get something out of it. The backpack should have both small and large pockets, so you can fit the smaller items such as your smartphone or headphones, but also larger items like spare clothes or a raincoat.
As for the internal pockets, it’s handy to have an array of mesh pockets so you don’t have to unzip everything to get what you need. Also, it’s handy if they’re at the top of the backpack. This makes them easier to reach when the bag is fully loaded. Mark recommends F-stop bags when it comes to the placement of internal pockets.
5. Removable inserts
Removable inserts make the backpack customizable and versatile. You can adjust the bag for the kit you will use on a specific occasion. Also, some bags let you remove the entire interior and use it for other purposes like camping.
6. Dedicated laptop sleeve
It’s useful if the backpack has a dedicated laptop sleeve, designed particularly for this purpose. It should be padded and of course – make sure that it fits the size of your laptop. Shimoda and Mindshift bags are well designed if you want to carry your laptop along, so Mark suggests you check them out.
7. Rear access
Rear access to gear is handy for two main reasons. First, it makes your gear more secure. And second, when you take the backpack off, you’ll lay the front part on the ground, and not the part which goes against your body. Mark points out to another thing here: the direction of opening. He finds it handier to open the pocket like a book (to the side) because this way it takes up less space.
Here are the bags Mark mentions in the video, you might find some of them good for your needs:
- Fstop Ajna 40L
- Shimoda Explore 40L
- Mindshift Gear BackLight 26L
- Mindshift Gear TrailScape 18L
- Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L
- Tenba Solstice 24L
Are these features also important to you? What do you find to be the most important features of a camera backpack?
[7 FEATURES of the PERFECT CAMERA BACKPACK! | Mark Denney]