The 7 Best Camera Cases and Bags to Buy in 2017

Protect your camera and lenses with these top cases and bags

Regardless of your skill level, camera cases and bags are extremely important. Not only do they protect expensive camera gear against external damage, but they provide a means by which you can quickly access your camera at a moment’s notice. But there are so many storage options to choose from, each with its own array of sizes, features and configurations. Where to begin? Well, to put it simply, this is a good place to begin: First, figure out how you’re most likely to use your camera bag. Do you need a messenger bag? A backpack? A sling? Or just a case? Once you’ve squared that away, focus on price, size and convenience. Here, we’ve put together a guide to the best camera bags and cases that, we think, meet all those criteria.

Whether you’re a pro or a hobbyist, carrying all your camera gear around is not a task to be taken lightly. Between frayed materials and effective storage, how and where your gear is situated can effect how good you are at your job. For that reason, you want something that is both rugged and well designed, but also lightweight and compact enough to sling over your shoulder — but not so small that you can’t fit a bunch of cameras. Oh, and it should be affordable.

Well, OK, those are some serious prerequisites. But the ProTactic 350 AW Camera Backpack is probably the best option when it comes to meeting all those requirements. It can fit two pro DSLR cameras, up to six lenses and speed lights, a 13-inch laptop, a tripod and a number of accessories. It’s a backpack design, meaning you can quickly sling it around for quick access. It includes a number of modular accessory pouches, dividers, a ventilated nylon exterior and an all-weather cover to protect your gear from rain.

If you’re a mirrorless shooter looking for something that’s a bit smaller, a bit cheaper and a bit more suited for urban environments, check out the Think Tank Photo Urban Approach 15. It can easily fit two large mirrorless camera bodies with lenses attached, as well as up to eight additional lenses, a 10-inch laptop and another 15-inch laptop. It can also fit a tripod on the exterior side. It’s also very well designed with strong construction materials; it features a matte black exterior with full-grain BBG leather accents, as well as a flat support base to protect your gear from tumbling over. By removing the interior dividers you convert the thing into a daypack, making it an ideal option for hobbyist photographers who may have need for a general-purpose backpack as well.

If price is your number one concern then you really don’t need to spend a lot of money on a compact, shoulder-strap camera bag. The Case Logic DCB-304 Compact System/Hybrid Camera Case is really as cheap as it gets. It’s not a backpack or messenger bag — it’s just a case for a single camera with a lens. But if that’s all you need, why spend an arm and a leg on something that costs more than $200?

The DCB-304 features a flex wall on the inside that separates the camera from your accessories, as well as pockets for memory cards, cables, lens caps, batteries and other goods. It’s made from polyester and will fit any devices sized up to 5.1 x 3.3 x 5.8 inches. It’s cheap and simple, and you’re not likely to regret buying it — unless of course you had need for something significantly larger.

If you want an actual on-the-go bag that can hold a bit more while still costing as little as possible, there’s the Altura Photo Camera Sling Backpack. The sling design means you can quickly store and remove your camera, and fit a bit more gear. It’s designed to fit a single DSLR (or mirrorless) camera with a two or three lenses, depending on their size. It also includes customizable dividers, a tripod foot holder and mesh pockets for other accessories. The whole thing weighs a little over a pound and is downright cheap.

Messenger bags are cool. They’re stylish and convenient, and they can be used for a variety of purposes — everything from day travel to camera storage. Found for just over $50, this bag is made from high quality canvas and genuine cow leather, and is specifically designed to handle DSLRs and classic SLR cameras. It features self-adhering padded dividers on the inside for optimal customization, as well as a soft liner that protects your gear from external damage. It also includes a padded inner tank bag and two durable external pockets for storing additional accessories. In terms of size, it’s designed to fit any DSLR (or mirrorless) camera as well as a few different sized lenses. Depending on your lens situation, you may be able to fit two cameras. For the money, this is one of the best designed camera bags you can find.

If you’re not necessarily a dedicated mirrorless shooter working in urban environments, and you’re willing to spend a bit more on a solid all-purpose camera bag, check out the MindShift BackLight 26L. This thing is equipped to handle pretty much any situation for however long you need it, without going overboard in terms of storage space. You can easily fit a DSLR, a mirrorless, as well as several lenses, flashes, accessories and laptops. It features a back-panel opening that allows you to access all your gear without completely opening the backpack, keeping the harness from getting dirty or wet. It also includes dedicated compartments for a 15-inch laptop and a full-size tablet, as well as front pockets totaling nine liters of storage space. With the daisy chain, ice axe loops, and additional lash points, this thing is not even necessarily a camera case — it could double as a compact hiking or rock-climbing backpack.

Some photographers don’t have need for a high-end tactical backpack. Some photographers prefer the traditional, elegant appeal of a mere messenger bag. These are ideal for shooters who only use their bags to carry gear from one place to another, and who don’t necessarily need to be able to whip out a camera at a moment’s notice. To that end, the Tenba 637-402 Cooper 13 Slim Camera Bag is an ideal solution. First of all, it looks great, with the cotton canvas, full-grain leather base and water-repellent coating. The quiet Velcro closure allows users to open the bag in near silence, and the “Quick Access” top zipper means they can securely remove cameras and lenses without opening the front flap. There’s also a couple of rain flaps that fold down to provide solid weatherproof coverage. It comes in a variety of sizes to meet a number of needs, whether you’re a single-camera mirrorless user or a multi-camera DSLR shooter. This thing is as versatile as it is elegant.

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