Photo by freemixer via iStock
I'm fortunate to own many different camera bags. I test many, many more each year.
And this year, I think I've had more awesome camera bags in my hands than any year before.
On top of that, the bags that make my best camera bags of 2019 list are more varied in their design than any year before, too.
From slings to backpacks, leather camera bags to duffels, this list has something for everyone.
Best Camera Bags of 2019: Hazard 4® Pillbox™
The Hazard 4® Pillbox™ Modular Shell pack certainly falls into the impressive category…
To first address the different aesthetic; it’s due to Hazard 4’s legacy users. From special forces recon teams to expedition reporters, these are first designed to endure the world’s harshest jobs and environments. Cameras, accessories and survival gear are protected while patented modularity allows broad mission customization. Thoughtful sizing, organization, ergonomics, and unique functions, with 1000 D Cordura® fabric, YKK zips, and patented hardware result in the tough, futuristic design that now many enthusiasts also choose.
From a comfort standpoint, the molded back-pad with removable belt is one of the bag’s best features. It’s abrasion resistant without chafing, aerated to ventilate sweat, and conforms to your spine for daylong comfort while padding a <16” MacBook Pro in it’s zip-compartment, that can hang hydration bladders too while the laptop moves to the shell’s other laptop holder!
In terms of ruggedness, it doesn’t get much better than the lightweight, yet durable molded foam shell and internal 360° moveable gear padding. The shell’s six mounting detents host their patented Hardpoint® system which can be used to attach optional loops, panels, rails, bungees, lights, and other hardware to hold tripods, holsters, helmets, etc. And with military modular webbing (molle) and velcro panels throughout, the pack allows expansion of its functionality by adding i.d. patches and pouches/holsters as needed.
This bag is also supremely versatile. Carry a laptop, tablet, camera system, and drone in the bottom, with clothes, food and first aid in the shell. Even weapons are retained for those who serve. A large admin organizer keeps your pens, SD cards, and tools neatly organized.
The professional mil-spec looks make this an eye-catching and unique bag with all the functionality you need to get the hardest field job done in style; like a James Cameron future loadout but in 2019! In three colors from urban to desert, if you want a bag to accommodate lots of gear with carry comfort and patented modularity/security features while looking like a tough, tech trend-setter, this is the one for you.
Best Camera Bags of 2019: The Camera Pack by Nomatic and Peter McKinnon
Another camera bag that really, really impressed me in 2019 is the Camera Pack by Nomatic and Peter McKinnon.
This pack was specifically designed for people that need to travel with their camera. It's ingenious design helps you organize your personal gear and your photography gear into a single bag.
As you can see below, there's a clothing side and a camera gear side that are separated by an interior panel.
This beautifully designed "ecosystem" means you can travel with a ton of gear without having to rifle through a disorganized bag to find it.
Except...it isn't a single bag. There's a removable day pack inside (called a Cube Pack), that way you can run and gun when you need to.
This backpack can hold up to 42 liters of gear when expanded (35 liters otherwise), so there's no lack of space. And with a full clamshell opening, you can see all the gear you’ve stowed away with ease.
The moveable interior dividers allow you to customize the space to your specific needs. There’s even a sleeve for your tablet, pockets for your camera accessories, and quick side access for easy retrieval of gear, too.
For your personal belongings, you can use compression cubes for your clothes, compression straps to keep everything where it should be, and pockets for smaller items to keep things organized.
The Kickstarter goal for this pack was $100,000. It raised nearly $2.3 million. If that doesn't speak to the innovative features and quality of this bag, I don't know what does!
Best Camera Bags of 2019: Wandrd HEXAD Access Duffle
This bag by Wandrd is the only duffel-type bag on this list.
And while I'm not usually a duffel bag kind of guy, Wandrd certainly makes the duffel something to consider.
After all, it's beautifully designed, extremely comfortable to carry, and incredibly functional, too.
It’s tough to beat a great camera bag as a gift for the photographer on your list.
One of the best features is the enormous clamshell opening on the top of the bag. With an unobstructed view, you can see exactly what gear is where, that way you can grab what you need and get the shots you want.
The three organizational compartments help you keep things tidy, which is supremely important when the bag has a carrying capacity of 45 liters of gear!
Fortunately, despite its massive interior space, this bag is lightweight at 4.9 pounds and has a relatively small form factor at 9"H X 14"W X 22"L.
On the outside of the bag, you'll appreciate the weather-resistant materials, the high-quality zippers, the side camera access, and the removable backpack straps and camera protection.
The exterior also features waterproof Tarpaulin and 1680D Ballistic Nylon with a WR army coating.
In other words, this bag has tons of capacity, huge functionality, and durability for the long-haul.
Best Camera Bags of 2019: f-stop Sukha
One of the first bags to impress me in 2019 was this bad boy, the f-stop Sukha.
This bag holds an astonishing 70 liters of gear, so needless to say this would be an ideal pack for a very long travel photography outing.
The Sukha is waterproof, so even if you encounter some inclement weather, you can rest assured all your gear and other belongings will stay dry.
And even though this is a monstrous bag, you can still easily find what you need.
That's because f-stop utilizes Internal Camera Units (ICUs) that enable easy organization of a lot of gear.
As you can see above, even though I have the bag full, it's still perfectly tidy and easy to see what's inside.
In addition to that, this pack has a huge amount of padding that keeps your gear safe.
I also appreciate the fact that this bag has expandable zipper pockets on the side in case I need a little more room for gear.
On the exterior of the bag are reinforced carry straps that let you add even more gear - like your tripod - to the bag.
And even when fully loaded, this bag is surprisingly comfortable to carry. The internal aluminum frame makes the pack nice and rigid while the EVA-padded Jersey laminate shoulder straps and hip belt help soften the load you're carrying.
The f-stop Sukha is just a well-designed and rugged bag that holds an incredible amount of gear.
Best Camera Bags of 2019: Peak Design Everyday Backpack V2
No best camera bags list would be complete without an entry from Peak Design, which seems to find ways to improve on their already incredible lineup of camera bags year in and year out.
Their Everyday Backpack V2 is certainly one of the best bags I've gotten my hands on this year, with new and improved features that make it more usable than ever.
Peak Design incorporated MagLatch hardware on the top of the bag so you can open it up and access your gear in a flash.
To expand access further, this pack has two side access panels that are secured by weatherproof UltraZips.
The shell of the bag is comprised of 100-percent recycled 400D weatherproofing so your gear stays nice and dry. There's also a handy tuck-away strap system that enables you to lash gear to the exterior of the bag to expand its carrying capacity.
As impressive as the outside is, the inside of the bag offers lots of goodies.
There's dedicated sleeves for up to a 15-inch laptop, numerous internal slip pockets for smaller items, and three configurable FlexFold dividers to help keep your gear organized.
Of course, the FlexFold dividers also help protect your gear by keeping it neatly organized and separated from one another.
The Everyday Bag V2 is available in 20 liter and 30 liter sizes so you can select the right fit for your needs.
Either way, you'll end up with one of the best bags of 2019!
Best Camera Bags of 2019: Hazard 4® Freelance™ Sling-Pack
Rarely do you encounter camera bags described as “tactical,” but in this case, the rank definitely fits the Hazard 4® Freelance™ Photo Sling-Pack.
Hazard 4® designs exceed military specs, so these are trusted by demanding users in the harshest environments - special forces to expedition reporters. Thoughtful sizes, organization, and ergonomics, with 1000 D Cordura® fabric, YKK zips, and patented hardware protect cameras, accessories and survival gear in a futuristic aesthetic that deflects harsh use.
You can cleverly rotate Freelance™ from back to chest for quick gear access without taking it off. Sized for most mirrorless systems with movable padded dividers to organize lenses and accessories, it’s also made in a Drone Edition with special dividers and “Drone Pilot” patch on its velcro I.D. panel.
Three exterior pockets fit extra gear. A sweat managing thermo-molded zip back panel cradles 10.5” iPads®. An admin panel organizes pens and SD cards, among other small items. A molded shell fits two Mavic® Pro batteries and has a patented Hard Point® bus for attaching Hazard 4® systems loops and tie-downs or GoPros® via a ¼-20 screw.
Modular webbing (molle) throughout allows exterior gear expansion. A patented roto-lock buckle prevents drops. Add grab-handles, tripod/compression straps, and more for the makings of one killer camera bag for active photographers!
Best Camera Bags of 2019: Peak Design Travel Backpack
What I like most about the Peak Design Travel Line Backpack 45L is that it has a modular design that allows you to customize the bag to fit your specific needs.
There's a zippered panel that divides the bag into two compartments - one for camera gear and one for personal items.
But if you're in need of tons of gear (or tons of personal items), you can unzip the divider and have one large space for storage.
Don't think that having all that storage space means your stuff will be all jumbled up...
Peak Design has a wide range of optional packing tools that extend the functionality of this bag.
You can get packing cubes for your clothes, a was cube for toiletry items, shoe cubes to keep the dirty bottoms of your shoes contained, and, of course, cubes for your camera gear as well.
Furthermore, there's four mesh zippered pockets on the front of the bag and a host of internal pockets to further your organizational abilities.
Another neat feature is that this bag has rigid sidewalls. Not only does that aid in protecting your gear but it also helps the bag retain its shape, even if it's empty.
When it's full of gear (or when you need to load up), you can do so from the access panel on the back of the bag, the top, or from the side access panels.
I love the weatherproof construction (even the zippers are weatherproof), the abundance of exterior handles for easy grabbing, and the ability to expand from 30 liters to 45 liters. With all that, you have the makings of one of the best camera bags of 2019!
Best Camera Bags of 2019: HEX Ranger DSLR Sling Bag
I don't often use sling bags, but I can tell you that this bad boy has made me a sling bag fan.
One look at the specs on this thing, and you'll understand why I think so highly of it...
What strikes you immediately is the small form factor of the bag.
It weighs only 1.3 pounds and is 14.5"L x 7.25"W x 4.75"H. Though it's rated at 8 liters, I could fit everything from my 10L Peak Design bag into the HEX bag, no problem. There is no wasted space in this thing, so the manner in which it was designed gives you the utmost efficiency of space.
Additionally, this bag hugs your body, so it's a carrying experience unlike any other I've ever had with a sling bag - it stays in place and doesn't bounce around or knock into things as some lesser sling bags tend to do.
The outside of the bag features adjustable load straps and adjustable bottom carry straps, so I can easily add my Peak Design tripod to the bottom of the bag when need be.
There's a front access organizer for small things like batteries or memory cards and a faux fur lined pocket on the front where you can keep your phone. There are multiple stash pockets too.
Inside, one of the best features is the collapsible interior dividers.
The dividers can be folded up or even removed so you can truly customize the bag to suit your needs.
My setup includes a Nikon Z7 with a lens attached, an additional lens, and filters, and there's plenty of room for all of it inside the bag.
The HEX Ranger is just a great looking bag that's well-thought-out and beautifully crafted. If you're in the market for a new sling bag, give this one strong consideration!
Best Camera Bags of 2019: Holdfast Roamographer
One of the best leather bags on the market today is without a doubt the Holdfast Roamographer.
There's a lot of reasons for that, too.
First of all, the Roamographer truly does fit the bill for form and for function.
This bag is stunning to look at, with its handcrafted details and beautiful American Bison leather jumping out at you.
Even the buckles, straps, handles, and shoulder strap show impeccable design and attention to detail.
Speaking of the straps, you can carry a tripod by lashing them to the bag via the straps, and carrying the bag is a joy considering the strap has a shearling-lined shoulder pad to keep your neck and shoulder as comfortable as possible.
You can even carry a small camera on the Roamographer's shoulder strap so that you don't miss any split-second shots.
But since I like a utilitarian bag, what impresses me the most about the Roamographer is that it isn't just a pretty face.
Inside, it surprises you with a removable camera insert that's soft and thickly padded to provide your gear the protection it needs. It keeps all your gear nicely organized as well with various sleeves, pockets, and dividers.
And since the insert is removable, you can use the bag as a weekender full of clothes and personal items when you don't need it to carry your camera gear.
With two large exterior pockets and two interior sleeve pockets, the Roamographer has no lack of storage space. There's even a large and small version for DSLR and mirrorless gear, respectively.
You can carry the Roamographer using Holdfast's excellent Moneymaker Camera Strap for the ultimate in utilitarian function (while looking good too!).
Best Camera Bags of 2019: f-stop Dalston Bag
If you're in need of a smaller bag that doesn't skimp on high-quality materials and versatility, then look no further than the f-stop Dalston.
This bag was designed with meeting the demands of the urban jungle in mind.
As a capable everyday bag, it not only offers excellent storage space but also has a sleek silhouette that makes it less bulky, which is ideal for photographing in tight spaces.
The bag is easy to access, too, with side-access pockets for quick grab and go.
But don’t think that the Dalston is just for quick daytime adventures…
At nearly 19 inches tall and 11.4 inches wide, this bag can hold up to 21 liters of gear. That’s plenty of space for extended photoshoots in which a photographer needs lots of space packed into a sleek bag.
Add in weather-sealed zippers, a removable internal organizer for keeping your gear tidy, a Jersey laminate EVA-padded back panel, and Thermoformed EVA shoulder straps for comfort, and you have the makings of a spectacular bag for photographers of all kinds!