Best Camera Backpacks for Women (2024)

Photo Accessories, Gear

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Updated: February 3, 2024
Feature photo by encierro/Shutterstock

When it comes to photography, a camera bag isn't just a bag—it's a guardian of your precious equipment and a personal assistant all in one. It protects your camera and gear from the elements while keeping everything organized and within easy reach.

Unfortunately for us gals, though, many camera bags are designed for men and then adapted for women, leaving much to be desired for women photographers looking for the perfect bag. Camera backpacks, for example, often sit too low on the hips, resulting in a less than ideal weight distribution.

In this article, we'll guide you through the components of a good camera bag and recommend our favorite camera bags for women.

From high-end to budget-friendly, from compact to spacious, from sturdy hiking packs to everyday use sling bags, we've scoured the market to find the best camera bag options on the market.

How we picked the best camera bags for women

The best camera bag is more than just a carrying case for your camera and gear – it's an essential tool that can make or break your photography adventure. And here at the Conservation Visual Storytellers Academy, we're not just writers – we're experienced nature and wildlife photographers who've logged countless hours in the field.

Our process of selecting the best camera bags blends our firsthand experiences, valuable insights from fellow professionals and industry experts, comprehensive editorial and user reviews, and specific details provided by manufacturers.

In compiling our recommendations, we've aimed to cater to a variety of photography goals and budgets. We've considered factors like comfort, capacity, weight, durability, organization features, and how well these bags protect your camera gear.

Our final lineup includes options for beginners dipping their toes in the world of photography and seasoned pros needing a reliable companion for their high-end equipment.

And, though we've found that no single camera bag meets every criterion for every type of photography need, below are some of the best camera bag options out there.

For more on what to look for in a camera backpack for women, scroll down to our FAQ. Also, feel free to use the table of contents to jump around the article.

Our Reviews & Recommendations

Peak Design Everday Totepack 20L

Multi-functional camera bag that packs a sophisticated punch

Peak Design Everyday Totepack 20L
  • Sturdy build with high-quality materials
  • Stylish and versatile
  • Pre-owned bags available through Peak!
  • A bit deep with a somewhat narrow opening
Check price on Amazon >>

  • External Dimensions: 16.5 x 6.7 x 12.6″
  • Volume: 20L
  • Weight: 2.25 lbs (with dividers)
  • Laptop Compartment: Yes, fits a 13″ laptop
  • Tripod Holder:Yes
  • Weather Resistance: Weatherproof DWR impregnated, double PU-coated 400D nylon canvas shell
  • What It Holds: Mirrorless camera with lens plus 3-4 extra lenses and accessories; crop-sensor DSLR with lens plus 2-3 extra lenses and accessories; DLSR with lens plus 1-2 extra lenses; full-frame DSLR plus 70-200 pro lens and another lens and/or accessories
  • Price: $


Versatile and stylish, the updated Peak Design Everyday Totepack crosses back and forth seamlessly as a photography travel tote bag and an everyday shoulder bag.

While at 20L this isn't the largest camera bag on our list, the roll-top allows it to expand to 20L, plus the two external carry cinch straps allow you to carry bulkier items.

Rachel Roberts of Peak designed this second-generation Everyday Tote to be more comfortable with a removable padded shoulder strap that can be converted to create a cross-body sling.

Comfortable and functional, inside the camera bag are two customizable FlexFold dividers that organize and protect your gear, additional organizational pockets, and a 13″ padded laptop sleeve.

While we'd like to see an upper opening that's a smidge wider, we love the weatherproof, 100% recycled 400D exterior shell and ultra-durable weatherproof zippers to keep your gear protected and easily accessed.

Without a doubt, this is one of our favorite bags.

If you'd like a slightly larger alternate to this bag, check out the Peak Design Everyday Backpack 30L in our hiking backpacks guide. 


MindShift Gear BackLight Elite 45L

The perfect backcountry photography companion

MindShift Gear BackLight Elite 45L
  • Spacious enough for a four-day trek with all your pro gear
  • Easy back panel access
  • Stormproof construction
  • Includes room for hydration
  • Big, but also comfortable and spacious so we actually appreciate the size
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  • External Dimensions: 11.4 x 7.9 x 20.3″
  • Volume: 45L
  • Weight: 3.9 lbs
  • Laptop Compartment: Yes, fits a 17″ laptop and a 10″ tablet
  • Tripod Holder: Yes
  • Weather Resistance: Stormproof construction with YKK® AquaGuard® zippers and waterproof and tear-proof Sailcloth and waterproof, heavy-duty Tarpaulin base. Seam-sealed rain cover included.
  • What It Holds: Holds 2 standard-size camera bodies and 4-7 standard zoom lenses plus a flash
  • Price: $$$


With its robust lumbar padding, hip-hugging waist belt, quick-dry back panel, and foam ridges for ventilation this pack, while heavy, is one of the most comfortable out there for carrying heavy loads over long treks.

The quick-fit adjustment allows for rapid and convenient fitting, while an adjustable neck strap keeps the back panel against your chest, providing unencumbered access to your gear.

We really appreciate the roominess of this camera backpack, particularly its customizable dividers that allow you to maximize space for camera storage or hiking gear.

From the extra space provided by the front pockets to the inclusion of a daisy chain, ice axe loops, and additional lash points, the carrying capacity of this pack is quite impressive.

Considering the build and the capacity, this is easily a top-ranked favorite for any nature photographer needing a rugged, reliable pack for their gear that's also comfortable.


ONA Monterey Camera Backpack

A high-end pack that doesn't scream camera bag

ONA The Monterey Camera Backpack
  • Compact but fits a full DSLR kit and laptop
  • Well-built with quality materials
  • Cushioned and breathable mesh rear panel and shoulder straps
  • A bit pricey
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  • External Dimensions: 11.5 x 6 x 14.5″
  • Volume: Not available, but the internal dimensions are 10 x 5 x 13″
  • Weight: 3.4 lbs
  • Laptop Compartment: Yes, fits a 14″ laptop
  • Tripod Holder: Not specifically, but a small tripod can be carried in a side packet
  • Weather Resistance: Waxed canvas exterior for water resistance
  • What It Holds: 1-2 camera bodies, including DSLR, and 4-6 lenses
  • Price: $$$


With its waxed canvas exterior (who doesn't LOVE waxed canvas??), leather accents, and brass front flap buckle, this pack is quite the handsome photography companion.

While we love its look, we might love its storage capabilities almost equally! Its spacious main compartment with front and top zippered access, sizeable laptop pocket, and dual external side pockets provide plenty of space for a day out shooting.

Using six removable dividers, photographers can organize up to two camera bodies, including a DSLR, and up to six lenses.

A fully padded leather base protects your precious equipment and a removable partition is included to give the option of closing off photography gear and allowing the upper portion of the main compartment to be used for stowing other gadgets and goodies.

Being that it's on the expensive end and is a seriously cool-looking pack, go ahead and remove the internal dividers to get your money's worth even when you aren't on a shoot.


Tenba Backpack V2 16L

A low profile camera bag that ticks all the boxes for practicality

Tenba Backpack V2 16 Long
  • Sleek and understated for a minimalist look
  • Compact yet fits plenty of gear
  • Roll top makes it easily adjust to fit all your extras
  • Canvas can be a bit of a magnate for fuzz, hair, seeds... anything that sticks
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  • External Dimensions: 11 x 20 x 7.5″
  • Volume: Not available, but the internal dimensions are 10.5 x 11 x 5″
  • Weight: 2.8 lbs
  • Laptop Compartment: Yes, fits 16″ laptop
  • Tripod Holder: Yes
  • Weather Resistance: Water-repellant 600D canvas, YKK® zippers, and heavily reinforced stitching
  • What It Holds: Mirrorless or DSLR camera with 5-7 lenses (up to attached 70-200mm 2.8). Also fits DJI Mavic and other compact drones.
  • Price: $$


While it doesn't exactly fall into the designer camera bags category, the Tenba Fulton V2 16L Backpack is commendable for its sleek, minimalist design that doesn't sacrifice function for form.

Its roll-top feature significantly boosts its adaptability, easily accommodating all your photography equipment and personal items. Though its canvas exterior might attract some unwanted fluff and debris, the material is water-repellant and durable, adding to the bag's longevity.

One of the bag's highlights is its capacity to hold a good range of gear. While it says it fits a mirrorless with 5-7 lenses, that's on the optimistic side. Maybe if you're not using any telephoto lenses… which we nature photographers usually are. That said, it fits a LOT of gear. We can easily fit a pro DSLR or mirrorless plus 3-4 lenses. We regularly use it to carry a large camera body, 100-400mm telephoto lens, two L-series prime lenses, and a bunch of accessories. It's impressive how much this bag can hold for its side and slim-looking profile.

Speaking of slim, one of the things we really love about this bag is that it can slide pretty easily under the seat in front of you on a plane. So, if you're traveling and worry about your expensive gear getting banged around in the overhead compartment, you can keep it with you at your seat on a flight with relative ease.

The price is reasonable considering its features and quality of this simple yet stylish camera bag, making the Tenba Fulton V2 16L Backpack an all-around excellent option for women photographers seeking a practical, stylish, and durable camera bag.


Gitzo Adventury 45L

A heavy-duty hiking camera backpack that can masquerade as a regular ol' pack

Gitzo Adventury 45L
  • Designed for pro photography gear
  • Doesn't look like a camera bag
  • Accessible through the back
  • DSLR camera with 600mm fits tight, so little wiggle room for wildlife photographers keeping a lens attached
  • A little on the heavier side
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  • External Dimensions: 13.8 x 8.7 x 21.7″
  • Volume: 45L
  • Weight: 6.8 lbs
  • Laptop Compartment: Yes: fits a 15″ laptop
  • Tripod Holder: Yes
  • Weather Resistance: Coated zippers, water repellent fabric, and coated bottom enable you to use the bag in humid environments. Rain cover also included.
  • What It Holds: Pro DSLR with up to 600 mm f/4 telephoto lens attached, plus a second camera with lens attached and additional lenses. The interchangeable dividers allow it to also fit a DJI Phantom Drone plus remote and a camera with lens attached and additional lens and accessories
  • Price: $$


Though somewhat on the pricier side, the thoughtful design and practical features of the Gitzo Adventury 45 L make it one of the best camera backpacks available.

The camera bag's roomy, feature-rich design makes it perfect for carrying a full camera gear kit while the removable camera compartment can transform this versatile pack into an everyday outdoor backpack.

The adjustable and removable waist belt comes with an ample pocket for additional accessories, the side infinity pocket expands for extra space, the bottom zip allows for storage of a long tripod or accessory, and the multi-link straps can connect a big tripod or other accessories on the front and side by simply changing the configuration of the daisy chain… Bascially, they thought of everything!


WANDRD FERNWEH Backpacking Bag 

A durable and stylish camera backpack as at home on the trail as on a city street

WANDRD FERNWEH Backpacking Bag
  • Four points of access
  • Dedicated water bladder pocket
  • Breathable material everywhere it touches your body
  • Multiple sizes and strap adjustment options to accommodate different body types
  • On the pricier side
  • Small laptop compartment considering the volume
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  • External Dimensions: 13.75 x 9.5 x 25” (S/M), 13.75 x 9.5 x 26” (M/L)
  • Volume: 50L
  • Weight: 5 lbs
  • Laptop Compartment: Yes, fits a 13″ laptop
  • Tripod Holder: Yes
  • Weather Resistance: Weather resistant material and YKK weather resistant zippers. Rainfly sold separately.
  • What It Holds: The Pro Deep Camera Cube (recommended for this pack) can fit a DSLR and lens, red cinema body, three medium lenses, and one small lens. Essential Deep Camera Cube fits one camera body and 2 to 4 lenses
  • Price: $$$


Our practical side appreciates the durability of the materials, the four access points to the main body of the bag allowing for convenient access to all your gear from multiple angles, and the thoughtful inclusion of a removable bucket to segment gear but, ultimately, it's that WANDRD style that makes us swoon.

The pack stands out as both a camera bag for nature photographers and a hiking backpack for a backtracking trip.

Though you pay for that snazzy style with a higher price point, this camera backpack is undeniably a solid blend of functionality and durability, and a worthy companion for any photography adventure.


Tarion RB-02 Camera Backpack

Affordable and convertible camera bag that carries quite a load

TARION RB-02 Camera Backpack
  • Large capacity overall, plus a large laptop pocket
  • Rain cover included
  • Affordable
  • Some lower-end finishes, but for the price...
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  • External Dimensions: 11.2 x 6.1 x 18.1″
  • Volume: 17L
  • Weight: 3.08 lbs
  • Laptop Compartment: Yes, fits a 15″ laptop
  • Tripod Holder: Yes
  • Weather Resistance: IPX5 waterproof rating for pack. Rain cover included.
  • What It Holds: At least one camera body plus 3-5 lenses and other accessories
  • Price: $


This affordable camera and laptop backpack seamlessly blends style and multi-functionality with removable inner compartments that allow it to transition to an everyday commuter pack easily.

The backpack's hydrophobic PU leather and polyester exterior and included rain cover have an IPX5 waterproof rating to keep your equipment safe. Protection from bumps and drops is provided with the inner EPE protective padding.

The pack can hold an impressive 17 pounds of gear, plus a tripod can be carried in the side pocket. Side and back access make for quick and easy access to your gear. Inner pockets stow small accessories and the customizable compartments allow you to configure your photography equipment just so.

Though we wish it had an adjustable waist strap, we definitely appreciate the S-shape padded shoulder straps and adjustable chest strap that let you find the perfect fit.


Lowepro Flipside 500 AW II Backpack

A solid and comfortable companion for taking everything you need on a day shoot

Lowepro Flipside 500 AW II
  • High-quality materials
  • Access without setting down the pack
  • Impressive storage configuration options
  • Doesn't have much spare space for extras (i.e., jacket, hiking or camping equipment)
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  • External Dimensions: 12.8 x 12.6 x 21.65″
  • Volume: 28L
  • Weight: 4.52 lbs
  • Laptop Compartment: Yes, fits 15″ laptop and. a 10″ tablet
  • Tripod Holder: Yes
  • Weather Resistance: All-weather AW cover and coated materials
  • What It Holds: Pro DSLR with grip and up to 400mm f2.8 attached lens or 500mm detached lens, 1-2 extra camera bodies, and 4-6 extra lenses
  • Price: $$


This backpack contains multitudes – multitudes of configuration and access options! Ba dum tss!

The high-capacity Lowepro Flipside 500 AW II Backpack, with its secure body-side access, allows wearers to grab a pro-depth DSLR camera with ease. Plus, that flipside design also helps provide extra security for your gear.

Comfort-wise, a waist belt and adjustable sternum strap help to evenly distribute the weight of the pack, while the padded shoulder straps and back panel offer cushy comfort and cooling.

We really love the organization and storage options. From the front storage panel to the removable accessory pouch to the dedicated tripod attachment system and stretch mesh side pockets, this pack finds the right spot for just about everything from a water bottle to a trusty tripod.


Think Tank Airport Commuter Backpack

One of the best travel camera bags on the market

Think Tank Photo Airport Commuter Backpack
  • Ideal for carry-on travel
  • Spacious laptop and tablet compartments
  • Adjustable straps, harness, and belt for comfort
  • Won't carry evvvvvverything, but will carry quite a bit
Check price on Amazon >>

  • External Dimensions: 12.5 x 8.5 x 18″
  • Volume: Not available but internal dimensions are 16.3 x 11.5 x 6.8″
  • Weight: 3.5lbs
  • Laptop Compartment: Yes, fits a 15″ laptop and a 10” tablet
  • Tripod Holder: Yes
  • Weather Resistance: Water-resistant ballistic nylon and polyurethane. Rain cover included.
  • What It Holds: Fits a pro size DSLR, 4-6 standard zoom lenses
  • Price: $$


You can pack quite a bit into this carry-on bag! Spacious and functional, this camera bag holds a pro DSLR with an attached 400mm f/2.8 lens, iPad, 15″ laptop, and additional lenses and camera accessories, plus a top zippered passport pocket, security cable and lock, water bottle pocket, and handles on three sides.

For comfort moving through the airport or out on a shoot, there's a height-adjustable sternum strap, adjustable harness with lumbar support, removable padded waist belt (which can be replaced with a Pro Speed Belt), and Air Mesh paneling to keep your back cool.

Think Tank is known for their near-perfect camera bags, and we'd be remiss if we didn't include another of our favorites: the Photo Retrospective 7. The water-resistant cotton canvas messenger bag with its padded and adjustable shoulder strap can hold a DSLR, two lenses, and other camera accessories.

As far as multi-functional messenger bags go, the Photo Retrospective is one of the best.


Meliae Madeline Camera Purse

If you're looking to pack light, this pretty package makes for a lovely lil undercover camera bag

Meliaebag Madeline Camera Purse
  • Surprisingly spacious
  • Soft, padded interior
  • Convertible shoulder bag
  • Won't cut it for all photography demands
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  • External Dimensions: 9.8 x 4.5 x 12″
  • Volume: Not available, but just imagine a medium shoulder bag
  • Weight: 1.93 lbs
  • Laptop Compartment: Wouldn't that be a magic trick!
  • Tripod Holder: Hahahaha
  • Weather Resistance: Water-resistant leather
  • What It Holds: One mirrorless or a small DSLR with lens attached plus additional lens or accessories
  • Price: $$


As tough gals (GRRRRR!) we don't exactly focus on cuteness while trekking through nature, working on wildlife or landscape photography.

But, sometimes you want to feel fancy when you're carting around your gear. And the Meliae Madeline is one cute camera bag.

With the appearance of a normal purse, this scratch and water-resistant genuine leather shoulder camera bag includes sturdy strap clasps and a soft interior lining.

And, if you're focusing on urban wildlife photography and want to look incognito like you aren't carrying camera gear at all, this could be a great option for you.

The main inner compartment has one zippered pocket, two slot pockets, and two removable and adjustable dividers to organize your camera, lens, and accessories, while the rear and side each have a zippered pocket to stow extra accessories or personal items. The most recent version has been upgraded to include more robust basket padding to protect your camera and lens better.

As a purse that carries a camera, this is an excellent choice. It's not going to be much help if you're heading deep into the woods for an intense nature shoot, but it's a trusty sidekick when you need to pack super light or are just really feelin' yourself.


Recommended: For more recommendations on camera bags, check out our guide the Best Camera Backpacks for Hiking

What makes a great camera backpack for women?

Even though we'd love to only zero in on cool features, fact is that shopping for a backpack requires some thought – especially when the industry doesn't always design with your body shape in mind.

While the features that matter most – capacity, durability, comfort, and style – apply universally, the implementation of these features can vary based on gender-specific needs.

Consider the following when looking for the perfect camera bag:

❂ Comfort

From serious photographers to those just getting started, comfort matters. A good camera bag should be comfortable to carry.

Look for bags with padding and adjustable straps to help evenly distribute the weight.

Camera bags specifically made for women tend to reflect average size differences between men and women. With the average American man, for example, weighing about 30 lbs more and being about five inches taller than the average American woman, camera bags designed for women are typically more compact and lighter weight to reflect generally smaller body frames and lower body weight.

❂ Capacity

While camera bags for women might be smaller, we don't want that to impact its carrying capacity.

If you're a professional photographer with multiple lenses, flashes, and other accessories, a larger bag with multiple compartments will likely be necessary.

However, if you're newer to the field or prefer to travel light, a smaller bag with basic storage options should suffice.

You'll still want a bag that fits your camera and a lens or two and has extra room to fit all other essentials you'll need on shoot days.

❂ Use

A great bag should be designed for accessibility, allowing for quick and easy access to your camera and other equipment, plus versatile storage options that use adjustable dividers for camera inserts.

Look for features such as easy-to-open zippers, accessible pockets, and compartments that can be reached without setting down the bag.

We also want additional compartments, like interior pockets to safely house camera accessories like memory cards and our on-the-go lens pen or exterior pouches and and straps for carrying other essentials such as a tripod, water bottle, and personal items.

❂ Construction

The top camera bags are the ones that are not just comfortable, spacious, and functional, but that last.

While higher quality materials and construction often come at an extra cost, spending extra up-front tends to get you a bag that doesn't need replaced or repaired as often or, fingers crossed, ever.

Plus, a camera bag made from super durable materials that can withstand minor bumps or drops will help keep your camera and gear safe. Look for bags with padded interiors and sturdy exteriors.

❂ Style

Finally, let's talk aesthetics. When it comes to finding the right camera bag, stylistically speaking, the oft-Googled “cute camera bags” don't necessarily cut it.

Most of us, regardless of gender expression, appreciate stylish camera bags… but there can exist a fairly big divide between stylish camera bags and the best camera bags when it comes to carrying and protecting our precious camera gear.

Many camera bags can look bulky and masculine and while not every woman will want a traditionally ‘feminine' style, many camera bags designed for women offer a blend of practicality and fashion-forward design. These bags come in a range of styles and types, from sporty to ultra-chic, from versatile shoulder bags to heavy duty hiking backpacks.

Photo: New Africa/Shutterstock

How to choose the best camera backpack for you

Let's start by saying no camera backpack is perfect. Also, everyone and every photographer is different!

One person might most value a comfortable camera backpack with a padded hip belt, well-padded shoulder straps, and an adjustable torso height. Someone else might just want enough space for a variety of lenses.

It also depends on what you're using the camera backpack for – full treks into the wilderness, or urban nature photography outings, or day trips up the hiking trail.

Needs are always variable, and what works for one person might not work for another.

So, take your time as you consider which criteria are most important to you when deciding on a travel camera backpack that can carry more than just your camera.

3 Quick Tips for Choosing the Perfect Camera Backpack

❂ Try it on

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is essential. A camera backpack should not only look good but should feel comfortable when you wear it.

Visit a store if possible and try out the backpack with some weight in it to simulate how it would feel when filled with your camera gear.

❂ Evaluate the size and weight

Size matters when it comes to a camera backpack, especially for smaller-statured people. Make sure you choose a backpack that can accommodate all your gear without being too bulky or heavy to carry around.

❂ Check for weatherproofing

If you plan to be out in the elements a lot, this is key. Whether you're shooting in the city or out in the wild, you want your backpack to protect your equipment from the elements. 

With these tips in mind, packing your camera backpack for wildlife photography should be a breeze. A good camera bag is an investment, one that will protect your precious gear and serve you well on your photographic journeys.

Here's to finding the perfect camera bag that makes capturing those magical moments even more enjoyable!

Recommended: Check out our gear guides for what to put IN your awesome new camera backpack:


Jaymi Heimbuch


Jaymi Heimbuch is a wildlife conservation photographer, photo editor, and instructor. She is the founder of Conservation Visual Storytellers Academy ®, and is the host of Impact: The Conservation Photography Podcast. Her photography and writing have appeared in outlets such as National Wildlife, Audubon, BBC Wildlife, and National Geographic. She is Senior Photo Editor of Ranger Rick magazine.

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