Four Fantastic Backpacks for Photographers Living in Cities

The backpack: it’s a beautiful piece of gear most photographers need or want. While some backpacks work great, others aren’t so great overall. If you’re in a city, you often need a backpack that works well, can carry a fair amount of gear, is versatile, and doesn’t really break the bank. So we dove into our reviews index to round up a number of our favorite backpacks for photographers.

Peak Design Everyday Tote Bag

In this review, we state:

“Like the Everyday Messenger bag, I’m awarding this bag the Editor’s Choice award. With the messenger bag though, I did it knowing that I personally didn’t like the bag but knew a lot of you would. With the tote, I can genuinely say that I like the bag. It isn’t the most handsome bag, but that could also mean that someone doesn’t try to go in and steal something.

There is enough padding throughout the bag, but I think that it’s best designed for mirrorless camera users. I’ve used it with a camera, lenses, and flashes stuffed in there along with a laptop. For working photojournalists, it can make a lot of sense. But it may be better for bloggers/editors.”

Vinta S Series Backpack

In our review, we state:

“I’ve spent a really, really long amount of time with this bag. Does the lack of quick access still annoy me? Yes. Can I live without it? Yes. Do I wish that it could hold more stuff? Yes, but I’ve learned how to make things work with this bag. I’ve taken it out into the snow in NYC and it’s survived with no problems. It’s still incredibly comfortable though I wish that it had buckles to make the straps come even tighter onto my chest. I don’t always like that I need to unzip the entire back to get to my gear or that I need to sometimes step off to the side to switch to something else, but I pretty much do this with any backpack that I use. I really wish that I could take a water bottle or an iced tea bottle and put it on the side, but I can’t.

What I really love about this bag though is that it works so very well on the NYC subway even when the L train gets super crowded. I’ve also made it hold loads of gear. Just today it held three cameras, five lenses, a pack of film, chargers, flashes, a microphone, etc. It’s an extremely versatile bag, but if the front of the bag allowed me to have quicker access to my gear, the top was a roll style, and the side pockets accommodated water bottles, this would pretty much be the most perfect camera bag on the market save for those of us who need to carry tripods. For those folks, you’ll need another side pocket to accommodate to bigger tripods. Sure, you can stuff it underneath, but then it’s going to poke everyone on public transport.

Of course, that isn’t an issue if you’ve got your own car.”


ZKin Yeti Camera Bag

In our review, we state:

“The photographers that will make the most of this bag are those that use DSLRs or mirrorless cameras with lots of lenses and then need to bring extra production items like flashes, small modifiers, light meters, film, extra lenses, changes of clothing, etc. It’s a true working photographer’s bag–but not necessarily for a photojournalist. Sure this bag allows you to have quick access via the side pocket, but I still feel that it’s best done by putting the bag down and changing out whatever you need. Instead, it’s best for photographers that go from one place to another and need to unload at a spot, pack up and go back home.”


In our review, we state:

“While I’ve talked about how much I detest the setup, it turned out to make the use of this bag very simple overall. In all honesty, this is the closest thing to a Swiss Army Knife that you can really get with a camera bag.

They haven’t solved the problem of having access as quick as a messenger bag; but no one has to be honest. Even with the straps placed around your waist/stomach, you won’t be able to rotate it as well and easily with the clamshell design simply because the bag is so massive. And if you’ve got a burger/pizza/whiskey/all-the-yummy-things-gut like I do then it’ll be even more difficult of a process.

When on a shoot, it’s best to leave the bag on the floor unzipped so that you can access everything you need. But if you’re a photojournalist, the design may limit you and to that end you’re probably best off with a messenger bag or sling instead. To that end it would be best for some wedding photographers, studio shooters, on-location shooters, etc.

What I’m even more surprised at is that you can sit an entire lighting setup in here with the exception of modifiers.”

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.