3 Camera Messenger Bags Our Photographers Use All the Time

Many photographers prefer messenger bags over backpacks–and these are some of the best we’ve used.

Sometimes all you need is a smaller bag than a backpack. That’s why lots of photographers love reaching for camera messenger bags instead. They’re positively perfect for mirrorless cameras. And if you’re not planning on bringing a whole lot around with you, why not get one? Of course, there’s a concern about weight distribution. But these bags are the most comfortable and ethical options we’ve used. We went through our camera bag reviews and our Reviews Index to figure out what camera messenger bags were best. Here’s our selection.

The Phoblographer’s various product round-ups are done by the staff. Our philosophy is simple: you wouldn’t get a Wagyu beef steak review from a lifelong vegetarian. And you wouldn’t get photography advice from someone who doesn’t touch the product. We only recommend gear that we’ve fully reviewed. If you’re wondering why your favorite product didn’t make the cut, there’s a chance it’s on another list. If we haven’t reviewed it, we won’t recommend it This method keeps our lists packed with industry-leading knowledge.

Billingham Hadley Pro 2020: The Tried and True Camera Messenger Bag

In our review, we state:

Pros

  • Weather sealed
  • Beautiful
  • Leather and canvas
  • Expandable pockets
  • Incredibly comfortable
  • Can pack a whole lot of gear, laptop, cords, and more.
  • Very well built

Cons

  • Nothing really, to be honest

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Pro Tip: The key to using a camera messenger bag is to not overpack it. We have a tendency to try to stuff more gear in there than we really should. Even though the bag can handle it, it’s not good for your back. If you need to carry more gear, bring a backpack. But if you’re only bringing a camera, lens, and a few small personal items, messenger bags are great. Position the strap pad on where the weight is heaviest. Sometimes that’s your shoulder. At other times, it can be your chest. Move it around!

Tenba DNA 15 Messenger Bag: For the Working Professional

In our review, we state:

Pros

  • The DNA 15 provides quick access to your camera and lenses.
  • You can easily tote a 15-inch laptop, a 9.7-inch iPad.
  • The bag is comfortable to carry around for long periods.
  • The bag is TSA friendly and provides resistance to the weather.
  • It has a great design that doesn’t scream, “I’m a camera bag!”

Cons

  • The zipper ring pulls feel cheap compared to other parts of the bag.
  • The interior padding is on the thin side.
  • Closing the top zipper with one hand when fully open can be a challenge.

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Portage Supply Mariner: An Impressively Comfortable Camera Messenger Bag

In our review, we state:

Pros

  • Weatherproof
  • Canvas and leather
  • It’s beautiful.
  • Heavy duty
  • Pockets exactly where I need them
  • The laptop sleeve is closer to the front, and so it keeps the balance of the bag when placed down on the ground.
  • The strap that makes it function like a suitcase is wonderful and removable.
  • This is the most comfortable strap that I’ve ever used on a messenger bag.

Cons

  • I wish that it had side pockets that were a bit more expandable.
  • Someone is bound to want to put more into this bag.

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Chris Gampat

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