13 Best Camera Messenger Bags

As photography continues to gain popularity, the number of camera messenger bags on the market increases steadily.

You'll find leather camera messenger bags, mirrorless camera bags, waterproof camera messenger bags, but which one is right for you?

Let’s take a look at a variety of bags for all different types of shooters so you can discover what is the best camera messenger bag for you.

Let's jump in!

The Best Camera Messenger Bags of 2020

  1. The Explorer
  2. Tenba Messenger DNA 15
  3. ONA The Brixton Messenger Bag
  4. Think Tank Photo Retrospective 30
  5. Wotancraft Trooper Camera Messenger Bag
  6. Peak Design Everyday Sling 5L
  7. Lowepro M-Trekker SH 150 Shoulder Bag
  8. Caden K1 Camera Bag Sling Backpack
  9. Domke F-2 Original Shoulder Bag 700-02D
  10. Megagear Torres Genuine Leather Camera Bag
  11. Rofozzi Genuine Leather Camera Briefcase
  12. Cosyspeed Camslinger Streetomatic Camera Bag
  13. Pelican 1510 Case with Padded Dividers

 

1. The Explorer

Style: ★★★★★

Build: ★★★★☆

Ease of Use: ★★★★☆

Value: ★★★★★

Overall: ★★★★☆ 

 

When style and function meet

Are you the type of shooter who’s got a hiking engagement session in the morning and a corporate meeting in the afternoon? The Explorer is perfectly transitional and could be the best camera messenger bag for you.

The pros:

It’s got the durable canvas and full grain leather to withstand tough conditions, but its elegant design allows you to transition seamlessly into the corporate space. While maintaining its vintage look, it has two interior compartments, an interior zipper pocket for your computer, and two side pouches for easy access. It’s a sturdy, efficient design that has enough space to carry your equipment but not so much that the bag becomes bulky. For someone looking for a stylish bag that works in the boardroom and on set, this might be the best messenger camera bag for you.

The cons:

While the material is durable for everyday wear and tear, it does not come with a weatherproof cover, so if you’re shooting in tougher conditions, this may not be the bag for you.

The Explorer Camera Messenger Bag Specs

  • Price: $135
  • External size: 10 x 14 x 4.9 in
  • What Fits: DSLR, 1-2 lenses, 13” laptop, hard drives, personal items
  • Color: Black, Light Grey, Army Green, Khaki

 

2. Tenba Messenger DNA 15 Camera and Laptop Bag

Style★★★☆☆ 

Build★★★☆ 

Ease of Use★★★☆☆

Value★★★☆☆

Overall★★★☆☆

Buy camera bag →

 

For the Utilitarian Minimalist

For someone who is looking for the maximum interior space but with a sleek, outer body, this camera messenger bag might be the best fit for you. 

The pros:

If you’re concerned with weather-proofing, the bag alone uses an easy closure system and is proofed on the corners, but for extreme conditions, it also comes with a removable and reversible WeatherWrap cover: one silver side to reflect heat, one black side to stay subtle during night shoots.

Its ergonomic frame can fit a professional DSLR with 2-3 lenses in addition to flash and audio gear with two padded interior sleeves big enough to fit a 15 inch laptop in one and an iPad in another: perfect for someone who edits on the go.

One of the best camera messenger bags for travel, it has a strap on the bag that easily fits over a suitcase handle for easy navigation throughout an airport.

The cons:

There’s no way around it; of the options available, it’s not the most stylistically attractive. Nothing about the design really stands out, and while that may be what you’re looking for, it might be difficult to distinguish from any other bag at a baggage claim.

Tenba Camera Messenger Bag DNA Quick Specs

    1. Price: $174
    2. External size: 11.4 x 8.6 x 16.1 in
    3. Weight: 3.09 pounds
    4. What Fits: DSLR, 2-3 lenses, 15” laptop, iPad, flash/audio gear
    5. Color: Graphite, Cobalt, Dark Copper, Olive

 

3. ONA The Brixton Camera Messenger Bag

Style: ★★★

Build: ★★☆☆

Ease of Use: ★★★☆☆

Value: ★★☆☆

Overall★★★☆☆

Buy camera bag →

 

For the Style Conscious Shooter

We all know not to judge a book by its cover, but sometimes you’re shooting an extremely formal event and don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb with a bulky, utilitarian bag. So while style certainly isn’t everything, here’s the best messenger camera bag for someone who wants a messenger bag that does its job and while looking great doing it.

The pros:

The ONA Brixton camera messenger bag certainly evokes that timeless design that all creative professionals covet and will both complement your look while helping you stay out of the spotlight while shooting a momentous occasion.

However, the bag isn’t limited to its looks; it’s fitted to hold a DSLR, three lenses, accessories, and a 13 inch laptop. The rear open slip pocket adds space for a tablet as well and the two front pockets can easily hold your lens cap, extra batteries, and any other small items you may need throughout the day.

To maximize both style and comfort, the shoulder strap and grab handle are adjustable and four padded movable dividers will help you customize the interior for your specific needs for each shoot. 

The camera messenger bag is even stylish enough to be used as an everyday messenger bag.

The cons:

Antique cognac leather certainly doesn’t come cheap; some styles will run up to $459, and at that price, you could stock up on some smaller lenses.  

ONA The Brixton Quick Specs

    1. Price: $459
    2. External size: 13.5 x 10.5 x 5.0 in
    3. Weight: 3.09 lbs
    4. What Fits: DSLR, 3 lenses, accessories, 13” laptop, tablet
    5. Color: Brown leather

 

4. Think Tank Photo Retrospective 30 V2.0 Shoulder Bag

Style: ★★☆☆

Build★★☆☆

Ease of Use★★

Value★★☆☆

Overall★★★☆☆

Buy camera bag →

 

For the adventure shooter

This bag is a no nonsense, no frills approach to the classic canvas camera messenger bag.

The pros:

Because of the soft canvas exterior, its many layers of pockets can be folded down when not in use, allowing you to stuff a half full bag under a seat of a packed car when you’re on the go. But it also expands to fit all sorts of equipment when it’s fully loaded. It has all sorts of zippers and interior and exterior pockets to really compartmentalize and organize all your equipment on the go.

The cons:

It’s a plan looking bag; it’s just a plain, pinestone green, so if you’re looking for something more chic or flashy, this is not the option to go with. Also, because it’s a soft material, it probably is not as protective as some of the other options available for the same or lower price. But if you’re looking for something simple with a soft canvas exterior, this might be the best messenger camera bag for you. 

Think Tank Photo Retrospective Messenger Bag Specs

    1. Price: $199
    2. External size: 16 x 11.2 x 7 in
    3. Weight: 3.2 lbs
    4. What Fits: 2 gripped DSLRs, 70-200mm f/2.8 unattached, 24–70mm f/2.8 attached, 16–35mm f/2.8 attached, and up to a 15” laptop
    5. Color: Pinestone Green

 

5. Wotancraft Trooper Camera Messenger Bag

Style★★★

Build★★★

Ease of Use★★★

Value★★

Overall★★★☆☆

Buy camera bag →

 

For the endurance shooter

The Wotancraft Trooper bag is intended to last just as long as you. If you’re a shooter who works in tough conditions and carries a bunch of gear, this might be the option for you.

The bag is intended to last a lifetime, withstanding conditions beyond just general wear and tear; it’s resistant to water and abrasions thanks to the cordura/canvas body.

The pros:

Depending on how heavy or light you pack, this bag has options from extra small to extra large and with those five options, you’re sure to find a bag that will be the perfect fit for all your gear.

Like most of the bags, each of the interior compartments are customizable and the two concealed side pockets, front pockets, rear pocket, and even a strap on top to hold a tripod will really help maximize your carrying capacity. 

The cons:

Some people may not like that other than the individual pockets, there are no dividers within the body of the bag to separate different lenses and camera bodies. 

Wotancraft Trooper (Large) Quick Specs

    1. Price: $289
    2. External size: 16.5 x 6.3 x 10.8 in
    3. Weight: 3.1 lbs
    4. What Fits: 2 DSLR bodies, 4 lenses, various equipment, 15” laptop
    5. Color: Vintage Gray Canvas - Black Leather / Olive Green Canvas - Brown Leather 

 

6. Peak Design Everyday Sling 5L (Camera Bag)

Style: ★★☆☆

Build: ★★

Ease of Use★★

Value★★

Overall★★★☆☆

Buy camera bag →

 

For the grab and go

This bag is for someone who has to travel light: maybe you’ve got a portrait shoot and you only need one body and a 50mm or you’re going out with friends and you want to snap some pics but the main focus is the night out.

The pros:

The bag is light, low profile, and fits snugly against your body. The adjustable strap changes the bag so that it can be used as a cross-body sling or as a fanny pack. It’s got interchangeable inner panels so you can customize what pieces of gear you’re bringing and the outer zipper makes for excellent ease of access if you only have a few moments to grab the perfect shot.

The cons:

Extremely minimal space. This is definitely not for longer shoots that require more than a few pieces of instrumental gear. 

Peak Design Everyday Sling Quick Specs

    1. Price: $79
    2. External size: 12.2 x 4.3 x 7.5 in
    3. Weight: 1.1 lbs
    4. What Fits: DSLR, 1-2 small lenses, small equipment pieces
    5. Color: Ash / Black 

 

7. Lowepro m-Trekker SH 150 Shoulder Bag

Style: ★★☆☆

Build★★☆☆

Ease of Use★★☆☆

Value★★☆☆

Overall★★★☆☆

Buy camera bag →

 

For the budget, no nonsense shooter

This simple, inexpensive bag has a sturdy exterior that keeps your equipment in place for standard shoots.

The pros:

One of the cheapest camera messenger bags on the list, this bag has a very standard appearance and function. It has interchangeable dividers like we’re used to and has a separate pocket in the back for a laptop. It has a front flap with the dual buckle closure and a dedicated interior pouch for a memory card, but you’re probably already using an SD card holder anyway.

The cons:

There’s nothing particularly special about it. It’s a very standard bag, and at $69.95, who knows how long the bag will last you. Of the list, it’s certainly not the best camera messenger bag available. 

Lowepro m-Trekker SH 150 Shoulder Bag Quick Specs

    1. Price: $69
    2. External size: 11.2 x 5.1 x 7.7
    3. Weight: 1.19 lbs
    4. What Fits: DSLR, 1-2 lenses, small tablet
    5. Color: Black 

 

8. CADeN Camera Bag Sling Backpack Camera Case

Style☆☆

Build☆☆

Ease of Use★☆☆

Value★★★☆☆

Overall★★★☆☆

Buy camera bag →

 

For the unconventional shooter

This bag has an emphasis on being hands free, quick to access, and being uniquely styled.

The pros:

It’s compact design is surprisingly roomy; at only a pound and a half, it can carry a DSLR, up to three lenses, accessories, and a tripod. It boasts that it only takes 2 seconds to remove the camera and it can be used as a backpack or as a chest bag, giving you the option to carry another bag with even more equipment on your back. If you’re in the market for a smaller case, this is an extremely affordable option coming in at only $34.99 with a three year warranty. 

The cons:

Not everyone will be in love with its odd shape and it can’t carry a laptop, tablet, or large lenses.  

CADeN Camera Bag Sling Backpack Camera Case Quick Specs

    1. Price: $34
    2. External size: 12.2 x 9.45 x 4.72 in
    3. Weight: 1.5 lbs
    4. What Fits: DSLR, 2-3 lenses
    5. Color: Black, Army Green, Khaki, Coffee 

 

9. Domke F-2 Original Shoulder Bag 700-02D

Style: ★★☆☆

Build: ★★★☆☆

Ease of Use: ★★☆☆

Value: ★★★☆☆

Overall★★★☆☆

Buy camera bag →

 

For the utilitarian organizer

This bag’s simple, utilitarian design holds up to 300mm lenses and is perfect for someone who wants to carry a lot of gear on their shoulder.

The pros:

This camera messenger bag is perfect for someone carrying multiple camera bodies and lenses, accessories, and a small tablet or computer. Unlike most other customizable inserts, this bag has a small four compartment insert that is easily removed as a unit, rather than individual padding that might lose its structural integrity overtime. The bag has a total of 12 compartments and pockets, some of which are adjustable or removable, and the bag retains a sturdy, cushioned shape to protect your gear.

The cons:

Perhaps not everyone is looking for such a spacious bag with so many pockets. The design is rather plain and while some might like the four compartment insert, some might find it limiting.

Domke F-2 Shoulder Bag Quick Specs

    1. Price: $119
    2. External size: 12 x 6.5 x 9 in
    3. Weight: 3.66 lbs
    4. What Fits: 2 DSLRs , 2-4 lenses, accessories, laptop/tablet
    5. Color: Olive 

 

10. MegaGear Torres Mini Genuine Leather Camera Messenger Bag

Style: ★★★

Build★☆☆☆

Ease of Use: ★★★☆☆

Value: ★★★☆☆

Overall★★★☆☆

Buy camera bag →

 

For low-profile, on the go shoots

This bag has the appearance of a small, simple purse, but can fit a DSLR and one or two small lenses for a minimal gear shoot.

The pros:

The bag is made with premium, all-natural Italian leather which makes for a stylish, classic bag that works for many different shooters. It has a small pocket for a phone or a notebook under the clasp and then opens up to the interior with a removable insert. It is equipped with shockproof lining to better protect against occasional bumps and drops of your gear. The crossbody design is meant for a simple, comfortable fit for a bag that isn’t a burden to carry. It’s the best camera messenger bag for when you want to have your camera on you just in case the perfect moment appears for an excellent photo.

The cons:

It’s extremely small and is not intended to carry much gear at all.  

MegaGear Torres Leather Camera Messenger Bag Specs

    1. Price: $109
    2. External size: 6.89 x 3.35 x 8.07 in
    3. Weight: 1.18 lbs
    4. What Fits: DSLR, 1-2 small lenses
    5. Color: Black, brown, maroon, blue, olive, or mink 

 

11. Rofozzi Genuine Leather 2-in-1 Camera Briefcase

Style: ★★★

Build★★★

Ease of Use★★★

Value★★★

Overall☆☆

Buy camera bag →

 

For the vintage professional

This camera messenger bag doubles elegantly as a briefcase that’s large enough to hold all your equipment but with enough interior pockets to keep you organized.

The pros:

If you’re going straight from the office to a shoot, you’ve got enough space to hold a DSLR, a laptop, a tablet, lenses, and any accessories you might need; in the image on Amazon, the front pocket is shown holding a book, so it’s thick enough to carry practically anything. It’s sleek design is intended to age gracefully while being sturdy enough travel with you on a shoot or on a business trip. The cushioned camera insert case has compartments that offer plenty of options to organize all your gear comfortably and safely within the bag.

The cons:

The fully leather look may not be for everyone and its design is rather large which doesn’t work for people trying to travel light. Its secure clasps might be a bit difficult to open quickly. 

Roffozi Genuine Leather Quick Specs

    1. Price: $74
    2. External size: 15 x 6 x 12.8 in
    3. Weight: 2.6 lbs
    4. What Fits: DSLR, 2-3 lenses, 15” laptop, tablet, accessories
    5. Color: Tan Leather 

 

12. COSYSPEED CAMSLINGER Streetomatic+ Camera Waist Bag Fanny Pack

Style: ★★☆☆☆

Build★★★★☆

Ease of Use★★★

Value★★★

Overall: ★★★☆☆

Buy camera bag →

 

For the hands free shooter

This unconventional camera design will make you rethink the word “fanny pack.”

The pros:

The eco-friendly leather and ultra durable nylon bag offer an unconventional design for someone who is looking for a more hands free option. Instead of having to remove a bag from your back or reaching down to riffle through a messenger bag, this small, low profile pack sits on your hip and the FidLock magnetic system makes the clasp extremely simple to snap open and latch quickly. Perfect for a low profile shoot where you want to remain inconspicuous and don’t want to carry much gear. If you’re looking for something other than the best camera messenger bag, this might be a unique option for you.

The cons:

Not everyone is looking for a fanny pack to carry their gear. If you prefer a traditional camera messenger bag, or need a bag that gives you more space to carry more gear, this bag is not the choice for you. 

Streetomatic+ Camera Waist Bag Quick Specs

    1. Price: $129
    2. External size: 7.87 x 5.12 x 6.13 in
    3. Weight: 1 lb
    4. What Fits: DSLR, 1 lens
    5. Color: Brown-Gray 

 

13. Pelican 1510 Case With Padded Dividers

Style★★☆☆

Build★★☆☆

Ease of Use★★★☆☆

Value★★★☆☆

Overall: ★★★☆☆

Buy camera bag →

 

For the industrial shooter

Don’t feel like any of the camera messenger bags listed give you that premium level of protection that you’re looking for? If your studio is in the woods, in a creek, or in the middle of a warzone, this Pelican case may be the best option for you.

The pros:

It doesn’t waste time with a cute leather exterior because it’s primary focus is keeping your gear safe in the most extreme conditions; one of the Amazon photos shows the case being run over by a truck with no damage to the equipment inside.

It’s one of the best camera bags for travel as it meets the FFA requirements for maximum carry-on size, has a retractable handle, and even has roller wheels, making it easy to navigate the airport with all your bags in tow.

The interior is customizable, to give you that increased level of protection, and you can find more of their specs on their Amazon page to see if it meets your required specifications.

The cons:

Admittedly, most of us will not be undergoing this level of extreme conditions, and its indestructible features would be unnecessarily cumbersome to carry and it doesn’t have a strap to distribute the weight. It’s bulky, heavy, and for someone who isn’t caring a bunch of delicate, expensive photo or video gear, this will not be your go-to, everyday bag. If you’re looking for the best camera messenger bag, this isn’t the option for you.

Pelican 1510 Protector Carry-On Case Quick Specs

    1. Price: $237
    2. Exterior size: 22.00 x 13.81 x 9.00 in
    3. Weight: 13.60 lbs.
    4. What Fits: Practically everything!
    5. Color: Black 

 

The bottom line on camera messenger bags

Selecting the proper case is an extremely personal and important decision that should not be made lightly. Think about what sorts of conditions you commonly shoot in, weigh the importance of style versus features, and make sure you set a budget before you hit the keyboard so you don’t waste time looking at cases way out of your price range. Soon enough, you’ll find the best camera messenger bag for your needs.

Got a bag that you think is the best messenger camera bag? Tell us which one and why you love it in the comments below!

 

The best DSLR camera bags

Looking for more camera bag ideas that are strictly intended for DSLRs? Click the link below to keep reading about the best DSLR camera messenger bag for you! 

Up Next: The Best DSLR Camera Bags →

1 comment

Shant, first of all — super solid review of all the camera messenger bags. It was really in-depth guide and I really appreciate it. A lot of really good camera bags here (especially the leather ones), but so far, I’m leaning towards The Gogh (love the vintage style).

Brent Johnson February 26, 2020

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