The 10 Best Camera Messenger Bags

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This wiki has been updated 18 times since it was first published in February of 2018. You could toss your camera in a backpack, but then you’d have to sift through the rest of your stuff in order to find it, and it could easily get damaged or scratched. A better choice would be one of these specialist messenger bags, which are stylish, comfortable to wear, and provide quick, easy access to your gear. They can protect your equipment and hold all your accessories, too. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Vanguard Alta Rise 38

2. Vanguard Havana 38

3. Tenba DNA

Editor's Notes

May 20, 2020:

During this round of updates, while the majority of our previous selections managed to maintain their positions, we did remove the Bestek Gadget due to availability issues, and decided on eliminating the Ona Bowery, noting that it lacked many special provisions that would qualify it specifically as a camera bag. Our new additions this time around are two offerings from Vanguard: the Vanguard Havana 38 – a smart-looking canvas bag that comes with a rain cover and a built in key lanyard, and the Vanguard Alta Rise 38 – which features feet to help keep it off the ground, and an expansion zipper that increases its depth by more than two inches.

A few things to think about for this category:

Capacity: Picking the perfect bag starts with selecting a model that rides the fine line between being big enough, and being too big. With that in mind, many models – including the Vanguard Alta Rise 38, Vanguard Havana 38 and Tenba DNA – are available in several styles, so you can decide on one that meets all your needs without being superfluously sized.

While any decently-designed camera bag should have space for the body of your camera, a flash and a few lenses, others go considerably further. For instance, many models, like the Handmade World Satchel, feature a serviceable laptop sleeve. Others, like the Estarer Canvas, have straps to hook a tripod onto.

Weather Resistance: With this satchel likely to be regularly packed with expensive equipment, it’s in your best interest to ensure that its contents stay dry. If you work in a rainy climate, or just if you’re somebody who believes in being prepared, you’ll want to keep an eye out for models like the Vanguard Alta Rise 38 and Tenba DNA, that are treated with a water-repellent coating. Other offerings, like the Vanguard Havana 38, come with a waterproof rain cover that can quickly be wrapped around the bag, in the event of a downpour.

Travel: By definition, all messenger bags should have some form of shoulder strap, and are typically of a size that qualifies as carry on luggage, making them a good choice to help keep your equipment close on hand during a voyage abroad. While most models also feature a supplementary briefcase-style handle on top of the bag, in case your trapezius ever want a break, some – like the Caden Vintage – do not, so keep an eye out for that if it sounds like a feature you might enjoy. Another consideration worth bringing to mind, if you plan to be traveling with this bag, is whether its design – like the design of the Vanguard Alta Rise 38 and Evecase Urban – features a sleeve that lets you hang it from the handle of your rolling luggage, which can be a nice convenience.

Many of the models we’ve ranked here include removable inserts that effectively make them a multipurpose unit, but if you’ve perused this category and you’re wondering whether you’d be better served by a bag that wasn’t so specifically designed for photography, we also maintain a separate page ranking messenger bags for general use.

4. Handmade World Satchel

5. Kattee Men’s

6. Purple Relic Professional

7. Estarer Canvas

8. S-Zone Shoulder

9. Caden Vintage

10. Evecase Urban

Will Rhoda
Last updated by Will Rhoda

After deciding that the pen was mightier than the pliers, Canadian electrical contractor William Rhoda abandoned his career and headed back to college, where he majored in marketing and advertising and won a scholarship along the way to earning a diploma in creative communications. His past career landed him a depth of knowledge in tools and hardware, while his current career schooled him in audio, video and camera equipment. During his leisure time, he’s learned lots about outdoor gear, and years of tiresome backyard maintenance have taught him all about pools and hot tubs. His recreational pursuits include rest, relaxation and revolutionary action, and his roommate’s a hairless cat.

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