How To Select A Side Access Camera Backpack

One of the most important things that a photographer should have is a quality bag to house their cameras and lenses.  You might not think that a great camera backpack is vital equipment, but it is! 

Photographers must have a safe, accessible, and easy-to-carry and transport place to store their cameras and lenses at all times.  These storage solutions must also be accessible enough that the photographer can get to their cameras in time to capture that perfect shot.

This is where a Side Access Camera Backpack will come in extraordinarily handy. There are so many camera bags on the market today, that choosing one can be overwhelming, but even narrowing the options down to deciding to purchase a side access camera backpack can make the search a lot easier.

One of the biggest advantages of a side access camera backpack is that photographers can access their camera without having to stop and take their whole bag apart. 

How To Choose a Side Access Camera Backpack

Each side access camera backpack has different features, including different sizes, styles, and the types and shapes of storage spaces for all the photographers’ supplies. Before choosing your side access camera backpack, you’ll need to decide on some key things.

  • What kind of equipment are you carrying and how much of it?
    • Do you have one camera or several?
    • How many lenses do you plan on carrying at any given time?
  • Is the backpack just for cameras or will it be carrying other items such as laptops, or even drones?
    • Do you need separate or detachable compartments for these?
  • What size are the cameras and lenses that will be living in the bag?
    • Are your cameras and lenses small or large or a combination?
  • How many accessories need to be stored in the bag along with the main equipment?
    • How many charging wires, lens filters, memory sticks, tripods or other types of accessories will you need to have with you?
  • Does the backpack need to be weatherproof? 
    • Do you primarily photograph indoors or outdoors?
    • Should you get something water resistant or water proof?
  • Do you want access to both sides of the bag or is just one side sufficient?
    • How many points of access do you want into your bag?
    • Do you want a right or left side compartment or both?
  • What is my price range?
    • Are you hoping to find something for a “bargain” or are you willing to invest whatever it takes for the perfect bag?

Now that you’ve got your brain moving and you’re thinking about what your needs and wants are for your side access camera backpack, we thought we’d help you out even more by finding some of the most exceptional side access camera backpacks available and we have compiled them for you here!

1. Lowepro Freeline Backpack 350 AW – for sale on Amazon.com

This backpack not only gets excellent reviews, but it is a sturdy and affordable choice for any photographer. 

It has an innovative divider system that is adjustable according to how you want to set your bag up inside and how you want your cameras and lenses arranged and it provides ample protection for your equipment. 

You can access your camera from panels on both sides of the bag as well as the traditional top zipper. It is made from high-grade nylon, which will also help protect it from the elements. 

2. Thule Aspect DSLR Camera Backpack

This sleek bag also has removable dividers, so it can be used as a regular bag or a camera bag.  This bag is spacious enough for a DSLR camera, several lenses, and a plethora of other items (even a laptop!) but it’s still stylish looking.

Unfortunately, the downside for this bag is that it does not feature any weather-proofing or security features, but it’s definitely a solid option, especially if the style is more of your focus.

3. The F Stop Dalston

This bag is much bigger and can fit larger cameras, lenses, and accessories. It is remarkably lightweight for its size and it does have weatherproofing. It comes in a choice of two colors: Aloe, which is a tan/khaki shade, or Nasturtium, which is bright orange. If you are looking for a smaller bag, this is probably not the option for you.

4. The M-Trekker BP 150

This bag comes in either black or charcoal grey, it is slim and stylish and offers side access that helps prevent theft. The interior of the bag is flexible and allows you to make adjustments as necessary. This bag also fits a laptop or a tablet. It also boasts an all-weather covering to protect it from rain, snow, and other harmful elements.

5. Miggo Agua Versa

This bag is great for several reasons. It is definitely a weather-proof bag, which makes it ideal for nature photography. You can not only adjust the inside to your liking, but you can also configure the straps of this bag however you want them.

For example, you can make it a normal backpack, a criss-cross over the chest configuration, or a cross-body sling. On the downside, it is a little heavier than some of the other bags we’ve discussed. 

6. Tarion Camera Backpack for sale on Amazon.com

With quick front and side access and a choice of four different colors, this bag is a great choice for an affordable price. It is shock-proof, which guards against drops, and is made of weather-resistant materials.

Believe it or not, shock-proof camera bags, so if you have even a little bit of a clumsy streak, or if you have kids or pets around, this might be just the bag for you.  Not only is it shock-proof, but it has a large capacity and an additional rolltop compartment. 

This bag was also made with comfort in mind and it has an air mesh panel to allow for airflow and an ergonomic design to make carrying it for long periods more comfortable against your back

7. Tenba Axis Tactical 32L Camera Backpack

The Tenba can carry up to two mirrorless or DSLR cameras and between 6 and 9 lenses as well as some additional accessories. You can access your equipment through the sides as well as the top and the back of this bag.

It’s also water repellant, so you don’t have to worry about your camera getting wet if you are out shooting and you happen to encounter a rainstorm. 

8. Wotancraft Sniper

This premium bag has all the access and options you want from a side access camera backpack.  The sniper even provides lumbar padding for extra comfort while you are carrying it on photo shoots.

Its canvas design is extremely attractive and stylish, so it’s guaranteed to fetch you quite a few compliments. This is one of the more expensive bags on the list, but if style and comfort are what you are after, the sniper is hard to beat.

9. Endurax Canvas Camera Backpack for sale on Amazon.com

This bag has multiple pouches for all of your photography accessories as well as space for a laptop. The side access panel makes it easy to grab your camera at a moment’s notice.

It has a top-loading area with a drawstring that can be used for photography supplies or even clothes or snacks. It also has adjustable straps and is lightweight. It is one of the more affordable bags on our list of options, but it is sure to satisfy any photographer with its features and lower price tag.

This would be a great starter bag to see if a side access camera backpack is right for you.

10. Voyager 31L Side Access Backpack

This bag can fit one to two cameras and a minimum of four lenses along with accessories. It also has a waist strap to help distribute its weight, which can be very handy for long photography treks through the woods or a city. 

A very nice extra feature that this bag has that many bags don’t, is a USB port for charging devices. This can be a figurative or literal lifesaver if you need to charge your phone (or your camera) while you are out and about taking photographs. It also comes in four different color options: black, grey, green, or khaki.

11. Besnfoto Small Camera Backpack for sale on Amazon.com

This waterproof, smaller-sized backpack comes with an anti-gravity system to help reduce the sense of weight when you walk. The interior is completely customizable to your liking and, in addition to your camera and lenses, it can also accommodate a laptop or tablet.

There are also side pockets for additional supplies or even a water bottle. It’s a very affordable option for the photographer who likes comfort and doesn’t have a huge amount of equipment.

12. Peak Design Everyday Backpack V2

This is a new and updated version of the original Peak Design backpack. This version has more storage and organization options but the side access is ideal for photographers, especially those who tend to photograph in urban settings.

This bag is on the larger size so if you are looking for something small, this one probably won’t meet your needs. It’s also on the pricier side. However, it’s one of the best all-round side access camera bags available.

Final Thoughts

As you can plainly see, there is no shortage of options on side access camera backpacks. The most important thing to remember when selecting which one is right for you is that your backpack should comfortably fit the supplies you need to carry.

You don’t want too many things shoved into a space that can’t accommodate everything you need to have on you. You also want to make sure you like the look and feel of it, because the more you like it, the more likely you are to use it regularly.

If you plan on being outdoors frequently or traveling with a bag, make sure that it feels comfortable with you wearing it, you don’t want to invest in a bag just to find out shortly thereafter that it hurts for you to wear it.

If you are going to be traveling in places where a lot of people might be able to get near your equipment, selecting a bag with anti-theft properties should be at the top of your list.

If you know that you are primarily going to use the bag for outdoor or nature photography, you will definitely want to invest in something that is not just water-resistant, but weatherproof or water repellant.

Choose something that you love, something that you feel confident in putting your equipment in, and that you love to carry around with you.