If you’re anything like us, it’s not every day that you reach for a crossbody camera bag. Unless you’re a boomer, you probably use a smartphone for most of your photo-taking. Using your phone is fast, easy, and always in hand (unless your toddler hid it somewhere). But on the rare occasions where you want to get that perfect photo, like during family vacations or celebrations, you’ll want to dust off your trusty DSLR and lenses. Smartphone cameras are awesome, but when you want to play with the exposure and tinker with manual settings, DSLRs still can’t be beat for photo production quality.
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We know the idea of schlepping another bag around in addition to your travel bag, kids’ luggage, and strollers doesn’t sound like a grand time — but hear us out! A crossbody camera bag offers quick equipment access with added security. Plus, even the most compact versions offer enough space for your phone, chapstick, and snack containers. A good crossbody bag distributes the weight more evenly so you don’t get that godawful neck and back pain from heavy shoulder bags. It also keeps your hands free for all the kids’ toys and snacks they promise they’ll carry but renege five minutes later, “Mom, can you hold this?”
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We’ve put together some of the top crossbody camera bags this season (including a few that can easily double as purses) because how else will you get a decent pic of your kid whizzing by during a soccer game? Or a good portrait of the kids that you can Lightroom to greatness? Your neck and shoulders will thank us later.
Best Crossbody Camera Bag
Messenger bags make great camera bags because they provide easy access to everything while you’re on the move. This camera messenger bag by S-ZONE has room for all the things — from your camera equipment down to gummy snacks! It even looks pretty stylish, too. Its slender profile reduces bulk and distributes weight evenly. Its thick canvas construction is waterproof treated for all-weather protection. This camera bag comes in black, blue, or gray—nice and dark colors so all the kid slop’s barely noticeable.
OMG this bag—so good. And a bargain at under $50! This sling pack is roomy enough for your DSLR and up to three lenses depending on how the removable padding’s configured. It has all the utility of a backpack but with easier access to your gear. There are also lots of small interior pockets for batteries, your phone, wallet, and even a tablet. The bag hangs comfortably on either the right or left shoulder and comes with a waist strap to reduce swinging. Strap padding is a plus, because there’s nothing worse than a chafing red shoulder after hours of camera schlepping on vacation.
Love the style and feel of a messenger bag but want it in leather? This one by MegaGear deserves a look. Crafted from genuine Italian leather, the bag’s compatible with most instant cameras and DSLRs, and is roomy enough for lots of the accompanying accessories. A shockproof lining cushions and provides a snug fit for your camera and lenses. Front pockets fit a notebook, phone, keys, and other odds and ends. We’re digging on all the colors, from black and blue, to olive, mink, and even maroon! Too big? Get it in the smaller Mini, a compact version that’s pretty sweet too.
Sporty looking and solid, the MOSISO sling camera bag is for those always on the go. We especially like the side-loading design so you can easily unzip and access a camera and lens without having to remove the bag from your shoulder. (It’s easier to get that perfect shot while kid herding out in the wild.) Its water repellent exterior and interior foam layer keep your camera, lenses, flash, and personal items dry and secure. The mesh backing and shoulder strap are moisture wicking so wearing the bag doesn’t make you feel like a sweaty mess. It’s currently available in six colors.
Tried and true, Lowepro has been making high-quality camera bags for more than 50 years. The largest crossbody camera bag in their Adventura series still feels portable and easy to carry. Its adjustable interior dividers let you customize placement of your equipment and offer good shock protection. The pockets are generous with lots of space for all your extras. There’s even a special built-in memory card pocket. A molded plastic base prevents scuffs and scratches while adding even more durability.
Best Camera Bags for Women
The MCHENG crossbody camera bag is a winner in more ways than one. Its cross weave design and striped shoulder strap add some style, because if you’re going to be hauling a camera bag all day with kids, it should look good too. Its waterproof faux leather looks authentic (not cheap). The bag also features a large capacity interior that comfortably fits most DSLRs, two or more lenses, a battery, and more. A roomy front zipper pocket can fit a phone, tablet, and an extra battery or two. Even better, it comes in two sizes depending on how much space you need for your gear.
For mirrorless cameras, instant digital cameras, and mini DSLRs, the crossbody bag by Besnfoto offers a smaller profile that’s lightweight and functional. The canvas exterior’s water repellent and features a zipper closure and snap flap for extra protection. Because of its size, it can easily hook on a belt with the included belt loop for even more freedom and portability (especially helpful if you’re carrying more than a camera bag). Interior padding keeps equipment shockproof and secure from jostling. Store a battery and even a couple of extra filters in the side pocket.
Made by a photographer for photographers, Domke camera bags are known for their rugged construction and high quality. The original design is the brand’s most popular and is used by professional photographers across the globe. If you’re trekking through some serious terrain, this is the bag to bring. Made from thick duck canvas, it’s designed to withstand lots of wear and tear. Twelve compartments offer plenty of space for two DSLRs, up to six lenses, flash, and accessories. Additional inserts are available to allow for even more storage customization. The bottom stiffener is removable as well if you prefer more of a duffel bag look and feel.
Not too big and not too small, the FOSOTO is the Goldilocks of camera bags. It fits a camera base and one or two lenses perfectly, so it’s a great on-the-go bag for outings that don’t require a ton of equipment. Reviewers like its compact size for smaller gear. “This bag is the perfect size for a small camcorder or camera. It has 2 Velcro dividers that you can remove or adjust to fit your camera and all of your accessories. I would definitely recommend this bag,” says Amazon reviewer Amber. Water resistant nylon offers protection from the elements. Bring the included rain cover for trips in harsher weather. A front zippered pocket can hold a battery, charger, and phone. An interior mesh pocket is great for filters and other small accessories. Attach a small tripod securely to the exterior back bands.
Everything’s better with pockets, and this crossbody camera bag features six of them inside and out for snug storage of your personal items and gear’s accessories. Water resistant melange fabric features a gray heathered look that’s neutral and stylish. If you need more protection, bring along the included rain cover. Don’t let the compact look fool you—the interior is roomy enough to fit your camera base plus one or two lenses. This one’s great for quick day trips and longer vacations. Hook the bag’s back strap to your carry on and you’re good to go!
Best Camera Bag Purses
This compact crossbody camera bag gets lots of high marks for its satchel style and wearability. It’s as functional as it’s stylish, with nicely padded interior channels for your camera and up to two lenses. Waterproof canvas keeps moisture out, and there’s even a rain cover included for additional protection. “The fabric is heavy and durable and the bag is very spacious for a large camera with room for lenses and cords. Love it,” says Amazon reviewer Gypsy Rose 71. Its front snap closure makes accessing your gear a cinch. Keep your ID, cards, and phone in the pockets so the bag can double as a purse. Attach it to your carry on with a convenient luggage strap.
Peak Design products are made for explorers and adventurers. Designed for maximum ease while walking or hiking, the Everyday Sling Bag can be worn as a crossbody or waist bag. Its convertible strap can be worn comfortably on the right or left side (and can be swiftly cinched on the go). A weatherproof nylon exterior is constructed of 100% recycled post-consumer materials and opens to a sizable interior that fits a DSLR, one to two lenses, and even a tablet in a dedicated sleeve. Keep snacks, chapstick, and tampons in six internal stretchy pockets. Choose from three capacity sizes – 3L, 6L, and 10L – and three colors.
If you’re on the hunt for a cute camera bag purse for your Fujifilm Instax Mini, this one’s for you! This bag by Caiul is super cute and easily doubles as an everyday purse. Constructed with vegan leather and metal zippers for strength, the Caiul features a removable strap and two outside zippered compartments for your camera, extra film, phone, and keys. Buyers beware—this bag is nearly kid sized, so if it goes missing check their bedrooms in case they “borrowed” it indefinitely.
Get the look of a purse with the functionality of a classic camera bag. This BAGSMART camera bag purse features a sleek crossbody profile that sits flat against your back when you’re on the go. Available in black or pink, the oxford fabric exterior is water resistant and includes a nicely padded shoulder strap for comfort. A reinforced zipper opens to adjustable padded compartments, a soft suede interior, and small pockets for memory cards. Inside, it’s surprisingly roomy with enough space for several equipment configurations, depending on what you want to bring with you. Says Amazon reviewer Shelley, “This is the _perfect_ camera bag. Absolutely perfect. Comfortable, enough room, well made, waterproof, protective, and pink. Perfect.”
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