Hiking is a great way of escaping the hustle and bustle of every day life, getting back to nature and exploring your surroundings.
It’s also an amazing way of discovering new sights, wildlife and other experiences. Discovering these things is exciting and capturing them on film (or memory card) makes it even more exciting.
If you’re heading out hiking and taking a camera (or two) with you, you’re going to need to carry them, but what’s the best option when it comes to camera bags for hiking?
What should I consider when choosing a camera bag for hiking?
1. Ventilated Straps & Back
When you’re hiking chances are you’re going to get hot and a bit sweaty in the process. Think about what sort of back ventilation you will need. Good hiking camera bags will have ventilation channels built into the back area – this allows air to flow between you and the bag helping to keep you cool and wick away sweat and moisture. Also look out for ventilation built into the straps to keep your shoulders and chest airated and cool.
2. Waist and sternum straps
You’ll be moving around and could be clambering over obstacles on the trail. You want your bag to be stable and secure as you move. Keep an eye out for bags that feature waist straps and sternum straps. Waist straps help distribute some of the load of the bag from your shoulders to your waist for a more comfortable hike. Sternum straps keep the bag from slipping around as you're moving and hiking over uneven terrain.
3. Staying Hydrated And Keeping Energy Levels Up
To keep drinking as you’re hiking you need water within easy reach. That means either a hydration system inserted into your bag - e.g. a bladder filled with water that you can drink from a tube while walking. Or an easily accessible water bottle – bottles placed in an external side pocket are a good accessible option.
And don't forget about pockets to stash nutrition, If you're walking for 2 hours or more you need to keep your energy levels up by making sure you take enough food with you. A stash of granola bars or trail mix in a handy to reach pocket will be a welcome energy boost mid hike..
4. Protection From The Rain
Rain happens. And when it does you want to make sure your camera equipment has a chance of staying dry. A waterproof or water resistant fabric will help protect your gear from getting wet. Waterproof zips are also recommended to keep what is often the most vulnerable point of a bag water tight and your cargo dry. If your bag isn’t water resistant then placing your equipment inside a plastic bag inside your bag is a good option, although this does make it tricker to access your equipment if you need it in a hurry.
What's The Best Camera Bag For Short Hikes?
If you’re going on a short hike (less than a couple of hours), do you even need a camera bag? Maybe you could get away with just a camera and a neck/shoulder sling or a camera strap. If you do need a bag, then maybe something small such as the Langly Cross Body Camera Bag – just enough room for 1 body and lens and a few other bits and pieces – more than adequate for a short stroll in the woods.
The Alpha Compact Camera Bag is a good option for a short to medium distance hike, this bag also has a built in carry cube with shoulder strap – take the carry cube for your short stroll or the bag for your longer walk.
What's The Best Camera Bag For Long Distance Or Multi Day Hikes?
Some of the larger bags in the Langly range such as the Multi Globetrotter can be used for longer distance day hikes, or even overnight hikes if you’re travelling light, limiting the camera equipment you’re taking and filling the bag up with hiking gear instead.
Otherwise a hiking specific bag or backpack is recommended. You can always take a camera cube packed with your photography equipment and place this inside your hiking bag for long distance or multi day hikes.
What Should I Carry In My Camera Bag When Hiking?
As well as your camera body and lenses (that’s a given) you will need to consider some of these essential items when heading out for a hike with your camera:
- Spare batteries
- Memory cards and/or film
- Lens filters – not just for effect but to protect your lens out in the field
- Jacket, ideally a photography specific jacket
- Camera strap – so you can keep your camera on your person, not just in your bag