What's In My Camera Bag and How To Choose The Right Bag
In the past 7 years, I have owned 6 camera bags, 4 for landscape photography and 2 for portrait photography. As you can see from the following pictures, the size of my camera bags grew bigger as I delved deeper into my photography journey. In this article, I'll mainly talk about camera bags for landscape photographers (I carry very different gear for portrait works and even use different bag so it will be a different article to share in the future).
Below is my most recent bag, F-stop Guru plus medium slope ICU inside. (Photo taken 2 months ago in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, CA)
So far it is my favorite bag. It fits me well, is light weight, uses weather protection fabric, and is very functional.
In order to easily share my advice how to choose a camera bag, I've recorded a video below to show you what typically I carry in my camera bag, how I pack it with the mindset of efficient workflow. I have elaborated in detail the four most important factors choosing the right camera bag.
To give you a visual walk through of my camera bag migration, I've also included photos of my previous bags. The definition of a "right" bag is very personal. I hope my advice is useful in helping you find your own camera bag.
The following was my first bag - I used it for my film SLR camera and my first DSLR. (Photo taken in Costa Rica)
I soon found the need for a second bag as my lens collection grew. The following was my second bag - Lowepro sling bag. (Photo taken in Death Valley National Park, CA)
The biggest advantage of this bag is that it’s small and convenient. If you have no more than one camera and 1-2 small lenses, and don’t expect to tuck an extra jacket or water bottles in the bag, this could be pretty good choice.
The sling design allows you to access your gear without taking off your bag like other backpacks require. However, if you think you’ll add a couple of more lenses in the future then this bag will soon become too small. This is pretty old model so check out other sling camera bags in recent years and see if something else fits you better. Also, if you want to carry a water bottle (or sometimes even bear spray like we carried for a month in our 2013 national park road trip), this bag won’t have the space for you.
Below was my 3rd bag Tenba Shootout (small) backpack. (Photo taken at Point Reyes National Seashore, CA)
This bag accompanied me for 3-4 years before I upgraded to my current F-stop Guru. The Tenba bag was very durable, and also could fit everything I carry in my current Guru bag. It also came with a rain cover (I did use it sometimes when caught in a storm on top of a mountain).
But the bag itself felt a lot heavier (6.2 pounds) than my F-stop Guru (2.56 pounds) plus medium slope ICU (1.2 pounds). Plus, the latter fits my back much tighter. However, which backpack fits you better depends on your height and weight. Tenba also sells medium and large shootout backpacks.
For my complete gear list, you can check the bottom of the page HERE.
You can also download my FREE GIVEAWAY e-book that includes tons of information about How To Prepare For A Landscape Photography Trip.