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The best camera bags and cases for photographers in 2022: choose your type!

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The best camera bags will protect your camera kit from knocks and bumps, and very often the weather too. They let you keep all your camera kit close to hand and accessible when you need it. But camera bags come in six main types, so which do you need? Our guide below goes through all the pros and cons, picks a some of our favorite camera bags and has links to more detailed guides on each type.

In this list, our general-purpose guide to camera bags, we want to explain the different types and when you might use them.

• Shoulder bags: With a single strap that runs over one shoulder, these are quick and simple bags with easy access and different capacities. Ideal for cities and travel, they can be a strain if they are too heavy. 'Messenger bags' tend to be slimmer, with a pocket for a laptop and a design that lets you push them round to your back for cycling, for example. 

• Backpacks: With two straps, one for each shoulder, backpacks are better balanced for carrying heavier kit over longer distances, or when travelling. They can be better weatherproofed than other types of camera bag, and often have extra space for other items like water bottles, or even an external hook for a tripod. The downside is that it can take longer to get at your camera gear.

• Sling bags: Kind of a marriage between backpacks and shoulder bags, sling bags are single-strap bags worn across one shoulder but on the back. The sling design means that they can be slung around the body quickly to allow access to gear. A sling-style bag is a good choice if you like your camera gear out of the way but still quickly reachable.

• Holsters: The smallest bag types, this are made for very light setups. Some can even be worn on a belt, like a real holster! They're ideal for a single camera and lens, and smaller sizes are also called camera pouches.

• Roller bags: Ideal for frequent travellers and airports in particular, roller bags have wheels that let you drag them around on the ground, and some can also convert to backpacks. They're designed for camera transport, not easy access, so they are not for hill-walking or big hikes.

• Hard cases: The toughest type of camera bag, these can take a real pounding and keep your kit safe. They're not comfortable to carry, but if you need to transport a lot of expensive kit safely (as checked luggage on a plane, for example) then this is your best bet. 

No matter whether you're using a point-and-shoot camera (opens in new tab), a mirrorless (opens in new tab) model with a couple of lenses, or a DSLR (opens in new tab) camera with flashguns (opens in new tab), filters and various camera accessories (opens in new tab) included, there will be something on this page to suit you. So let's get to it!

Best camera bags and cases in 2022

Shoulder bags

If you want to keep it simple, shoulder bags are great. There's not too much fuss, with only a single strap, and it's generally very easy to access your kit when it's in a shoulder bag. The disadvantage, of course, is that you're carrying everything on one shoulder, so you don't want to overload or carry it for too long.

You'll also see shoulder bags referred to as messenger bags (opens in new tab). These are similar to shoulder bags, but with additional space for laptops and other work tools such as paperwork, pens and tablets. If you're often taking your camera on a commute for quick snaps before and after work, then this is an ideal choice of bag. 

(Image credit: Morally Toxic)
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1. Morally Toxic Wraith

A superbly versatile and well-crafted shoulder bag

Specifications

Type: Shoulder bag
Camera: DSLR/CSC
Additional lenses/accessories: 4
Laptop/tablet compartment: 13-inch laptop
Tripod attachment: No
Additional compartments: 3
External dimensions: 370x190x240mm
Weight: 1,300g

Reasons to buy

+
Available in medium and large sizes
+
Useful pockets, laptop & tablet slot
+
Rugged yet stylish construction

Reasons to avoid

-
Double-deck divider can be fiddly
-
Front flap fasteners a bit insecure

Thanks to a detachable carrying strap and two alternative sets of fastening loops, the Morally Toxic Wraith works equally well as a shoulder or sling bag, giving it a bit of a split personality. A far cry from uniform black, it has a distinctive look in onyx, emerald and sapphire colour scheme options, along with innovative design flourishes and impeccable build quality. All in all, it has the edge over many competitors. For carrying your camera kit and daily essentials in style, and with ample protection, the Wraith is as good as it looks.

(Image credit: Peak Design)
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A clever, stylish shoulder bag with a sharp urban feel and some amazing design touches

Specifications

External size: 38 x 12 x 27cm
Weight: 1,000g
Color options: Black, Charcoal, Ash
Laptop size: 13-inch

Reasons to buy

+
Impressive capacity
+
Easy to organise

Reasons to avoid

-
Could use another divider

Photographers love the Peak Design Everyday Messenger bag; it's arguably the archetypal camera bag. With a blend of simple but chic styling, loads of internal space, and FlexFold dividers that allow you to customise the interior, the Everyday Messenger 13 V2 is a bag that the vast majority of photographers can get many years' use out of. 

As mentioned, the FlexFold dividers allow you to customise the interior to suit your setup, building secure and padded slot for your cameras and lenses. It works well with most configurations; a small camera might take more fiddling to ensure it doesn't bounce around, but it's perfectly doable. There's a sleeve for a 13-inch laptop, and plenty of pockets for extra items.

You open and close the main compartment via a single flap that uses Peak Design's "MagLatch" system for extra security. It's a winner of a bag across the board.

Read more: Peak Design Everyday Messenger 13-inch V2 review (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)
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A beautifully made and designed messneger bag, with a suitably premium price

Specifications

External size: 40cm x 18cm x 35cm (inc. top handle)
Weight: 1,830g
Color options: Khaki Canvas/Tan Leather, Navy Canvas/Chocolate Leather, Sage FibreNyte/Chocolate Leather, Black FibreNyte/Black Leather, Khaki FibreNyte/Chocolate Leather
Laptop size: 14-inch

Reasons to buy

+
Beautiful design and materials
+
Hand-crafted finish
+
Massive front pockets
+
Slick and simple to use

Reasons to avoid

-
Tall cameras will be a squeeze
-
No custom stowage for small items
-
The price!

The Billingham Eventer MKII has a hand-crafted, heritage look that’s just beautiful to look at and beautifully put together, too. Its tall, briefcase style dimensions make it easy to carry and pack away, but while it does allow for longer lenses it means you’ll probably have to double-stack a lot of your kit. Despite its many clever design touches, the Eventer MKII lacks smaller compartments and pockets for cables, cards and batteries, and it’s a little narrow for a pro DSLR or a camera with a grip fitted. And then, of course, there’s the price, puts it out of reach of most photographers. On paper it can be hard to see what’s so special about the Eventer MKII, but it all comes together when you use it.

Read more: Billingham Eventer MKII full review (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Tenba)
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4. Tenba Skyline 13

A cheap but effective weatherproof bag that sits comfortably on the shoulder

Specifications

External size: 43.18 x 29.21 x 15.24 cm
Weight: 0.73kg
Color options: Black, grey
Laptop size: 13-inch

Reasons to buy

+
Durable, weatherproof construction
+
Good price

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited customization potential

Tenba's slick, upgraded Skyline 13 is a terrific messenger bag for zipping around a city with your camera gear in tow. It's capable of holding a mirrorless or DSLR camera with around 3-5 lenses, and can also hold a 13-inch laptop in its dedicated pocket. All this gear will also remain protected from the weather thanks to the tough, water-repellent fabric (which Tenba is confident enough in to forgo a dedicated rain cover), and there are tons of useful extra features like a carry-handle and extra zipped compartments for odds and ends. The interior dividers are customisable but only up to a point thanks to limited surface for the velcro to cling onto, which is a bit of a shame, but this is still a great, stylish bag for its price and well worth picking up.

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5. Billingham Hadley Pro

This classic Billingham is expensive but worth it, both for looks and durability

Specifications

Type: Shoulder bag
Camera: DSLR/CSC
Additional lenses/accessories: 3
Laptop/tablet compartment: Tablet
Tripod attachment: No
Additional compartments: 2
External dimensions: 350x120x300mm
Weight: 1,100g

Reasons to buy

+
 Slimline design 
+
 Beautifully made 

Reasons to avoid

-
 Shoulder pad costs extra 
-
 Space can feel a little limited 

Billingham is known for its premium, classy camera bags, and the Hadley Pro is a gorgeous example. Though it's a shoulder bag it can take quite a bit of kit. If you've a mind to, you can squeeze in a full-frame DSLR body with a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens and a 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom (without tripod collar) and a flashgun. You may not want to (think of your shoulder!) but you can.

Of course, if you are carrying a lot of kit, the optional shoulder pad will be worth the investment to ease the weight a little, and there are also additional 'AVEA' side pockets available. FYI, that is real leather on the straps, so vegans and animal lovers will want to steer clear of this one. 

Read more: These are the best shoulder bags and messenger bags for photographers (opens in new tab)

Backpacks

Backpacks are a firm favourite for photographers who have to travel long distances with their camera gear. If you're a walker, traveller or landscape photographer, you'll be looking for something comfortable, ergonomic and that will protect your gear from any accidental falls or scrapes. However, one downside is that you'll have to take the backpack off in order to access your kit, even if you've got one of the best camera backpacks (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Morally Toxic)
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Versatile, stylish and eco-friendly - what's not to like?

Specifications

Weight: 1600g
Number of lenses: 6
Tripod connection: Yes (travel tripod)
Personal items storage: Yes
Laptop storage: Yes (13in)
Dimensions: 44x33x19cm

Reasons to buy

+
Stylish design with substance
+
Multiple entry points for accessing gear
+
Range of colour options and sizes

Reasons to avoid

-
Pricey – but you get what you pay for

The Morally Toxic Valkyrie has been five years in the making and comes from a new spin-off brand from British tripod manufacturer, 3 Legged Thing. It sports a clever design and eye-catching material, especially when it catches the sun, helping the Valkyrie stand out from the plethora of boring black camera backpacks out there. But this is certainly not a case of just style over substance, as everything is smartly designed to make carrying your camera kit and daily essentials as pleasurable and painless as possible. Quick access to all areas and some genuinely innovative touches make the Valkyrie a backpack to be treasured, plus it’s endlessly adaptable, and will cosset your gear in fine style.

(Image credit: Jamie Carter)
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great looking bag for pros with a lot of gear, but its design won’t suit everyone

Specifications

Dimensions: 30x18x47cm
Weight: 2.2kg
Lenses: 4
Raincover: Yes
Padded hip belt: Yes
Tripod storage: Yes
Laptop compartment: 15inch
Tablet compartment: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Takes lots of gear
+
Comfortable to wear
+
Built-in lock
+
M-Guard shock-proof dividers

Reasons to avoid

-
Too large for most airlines
-
Frontloading design
-
Waist belt can’t be removed

Flexloader is big and it’s heavy – and that’s before you’ve even begun filling it with up to eight lenses. Sure, it’s aimed at professional photographers and videographers, but it’s a huge shame that it won’t be going on flights as carry-on luggage despite Manfrotto’s claims. That limits Flexloader to being used domestically on road-trips, for which it excels. The laptop sleeve is tight, largely because of the hefty depth of the EVA foam back, but the backpack straps are excellent and the Flexloader is comfortable to carry for a long period. 

Read more: Manfrotto Pro Light Flexloader L camera backpack review (opens in new tab)

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Stylish urban-optimized transport for mirrorless and smaller DSLR kits

Specifications

Weight: 1400g
Number of lenses: 4
Tripod connection: Yes (travel tripod)
Personal items storage: Yes
Laptop storage: Yes (13in)
Material: Nylon, Canvas
Dimensions: 46x30x54cm

Reasons to buy

+
Easy access side flaps
+
Internal divider design

Reasons to avoid

-
Waist belt lacks hip pads
-
No front or rear opening

It’s hard not to like this bag’s chic style, tactile materials and beautifully crafted hardware. At 46 x 30 x 17cm, it’s pretty compact for a camera backpack, but can still transport an ungripped DSLR with up to five lenses. There’s no front or rear opening, but rather large side flaps which afford very good mobile access. Inside are internal dividers that form shelves attached to the front and back. These are a clever design that can snap into thirds to allow a long lens to pass down one side, or can be instantly segmented so multiple small lenses can share one shelf. Up top is a large multi-use area that can expand by up to 8L thanks to a top flap with four latching positions. A travel tripod will stow on the side, there’s space for a 13” laptop and tablet in the back, and you can even lash a small drone on the front. A basic waist belt helps support heavier loads, and though it lacks hip pads, it can be completely trucked away.

Read more: Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L review (opens in new tab)

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9. Lowepro ProTactic BP 350 AW II backpack

A modular backpack that’s perfect for airline cabins too

Specifications

Dimensions: 30x18x47cm
Weight: 2.2kg
Lenses: 4
Raincover: Yes
Padded hip belt: Yes
Tripod storage: Yes
Laptop compartment: 13in
Tablet compartment: No

Reasons to buy

+
Modular design
+
Loads of accessories
+
Accepts a drone

Reasons to avoid

-
Accessories can look messy
-
Accessories are expensive

Have you never got the right bag for the job? Although this unusual and rather pricey modular system will likely have niche appeal, it’s actually great value for money because it can be easily modified for all kinds of scenarios. The Velcro dividers inside can be moved to accommodate specific gear (including a drone) or dumped in favour of open space, while the rear-opening lid contains a zipped compartment for a 13-inch laptop. However, the real genius is the front’s succession of loops that can be used to attach accessories such as a neoprene flash holder, a tripod toe-cup and straps, and a phone case, making this a truly versatile camera backpack.

(Image credit: Vanguard)
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10. Vanguard Alta SKY 51D

Comfy but heavy-duty backpack that leaves no stone unturned

Specifications

Dimensions: 37x26x56.5 cm
Weight: 2.9kg
Lenses: 5
Raincover: Yes
Padded hip belt: Yes
Tripod storage: Yes
Laptop compartment: 15in
Tablet compartment: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent build quality
+
Top, front and side access

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavy when empty
-
Shoulder straps obstruct rear access

The Vanguard Alta Sky 51D is designed to carry camera gear, a drone, or a combination of both. The main compartment has room for a pro DSLR with attached 70-200mm lens, and up to four lenses around it. Padding is good, and there’s a hatch on one side for mobile access, although openings on both sides would be better. Primary access to this area is via a large rear panel that contains a slot for a 15-inch laptop. The flap opens wide, but you’ll need to bend the shoulder straps out of the way for unobstructed camera access. Comfort is assured by good-sized hip pads, thick back padding and generous shoulder straps.

Read more: These are the best camera backpacks (opens in new tab) right now

Sling bags

Sling bags aim to offer the comfort of a backpack with the access of a shoulder bag. They can swing round to the front to be opened like a shoulder bag and swing round to your back like a backpack. They are kind of halfway-house between a shoulder bag and a backpack.

(Image credit: Future)
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11. Tenba Solstice Sling 10L

An uncomplicated design that fulfills the sling brief extremely well

Specifications

Exterior dimensions: 24 x 18 x 44cm
Interior dimensions: 20 x 12 x 42cm

Reasons to buy

+
Compact
+
Versatile interior size
+
Good quality 

Reasons to avoid

-
Few fun frills
-
Only wide enough for a tablet, not a laptop

Despite boasting a fairly small 10L capacity, and measuring a relatively narrow 24cm, the boxy shape of the Solstice makes it a practical size. It’s well suited to carrying a full-frame body with two or three lenses, and they’ll be well protected. Generous front, rear and base padding, along with substantial interior dividers, give the Solstice a tough feel, as do the quality water-resistant outer materials.

Access is via a full length side flap that gives a wide opening to the whole bag. On the opposite side is an expanding pouch suitable for a bottle, or a typical travel tripod, anchored by an additional side strap. Up front is a long slot opening revealing storage for a tablet and filters.

Speaking of anchoring, this camera sling bag also features a secondary cross-body strap for keeping things stable when you’re really on the move. The main strap sits on your left shoulder. It’s supple and well padded, and combined with the decent back padding makes the Solstice a comfortable companion.

(Image credit: Jamie Carter/Digital Camera World)
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A versatile sling for mirrorless and APS-C DSLR cameras

Specifications

Type: Sling bag
Camera: DSLR/CSC
Additional lenses/accessories: 3
Laptop/tablet compartment: No
Tripod attachment: Yes
Additional compartments: 2
External dimensions: 190.5x317.5x139.7mm
Weight: 970g

Reasons to buy

+
Easy access to gear
+
Lots of pockets
+
Secure body strap

Reasons to avoid

-
No rain cover
-
No room for a tablet
-
Metal buckle is annoying
-
Full-frame DSLR gear is a squeeze

The Niko Camera Sling 3.0 is an excellent example of a sling bag. Its size makes it best used with mirrorless cameras and entry-level APS-C DSLRs, though it proves itself incredibly versatile in use. We love the fold-out front pocket for storing batteries and SD cards and it’s really easy to access camera equipment. The strap that secures it to the body and turns it into a small backpack is a nice touch, too. What's more, the Niko Camera Sling 3.0’s ability to have a tripod attached to its bottom makes it a bag worth considering for more than just hand-held street photography.

Chrome Niko 3.0 Camera Sling full review (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Think Tank)
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13. Think Tank TurnStyle 20 V2.0

Looking for a sling bag with style? You've found it!

Specifications

Type: Sling bag
Camera: DSLR/CSC
Additional lenses/accessories: 4
Laptop/tablet compartment: Tablet
Tripod attachment: No
Additional compartments: 1
External dimensions: 235x440x137mm
Weight: 500g

Reasons to buy

+
 Capacious yet lightweight 
+
 Easy access to photo gear 

Reasons to avoid

-
 Doesn’t spread the weightload 
-
 What, no black option? 

Available in three sizes and two colour options (blue/indigo and charcoal), the ‘20’ is the largest of Think Tank’s TurnStyle camera bags. With one shoulder strap rather than the usual two, it’s worn as a sling bag. A particular bonus is that you can swivel it around on its strap to access your camera and accessories without needing to take the bag off and lay it down - although the downside is that it doesn’t spread the load like a typical backpack would. There’s enough room for a DSLR and up to four additional lenses or other accessories. The ‘10’ edition takes one less lens, and the ‘5’ is better suited to mirrorless camera outfits. Each bag has an additional tablet pocket and an extra front compartment. Even the largest 20 model is refreshingly lightweight, yet robust and trusty.

Read more: See more of the best camera sling bags (opens in new tab)

Holsters

Holsters and pouches are designed to carry a single camera with lens attached. Depending on the size, these could be designed for compact cameras, mirrorless cameras or DSLRs. They're great if you're not planning on taking or changing lenses.

(Image credit: Think Tank)
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14. Think Tank Digital Holster 10 v2.0

Our favorite camera holster available in seven sizes

Specifications

Internal dimensions (WxDxH): 160x100x152-210mm
Weight: 400g
Alternative sizes: 6
Removable shoulder strap: Yes
Belt loop: Yes
Top handle: Yes
Adjustable divider: Yes
Additional pockets: 3

Reasons to buy

+
Expanding height adds versatility
+
Extensive feature set and range of sizes

Reasons to avoid

-
Only available in black

Think Tank really did have its thinking cap on when designing this holster, which is packed with clever features. The ‘10’ model has internal dimensions of 160x100x152mm and weighs 400g, making it an ideal size for a large CSC or smallish SLR with a kit zoom lens. Better still, it has an extending bottom, with a similar zippered arrangement that you’ll often find in carry-on luggage, enabling the internal height to stretch to 210mm. This makes it equally suitable for a camera with a larger lens fitted, like a compact telephoto zoom.

There are no less than seven different sizes in the entire Digital Holster V2 range, to suit everything from a medium-sized CSC right up to a pro-style SLR with a 150-600mm super-telephoto zoom attached. The 10 model we’re featuring includes two adjustable and removable inner partitions, enabling you to stash an extra lens underneath in the holster’s taller configuration. There’s an additional Velcro-secured accessory pocket inside the top flap and a zippered external side pocket, plus a stretchy front pocket.

The strap is removable, there’s a grab handle on the top, plus an over-sized belt loop which, again, has a Velcro fastening so it’s easy to attach to a belt or other strap. A slip-over rain cover is also supplied.

(Image credit: Lowepro)
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15. Lowepro Dashpoint 10 Camera Pouch

Brilliantly simple and effective pouch to protect small cameras from bumps and scuffs

Specifications

Type: Pouch
Camera: Compact
Additional lenses/accessories: None
Laptop/tablet compartment: None
Tripod attachment: No
Additional compartments: Memory card pocket
External dimensions: 93x60x134mm
Weight: 100g

Reasons to buy

+
Trusted name and impressive build quality
+
Tough but small and lightweight 

Reasons to avoid

-
Pricier than some pouches
-
Less protective than a hard case 

Lowepro is somewhat legendary in the field of camera bags, renowned for its clever design and tough build quality. The Dashpoint range of pouches come in ‘10’, ‘20’ and ‘30’ options to suit a range of compact camera sizes, each of which are available in slate grey or galaxy blue. For small point-and-shoot cameras, the Dashpoint 10 (opens in new tab) is likely to be the best fit, but it definitely pays to check the dimensions of your camera before buying. Each edition of the pouch comes with wide-opening zippers for easy access, impact-resistant padding and a removable shoulder strap.

Read more: The best camera holsters and toploader camera bags (opens in new tab)

Roller bags

Roller bags are designed specifically for travel, with wheels in the base, an extending handle for pulling them along like suitcases and often with dimensions chosen to fit international cabin baggage requirements.

(Image credit: Manfrotto)
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16. Manfrotto Pro Light Reloader-55/Switch-55

Brilliant for frequent fliers, the Manfrotto hold lots of camera kit

Specifications

Type: Roller bag
Camera: DSLR/CSC
Additional lenses/accessories: 10
Laptop/tablet compartment: Laptop + Tablet
Tripod attachment: Yes
Additional compartments: 2
External dimensions: 350x230x550mm
Weight: 4,200g

Reasons to buy

+
Built-in wheels take a load off
+
Works with most carry-on limits 

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavy even when empty
-
Pricey to buy 

For travel on trains, planes and automobiles (or at least coaches), the Manfrotto Reloader 55 (opens in new tab) is a great roller bag. You can fit loads of kit in the very well-protected main compartment, which has endlessly adjustable dividers. Additional pockets are built into the lid to safeguard both a tablet and a laptop of up to 17 inches in size. Further pouches are built into the underside of the flap for smaller accessories. Typical of roller bags, it has a sturdy set of wheels and an extending handle that makes it easy to maneuvering your kit around without having to carry it. There's now a new and slightly lighter Switch-55 which doubles as a backpack – even better!

Read more: These are the best roller bags for your camera (opens in new tab) right now

Hard cases

Hard cases for cameras offer the ultimate in protection against impact, rough handling and harsh environments. They're not really designed for carrying any great distance, but they can keep your camera gear protected in environments where no other bag can.

(Image credit: Vanguard)
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17. Vanguard Supreme 53D Hard Case

This tough hard case is even waterproof to a depth of 5m

Specifications

Type: Hard case
Camera: DSLR/CSC
Additional lenses/accessories: 11
Laptop/tablet compartment: None
Tripod attachment: No
Additional compartments: 0
External dimensions: 630x520x240mm
Weight: 7,820g

Reasons to buy

+
Removable soft interior
+
Tough, secure and weather-proof

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavy to carry
-
Big (smaller sizes are available) 

For the ultimate in kit protection, you can’t beat a hard case, and the Vanguard Supreme 53D Hard Case (opens in new tab) is our pick of the best. This camera case from Vanguard is super-tough, fully dust-proof and waterproof, has steel-reinforced padlock rings and an automatic pressure release valve to cope with changes in air pressure and altitude, for example when consigned to the baggage hold of an aircraft. This strong case has an O-ring that will withstand being submerged in water to a depth of five metres, as well as a removable soft inner case with adjustable dividers. There are no fewer than three carrying handles for lifting the case, plus a set of wheels and a retractable pull-along handle.

Read more: These are the best hard cases for cameras (opens in new tab)

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Rod is the Group Reviews editor for Digital Camera World and across Future's entire photography portfolio, with decades of experience with cameras of all kinds. Previously he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more.