Nature Photography Blog

John Slonina is a professional nature photographers. His company Slonina Nature Photography leads instructional photo tours and workshops throughout the United States. His photo tours visits several national parks which include Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Mt Rainier, Olympic, Acadia, Great Smoky Mountains, Mt Rainier, Olympic, Arches, Canyonlands, Everglades, Big Cypress, Katmai and Lake Clark.


What features to look for in a camera bag or backpack.

Grand Teton Sunrise Photo Tour

Camera Bags comes come in a large variety of choices and features.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when shopping for the best bag.


Does the camera bag fit all of your gear?

I would recommend you make a checklist of what you need. It is important to buy a camera bag that fits all your gear you actively use.

Make sure you have room for any gear you plan on buying in the future. If you’re going to buy a second body, another lens or a second flash, make sure it fits in the new bag.

Does your bag offer protection in bad weather?

Is there a hood to protect it from the rain or snow? For more basic protection from everyday weather and rain showers a hood is fine.

Waterproof backpacks is another option. They are great for kayaking, canoeing, boating and any other trip where you need more extreme protection from mud, dust and water.

Does your bag meet carryon requirements?

 Traveling with all your camera gear on an airplane can be stressful. You don't want to check in your gear. You need a camera backpack that will fit in the carry-on compartment.

A bag that will let you carry what you need, but still be small enough to carry on. Look for camera backpacks that will fit in the overhead compartment, but also perform in the field.

Universally accepted carry-on size for domestic flights is 22" x 14" x 9" or 55.88 x 35.56 x 22.86 cm with a carry-on weight limit of 40 pounds or 18.14 kilograms. If you travel internationally the carryon requirements are even smaller.

What is the weight of the bag and your gear?

Make sure you can lift the bag and your gear to put in an overhead bin on a plane.

Is your bag well-padded to protect your gear?

The durability of a bag is something very important. After all, that’s what’s going to stand between your camera gear and something hard on impact.

Does you want that fits in your size laptop and or tablet?

All you valuables will be in one place. This can be good or bad. 

Does the bag carry your tripod? 

This is useful so you have both hands free.

Can you fit extras?

Water bottle, Cell Phone Filters, Cables, and Mouse. Etc. Make a checklist of what will fit inside the bag

Does the bag fit comfortably on your body?

 A bag for a 100 lb. Women may not be comfortable for a 300 Man. If possible try the camera bag on and make sure it is comfortable..

Where are you going and for how long? 

If you are headed out for a multi-day backcountry excursion, you will need a larger camera backpack with options for carrying sleeping gear and food. For daytrips, a versatile bag that can easily carry a device like a tablet as well as enough personal space for a windbreaker, water bottle and a snack is preferable.

Does the design work for you?

It iss useful to go for a design that features additional chest and waist straps for firmly securing the backpack to your body. Otherwise, the backpack can move around and catch you off-balance.

Either way, one of the frustrations of many photo backpacks is that you have to take them off your shoulders and lay them down on the ground in order to remove your camera. It's time consuming and the back of the backpack can get muddy in mucky conditions, right on the surface you wear on your back.

Some newer designs of backpack make life easier, with a side opening for access to your camera and attached lens. This makes access much quicker and you'll sometimes be able to easily grab your camera after just slipping off one of the shoulder straps. For some bags the main compartment unzips and opens at the rear of the bag, instead of on the front.

Do you need a discreet bag to minimize broadcasting to thieves about your valuable gear?

Several camera bags are designed to look less obvious. You do not want people to know you are carrying valuable expensive gear.


Having a good bag will make traveling with photo gear much easier, offer more protection, and make things more comfortable. A happy photographer gets better pictures


Take Care

John Slonina

Slonina Photography


John Slonina is a professional nature photographer. He leads the instructional photo tours to some of North America's most beautiful and wild places. Explore the best places at the best time for an unforgettable experience. Some of the national parks that he leads photo tours and workshops includes Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Katmai, Mt Rainier, Olympic, Great Smoky Mountains, Kenai Fjords, Mt Rainier, Olympic, Canyonlands, Arches, Everglades, Big Cypress Preserve, Shenandoah, Lake Clark, Everglades, Big Cypress and Acadia.


Phone (508) 736-1167