Having the right backpack while exploring can make or break you.
Too small, and you’ll never fit the essentials. Too large, and you’ll be slower than an a Himalayan Sherpa.
I’m going to break down what I’ve found are my favorite backpacks over the years. We’ll primarily look for affordable, compact, and durable backpacks that are low profile, but can still hold your camera along with some other supplies.
What I usually like to do is have a master camera bag that I carry 99% of what I’d ever need for exploring in. I then transfer what I think I’ll need for my trip into a slightly smaller bag that I carry with me while exploring.
With that said, lets get started!
Evecase Professional Camera Bag
The Evecase is a great choice for the semipro photographer and explorer who primarily visits locations to record video and take pictures.
The Evecase can hold virtually any DSLR or mirrorless camera with lens attached, as well as up to 7 additional lenses!
I personally only carry maybe two to three lenses at any one time which isn’t a problem as the extra space can be made into other storage by removing the velcro dividers.
You can easily carry a water bottle in the side pocket as well as secure a folded tripod to the back as well. There’s plenty of space inside for sd cards, a respirator, or first aid kit as well.
This back specifically has a laptop pocket, but if you don’t want to use if for your laptop I find that it can store ponchos, flashlights, or other flatter items without a problem.
Here’s a few features I personally like about the Evecase.
- 12x10x19 in size. Not bad for all it can hold.
- Comfortable to carry for long periods of time.
- Holds full size digital camera and lenses easily.
- Can hold tripod and has many different pockets for smaller items.
- Fits well as a carry on.
If you explore mainly to take photos and you often carry more than one or two lenses, I’d recommend checking out the Evecase Pro Camera Bag.
PacSafe Camsafe X9 Sling Backpack
The X9 Camsafe Sling is excellent for those who like to take photos, but usually stick to one lens. If you love traveling as light as possible, but still value durability and security while exploring, the X9 is your bag.
This bag back fit most full sized cameras as well as a 80-200mm lens. Although it looks small, it can carry quite a lot. I managed to fit my old 11inch laptop in it snugly.
The Camsafe is built with protection in mind from both theft and the environment alike. Its made with anti-slash fabric so it can handle getting snagged on metal or poked with barbed wire. It comes with anti theft zippers, so if you’re taking it abroad through a crowd you can know your gear is safe.
- 8 x 15.5 inches. Smaller, but can fit essentials.
- Very durable. Anti-theft zipper locks & slash resistant.
- Comes with a rain-guard.
- Extra storage in the sling.
- Comfortable to carry.
I truly love this bag. And although it cant carry everything I usually want, I still use this when I know I need to travel light to a location. It’s durability and compact size is the main reason I think it makes an excellent urban exploration backpack.
You can pick up the X9 Camsafe Sling on Amazon.
Zecti Waterproof Backpack
The Zecti Waterproof Backpack easily earns a place for best backpack for urban exploration in my book. This bag is similar to the Evecase, but slightly more durable. If you want to prioritize durability but still have flexible options for storage and camera gear, than the Zecti Camera Bag is a great choice.
The Zecti has multiple compartments that can be customized via velcro that separates the compartments, which is handy if you find yourself switching up your loadout or wanting to use your bag for multiple activities.
The fabric is very durable and has a waterproofing property applied to it. It stayed surprisingly dry when I got caught in a rain storm while leaving a location. The bag does have a rain cover, however I usually always forget it’s there when it’s raining.
The has a breathable mesh back panel which helps keep your back cool in the summer. No one likes a sweaty back. The straps are thick and comfortable and designed to keep you comfortable during long hikes, even with a decent amount of weight.
Here’s a quick overview on why I love my Zecti Bag.
- 16 x 17.5 x 12. A great balance between mobility and compactness.
- Built with durable military grade feel material.
- Waterproof outer coating.
- Comfortable shoulder straps with multiple support straps.
- Customizable storage.
- Built in rain cover
- Sleek inconspicuous design.
If you’re in the market for a durable camera bag that feels like it was almost built for urban exploration, check it out on Amazon.
Urban Exploration Backpack Conclusion
At the end of the day there are thousands of bags you can choose from. Your gear is important and if you ever had a bag fail on you while you were out exploring you’ll know how frustrating that is. I’ve personally used all three of these bags and can confidently recommend all of them as solid urban exploring backpack.
If you’re looking for more than just urban exploration backpacks, be sure to check out our full list of urban exploration gear.