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Choosing the Perfect Travel Backpack for a Laptop and Camera

I’m (Esther) the main writer of this blog, but Jacob has been wanting to contribute as well. After brainstorming, we finally figured out a couple things he could do in this space. One will be writing up reviews and making some youtube videos for travel products that worked for us and those that didn’t:

Choosing a backpack perfect for traveling with a dslr camera and laptop.Pin

For the past 8 years, I’ve been using the Lowepro Compudaypack (review here) for everyday usage, but since we’ve been traveling and doing more outdoorsy activities, we’ve outgrown the pack and have been in search for a new one!

Finding a versatile backpack is really hard! It doesn’t help that the perfect bag has very specific specs.

What I needed in Choosing a Backpack:

  1. decent storage (enough space to go on overnight trips).
  2. has room and protection for a laptop.
  3. is good for traveling with a dslr camera (when I have it).
  4. has solid support for short hikes.
  5. is reasonably priced.
  6. on top of all that… still looks good.

I know, I know. It’s a lot to ask for from one bag.

MORE: We Did the Impossible! We Found the Best Camera Backpack

After much research, I didn’t find a good bag made for a camera that functioned well for anything else. After a few recommendations from friends, I decided to buy a camera insert that I could use with any bag.

For the actual pack, I online shopped for months and couldn’t find anything I wanted. When REI had a sale (gotta love their return policy), I finally decided to order a bunch of packs and try them out. In the end we ended up keeping the Mountain Hardwear Paladin Pack! It’s primarily made for bike commuters but works well as a hiking pack as well. It’s spacious, has top and side access for a laptop, and even after using the insert there is plenty of room for other stuff! It’s been a couple months since using the new bag, and we’re happy with it! We’ve taken it with us on a mission trip to the Philippines and have gone hiking with it a few times.

Check out my reviews for the Mountain Hardwear Pack & Crumpler Haven Camera Insert by clicking on the images below:

Paladin Pack Review | Mountain Hardwear Backpacks | Choosing the Perfect Laptop Camera BackpackPinCrumpler Haven Insert for DSLR Camera Review | Traveling with a DSLR Camera | Looking for the Perfect Travel Backpack.Pin

***Update:*** While writing this post, we found a new bag at REI over the weekend, the North Face Overhaul 40 Daypack, and I am still deciding between this one and the Mountain Hardwear.

Pros of the North Face Pack in comparison to the Paladin Pack:

  • Camera gear is more easily accessible.
  • Laptop flap lays flat so you don’t have to take it out during TSA screenings.

Cons of the North Face Pack in comparison to the Paladin Pack:

  • It’s heavier. 3 lbs 3 oz versus 1 lb 15 oz.
  • It doesn’t compress. Compression comes in handy during hiking.

See my full review here:
The North Face Overhaul 40 Daypack | Choosing a Backpack.Pin

Check back for my final decision in a couple weeks. If you like my reviews, please subscribe to our channel!

Here were some others we checked out that didn’t quite work out:

  • Merrell Clamshell Day Pack (no longer available, but this is something similar // Review
  • Merrell Travel All Laptop Bag // Review
  • Lowepro Photo Sport 200 AW Camera Pack (great for camera gear and can maybe use the hydration compartment for a laptop, but it provides no protection.)

Have you found a perfect travel backpack? What’s some criteria you would look for in your perfect travel backpack?

I do a travel post every tuesday, and you can check out other Galapagos and travel posts by clicking on the banner below:
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