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Shoulder bag vs Backpack for your gear

Prime Creator

Deep down every photographer i know is a 'bag junkie'. I have given away a lot of bags over the last few years and i still have a closet filled with them. It seems that every assignment i take i find a reason to get a new bag. The question on every trip is do i take a shoulder bag or do i take a backpack, and there are many times when i take both! The last few years I have been in love with Tenba backpacks and shoulder bags, they are well constructed and very well thought out. If i am working in a city i tend to use a shoulder bag where i can grab a lens very quickly. When i am doing more walking and hiking i lean towards a backpack. Some of the new Tenba backpacks have a 'side' entry pocket where you can grab a camera or lens without taking the pack off or opening the main panel. This is great, but of course it has added to my dilemma in choosing a bag as it will work for city photography. The other decision to be made is what bag to use when you are transporting all your equipment to a location when you are on a plane versus the actual smaller bag you will be shooting with. Since i carry a lot of Sony lenses,  (just like bags i can't always decide what lenses to take 😁)  traditionally i use a rolling bag for the plane and then switch to a more mobile carrying method either backpack or shoulder bag when i am working.

I will ask and expect to get many varied replies - WHAT BAG DO YOU USE



I'm a flight attendant, so I travel every week. I like to use a small, kinda ugly backpack that does not scream expensive camera equipment.  I use an insert. I also make sure that bag has a chest strap.

Prime Creator

Good idea. And i find the chest strap important to help control the load distribution.

Prime Creator

I understand the "collection". The issue I believe is they are not customized to individual needs, so you need a trial-and-error process to find what fits the best. Once you settle on a bag, 5 more come out the next week (not exaggerating, it happened twice) and you get one more.

But I could say I have this problem fixed. I have Atlas backpack for hiking, camping and outdoors. For cities, travel and sports, I use the Nomatic Peter McKinnon everyday backpack. Sometimes I use their sling for 1 body 2 prime setup. I don't have the airport roller bag, but that is in the plans for the future... I guess it is not fixed 😅

Rising Star

As a sports photographer, for me a roller is the best option. I use the Think Tank Photo Airport Security primarily.