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Best Camera Backpack For Airline Travel – 5 TSA Approved To Fly

best camera bag for travel feature

If you are looking for the best camera backpack for airline travel, you are in luck. Cameras are an investment, and the last thing you want is to have it damaged during the flight.

With years of flying experience and a vast knowledge of TSA regulations, we have chosen a few backpacks and cases that are sure to protect your gear.

Together, let’s dive into the TSA regulations and features for the best camera backpack for airline travel.

Best Camera Bag For Travel (Updated List)

PreviewProductMore Detail
best camera bag for travel 12NOMATIC McKinnon Backpack Best Camera 
Bag For Travel
More Details
best camera bag for travel 4Shimoda Explore V2 35 Backpack
Best Camera Bag 
For Travel
More Details
best camera bag for travel 6VANGUARD ALTA Fly 55T 4 Wheel Spinner/Trolley
Best Camera Bag 
For Travel
More Details
best camera bag for travel 2Nanuk 930 Waterproof Hard Case
with padded divider and lid organizer
Best Camera Bag 
For Travel
More Details
best camera bag for travel 5Think Tank 8 Sling Camera Bag
Best Camera Bag 
For Travel
More Details

What Does The Best Camera Bag For Travel Need To Meet TSA Approval For Carry On?

To carry a bag onto a plane, it must meet TSA guidelines. Although the size does vary per airline, the TSA says the best size is 22 inches x 14 inches x 9 inches to fit in most overhead compartments. A carry on as a personal bag is usually a backpack, which will need to fit under the seat when you fly.

In light of this, we have chosen 5 bags that meet TSA and FAA size requirements. These 5 bags are the right size and durable to protect your equipment. Each one is the Cadillac of camera bags so prepare yourself for the best of the best.

Benefits Of The Best Camera Bag For Travel

The Best Camera Bag For Travel protects your gear from damage. When traveling with a lot of equipment, it is important to protect your investment; the right camera bag can do just that. No one wants to reach their destination with broken camera parts. Not to mention replacing your photography equipment is costly.

Some camera bags are costly, and you may ask yourself why you would want to pay a high dollar for a bag. Our research found that the most rugged and durable bags with the most features have a higher price tag. 

So how much you pay is dependent on how much protection you want. As a professional photographer, your livelihood depends on your equipment; you will want the Best Camera Bag For Travel with the most protection.

Best Camera Bag For Travel Product Reviews

Without further delay, here are the reviews of the Best Camera Bag For Travel.


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NOMATIC McKinnon Backpack
Best Camera Bag For Travel

The Nomatic camera bag is excellent for packing your photography equipment and a few personal items.

The McKinnon Camera Bag is the perfect bag for packing cameras and clothes. Its expandable design lets you fill it however you’d like for a 1-5 day trip. The removable, customizable divider system, external carry strap, and internal pockets let you customize its size and shape.

With its handy side pocket, quick camera access pocket, and many other useful compartments, this backpack is perfect for carrying everything you need to fly. It even has a laptop sleeve that holds up to 16-inch laptops.

The Nomatic backpack is a comfortable carrying design with internal supports to evenly distribute heavy camera equipment across your body. In addition, its design has many external adjustable support straps with a removable waist strap.

It boasts many additional features, such as magnetic pockets for a water bottle, locking zippers, and an RFID protective pocket. The outer material is water resistant, and the size is perfect for the overhead bin or under-seat storage.


  • It is the perfect bag if you want to pack your camera and have additional space for a laptop and personal items.
  • It will hold 1-5 days of personal items and your camera equipment.
  • 22 inches H x 13.5 inches W x 9 inches D and does meet TSA guidelines for a carry on
  • Customizable padded packing cubes allow for a perfectly organized camera area with strong attention to protection.


  • Accessories such as an extra packing cube, rain fly, and some straps sold separately.

Shimoda Explore V2 35

best camera bag for travel 4
Shimoda Explore V2 35 Backpack
Best Camera Bag For Travel

The Shimoda backpack camera bag is perfect as a carry on bag to travel with your equipment and a few personal items.

With its sleek design, the Explore V2 is the perfect travel companion. It meets U.S. Carry-on requirements and has an internal compartment designed specifically for passports. It also includes a built-in passport holder, locking zippers, the ability for a 2-handed carry, a 16-inch laptop sleeve, and a handle to nestle it onto a rolling suitcase.

It has front and rear options for access. Easily reach under your arm without taking your backpack off to quickly access items. It offers a wide mouth to pack larger items easily. 

Camera inserts offer protection for most camera types. The core units are lightweight yet provide sturdy protection and ease of carrying. You can purchase as many core inserts to customize your camera packing layout. 

It has the perfect outer tripod with pockets and straps to hold it all in place. 

In addition, its design is for all heights with a vertical adjustment. 

Shimoda offers a 5-year warranty to ensure you can access your warranty, save your receipt, and register your product.


  • It is the perfect bag to pack and protect your camera equipment and personal belongings for a carry on flight.
  • It is 11.6 inches W x 21.2 inches H x 7.8 inches D, which meets TSA guidelines for most carry on bags.
  • organization


  • The packing cubes are sold separately.


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VANGUARD ALTA Fly 55T 4 Wheel Spinner/Trolley, Best Camera Bag For Travel

The Vanguard ALTA Fly 55T travel backpack is for professionals who need to take their gear everywhere. It features durable, scratch-resistant materials to last through years of use.

Four wheels on a trolley make this carry on glide to your destination or carry it as a backpack, with straps you can hide away when not in use.

The ultra-secure ALTA Fly 55T has three security points:

  • A buckle lock over the external zip
  • An internal full-covers zippered mesh flap for extra protection
  • A fully customizable capacity

With its large internal storage space, the ALTA FLY 55’s well-designed interior allows easy access to the camera body and lens. The numerous customizable compartments will enable you to organize your gear easily.

It has separate padded compart­ments for a tablet and up to 14″ laptops, large external front pockets with an internal organization system, and a back pocket for smaller items.

Its lightweight design makes the ALTA Fly 55T easy to carry and maneuver. It has extra padding throughout the pack, so you don’t feel discomfort during long treks. And because Vanguard knows that unexpected things happen, the outer covering is a tough, waterproof material.

In 2018, the Vanguard 55T won the TIP (Top Innovative Practice) award for Best Camera Bag.


Vanguard offers the ALTA Fly in 2 other rolling sizes. The ALTA Fly 55T is the only one that meets the TSA guidelines for carry on baggage.


  • A perfect choice for the professional photographer who needs a versatile camera bag to fly. Here is an all-purpose camera bag that converts to a backpack or roll on 4 wheels and fits TSA guidelines for carry on size.
  • 13.63 inches x 21.63 inches x 8.63 inches easily meets TSA guidelines for a carry on.
  • Includes a customizable packing cube and tripod connecting straps to organize your travels better.


  • Other sizes and options of the Vanguard Fly differ from the TDA guidelines for carry-on luggage.

Nanuk 930 Waterproof Hard Case

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Nanuk 930 Waterproof Hard Case
Best Camera Bag For Travel

We present the Nanuk 930 hard shell kit, complete with all you need to transport your photo equipment safely. It is perfect for the diehard photographer who wants their gear separate from everything else.

The Nanuk 930 Pro kit has compartments for storing lenses, batteries, memory cards, and all your gear and photo accessories. Included in the kit is a Lid Organizer to keep power cords, hardware, and accessories in view and organized. It features three anti-tear zippered compartments.

The package includes a lightweight, customizable padded divider that you can reposition to make any size with loop and hook fasteners. 

The outer case is an NK-7 lightweight resin shell with PowerClaw latches to keep your equipment waterproof and secure. You can organize to protect all your gear for any condition, including baggage handlers for checked luggage. An auto valve will equalize internal pressure. 

The Nanuk 930 Pro glides on 2 polyurethane wheels with a retractable 2-stage pull handle. In addition, you can transport the Nanuk 930 with an ergonomic soft grip handle. 

It also has TSA approved areas; you can attach a TSA approved lock to keep your equipment safe. Nanuk backs their 930 pro case with a lifetime warranty.


  • This beauty is for the professional photographer who needs more protection for your equipment to keep it safe in all conditions.
  • The outer size is 19.8 inches x 16 inches x 7.6 inches and will easily fit into a plane’s overhead bin.
  • Highly customizable lightweight packing cubes to organize everything and more.


  • No area to pack personal items.

Think Tank 8 Sling Camera Bag

Best Camera Bag For Travel 5
Think Tank 8 Sling Camera Bag Best Camera Bag For Travel

Think Tank has a sling-back camera bag that is perfect if you don’t need to take a lot of gear. It has easy access and is even easier to pack.

With an innovative design, the “Slings Both Ways” function allows you to carry the bag over your left/right shoulder, according to your preferences. Switch the shoulder strap from one side to another, and you can adjust the weight distribution for greater comfort on longer trips.

On both ends of the best camera bag for travel, there are two large mesh pockets where you can store small items. These pockets are accessible through the main compartment when you sling the bag over your back.

It has 3 compartments inside, holding a mirrorless camera and 2-3 lenses. In addition, it has a dedicated compartment for a tablet. The outer material is a graphite polyurethane material for water resistance. The front has an area to securely attach a small tripod and a top handle for easy carrying.


  • For trips where you don’t need a lot of gear.
  • 7.9 inches W x 14.6 inches H x 5.1inches D to easily fit under the seat of your plane
  • Three pockets to organize, right or left orientation, and the ability to reach your gear from either side of the bag.


  • It is not water-proof

What Should You Look For When Buying The Best Camera Bag For Travel?

Here are the 3 most important things to look for when choosing the Best Camera Bag For Travel.


What is your purpose for a camera bag? Are you traveling with one or more cameras or more than one lens? Most will have 3-6 lenses, possibly 2 cameras, and a tripod or 2. To ensure you have enough room, pay close attention to the number of padded compartments in a bag. 

In addition, do you want a bag in which you can fit a few personal items, along with your camera equipment?


When traveling by plane, size is everything because you want your bag to stay beside you. Camera bags come as duffle bags, backpacks, hard cases, slingbacks, and rolling luggage. Most duffle bags are much longer than the TSA suggests for a carry one size, while many less expensive backpacks will not fit under the seat. In addition, less costly rolling luggage does not include the wheels in the length measurements; therefore, you can’t put it in the overhead bin.


The features of the bag you choose are the key to a well-organized bag. Organized and well-packed camera bags are a must to fly through security checkpoints, and it helps you locate what you need when you reach your destination. Some important features include padding, a laptop sleeve, straps to hold your tripod, and an area for personal belongings if you don’t want to check bags.

FAQs About The Best Camera Bag For Travel

Here are some commonly asked questions about the Best Camera Bag For Travel.

Can you take a camera bag as well as hand luggage?

Your camera bag will be your hand luggage if it is a backpack or sling back and fits under the seat. Any bag that fits under the seat is a handbag.

Do I have to take out my DSLR camera at airport security?

Usually, when you tell security you have a camera bag, they will allow you to keep it in the bag. However, after they scan it, they may open the bag and inspect it more closely.

Are DSLR batteries allowed on planes?

DSLR lithium batteries are allowed in carry on luggage. However, if you choose to check your camera bag, the batteries must be removed and placed in our checked bag.

Additional Resources

If you are looking for more tutorials, walkthroughs, and troubleshooting on accessories, here are some additional posts about accessories:


So that concludes our list of the Best Camera Bag For Travel. As promised, we reviewed 5 camera bags for every type of need you may have for your equipment. These bags are the Cadillac of all bags when you are searching for superior protection.

Happy travels, my friends.

Photo of author

Laura Fuller

Hello, I am a luggage and travel fanatic. With a vast knowledge of TSA regulations, I am here to assist you on your journey. Please join me, and together, we will navigate the world of travel. From TSA and air to cruising the high seas, we will explore the best accessories and tips for smooth travel.

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