Anatomy of a Great Camera Bag

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One of the most common questions we get asked is how to select a camera bag. In other words, what kind of bag should you look for? What features are essential?

Here, we’ve put together an easy-to-understand breakdown of what constitutes a good camera bag.

Holdfast is well-known in the photography world for their high-quality bags that have durable construction, extreme versatility, and exceptional comfort, to name just a few things. As a result, we’ll use one of their popular bags – the Sightseer backpack – as an example.

When selecting a camera bag, you want something that will keep your gear safe and sound.

Holdfast does this with its soft flannel lining that doesn’t scratch your gear as it nestles it safely inside the bag with one-inch thick padded walls.

What’s more, the brightly colored flannel helps you locate your gear by brightening up the interior space. That means you’ll miss fewer shots because there won’t be any fumbling around in a dark bag to find what you need inside the bag.

The versatility of the interior compartment is another factor to consider when buying a camera bag.

As you can see, the Holdfast Sightseer has customizable compartments so you can store your gear safely and securely. Just move the bumpers around as you need, securing them in place with velcro.

You also want a camera bag that keeps the elements outside.

Most bags use normal zippers, but Holdfast raises the bar in that department because they include a waterproof zipper. That keeps water from flowing into the main compartment and damaging your gear.

Another essential feature you’ll want in a camera bag – especially if you shoot outdoors a lot – is an exterior that can repel water.

The Holdfast Sightseer has a waxed canvas body that is both extremely durable and weather resistant. Not only does that equate to a bag that just looks great, but it also means that water will simply bead up and roll off the surface, keeping your gear safe and dry.

When looking for a high-quality camera bag, be sure to inspect any metal materials that are used in the construction.

Where some companies use cheap plastics that look like metal, Holdfast uses stainless steel. That means the metal won’t rust or corrode, so you don’t have to worry about the diminished performance of the bag.

Speaking of performance, you’ll also want a bag that keeps your back nice and cool.

Holdfast uses a breathable mesh on the back of the Sightseer, that way on those long days out shooting you can carry the bag in comfort.

Durability is certainly a feature to look for in a camera bag because you want it to last you a good long while.

The waxed canvas exterior noted earlier fits the bill, as does the American Bison leather that’s used throughout the Holdfast Sightseer, like the shoulder pads.

American Bison leather is a great product for a camera bag because it’s got 60% stronger fiber strength than cowhide, yet it’s soft (especially with good padding) on your shoulders.

Also helpful is to have wider shoulder straps, as seen on the Sightseer bag. That means the weight of the bag is dispersed over a larger surface area on your shoulders, making the bag much more comfortable to carry.


With that, you’ve got the inside scoop on what features to look for in a great camera bag.

Get something that’s versatile yet durable to stand up to heavy use and environmental elements. You also want a bag that’s comfortable to carry and made of materials that increase its ease of use.

In other words, getting a great camera bag isn’t just about what you can fit in the bag; it’s how you can use the bag to maximize its utility while keeping your gear safe and keeping yourself comfortable too.