Are you looking for the perfect backpacking camera? If you’re new to backpacking or photography, it can be confusing knowing where to start looking!
Backpacking and travelling a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many of us, and the chance to explore the world, means you (quite rightly) want to take loads of gorgeous photos!
Though smartphone cameras are continuously improving, they are no match for a standalone camera, especially when it comes to taking gorgeous photos whilst travelling in different weather conditions and light conditions. Though backpacking allows travelers to get close to nature, the activity itself can pose challenges. With cameras required to stand up against adverse weather conditions and the other items in a traveller’s pack, choosing the right camera is super important!
If you’re on the look out for a new backpacking camera, hopefully this list will give you a good insight into the best cameras out there, and help you choose the right camera!
I’ve put together a concise list of the top 11 best backpacking cameras that will get you that perfect shot. From compact and mirrorless cameras to those that hold up underwater, this post is sure to answer all your burning questions.
But before I get into the list of cameras, here are a few of my tips for choosing your perfect backpacking camera..
Tip 1: Choose the right balance between size and specs. If you want a really portable camera, then opting for some of the smaller cameras on this list will be ideal. If you’re more concerned with specs (and image quality) then going for the slightly larger devices (like the Sony below) will ensure the images are great quality.
Tip 2: If you plan on doing a lot of water activities (like scuba diving, snorkelling, rafting, kayaking, etc) and you want to capture these moments, then ensure you find a waterproof camera. I’ve included a few of these in this list!
Tip 3: Don’t break the bank if you don’t have to. If you’re really passionate about photography, then investing in your camera is a great idea, as you’ll likely use it for years. However, if you just need a nifty little device to capture images on for one trip, then opting for a cheaper device (there are several bargains under $400 on this list) if a good idea too. Don’t spend all your backpacking budget on your camera before you’ve even set off – as backpacking is already such an expensive thing to do!
Anyway – onto the cameras!
Backpacking camera: Sony a6300
First on my list of best backpacking cameras for travelers, it’s the Sony a6300. The Sony a6300 is a mirrorless camera that’s built for avid photographers. This is my camera of choice, and I’ve used variations of this make and model for the last 10 years. I LOVE SONY, and I love their mirrorless cameras. They’re convenient, light, sturdy and take gorgeous images. I’ve used these cameras whilst travelling and backpacking – but also to capture friend’s weddings too.
As it’s mirrorless, it is priced slightly lower than traditional SLR cameras, but it still takes an amazing shot. With a 24 MP resolution, it’s great in low light situations and for when you need greater detail in your shots. As it also records 4K video and sound should you require this feature, it’s also a good choice for project-makers. I know I love taking videos on my travels, and this feature is always one I’m really glad to have.
In terms of the physical aspects, it’s got a metal body. So, if you bung your camera in with the rest of your backpacking gear, then it’s likely that you’ll be just fine with this one. Let me tell you, I’m pretty heavy-handed and clumsy – and I’ve knocked mine around a lot in the time I’ve had it. It’s always been fine, and it’s never buckled under pressure! Extremely durable and clocking in at a decent price point, this is a great all-rounder option for backpackers. And my personal favourite best backpacking cameras for travelers.
Backpacking camera: Fuji X T2
Second on my list of best backpacking cameras for travelers, it’s Fuji X T2. If you’re looking for a camera with interchangeable lenses, then this is the one for you. With a lightweight build, durability, and great weather sealing, this is absolutely one of the top 10 best backpacking cameras. This camera is extremely compact, so if you have many items that you need to take out with you, then this camera will slot perfectly into your pack without issue.
Though this camera can’t be used underwater, it is suitable for most weather conditions.
The Fuji X T2’s optical zoom is also pretty great. Offering high-quality images at each focal length, it’s a great way to get zoomed-in shots without losing much clarity.
Backpacking camera: GoPro
I couldn’t write a list of the best backpacking cameras, without mentioning the GoPro. There are so many different models of GoPro available, it’s worth doing you own research into them (depending on your budget and priorities).
But GoPro, as a brand and camera model, is sturdy but small, and adaptable to many situations (which is ideal for backpacking!). They don’t have the traditional camera feel, but they’re certainly a fantastic choice.
Another great thing about the GoPro is it’s ability to be mounted onto various clothing and equipment. It’s great for those who want to be super active whilst backpacking – doing things like kayaking, scuba diving, snorkelling, hiking, biking, etc.
Backpacking camera: Ricoh GR II
The Ricoh GR II is known for its performance, and it’s next on my list of best backpacking cameras for travelers. A genuinely effective high-performance camera that gives backpackers high video and image quality, it’s an excellent choice for those looking for a reliable and portable camera that will deliver the goods.
With a magnesium alloy that helps to protect the camera, you needn’t worry about popping this in your pack for a heavy day out. Though we don’t recommend absolutely throwing this one around, it’s certainly hardy enough to hold up in any traveller’s pack.
We felt that this camera deserved a place on our list of the top 10 best backpacking cameras as it was designed with travel photographers in mind. So, if you’re looking for an alternative to traditional DSLR cameras, then give this one a whirl. I like this option because it’s really sleek, so a definitely option for best backpacking cameras for travelers.
Nikon W300 Waterproof Underwater Digital Camera
As the name suggests, this is the perfect camera to use for underwater captures and adverse weather. Which makes it a fantastic choice for best backpacking cameras for travelers.
Waterproof and safe for use as far down as 30 metres, this is the perfect camera for adventurers and water enthusiasts. If you like to take photos whilst scuba diving or surfing, then this is the camera to look closely at. Even for backpackers who plan on spending a lot of time at sea, or on boats – this would be a great choice to opt for.
Due to the nature of the camera, it is meant for certain activities. Therefore, it may not be as effective for non-water-based activities. However, it does capture high-quality images and won’t be damaged in adverse weather, so it’s absolutely worth considering for backpackers.
Canon Powershot SX730
Next on my list of best backpacking cameras for travelers, it’s the Canon Powershot SX730. This camera from Canon was designed with travelers in mind, and that’s one of the main reasons for its place on our list of the top 10 best backpacking cameras.
This camera isn’t a specialty camera, and instead blends portability with performance to provide travelling photographers a great all-rounder option. This camera can take full HD video and images, so its quality is not something that backpackers should worry about. In addition to this, the camera also has an 80x digital zoom option. Offering a good degree of sharpness despite the level of zoom, it’s a great option for those looking to photograph from afar.
In addition to its performance features, the camera has a full metal body. So, if you’re worried about scratches, you should be fine on this front.
Olympus OM-D-E M5 Mark II
This mirrorless camera offers users high-quality images and interchangeable lenses. A particularly durable camera that’s perfect for travelers and backpackers, it’s a great choice for those looking for a compact yet powerful piece of tech.
Coming in at just under a pound in weight, this is a fantastic choice if you haven’t much weight to play with in your pack. As it does have interchangeable lenses, you’ll need to be slightly careful with this camera. However, if you create a decent space in your pack for it, you’ll be absolutely fine. It’s a fantastic choice for the best backpacking cameras for travelers.
As a final plus, if you’re a backpacker that loves to get shots of wildlife or other moving items, then this camera is great as it has a burst mode that shoots at up to 10 frames per second!
Backpacking camera: Olympus TG-6
If you require a camera that can truly take a beating, then look no further than the Olympus TG-6. Though we never recommend throwing your tech around, this is an extremely durable camera. Fully weather sealed and waterproof, this camera can be submerged up to 50 feet! In addition to its waterproofness, this camera is dustproof, shockproof and can deal with extremes of temperature, which makes it a great choice for the best backpacking cameras for travelers.
Though its indestructible nature is its main selling point, the camera does take sharp images that few could scoff at. With a decent battery life, GPS, and temperature sensors, this is one of the top 10 best backpacking cameras for those that like to live dangerously.
Backpacking camera: Canon Rebel SL2
If you prefer a DSLR camera, then the Canon Rebel SL2 is well worth considering. Though it’s an entry-level camera, it is extremely portable and has many features that will appeal to backpackers. This DSLR camera is one of the smallest on the market and is particularly useful for those looking for a camera that captures good landscape shots. This is a great choice for choosing the best backpacking cameras for travelers.
Though it’s not got a stellar battery life, we thought that this camera deserved a place on our list due to its price point and simple design. After all, not all backpackers are professional photographers!
Backpacking camera: Sony A6100
If you’re after a camera that simply takes stellar photos, then this is a great choice. A semi-pro camera that offers great image quality, it’s a portable option for the more serious backpacking photographer. Multiple lenses are available, so its use is quite flexible depending on your requirements.
I’ve made it clear (above!) that I love Sony cameras, and this is no exception. It’s such a fantastic camera, it’s easy to use, and it’s so sturdy and reliable.
I’ve had my Sony mirrorless cameras for years and they’ve continuously taken fantastic photos. Another thing I love about these cameras is the options for interchangeable lenses… If you’re only after the basic camera feature this might not be a big deal, but if you’re hoping to develop your camera and photography skills, then this is a big bonus. Interchangeable lenses can be amazing for changing up your photography style, and amazing for playing around with wide angles, pancake lenses, portrait lenses too.
Backpacking camera: Sony RX100VA
This camera comes with an extra-large sensor, shoots 4K video and offers excellent image quality. Unquestionably one of the top 10 best backpacking cameras due to its reliable image quality, it’s great for those looking for a great point-and-shoot camera.
Designed for heavy outdoor use, it’s an excellent choice for those looking to invest in a camera that continually takes stunning and reliable shots.
This doesn’t have the mirrorless system which some of the others on this list have, but it’s a great choice for those who want the Sony interface and systems (which I love) but want the simplicity of a point and shoot camera. I also like how nifty and small this camera is, it’s small enough to fit in a pocket / bumbag or small bag which makes it really versatile.
Hopefully this list of the best backpacking cameras has been helpful!
Let me know in the comments if you have any questions!