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DSLR Travel Camera Bag

Hi All!

I have a Nikkon DSLR camera which I am going to lug around Germany for the Christmas Markets. I am looking for a bag that doesn't look like a camera bag mainly as I don't want to advertise that I have expensive camera equipment with me. I would love it to look like an every day purse, as I need it to double as a purse/personsal item. It cannot be a back pack, as my suit case is a back pack, and I don't really want to walk around with my camera on my back.

I am going to take the body of the camera with one lens (40 mm) attached and limit myself to an additional lens (55-200mm), extra battery, battery charger, ipad converter, and some extra SD Cards (I made an edit here not sim cards). (the last items being really little).

I need it to be water resistant. Although I can steal the waterproofing sack from another bag I have.

A bonus would be to have enough room to tuck my Ipad, but I have that space in my suit case for that.

I bought a nice Lowepro bag and it will be a nice bag for when I am home and storage, but it will be a terrible packing light/travel bag because it is so huge. I carried it around with me for an hour and was so over the bulk and weight.

I did see some really cute ones from Jo Totes. But I wanted see if there were any bags that you all used for your camera.


Posted by
3259 posts

Check out Kelly Moore bags. I have the Posey 2 but there are many choices and videos to show what they will hold. However, when I just have a 40 or 50 mm lens on my camera, I often use my pac safe metro 200, which is then sufficient for my purse and camera needs. The pac safe would not hold your 55-200mm lens, but the Posey 2 and most other of KellyMoore's bags would.

Posted by
610 posts

I wanted a really small bag for mine and I found something like what you're describing by Ape Case. They have a lot of different sizes and styles and colors. Mine has gone with me on mant trips and it's very sturdy and lightweight.

Posted by
901 posts

I bought a backpack by Pacsafe because it was on sale, small, and versatile. It has a space for a laptop or ipad, a spot for the camera body with the lens on, and I put in a 70-300 as well. The camera compartment actually opens on the side which was quite handy because you just take off strap off and swing the bag around in front of you for quick and easy access to the camera. It has a water bottle holder, and a pocket on the front that opens where I kept my journal, extra memory cards, keys, wallet etc. Then there is still room above the camera compartment to put other things like glasses and snacks. It does a lot for a small bag, and all the zippers can be locked. If you don't want to take your camera at all then the padding that holds the camera can be removed and you just have a backpack. I really like it, but try to find it on sale, Pacsafe is not cheap.

Posted by
2765 posts

I went on Etsy, bought a camera "insert" and stuck it in my Longchamp Pilage. Worked great!

Posted by
5837 posts

You are packing an interesting combination of lenses. Is your DSLR a full frame or APS? If its a APS, the 40 mm doesn't give you a very wide view.

The above comments aside, your two lenses are pretty compact. You could probable carry the Nikon 55-200 in a "guide book bag" or small "messenger bag" along with smaller personal items. There would not be a big reason to carry the accessories (extra battery, charger, cards etc) in your accessible bag and you could easily fit them into your back pack suite case.

In terms of protecting your camera, a standard SLR accessory use to be the so called "eveready camera case" that experienced photographers renamed "never-ready" cases. That said, for camera protection, I use a Zing Designs neoprene snug-fit case. During rain events, I can tuck my camera under my rain jacket.

Posted by
335 posts

Wow, thank you all for your tips and suggestions! VERY helpful!!!

Edgar, it is an APS. The camera is a Nikon D5100. I might throw in my 18-55 too, but I was trying to cut down on weight. The logic behind the 40mm is the Bokeh, the Macro capability (which is my favorite thing to shoot) and to be an every day kind of lens. What are your go to lenses when you travel? I am trying to build up my lens wish list, so I am welcome to any suggestions:)

Posted by
5837 posts


I believe that Nikon' APS crop factor is about 1.5 (Canon's is 1.6). Coming from the 35mm era, your Nikon 40mm is equivalent to a 60mm on the slightly long side on "normal". You must be a fan of Henri Cartier-Bresson who is know for decisive moment 50 mm normal lense photography.

During my 35mm film days, a 35 mm lens use to be the go to wide angle with a strong case for a 28 mm in your bag. That would be a 24 mm in APS format or a 18 mm. That's probably why kit APS DSLRs are paired with 18-55mm zooms (27 - 82 mm equivalent).

You may end up using your 40 most of the time but a wide is nice to have. You can easily crop a too wide image but stitching isn't always seamless.

Posted by
1 posts

I use a trekking bag which is essentially an oversized fanny-pack with 2 water bottle holders. The great thing is it takes Rick's advice and keeps your belongings in front of you and quickly accessible (some are made to be front and back in case your trekking the Cinca Terra). the two water bottle holders will hold 300mm lenses each. my mid compartment holds my DSLR with 200mm lens attached. Plenty of room for extras in the 3 other compartments. Easy to loosen and tighten. Scammers tend to stay away from me maybe because it'll take both of their hands to take this thing off me not only that the bags is too confusing-looking with so many zippers, straps and compartments they wouldn't know where to begin. And, I have both of my hands free to cause mayhem.

My iPad is too big for trekking so I use my smart phone with Google offline maps. The mobile GPS works anywhere in the world (typical) so there's no need to buy a SIM - it points, I follow, shortest route, never get lost. Also, you don't need a SIM to WIFI. Skype the family back home from Venice so they can see St Marks Square right there beside us.

I also use an 22400mAh portable battery pack to stay charged non-stop for 2 days (android/ipad/etc).

The biggest problem with these conveniences - it's easy to do too much so quickly without effort and forget to spend time to smell the roses. Also, because the bag holds so much it's easy to weight yourself down.

But, if you're after lots of photos you'll be snapping away happily.

Query 'large fanny pack' or 'Multifunctional Waterproof Waist Pack', 'external battery pack' on the Amazon; Bing or Google 'Google offline maps trick hidden features'.

Posted by
2261 posts

Nikon has a new 24mm f/1.8 lens out that is very tempting!