Backpacking Cameras

How To Choose The Best Backpacking Cameras For YOU | 2019

This post may contain some affiliate links. We’ll get a couple of quid if you use the link – at no cost to you of course. We’ll also always be honest and only suggest companies, hotels or products we actually think are worth it!

Choosing from the hundreds of backpacking cameras is not the easiest thing in the world, especially if you’re not in the know! Check out the best for every situation here.

If you’re about to hit the trail or disappear into the world on an epic adventure then the chances are you’re going to want to get your hands on one of the best backpacking cameras to capture every moment. But you don’t need to spend a pretty penny to get one! Of course, there are plenty of cameras out there running into the thousands but what do you actually NEED?

Don’t waste your time looking at cameras you’ll never use. Firstly you have to decide who you are, and not in the hippy sense! Just decide which of the following you mostly relate to and skip straight to the section for you.

A Normal Backpacker: An Average Joe Or Joanna

The vast majority of people heading out into the world just want a good solid camera to capture their memories. You’re not looking to get on the cover of national geographic but at the same time, you don’t want it breaking within the first few months.

Zoom straight to budget backpacking cameras here.

Adrenaline Junkie

Are you going to be jumping out of planes into an Australian bay? Paragliding over the Brazilian mountains? Diving with humpback whales? Then you’re going to need a camera that attaches to your body! You probably already know that but you’ll be surprised at my top recommendation.

Snap to the best Action cameras for backpacking here.

Enthusiast Or Blogger

Are you the type of person who spends hours researching the latest lenses, cameras and techniques in order to maximise your photography skills on the road? Are your pictures your pride and joy when you get home? Or do you need it for a professional reason, like a blog, and need them to be fantastic quality to blow away your audience?

Shoot down to the best mirrorless & DSLR cameras for backpacking here.

Straight Up Clumsy Or Diver

Come on, you know who you are. People who just drop everything in the first few days/hours of owning it. The rugged, waterproof, solid backpacking cameras may not be the most beautiful but when you drop them down the toilet or they fall out of the plane (maybe) then you’ll still have a camera at the end of it. On the other hand, these cameras will perform the best out of this list underwater so divers should definitely check them out.

Flash down to the best rugged and waterproof backpacking cameras here. – I don’t know if the flash pun really works but I was running out!


Budget And Reliable Backpacking Cameras – Point & Shoot

Don’t see the word budget and instantly be put off. I have only recommended cameras that I know will offer great results but also have a great price. The top 3 budget and reliable backpacking cameras are as follows.

Name Panasonic Lumix ZS70 / TZ90 Sony DSCWX350 Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II
Weight 332g 164g 207g
Video Resolution 4k 1080p 1080p
Mega Pixels 20.3 18 20.1
Best Feature 180° Flip Screen Tiny Size Looks
Zoom/Focal Length 24 – 720mm 25 – 500mm 28 – 84mm
Price Check Amazon Check Amazon Check Amazon

Panasonic Lumix ZS70 / TZ90

The Panasonic TZ90 is a great little camera for the price and will handle any everyday situations perfectly. As with all 3 of the cameras in the budget section, it will fit in your pocket no problem and weighs a tiny 332g. To put this in perspective, a typical smartphone will be around 150g to 200g, so it’s not going to be weighing you down at all.

A great addition to the TZ90 is the 180° flippable screen. We all love to take a selfie so having the main screen facing you to get the shot perfect is a must nowadays. The software also comes with some pretty handy selfie modes, including a mode where you can wave your hand and the camera takes the shot when you are ready.

The perfect backpacking camera with a reversible screen

The 180 Screen is great for vloggers

The zoom on the TZ90 is ridiculous at 720mm focal length. Putting it lightly, if you ever feel the need to zoom in more than that then I have no idea what you’re trying to photograph but surely it isn’t THAT scary and you could always move closer.

Lastly, the TZ90 connects effortlessly with your phone so you can take pictures directly from the camera wirelessly. Some social media, for example, Instagram, does not allow you to add pictures directly from a computer so, being able to put them straight on your phone is literally a necessity with a good backpacking camera. Otherwise, you would have to take a laptop around with you which is simply not an option for many lightweight backpackers.

One of the furthers zooms on any of these backpacking cameras

The zoom is incredible on the ZS70

Overall, the Panasonic TZ90 is a great point and shoot which you will hardly know you are carrying. Click here to have a look at prices on Amazon now.

Pros

  • 180° Flippable Screen For Selfies
  • Huge 720mm Zoom Range
  • 4K Video
  • Phone Connectivity

Cons

  • Biggest In My Compact List (still very compact)

Back to Top


Sony DSCWX350

The main benefit of this super compact backpacking camera is its size. I have previously said that the Lumix TZ90 is small at 332g but the Sony DSCWX350 is a tiny 164g! That’s less than an iPhone X… If you’re looking for all of the benefits of a compact budget point and shoot but also want it to fit in the smallest of pockets then this is the one for you.

Due to the size, it doesn’t come with a few features the Lumix TZ90 comes with. The Sony doesn’t have the reversible selfie screen, the zoom range is slightly less and it has 1080p video, not 4k. However, the Sonys brilliant Exmor R sensor performs brilliantly well in all situations, including low light, so you don’t have to worry about image quality in any situation.

The most portable backpacking camera on this list

The incredibly small size is the WX350’s main benefit

The Sony also comes with phone connectivity which is an absolute must for any of the cameras on this list. If you cannot easily transfer pictures and videos from your camera to your smartphone then it simply is not a backpacking camera because of the need for a laptop.

I think it is a difficult choice between the Panasonic Lumix TZ90 above and the Sony DSCWX350. It all comes down to the weight at the end of the day. Both are small compact cameras but the Sony wins hands down in size. The Panasonic TZ90 has more features, including that handy rotatable screen and 4k video. If you just can’t make your mind up then have a look at the Canon G9 below.

Click here to have a look at prices on Amazon now.

Pros

  • Incredibly Lightweight
  • Very Impressive 500mm Zoon
  • Low Light Capability
  • Phone Connectivity

Cons

  • Big Hands = Hard To Grip
  • No Selfie Screen

Back to Top


Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II

Ok, I’ll be honest, I have primarily put the Canon G9 X Mk II into this list because of its much more stylish and pleasant look. The sliver and brown model is a throwback to the vintage camera era and really makes this compact point and shoot a winner in the looks category. If you don’t agree then definitely make a decision based on the 2 above but if do then this little gem really packs a punch.

The most stylish backpacking camera you can buy

It may not have the zoom reach as the others but as a standard compact it really performs.

At 207g, it fits nicely in the middle of the Sony and the Panasonic in weight. But as features go it does somewhat lag behind. There is no option for 60fps shooting, the resolution is down at 1080p, the screen is not rotatable and the zoom range is significantly less.

All of that aside though, the image quality is absolutely top-notch. So for someone who is going to be setting the controls to automatic for the duration of their trip and not minding that much about every dial and gizmo on the camera then this is still an absolute winner.

As always you can connect to the Canon G9 X Mk II wirelessly and pull off video and pictures directly to your smartphone. If you are looking elsewhere at backpacking cameras, ensure that they have this feature. It is the most important feature on any of these cameras in my opinion. Click here to have a look at prices on Amazon now.

The very sturdy metal design will come in handy when it’s at the bottom of your bag.

Pros

  • Vintage Design
  • Sturdy Metal Casing
  • Extremely Lightweight
  • Phone Connectivity

Cons

  • Most Expensive In Budget Range
  • Least Features

Back to Top


Action Cameras For Backpacking

Let’s be honest, the vast majority of backpackers are going to be doing some sort of water-based activity: for example diving, snorkelling or even white water rafting. And the ones that are somehow allergic to water will be jumping out of planes, skiing in the Rockies or biking through the mountains.

You are going to need a strong, waterproof camera that has various ways of attaching to different parts of your body. The sensors inside action cameras are small so the sheer quality of the picture is not going to be the same quality as the other cameras in this list. However, as a backpacker, you’ll find the small size and ruggedness means you’ll have your action camera in your pocket more often than not.

Name DJI Osmo Action Go Pro Hero 7 Go Pro Hero 5
Weight 124g 116g 118g
Video Resolution 4k 4k 4k
Image Stabilisation 10/10 9.5/10 5/10
Best Feature Front Selfie Screen Go Pro Quality Cheapest
Price Check Amazon Check Amazon Check Amazon

Back to Top


DJI Osmo Action

If I was going to have to recommend one of these 3 then it would be the DJI Osmo Action by a very small margin. The specification of the DJI is extremely close to the Go Pro Hero 7 but it is considerably cheaper.

The DJI also comes with a VERY handy front screen for when you are taking selfie videos or shots. Gone are the days where you playback the video and the top of your head or your friend is nowhere to be seen.

The perfect backpacking camera for adrenaline junkies

If you ask me, it also looks better than the Go Pro series.

If you are a diver or will be looking to a lot of snorkelling then you’ll be very pleased to hear that the DJI Osmo Action has screw-on filters. This makes it particularly easy to change the filter wherever you are. The Go Pro series does have changeable features but they are a little more difficult to change. Just remember if you are diving the Osmo Action is only rated to 11m without additional housing.

Finally, the image stabilisation on the Osmo Action is genuinely incredible. To be fair, the Go Pro Hero 7 is also ridiculously good but I think the Osmo Action just beats it. If you will be doing a lot of video editing then this is an absolute must. Click here to have a look at prices on Amazon now.

Pros

  • Incredible Image Stabilisation
  • Screw-On Filters
  • Front Screen
  • Phone Connectivity

Cons

  • DJI Are New To The Actions Camera Game And Are Untested Over Long Periods Of Time

Back to Top


Go Pro Hero 7

As I said above, the Hero 7 and the Osmo Action are very closely matched for specs. However, the huge benefit you get from choosing the Go Pro is the sheer pedigree of the Go Pro range. You know that the Go Pro is going to handle everything you throw at it, over however many years of use it gets. Sometimes paying extra for the name really does make the difference.

A great action camera for backpacking

If you would rather buy a Go Pro then you will definitely not be disappointing.

When Go Pro went from the Hero 5 to the Hero 6 they introduced groundbreaking image stabilisation techniques. Well, with the Hero 7 they upped their game even more. You only have to look at examples on youtube to get a very good understanding of the capability. Walking, motorcycling and even running now look like they are being recorded whilst using a gimble. If you are looking to do a lot of video editing then this really is the most important thing.

If you are looking for quality and time tested design then the Go Pro Hero 7 is the one for you. Click here to have a look at prices on Amazon now.

Pros

  • Incredible Image Stabilisation
  • Go Pro Pedigree
  • Loads Of Accessories
  • Phone Connectivity

Cons

  • More Expensive Than The Equally Good Osmo Action

Back to Top


Go Pro Hero 5

This might come as a surprise admission to my list due to its age. However, ask yourself this, are you going to be taking hundreds of videos at varying speeds and resolutions in order to edit incredible videos for a professional or enthusiast-level? Or do you solely want a good action camera that you can take on a few adventure activities during your trip and be able to show your family and friends when you come back?

Cheapest action camera for backpackers

Mine has a little bit of wear but still handles everything I throw at it.

If you are the latter then there is absolutely no need in spending hundreds of dollars more of the Hero 7 or Osmo Action. The Hero 5 can record in 4k, is waterproof to 10m and has literally survived being dropped out of a plane.

The Hero 5 WILL handle everything you throw at it and you’ll probably be able to buy a separate normal camera with the money you save. I cannot recommend the Hero 5 enough. Click here to have a look at prices on Amazon now.

Pros

  • Cheapest In This List
  • Go Pro Pedigree
  • Loads Of Accessories
  • Phone Connectivity

Cons

  • Fewer Features
  • Poor Image Stabilisation

Back to Top


Rugged & Waterproof

This is a bit of a niche section of my list. These cameras are similar to both the action cameras and the budget backpacking cameras above. They are waterproof and durable yet they have bigger sensors and take decent quality images. You might be asking what’s the catch? Well, the trade-in with versatility means they aren’t quite as good as a dedicated action camera or a dedicated backpacking camera. The zoom ranges are going to shorter and the cameras are bigger which makes them slightly more difficult to use as an action camera.

Who are these for then? If you don’t want to have 2 different cameras for everyday use and adventure activities then these will handle both of those to a decent level. Also, if you know you are a particularly clumsy person and prone to breaking tech then these are a very good substitute for the budget cameras listed above. Finally, these cameras can be exceptionally good for diving. The larger sensors and flash capability gives them vastly more options and quality than the action cameras above.

Name Olympus Tough! TG-5 Ricoh WG-60 FujiFilm FinePix XP130
Weight 250g 193g 207g
Video Resolution 4k 1080p 1080p
Mega Pixels 12 16 16.4
Waterproof Depth 15m 14m 20m
Best Feature Best Overall Features Built-In LED Ring For Underwater Photography Cheapest
Price Check Amazon Check Amazon Check Amazon

Back to Top


Olympus Tough! TG-5

The Olympus Tough! TG-5 is the most expensive in this list and for good reason, it is the best all-round rugged backpacking camera you can buy. It’s waterproof to 15m, dustproof, has GPS, wifi and is shock resistant. You’re really going to have to have a serious incident to break this camera.

Quite surprisingly the TG-5 has an aperture of 2.0 at the wide end which is absolutely brilliant for capturing images in low light. This will come in very handy if you are looking for a good all-round diving camera.

The toughest backpacking camera you can buy

If you break this then you have serious skills.

It is the only camera in the rugged section to feature 4k video capture. This is almost certainly the main reason for its much higher price range. For some 4k video is an absolute must so I highly recommend the TG-5 if this is one of your parameters.

The Tough! TG-5 also has a separate dedicated underwater housing for anyone looking to go under 15m depth, all the way to 45m. The housing will set you back considerably but it is good to know that the accessory exists for open water divers and above. Click here to have a look at prices on Amazon now.

Pros

  • Best Overall Rugged Camera
  • The Most Features
  • Very Fast Lens = Good In Low Light
  • Phone Connectivity

Cons

  • Most Expensive
  • Prone To Scratching On The Screen

Back to Top


Ricoh WG-60

The Ricoh WG-60 is another fantastic all-round rugged performer. It is waterproof down to 14m, shockproof and can withstand 100kg of force. I don’t know what you would be doing to put 100kg of force into this camera but if you did then it would be fine.

The WG-60 is considerably cheaper than the TG-5 above and this is because its specifications are slightly lower across the board. For example, it can only shoot at 1080p, its low light performance is not as impressive and there is no housing to get deeper than 14m. However, you have to ask yourself whether the additional cost is worth these few extra features. In my opinion, you would have to be a serious adrenaline junkie or explorer to warrant the TG-5.

The best rugged backpacking camera for diving

The LED ring around the lens makes illuminating underwater subjects a breeze

One of the coolest features that the WG-60 has is the LED ring around the lens. Now they have done this in order to be able to get nice and close to subjects without casting a shadow. However, if you are a diver then this is fantastic news. Coupled with the WG-60’s underwater capture mode, this LED ring gives brilliant accurate representations of underwater life by irradicating the blue washout you get from being underwater.

All in all the Ricoh WG-60 is perfect for divers up to 14m and anyone not willing to shell out the additional cost for the TG-5 above. Click here to have a look at prices on Amazon now.

Pros

  • Very Good All Rounder
  • LED Ring Brilliant For Underwater
  • Significantly Cheaper Than Rivals
  • Phone Connectivity

Cons

  • 1080p Video Capture
  • No Additional Underwater Housing

Back to Top


Fujifilm FinePix XP130

The Fujifilm FinePix XP130 is the go-to rugged backpacking camera for all beginners out there. If you don’t ever set your camera to the manual setting and don’t like to experiment with exposure, depth of field or manual focuses then this is the cheapest and best for you.

By removing a lot of the fancy manual setting and using a slower lens, the XP130 manages to maintain a very affordable price which is very good value. At this point, however, decent camera phones will start to outperform the XP130 is a number of situations. Fear not though as you definitely won’t want to be taking your expensive phone into saltwater or in precarious situations so there is still a very good reason to purchase the XP130.

The cheapest rugged backpacking camera you can buy

It’s the cheapest but will still be working when you get back from your trip.

I won’t go into a lot of detail about the individual specification on this camera as if you are interested in that sort of thing then the Fujifilm XP130 is probably not for you. If you are a beginner and want a tough camera that will handle every situation to a decent level then this is the camera for you. Click here to have a look at prices on Amazon now.

Pros

  • Very Good Value
  • 20m Depth Limit
  • Nice, Bright Rear Display
  • Phone Connectivity

Cons

  • 1080p Video Capture
  • Few Manual Settings

Back to Top


Mirrorless & DSLR – Quality Images

The first question you have to ask is Mirrorless or DSLR. Mirrorless is definitely taking over the world right now and for very good reason. In the old days, the processors were not fast enough and the lag on the viewfinder was a real pain. However, nowadays mirrorless’ are perfectly smooth and offer more features and speed that a DSLR will ever be able to compete with. So why would you consider a DSLR? Mainly the cost but also the entire catalogue of lenses to choose from.

Yes, you can now get some absolutely incredible lenses for the top mirrorless cameras but wow they are expensive.

Either way, this isn’t a guide on whether to choose mirrorless or DSLR and I’m sure you have already decided on what you want, so here are my top 3 quality backpacking cameras right now.

Name Sony a6400 Nikon D5600 Sony A7III
Weight 403g 465g 635g
Video Resolution 4k 1080p 4k
Mega Pixels 24.2 24.2 24.2
Full Frame No No Yes
Best Feature Incredibly Fast Autofocus Fully Articulating Screen Everything
Price Check Amazon Check Amazon Check Amazon

Back to Top


Sony Alpha a6400

As far as cropped sensor cameras go, the Sony Alpha a6400 has got to be the best backpacking mirrorless there is. You could argue that the a6500 is better because of the in-body stabilisation but at that price point, you may as well be looking at full frame alternatives.

The a6400 comes with Sony’s e-mount which means you will have access to their entire range, even the lenses designed for their full-frame counterparts. In the beginning, the e-mount range was quite limited but now it features a complete range of pro-grade lenses to suit any need.

The best backpacking camera in the world

The best backpacking camera in the world for enthusiasts.

The new a6400 now features a 180° flippable screen which is perfect for any vloggers out there. Even the A7III doesn’t have this feature so it is worth looking into if vlogging is going to be up on the agender.

You get 4k video which one of the best autofocus and subject tracking software on the entire planet. You won’t look back at your images or video and realise that you missed focus even once.

If I’m honest I could go on about what makes this the perfect backpacking camera but that would take too long. So let’s talk about the major drawbacks of going cropped over the full-frame Sony A7III. Firstly, the image quality of full-frame will always be better due to the lower density sensors. It does have to be said that the difference in quality between full-frame and cropped is reducing though.

The flippable rear screen is becoming a must for all new releases.

Secondly, if you are going to be taking a lot of portrait images, for example, Instagrammers, then you will not be able to get the shallow depth of field that is possible with a full-frame camera.

The weight, quality and features of the Sony Alpha a6400 make this my personal choice for backpackers in need of something of a much higher standard. Click here to have a look at prices on Amazon now.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Incredibly Versatile
  • Fast Autofocus
  • Phone Connectivity

Cons

  • Cropped Sensor
  • No In Body Stabilisation

Back to Top


Nikon D5600

The Nikon D5600 is, in my opinion, the best backpacking DSLR available right now. It’s small, lightweight, extremely good value and produces extremely good images. It may not have all the features of the a6400 above but the price point is nowhere near as high! To put that in perspective, you can pick up a D5600 with the 18-50mm kit lens AND the 70-300 telephoto for significantly less than just the a6400 body.

The best DSLR for backpacking

It looks chunky but it’s actually a very good size to hold whilst travelling around

You’ll then have access to the world-class f-mount Nikon lenses where you can find some incredibly good deals to get any lens for any situation.

There are a few things that would make this camera even better, time-lapse and panorama being the top two, but I have to say that at this price point you really cannot go wrong.

If you are an enthusiast and do not have any sort of business associated with your photography then the Nikon D5600 is a no brainer. To get the same set up with the a6400 above it’ll cost you enough to buy a small car. Click here to have a look at prices on Amazon now.

The fully articulating screen on the D5600 is the best movable screen in the world.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Incredible Value
  • Access To Nikon F-Mount Lenses
  • Phone Connectivity

Cons

  • Slow FPS
  • 1080p Video

Back to Top


Sony A7III

The Sony A7III is the best all-round mirrorless camera in the world right now. You get every single feature that you could ask for in a small compact package: full-frame sensor, in-body stabilisation, incredible autofocus and access to the incredible g-master lens line up, to name only a few.

If you are looking for pro-grade optics, image quality and video all in one compact camera ideal for backpacking then this is it. To warrant the money you really do have to be using it for some sort of professional use but if you have some savings and are a serious enthusiast then why the hell not, treat yourself.

The most expensive and highest features available for a backpacking camera

If you can afford it then this is the best ff mirror-less you can buy.

On a side note, the Nikon Z6 is also an absolutely brilliant mirrorless full-frame camera and may have actually beaten the A7III to this spot. However, the lens line up for the Z-mount is still in its infancy so I still think the Sony A7III is the one to invest in right now. Click here to have a look at prices on Amazon now.

Pros

  • The Best All-Round Mirrorless
  • Many Features
  • Incredible Image Quality
  • Phone Connectivity

Cons

  • Pricey

Back to Top


Camera Phone

Cameras phones are getting better and better every year and now with the top of line models, you can actually get better quality images with the phone than a dedicated camera. The only real downside between a top range camera phone and a dedicated camera is zoom range. Obviously, for professionals, it is a lot more than that but for the average user, this is all that will change.

If you don’t think being able to zoom in is that big of a deal, you won’t be diving or doing any other extreme sport, then simply having a trusty phone in your pocket may be the best option. The following 3 phones are not the cheapest in the world but they certainly pack a punch when it comes to image quality.

I haven’t written too much about them because the specs don’t really matter. What matters is the operating system you want to be on, Android or Apple?

Name Pixel 3 iPhone XS P30 Pro
Weight 148g 177g 192g
Video Resolution 4k 4k 4k
Best Feature Best Camera 4k Video @60fps Cheapest
Price Check Amazon Check Amazon Check Amazon

Back to Top


Pixel 3 – Android

Hands down the best camera in a phone available right now. If you are an avid Android user then the Google Pixel 3 is for you. The Pixel line up has always been very well known for their cameras and the Pixel 3 is no different. You will be blown away by the quality that this phone can produce. Click here to have a look at prices on Amazon now.

iPhone XS – Apple

As you can imagine, the flagship iPhone is going to have the best iPhone camera. But as I’m sure all Apple users for the whole of time know, the iPhone XS is going to knock you back more than the other phones in this list. Don’t despair though, even though you’ll have an empty wallet you’ll also have a serious camera that fits nicely into your pocket. Click here to have a look at prices on Amazon now.

Huawei P30 Pro – Android?

I had to add the Huawei P30 Pro because of its simply outstanding optical performance. As you can see, I have included a question mark on Android as there are some ongoing problems with the US government as to whether Huawei will get a Google license. If that doesn’t put you off then you will save a little bit of money on the P30 Pro over the other 2 so it’s still a very good option. Click here to have a look at prices on Amazon now.

Back to Top


Buying Tips For Backpacking Cameras

If you are struggling to choose a backpacking camera that entirely suits your needs, have a look at all of the things you need to be thinking about below. There are a lot of situations where you might feel 1 particular camera will not cover all the bases. I myself have a DSLR and an action camera. You just have to weigh up what you can afford and your priorities.

Weight & Size

This has got to be the most important parameter for a backpacking camera. You will be travelling around great distances and walking for many miles on your trip and you don’t want something that is unnecessarily big and heavy. A typical camera phone weight from 150g to 200g, so try to compare to that basepoint when deciding which camera is best for you. Of course if image quality is your number one priority then you will have to sacrifice some of the portability.

Remember, the smaller the camera the smaller the sensor inside. A smaller sensor is not as good in low light situations. If you think you’ll be taking a lot of pictures during the day on sunny beaches then this shouldn’t be an issue, if you are going underwater or take a lot of nightlife pictures then a larger sensor size is for you.

Durability

If you know you will be doing activities that put fragile tech in danger then you would be mental to take your phone or standard compact into these situations. An action camera or durable camera will suit these situations much better and ensure that you still have a camera at the end of it.

On the other hand, if you don’t think you will be doing any adventure activities then it is quite easy to keep the fragile tech intact. You can easily find hard cases for many of the cameras above which will significantly increase their life at the bottom of your bag. One thing you should 100% be purchasing is a screen protector for your backpacking cameras. People without screen protectors on their phone or other tech make me a very sad person indeed.

Waterproofing

Think about what sort of watersports you will be doing. If it’s your standard snorkelling, water parks, surfing and swimming then you won’t need a waterproof housing for any of the waterproof cameras in this list. However, if you will be going diving then you may have to look into a waterproof housing that increases the maximum depth of the camera.

Before you shell out a lot of money though, really think about how deep you will be going. Furthermore, don’t accidentally go too deep with a camera that isn’t rated at that depth. I went down to 13m with my Go Pro 5 and all sorts of weird things started happening. Don’t be like me.

Focal Length / Zoom Distance

People often neglect focal length because they don’t think they will be taking pictures of anything too far away. And to be fair this is usually the case. However, if you are planning on safaris or any other sort of animal-based activity then a nice long focal length is exactly what you need.

I would suggest going 500mm and above if you are thinking about a compact camera for safari and 300mm and above for APSC and full-frame cameras. The longer the better for animals!

Mobile Connectivity

If a camera you are looking for does not have mobile connectivity, DO NOT buy it. I cannot stress this enough. You should already be thinking of every way to cut down on the amount of stuff you are taking on your trip. There is no need to take a laptop (unless you are travelling for business).

It isn’t just because of the space-saving either. Many apps, like Instagram, do not allow you to upload images from desktop devices. Therefore, it’s an absolute pain in the ass if you are trying to share on social media and your camera just isn’t cooperating. Luckily, every single camera in this list comes with a mobile application for phone connectivity and transfer.

Price

Don’t be that person with all the gear and no idea. If you buy a Sony A7III and never take it off automatic mode then you will anger the camera gods no end. All jokes aside, an open water diving certificate might knock you back around $300 in some places in the world. It’s easy to overspend that on camera equipment so don’t regret your decision.

Image Quality

Let’s be honest, all of the cameras in this list have the potential to produce fantastic quality images in various situations. The only people who should be concerned about this should be pros and people who need it for their business.

If you are one of those people then do not go smaller than an APSC sensor. Any lower than that and you start to significantly lose low light performance and speed. Obviously, you are limited in the action camera department but if you think you will be doing underwater photography then consider a 1inch sensor compact with waterproof housing. You can buy waterproof housings for the larger cameras but you will also start to shell out some serious dough.

Battery Life

All of the cameras in this list will keep going for at least 2 hours of complete video or 300+ pictures. However, if you think you will be needing more than that then just pick up some spare batteries for the camera. They tend to be relatively cheap and they fit into the smallest of spaces.

Available Accessories

Before you buy your camera, look into the accessories that it can come with. For example, the Ricoh WG-60 does not have waterproof housing currently available. therefore, if you will be diving lower than the 14m limit then you should not buy this camera.

That goes for all of the different cameras in this list. Some might not come with the correct mounts that you require or cases for protection, etc.

Back to Top


Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Main Things To Look For In A Backpacking Camera?

Weight, phone connectivity and durability.

Should I Get An Action Camera Or A Compact For My Backpacking Trip?

If you will be doing anything involving water then go for an action camera. Action cameras don’t perform as well in everyday life as normal compacts so consider getting both if you need quality images.

What Kind Of Camera Should I Buy For Backpacking?

  • Adrenaline junkie = action camera.
  • Day to day = compact.
  • Diver = 1inch sensor and waterproof housing.
  • Bit of everything = action camera & compact.
  • Digital nomad = action camera & APSC camera or above.

What Professional-Quality Camera Should I Buy If I Want To Take It Backpacking With Me?

If you want the best in image quality and durability then the Sony A7III is the best option. It has a full-frame sensor and is smaller as it is mirrorless. If you already have a Nikon setup then get the Nikon Z6.

Back to Top


Click on the image to repin this post!

Backpacking | Backpacking Camera | Compact Camera | Blogging Camera | Action Camera | #backpacking #backpackingcamera #camerafortravelling #travellingcamera

Leave a Comment