6 Best Backpacking & Hiking Cameras

Backpacking can current some superb photographic opportunities. Nevertheless, it additionally presents a singular set of challenges. Photographers need gear that’s sturdy and may deal with being tossed in a backpack or used during antagonistic climate.

Additionally they want cameras that gained’t add numerous weight to their load. They need one that is sufficiently small to be simply moveable.

This makes DSLRs a nasty selection, which means many photographers should discover a second digital camera for this function in the event that they plan on doing numerous images while backpacking.

We have now assembled an inventory of our prime six backpacking cameras. We tried to target fashions which might be reasonably priced, compact, lightweight. These still yield high-quality photographs that photographers may be pleased with and use once they are back house.

They range from specialty adventure cameras to mirrorless digital camera bodies. They can be used in virtually any photographic state of affairs. Think about how you propose to use your backpacking digital camera whereas reading via this listing.

6 Best Backpacking Cameras

Best General: Sony Alpha a6300

sony alpha a6300

  • Megapixels: 24.2 MP
  • Tiltable LCD Viewscreen: Yes
  • Weight: 14.25 ounces
  • Battery Life: 400 photographs
  • Picture Stabilization: No

Execs: Great high quality photographs and 4k video, fast autofocus, quick continuous capturing, strong metallic physique

Cons: The menu is confusing, expensive, fewer additional options than different choices, no in-body image stabilization

What Makes this Digital camera Our Prime Decide?

The a6300 is a mirrorless digital camera for images fanatics. Meaning it blends the lower cost tag of decrease performing cameras with the skilled grade photograph potential of costlier fashions.

It has a powerful 24 MP resolution and performs properly in low mild conditions. It could possibly document 4K video and sound utilizing an exterior microphone jack. It also has a metallic body design. That makes it an awesome choice for a visit where it is probably going to get tossed in a bag or banged up by way of heavy use.

The most important area where Sony improved on the a6000 with this mannequin is by making a magnesium alloy physique. That replaces the composite plastic casing used up to now.

The alloy adds 0.63 ounces to the full weight. Nevertheless, that distinction is negligible when you think about the added durability and safety.

The digital camera is compact general, with a nice deep handgrip on the aspect. It additionally has a built-in pop up flash. There’s also a hotshoe for mounting microphones or strobe flashes.

The LCD display is good and enormous. It tilts up or down to help body photographs that might otherwise be taken blind. Unfortunately, the viewscreen isn’t a touchscreen, which is shocking for a way giant it is.

Most photographers discover they will overlook that factor, although. They are proud of the digital camera’s general performance.

What Do Reviewers Say?

Reviewers agree that this can be a high-performance digital camera and is certainly more than most freshmen would wish, however that functionality and durability does come with a worth. It costs virtually twice as much as its predecessor, the a6000, however still manages to stay under $1,000 as a top quality mirrorless, making it reasonably priced for most backpackers out there for a strong travel digital camera.

The C1 and C2 buttons could be programmed as shortcuts and a majority of the buttons on the digital camera physique may be manually assigned to regulate any menu choice. Reviewers didn’t like the menu itself, nevertheless, and felt just like the six sub-menus and even more numerous menus inside every was a bit cumbersome and complicated.

This poor design is balanced by skilled quality pictures and movies, nevertheless, as the digital camera comes with a superb APS-C CMOS sensor that is the similar measurement as sensors photographers get in DSLR cameras.

The autofocus is especially quick and exact as properly, with fast continuous capturing rates that enable photographers to dabble in wildlife or action images on their journeys. Pictures have true shade rendering and sharp details, and the Dynamic Vary Optimizer setting is good for bringing out highlights and shadows and balancing the 2.

Options and Issues

The two largest complaints we found about this digital camera have been the confusing menu setup and the expensive worth. For photographers who need a digital camera that may take professional grade photographs with out having to carry round an expensive and heavy DSLR and the accompanying a6300 suitable lenses though, this can be a nice choice.

In the event you can’t afford it, nevertheless, there are another cameras with comparable functionality further down in this guide.

A Close Second: Fuji X-T2 with the 12 – 55 mm Lens

fuji x t2 with the 12-55 mm lens

  • Megapixels: 23.4 MP
  • Tiltable LCD viewscreen: Sure
  • Weight: 1 lb 11 ounces
  • Battery Life: 340 pictures
  • Image Stabilization: No

Execs: Interchangeable lenses, high-quality photographs, tilting LCD viewscreen, Cheap for a mirrorless digital camera, strong climate sealing

Cons: Costly, interchangeable lenses are extra delicate than fastened lenses

What Makes this Digital camera Particular?

This digital camera allows backpackers to have the functionality of a brand new mirrorless or DSLR digital camera with interchangeable lenses and high-quality photographs whereas still maintaining the light-weight nature, sturdiness and strong weather sealing of more traditional backpacking cameras. It’s an incredible in-between that can be used at house on your nieces’ and nephews’ soccer games or while backpacking via the wilderness.

The digital camera body has a compact design with sealed buttons and compartments for the battery and memory playing cards. It is a robust choice for photographers who want something for use in all weather circumstances but don’t want an journey digital camera that can be used deep underwater.

The autofocus system is fast and tracks properly, the ISO sensitivity could be pushed fairly high and there’s Wi-Fi functionality so you possibly can send photographs to your telephone, although the digital camera lacks GPS tracking.

Using it with a weather-sealed 12 – 55 mm lens will provide you with the versatility to shoot issues broad angle or at a more normal focal size without having to deal with the heavier, extra delicate lenses that offer you an extended focal length.

This optical zoom also ensures you get high-quality pictures at whatever focal length you employ, while level and shoot digital backpacking cameras lose high quality once they digitally zoom in.

What Do Reviewers Say?

Reviewers like this digital camera as a DSLR various, as it’s extra compact since it’s mirrorless but isn’t as expensive or high performing as different new mirrorless digital camera bodies with interchangeable lenses. The digital camera is able to capturing RAW and may seize 4K video with beautiful clarity, and the retro design is a nice touch that is engaging to many reviewers.

The digital camera physique is all metallic, making it durable and strong, however the in-camera menu system is overly difficult and confusing. Photographers will probably need to spend slightly additional time sifting via the various menus once they obtain the digital camera, but this wasn’t a cause to not purchase for most.

There is a giant, digital, stay viewfinder that works rather well, and the shortage of anti-alias filters imply the ultimate photographs are sharper than different cameras on this class.

There are also twin SD picture storage card slots photographers can change between for video and stills or use both and they also don’t have to fret about their memory card filling up fairly often. The 325 autofocus factors additionally allow the AF system to work shortly and properly a majority of the time.

Features and Issues

The autofocus system was usually reviewed as being fast and dependable, but there have been those that felt that it struggled to lock onto the right focus at occasions and wasn’t 100% dependable. The digital camera can also be barely larger and heavier than options that don’t have detachable lenses.

The power to vary lenses can also be seen as a blessing and a curse for backpackers. On the one hand, this performance allows backpackers to take crystal clear photographs and have plenty of management over the kind of photographs they need to take by choosing totally different lenses.

However, the gear is extra delicate and have to be stored clear and protected, which isn’t essentially ideally suited when shoving the digital camera in a journey backpack and climbing or touring around Europe on a practice.

Best Compact Digital camera: Ricoh GR II

ricoh gr ii

  • Megapixels: 16 MP
  • Tiltable LCD viewscreen: No
  • Weight: 8.7 ounces
  • Battery Life: 320 photographs
  • Image Stabilization: No

Execs:  Inbuilt Wi-Fi capabilities, exterior hotshoe, full HD video, light-weight, compact

Cons: No picture stabilization, no tilt display, not weather sealed

What Makes this Digital camera Special?

That is an amazingly high-performance compact digital camera that gives backpackers high image and video quality in a neat and tidy little package deal.

The design of the digital camera is straightforward and basic, and the digital camera as an entire is straightforward to use, dependable and easily moveable. The massive 16 MP APS-C sensor yields sharp, clear pictures, and the magnesium-alloy all metallic physique helps shield your digital camera even if you’re schlepping around on journey and toss it into your backpack.

The digital camera was designed by Ricoh with backpackers and travel photographers in thoughts, and is meant to provide photographers a inexpensive, smaller various to their DSLR and mirrorless cameras that may still ship high-quality photographs and movies.

The digital camera supports RAW capturing, has a fast autofocus system and is quick enough for many purposes within the area. It is incredibly lightweight and compact, which means it may well simply be tucked in a backpack pocket or even a pants pocket.

It additionally resembles a mirrorless digital camera in some design parts, including the massive front grip and larger variety of guide controls, giving photographers extra flexibility and making it simpler to make use of than extra conventional compact cameras. The compact design makes it unobtrusive and discreet, which is perfect for backpacking.

What Do Reviewers Say?

Reviewers praised this digital camera for sprucing up the slightly dated compact digital camera format and giving photographers something that provided advantages of mirrorless digital camera our bodies along with those of traditional compact cameras.

General, reviewers discovered the pictures to be sharp and high-quality and liked how compact and lightweight the digital camera is. The design is modern and simple, and the setup is straightforward to make use of, discreet and dependable.

There is a small pop-up flash on the aspect of the digital camera and Wi-Fi capabilities might be turned on with the Wi-Fi button next to the flash. The digital camera has a 9-point distinction autofocus system that is respectable and sometimes performs higher than anticipated. It focuses shortly and precisely, though it struggles to track shifting topics.

The battery life is respectable however fairly typical for a backpacking digital camera, topping out at around 320 frames. This is respectable, although backpackers ought to think about buying and carrying further batteries, particularly if they are backpacking and camping and won’t have entry to an electrical outlet for days at a time.

The sensor is powerful and creates crisp, clear, detailed photographs. The digital camera lacks an anti-aliasing filter, which allows it to capture sharper photographs than different cameras, and images are typically in focus from nook to corner with little to no softening around the edges.

Options and Issues

The digital camera can’t shoot 4K video and lacks an exterior microphone or a headphone jack, which means that is undoubtedly not the suitable selection should you plan on capturing an excellent quantity of video. It also has a slower burst capturing price than most of the other cameras on this listing, making it a poor selection for action photographers as properly.

As both of those purposes are comparatively niche, although, this can be a nice choice for the typical backpacker in search of a great digital camera.

Best Journey Digital camera: Nikon W300 Waterproof Underwater Digital Digital camera

nikon w300 waterproof underwater digital camera

  • Megapixels: 16 MP
  • Tiltable LCD viewscreen: No
  • Weight: 8.1 ounces
  • Battery Life: 280 photographs
  • Image Stabilization: Sure

Execs: Waterproof to 30 meters, shoots 4K movies, reasonably priced, weatherproof right down to 14°F

Cons: Fastened F/2.8 aperture, optimized for underwater use, battery life

What Makes this Digital camera Special?

This digital camera is right in case you are backpacking in opposed climate or plan to do a fair amount of swimming or scuba diving. It’s waterproof and protected as far down as 30 meters or 100 ft, and operates in cold weather right down to 14°F.

Because of these features, it’s undoubtedly a specialty digital camera, and gained’t be as useful as other choices on this listing in the event you aren’t planning on backpacking near the water or utilizing your digital camera in the water or underwater.

For avid scuba divers, snorkelers, surfers and other water sport fanatics, this digital camera is a dream. It allows photographers to capture high-quality, sharp pictures with quality corresponding to a reasonable mirrorless digital camera in all circumstances and gained’t be damaged by somewhat (or quite a bit) of moisture.

The design is compact and modern, with the lens being situated on the top left aspect of the digital camera next to a small flash. It is obtainable in black orange or yellow, and the sturdy metallic body casing is able to shield the digital camera for drops of as much as eight ft.

What Do Reviewers Say?

Reviewers praise this digital camera and the mirrorless-like photographs it produces and particularly like how sturdy and versatile it’s for photographers who need to use it throughout action or water activities.

Not all reviewers have been loopy about it, because the design and meant function of the digital camera are extremely specific to those that take pleasure in water actions and sports, however it does do a superb job on the objective it was designed for.

The digital camera has options beyond sturdiness which are useful for adventurers and scuba divers, like an altimeter and GPS tracker, which could be easily accessed via the device button management. The image high quality can also be larger than anticipated for the 16 megapixel sensor and provides photographers room to create high-quality prints even when photographs are cropped extensively.

Colours are usually rendered accurately, although the flash must be used underwater if photographers need reds and other colours at that end of the spectrum to seem true. The ultimate pictures additionally look vivid, clear and crisp, with an excellent amount of element and low noise even in darker pictures. While it struggles at night time, this isn’t unusual for cameras underneath $500.

Features and Issues

The most important consideration photographers ought to take a look at when contemplating this digital camera is whether or not they intend to use it on land or underwater. If they don’t are likely to take their digital camera scuba diving, white water river rafting or on filth bikes, then they in all probability don’t want an journey digital camera with waterproof capabilities as much as 100 ft underwater.

In fact, the digital camera does take high-quality pictures, so if photographers assume they could sometimes use the underwater options this digital camera gives, it should additionally carry out decently on land.

Another consideration for photographers is the level of quality they need to have the ability to obtain in their photographs. If they need skilled pictures, they’re going to want a extra strong, skilled digital camera than this one. It’ll, nevertheless, take high-quality pictures which might be more than giant and clear sufficient for house use and social media.

Best Conventional Compact Digital camera: Canon PowerShot SX720

canon powershot sx720

  • Megapixels: 20.3 MP
  • Tiltable LCD viewscreen: No
  • Weight: 9.5 ounces
  • Battery Life: 250 photographs
  • Image Stabilization: Yes

Execs: Reasonably priced, giant sensor, compact, lightweight, Wi-Fi connectivity, 1080p HD video, 40x optical zoom

Cons: Battery life, commonplace non articulated viewscreen

What Makes this Digital camera Particular?

This superzoom compact digital camera from Canon was designed with vacationers in mind. It is the good mix of performance, portability and versatility for backpackers.

The digital camera is small and lightweight sufficient that photographers can slip it right into a pocket. Nevertheless, it has the optical zoom equal of a 24 – 960 mm lens on a DSLR or mirrorless digital camera.

It also has a further 80x digital zoom referred to as Zoom Plus. That can be stretched to 120x zoom if photographers don’t mind dropping a good quantity of sharpness.

The CMOS sensor is giant and back-illuminated. It’s paired with a Digic 6 processor to create high-quality photographs and video.

The digital camera can take full HD video and transfer pictures over Wi-Fi. That makes it versatile for photographers who need to have the ability to shoot the occasional video as nicely.

The brushed metallic look of the physique casing is engaging and hides scratches nicely. The rubberized grip on the entrance of the handhold makes the digital camera straightforward to use and never drop. It additionally provides photographers a bit more management when capturing.

The colours in remaining pictures are brilliant and vibrant. They’ve a pleasant degree of saturation and contrast being rendered by the sensor. Blues are correct. There’s little to no chromatic fringing around objects in vibrant mild.

Noise can also be nicely managed in last pictures. It might be exhausting to print pictures at very giant sizes. Nevertheless, the digital camera takes photographs which might be more than enough for a majority of photographers’ wants and purposes.

What Do Reviewers Say?

Reviewers beloved this digital camera for vacationers and backpackers. They have been notably impressed by the 40x optical zoom. This permits photographers to get high-quality photographs when zoomed in without having to sacrifice high quality. That’s something that many compact cameras actually wrestle with.

The flash is just a little weak. That may yield vignetting in case you are in a state of affairs the place you have to use the on-camera flash. This could sometimes be corrected in post-processing comparatively simply.

The digital camera does have a maximum shutter velocity of 15 seconds. That provides journey photographers the power to make use of the digital camera for night time images in the event that they need to and have a travel tripod.

Photographers can allow full guide management. That extends to all the controls except setting the autofocus level. This makes doing macro or inventive photographs troublesome at occasions.

It additionally helps RAW format capturing. The Wi-Fi capabilities are good because photographers can switch pictures straight from their digital camera to their telephone.

Many reviewers targeted on the normal images performance of the digital camera. Nevertheless, some also commented that they appreciated the particular impact modes that the digital camera had enabled.

Those embrace fisheye, miniature, toy digital camera, gentle focus, monochrome, tremendous vivid and poster. This digital camera can also be a nice choice for backpackers. It is versatile and straightforward enough to use at house for on a regular basis purposes. It additionally isn’t as specialized as most of the different cameras on this listing.

Options and Issues

The digital camera doesn’t have a contact display or even an articulated tilting display. That may be a little little bit of a bummer for backpackers. This makes capturing from the bottom or holding the digital camera up greater than eye degree troublesome as you’re capturing blind.

It additionally gained’t give photographers the professional high quality that a number of the greater degree costlier cameras on this record will. That helps explain why this one is so much more reasonably priced.

Most Versatile Lenses: Olympus OM-D-E-M5 Mark II

olympus om d e m5 mark ii

  • Megapixels: 16 MP
  • Tiltable LCD viewscreen: Yes
  • Weight: 14.7 ounces
  • Battery Life: 310 pictures
  • Picture Stabilization: Sure

Execs: Excessive-quality photographs, durable, quick autofocus, strong image stabilization, strong climate sealing

Cons: Battery life, interchangeable lenses aren’t splendid for backpacking, no built-in flash

What Makes this Digital camera Special?

This mirrorless digital camera presents interchangeable lenses and high-quality photographs in a small, weatherproof, durable package deal. It’s good for vacationers and backpackers.

It has various further options which are useful for vacationers. These embrace five-axis picture stabilization built into the physique. There’s additionally an enormous articulated LCD touchscreen. These bonus options make it a superb choice for capturing stills or video as properly.

The digital camera is extraordinarily lightweight for a mirrorless digital camera physique, at slightly below 1 pound. When paired with a light-weight broad angle zoom or prime lens for journey, most photographers gained’t even discover it on their shoulder or in their backpack.

Since it does have interchangeable lenses, you need to be a bit bit more cautious with it than other compact or journey cameras. Nevertheless, a majority of photographers who favored this mannequin have been capable of create area to fit a carrying case in or on their pack.

The Olympus is ready to shoot in burst mode at up to 10 frames per second. That permits travel photographers to dabble with wildlife or motion images.

It additionally renders shade superbly. It captures vivid, properly contrasted photographs even in lower mild situations.

The fast sensor and manually adjustable settings enable photographers to seize good photographs in dim streets at night time or poorly lit rooms nicely.

What Do Reviewers Say?

Olympus is usually a sensible choice for travelers or backpackers who are on the lookout for a sturdy, extremely moveable digital camera that still takes high-quality photographs. Reviewers notably favored how this mannequin was versatile and produced skilled quality pictures.

The LCD display was also praised. It is three inches, articulated and a touch display. This makes the digital camera straightforward to make use of for stills and even simpler to make use of for video. That is as a result of the controls could be modified with the touch of a finger.

Whereas the digital camera does an attractive job capturing stills, it does a fair higher job with video, with the sensor being stabilized to account for tilting up and down, turning aspect to aspect, rotating, shifting straight up and down or straight aspect to aspect. This five-axis picture stabilization is strong and is certainly useful when capturing on the go or in nature.

The digital camera handles grain and noise properly. Noise is tolerable up to no less than 6,400 ISO.

The digital camera can also be great at manually white balancing. There are totally different settings already loaded into the digital camera to right for warm mild. They will also hold the nice and cozy tones when capturing indoors.

Lastly, whereas the digital camera has a 16 MP sensor, it has a 40 MP capturing mode. That permits photographers to get a collection of eight photographs with higher decision.

This function works fairly properly and captures substantially extra element than photographs taken with out this function. It’s a nice choice for photographers making an attempt to capture detailed photographs on the go.

Options and Issues

This digital camera is a mirrorless digital camera body with interchangeable lenses. For that cause, it’s undoubtedly extra delicate and finicky than compact cameras with a hard and fast lens (or a fun little prompt digital camera, for that matter).

This additionally makes this digital camera costlier than most of the other options on this record. That’s particularly since photographers then have to decide on and buy at the least one lens.

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Choice Standards: How We Ranked Our Decisions

There are a variety of cameras obtainable available on the market, together with simple compact level and shoot cameras, strong waterproof journey cameras, average in-between models and DSLR or mirrorless digital camera bodies. Which one is greatest for you will depend on the conditions you’re planning on utilizing it in and the level of high quality you need in your remaining pictures.

Backpackers have a selected set of needs with regards to their journey digital camera, and need to have one thing that’s rugged and sturdy sufficient to survive getting stored in a backpack and probably used in antagonistic circumstances but can nonetheless yield high-quality photographs that may create good reminiscences from the trip.

Right here have been a few of our fundamental issues in compiling this record of one of the best backpacking cameras.


Some of the essential features for a backpacking digital camera is durability. Photographers who’re backpacking don’t have the power to take a whole lot of costly gear and depart what they don’t use in the lodge in the course of the day.

They have a tendency to wish a digital camera that can do it all and will survive being banged up a bit or used closely, and photographers who’re a fan of journey sports activities or water actions want much more sturdiness.

We tried to pick cameras with all metallic bodies and climate sealing that ranged from being more sturdy than average to it may well survive an eight foot drop and photograph as much as 100 ft underwater.

Another consideration we checked out when it comes to sturdiness was the battery life. Backpackers who are mountaineering long stretches or camping probably gained’t have access to electrical retailers on their journey, and wish a battery that may last longer.

Sadly, most cameras in this category can’t last for 700 or more photographs like professional DSLR and mirrorless digital camera batteries can, so we advocate purchasing an extra battery or a number of and carrying them absolutely charged.

High quality

The standard of the ultimate image is necessary. Travelers need to guarantee they’ve a digital camera that can take pictures that accurately show the places they visited and could be loved for a very long time to return. We tried to focus on cameras that have giant sensors and take reliably high-quality photographs. They ranged from fanatic grade to professional degree photographs.


Another one of the necessary issues for backpackers is portability. That boils right down to measurement and weight.

Photographers who’re backpacking need cameras which are small and compact but in addition lightweight. That is why compact cameras are sometimes a sensible choice. Since they will fit in a pocket, though they gained’t take the standard pictures that mirrorless or DSLR our bodies will.

Mirrorless digital camera our bodies have crammed a hole properly here. That’s because they take full frame DSLR-level photographs with out being almost as huge and hulking.

Each digital camera on this listing is under two pounds. The lighter weight ones are simply round simply 8 ounces.


Photographers on the lookout for a digital camera for any function need to be able to find something that is within their price range, whether or not that price range is $20,000 or $200. We tried to pick mirrorless, level & shoots, and DSLRs that have been reasonably priced for most people, with cheaper options being around $200 and costlier choices nonetheless being under $1,500.

Again, it’s essential to think about the type of images you need to do and whether you’re primarily capturing pictures to share on Instagram or scrapbook with or if you’d like to have the ability to print bigger sizes or probably promote them.

Interchangeable vs. Fastened Lenses

Interchangeable lenses supply photographers more versatility, since they will choose totally different lenses for different trips or choose a unique lens and have a completely totally different images expertise. Relying on where you’re traveling, you could even be capable of lease a lens when you are there to get versatile pictures.

They do add value and up the delicacy issue although, as you now have a removable piece of kit that’s more delicate than most digital camera our bodies.

Fastened lenses then again can supply versatility for those who get one with optical zoom but gained’t obtain the sharpness and quality of a detachable lens. As for which is best, it actually depends upon what photographs you need to take and the place you’re touring to.

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Megan Schill

About Megan Schill

Megan Schill earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism with an emphasis in photojournalism from the University of Missouri in 2013. She at present works as a photographer and freelancer in Southern California.