Camera Equipment Storage Ideas – use what works for you!

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If you are reading this, then it is likely that you have some camera equipment. An overview of camera equipment storage ideas presented here may jibe with what you already use, or stimulate new thinking about what may work better for you. I’ll talk a little about what I have used and currently use, how well it works/worked for me, and together we can consider some alternatives, only restricting the discussion to SLR camera equipment. Let’s go …

Old school – shoulder bags

I refer to this storage solution as “old school” because well, I’m getting older, and a shoulder bag is what I used when I was much younger. My gear collection has grown over the years, and at some point I felt that I had outgrown the shoulder bag. Maybe that was a hasty decision.

Camera Equipment Storage Ideas - Large DSLR Camera Gadget Bag
AmazonBasics Large DSLR Camera Gadget Bag

A benefit of using a shoulder bag is that it can contain everything you anticipate that is needed on any given photo shoot or outing. A camera body (or two) each with different lenses, or if you happen to be shooting film each body can be loaded with a different kind of film. Extra memory cards for your DSLRs, extra film for your film bodies, a polarizing filter, lens wipes, a cable release … everything you might need for an event or walkabout.

Another benefit is that this is a relative inexpensive storage option, perhaps the least expensive of any, short of just leaving you gear scattered about the house. We’re trying to improve upon that scenario however. The price range is rather wide though, starting at about $20 to over $200 on the high end.

Special variations

There are some special variations that may appeal to different photographers: water resistant, all weather, travel, and padded bags for extra protection. The shoulder bag I used when I was a younger photographer was a simple (non-padded) bag made of Cordura nylon (which was durable and lasted more than 20 years). It had an inside zippered pocket that I used to store a cable release and a few filters, two pockets on the front to which the cover buckled to cover both the main compartment and both front pockets. It also had pockets at each end of the bag that had independent buckled closures. Those were nice for storing extra film, lens wipes, etc. The main compartment inside the bag held my camera body with a lens attached at could accommodate at least one other lens (or two, depending on the size).

A key appeal for this storage option is that it also serves as a grab and go solution. With some planning, it might be wise to have several shoulder bags each intended for a different kind of photography. For example, one bag might be set up to bring with you to family gatherings or parties. With such a go bag you could include a camera body, a normal and/or wide angle lens, a flash unit, and a flash bracket.

Another “go bag” idea is to assemble one for when you decide to go outdoors and photograph flowers, birds, or other wildlife. A macro lens and a zoom or telephoto lens in the bag would be good candidates for that situation. If you choose to do something like this get different colored bags – so when you are ready to go you don’t even have to think about gathering up things since … it’s already in the bag!

Travel backpacks

Camera Equipment Storage Ideas - Travel Backpack
Lowepro Fastpack BP 250 AW II
Camera Equipment Storage Ideas - Travel Backpack
Beschoi DSLR Camera Backpack Waterproof Camera Bag
Camera Equipment Storage Ideas - Travel Backpack
Endurax Camera Backpack Waterproof for DSLR SLR

This option is an extension of the shoulder bag idea, but taking things up a notch both in performance and price range. A major benefit is the increased amount of gear that you can tote around with you can be at least doubled. Another is that a backpack, while it will be heavier, makes it easier to carry the load on you back rather than your shoulder.

There are ample padded compartments within a travel backpack to safely store multiple lenses and even a camera with a telephoto lens attached. The padded compartments can also be re-arranged at will by use of Velcro tabs on the dividers. Look for these features when considering a travel backpack an option for you.

Travel luggage cases

Camera Equipment Storage Ideas - Travel Luggage Case
THINK TANK Airport Roller Derby Messenger Bag

This is the category I migrated to when I upgraded my shoulder bag storage. These truly are luggage bags in the sense that you can safely travel with them – though I would never advocate checking expensive photo gear as luggage on a flight – always carry it on with you. Therefore, if air travel is something you want to prepare for make sure the dimensions of the travel luggage case you choose will fit in overhead compartments on a commercial airliner.

I have not traveled by air with my case – it is too big for overhead storage. The bag I have is from Think Tank Photo’s “Airport Series” and it is classified as a backpack, and even has shoulder straps. But I have never worn it as a backpack – its too darn heavy! I do have a luggage cart to wheel it around if needed but I normally just carry it by the top handle to move my gear around. It spends a lot of time in the trunk of my car. My choice of this bag was based on my desire to protect my investment in equipment from dust and accidental damage. It holds almost all of my gear and despite using it for about 13 years now it is still in great shape – it is extremely well-made.

Going forward I may get a couple of shoulder bags to augment my storage situation and take my own advice about preparing some “go bags!”

Hard cases

Camera Equipment Storage Ideas - Hard Case
Pelican 1510 Case With Padded Dividers

Also known as “watertight” cases, such as the Pelican brand of cases, these off the ultimate in terms of gear protection. The hard plastic outer shell is virtually indestructible. The case locks down onto “o-ring” type rubber seals making the contents impervious to any water damage. Various divider systems enable gear arrangement the way you want it.

The sizes of hard cases vary, including some that will fit into airline overhead compartments. There are also smaller versions for more limited gear storage that you can travel with to fit under airline seats. Of course these are great for land lubbers too – especially when traveling to off-road destinations doing wildlife and landscape photography.

Protective Wraps

Camera Equipment Storage Ideas - Protective Wraps
Selens Camera Protective Wraps
Camera Equipment Storage Ideas - Protective Wraps
Domke F-34M 15-Inch Protective Wrap

While not strictly a storage option itself, I include protective wraps as a low cost, high value add-on accessory for any of the above categories of camera equipment storage. The fabric wraps are made of material that Velcro adheres tenaciously to, where the Velcro itself is stitched only in corners of rectangular wraps. These are terrific for wrapping and protecting all of your lenses and camera bodies while in storage and especially in transit. Highly recommended.


We covered substantial ground in this post, from simple shoulder bags to watertight, nearly indestructible cases. In any situation the goals are to protect your equipment and organize what you have for easy access when you depart for and then arrive at a new destination to begin taking photographs. Do some additional research, think about your needs, and use what’s best for you.

What do you currently use or intend to buy for your own camera storage? I am curious about what others use so drop me a comment below, and as always …

Happy Shooting!

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2 thoughts on “Camera Equipment Storage Ideas – use what works for you!”

  1. Oh thanks for the review, actually I never choose a bag based on those benefit but today i learned new technique when I will go for shopping either for my own bag or my children i will choose the best based on your given description. It is true that out shoulder most of times are not comfortable when we Carry certain type of bag but but since we did not have the idea why as a result we continued to feel pain without knowing the problem. Can I get sample picture on what it look like, the one you recommend? I believe it will help us during our purchase for decision making. Thank you very much, i learned something important today which i did not know before

    • Hi veronica, Thanks for your comment! Depending on the type of strap a given shoulder bag has and how much gear you store in the bag while carrying it will determine you comfort level. If you have the need to carry several lenses with a camera body or two, the travel backpack style may be a better fit.
      I will add images! Thanks for the feedback.


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