You’re about to set out on a multi-week, multi-month, or multi-year backpacking adventure. That’s awesome! But you’re going to need a camera. Buying a quality camera is one of the most important things you’re likely going to want to pack along with you. Ther’es a ton of choices, from point and shoot cameras, to DSLRs, there’s something for every skill level out there. Tracking down the right type for you, your skill level, and most importantly, your budget, is key to ensuring you have some memories you can look back on years down your road.
Best Point & Shoots Cameras for Backpackers
Let’s start off nice and easy, and easy on the wallet. The point and shoot cameras. Wildly popular in the early 2000’s, they’ve been replaced by many people by iPhones, Androids, and DSLRs. But they’re not worth totally discounting. Point & Shoot Cameras have grown into their own. If you’re planning on anything beyond selfies, a quality point and shoot can capture shots that you might not have been able to at the risk of ruining your phone. Waterproof, dustproof, crushproof, and iceproof point and shoot cameras allow you to capture moments while participating in anything more exciting than walking from A to B.
- Canon PowerShot D30 12.1MP 5X Optical Zoom Waterproof/Shockproof Digital Camera
- Canon PowerShot ELPH 135 IS 16MP 8X Optical Zoom Digital Camera
- Nikon COOLPIX L830 16 MP CMOS Digital Camera with 34x Zoom Nikkor Lens and Full 1080p HD Video
- Nikon COOLPIX S32 13.2 MP Waterproof Digital Camera with Full HD 1080p Video
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS25 16.1 MP Tough Digital Camera with 8x Intelligent Zoom
- Olympus TG-3 Waterproof 16 MP Digital Camera
- Pentax Optio WG-3 orange 16 MP Waterproof Digital Camera with 3-Inch LCD Screen (My go-to point & shoot)
Best DSLR Cameras for Backpackers
Point and shoots a bit too grandma for you? While you can get some great prints using point & shoots, if you really want to label yourself as a backpacker-photographer, you’re likely going to need a DSLR (or Digital Single-Lens Reflex Camera, if you’re an über camera nerd). Just be warned, they can be a pain to haul around, but in my opinion traveling with a quality camera is worth the extra few pounds.
The two big hitters in the DSLR game are Nikon, and Canon. There’s a few stragglers in the mix, but thse two are those most common brands you’ll see. Personally, I use a Canon, but just Canon, Nikon, same diff in my opinion. Though I’m sure some die-hard photographer would rip me a new one for saying that. Covering the best DSLR cameras here is going to be tough. Totally depends on your budget, and skill level.
If you’re new to DSLR’s and interested in learning photography but don’t have as large of a budget as you might like, these are some great starter DSLRs, perfect for your own travel photography.
- Nikon D5300 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II AF-S DX NIKKOR Zoom Lens (Black) (Certified Refurbished)
- Nikon D5200 24.1 MP CMOS Digital SLR with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR NIKKOR Zoom Lens (Black)
- Canon EOS Rebel T5i Digital SLR with 18-55mm STM Lens
- Canon EOS Rebel T3i 18 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera 33rd Street Elite Bundle with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Zoom Lens + Auxiliary Telephoto and Wide Angle Lens + 1 pc U.V. Filter + Professional Tripod + Digital Slave Flash + Card Reader + Carrying Case + Wireless Remote and 2 pcs 16GB Memory Cards
- Nikon D3300 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR with AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II Zoom Lens (Black)
- Pentax K-50 16MP Digital SLR Camera Kit with DA L 18-55mm WR f3.5-5.6 Lens (Black)
If you’ve got a bit more money kicking around, and know that you’re going to be take this whole photography thing serious, jumping right to the intermediate level DSLR’s might be a great idea for you.
- Nikon D610 24.3 MP CMOS FX-Format Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)
- Sony Alpha SLT-A77 Translucent Mirror Digital SLR Camera with 18-135mm Lens
- Canon EOS 60D 18 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS UD Lens (My current DSLR)
- Canon EOS 7D Digital SLR Camera Kit with 18-55mm IS II Lens and Canon EF 75-300mm III Lens + 16GB Green’s Camera Package
- Canon EOS 6D 20.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD and EF24-105mm IS Lens Kit
- Nikon D7000 16.2MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with Nikon 18-55mm VR Lens + Nikon 55-200mm VR Lens + .43x Wide Angle Lens, 2.2x Telephoto Lens, 3 Piece Filter Kit (UV,CPL, FLD), 4 Piece Macro Close-up Lens Set (+1+2+4+10), 16GB SD Memory Card, Backpack + MORE
I wish I could say I know something about expert level DSLR’s, but I’ve only ever held them and shook my head in disbelief at the cost and the sheer weight of them. I have, however, asked some of my photographer backpacker friends and asked what they recommend. I can’t imagine pro-level DSLRs are that easy to travel with, but some do it day in and day out. Here’s a list of the best pro / expert level DSLR cameras.
- Sony SLTA99V Alpha SLT-A99V A99 SLT-A99 Full-Frame 24.3 MP SLR Digital Camera with 3-Inch LED – Sony 70-200 f 2.8 Full Frame Lens BUNDLE with 32GB High Speed Card (Qty 3),Deluxe Hoya Filter Kit, Spare Batteries (Qty 2), Full Sized Tripod + More!
- Nikon D300S 12.3MP DX-Format CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD (Body Only)
- Canon EOS 7D Mark II Digital SLR Camera with 18-135mm IS STM Lens
- Nikon D4S 16.2 MP CMOS FX Digital SLR with Full 1080p HD Video (Body Only)
- Canon EOS 5D Mark III 22.3 MP Full Frame CMOS with 1080p Full-HD Video Mode Digital SLR Camera (Body)
Disclaimer: I like transparency. In order to be transparent I just want to let you know that the links found within this Best Cameras for Backpackers post are affiliate links to Amazon. If you purchase an item within 24 hours of clicking one of these links, Amazon will share 4% of the purchase price with me, which will immediately go into paying back my Federal Student Loans. Not the most exciting place to spend my money, I know, but you do what you gotta do!