Before we reveal which photography backpack we like best, let's recap five points to remember when buying a camera kit bag:
1. Chest/waist straps add stability and security when hiking or climbing.
2. A slip-on rain cover is useful if you're out in heavy rain for long periods.
3. Side-access systems make it easy to get at your DSLR and attached lens.
4. You'll generally need to remove one or two dividers if you want to pack a big lens such as a 70-200mm f/2.8.
5. Main openings at the rear, instead of the front, of the backpack are great if you need to put the bag on muddy ground.
For full photo backpacks, the Tamrac Expedition 6x offers the most space and versatility of all the photography rucksacks we tested here. It's well made and so is our top choice overall, although the laptop compartment is small and you have to buy the rain cover separately.
For a smaller camera kit collection, our second and third choices are the slimline yet roomy Think Tank Photo StreetWalker and the chunky Lowepro Vertex 100 AW.
For split backpacks that can accommodate photo gear and travel items, it's close between the Lowepro DSLR Video Pack 250 AW and the Tamrac Adventure 9. Both can take 15.6-inch widescreen laptops. The Lowepro's design features a neat side-opening system, great protection in foul weather, and is fantastic value at £80 in the UK and $120 in the US.