BEST CAMERAS FOR HIKING AND BACKPACKING 2021

by | Gear Guides

You’ve spent hours climbing a steep trail or multiple days on cramped busses, boats and planes to see that elusive view you’ve been dreaming about only to pull out your phone and take an average photo of a jaw-dropping view. It’s time to level up your hiking camera or backpacking camera so you can take some amazing photos. Read our list of the best cameras for hiking trips and best backpacking cameras to discover our recommendations. We will cover all of our favourites, from compact point and shoots to more powerful mirrorless and DSLR cameras. 

There are many things to consider when looking for the best camera for hiking and backpacking and we will cover these at the end of this article. You’ll need to consider photo quality, versatility, price and most importantly, size and weight when making a decision on the best camera for backpacking. 

“We are photographers that have spent over 5 years backpacking full time through Europe, Southeast Asia, Australia and North America and more recently we have spent the last few years hiking extensively in Canada. With all of this experience and while always carrying photography gear, we feel well placed to offer advice on the best hiking cameras.” 

We have personally used a lot of different cameras and know exactly what works and what you will need to consider when choosing the best camera for hiking photography and backpacking adventures. 

*Wild About BC is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Please note we only link to products & services we personally use or trust. 

Mt Assiniboine
Shot on Sony a7 III with the Sony 70-200mm f4 G OSS

Our #1 Pick for Best Camera to take Hiking and Backpacking 

Sony a7 III

If you want to take your photography to the next level and are really looking for a high-quality camera then look no further than the Sony a7 III. We rate this as our number 1 choice for best hiking camera and best camera for travel photography. It offers exceptional image quality, is less bulky and heavy than a DSLR and can still fit easily into your bag. The Sony a7 III is the camera that we currently take on all our adventures and we absolutely love it. 

>>Click here to see more about the Sony a7 III 

Our Pick for Best Budget Camera for Backpacking 

 
Nikon D3500 

For years Nikon has been making top quality DSLR’s ranging from entry-level to top of the line professional grade setups. The Nikon D3500 takes our spot for the best camera for hiking or backpacking on a tight budget. It’s one of the cheapest cameras on our list, takes great quality images and as it is a DSLR you get great versatility as you can change the lens to fit whatever situation you find yourself in.  

Nikon has been making amazing entry-level cameras for years and for the ultimate bang for your buck you can’t go wrong with the D3500. If you want something even cheaper you can also look at slightly older versions of this camera such as the Nikon D3300

What We Like 

  • Excellent value 
  • Easy to use 
  • Good picture quality for the price 

What We Don’t Like 

  • Bulkier than some of the other cameras on the list 
  • No built-in image stabilization 

>>See Prices for the Nikon D3500

Best Mirrorless Camera for Hiking 

Mirrorless cameras seem to be the future of digital photography. They offer almost identical image quality to traditional DSLR cameras but they come in smaller and lighter camera bodies which are perfect when trying to pack your bag for a hike or overnight backpacking trip. When you are lugging yourself and your bag up a mountain, every ounce matters!  

Like DSLRs, they also come with detachable lenses, which means you get excellent versatility versus a camera with a fixed lens. 

If you want the perfect mix of image quality, price, size and weight, then we highly recommend choosing a camera from this category. 

PricePictureWeightWeather SealedRating Price
Sony a7 III652g
Yes4.9/5See Prices
Sony a6400403gNo4.6/5See Prices
Fujifilm X-T30 383gNo4.5/5See Prices
Olympus OMD E-M5 Mark III 414gYes4.4/5See Prices
Nikon Z50 397gYes4.4/5See Prices
Canon EOS R5738g
Yes4.9/5See Prices

Sony a7 III 

We mentioned near the top of this article that the Sony a7 III was our number one overall pick and we 100% stand by this statement. Sony has been making the best mirrorless cameras for years now (although Canon is finally challenging them in this regard) and the image quality you get from their mirrorless cameras is incredible. 

When we were looking for the perfect backpacking and hiking camera, we were set on getting a top-of-the-line camera with amazing image quality but ideally smaller and lighter than your classic DSLRs as we were looking to take it on all of our adventures. This camera has been our perfect companion for hikes and backpacking trips as it easily fits in our bag and weighs much less than DSLR cameras of similar image quality. 

The Sony a7 III isn’t their top-of-the-line camera but we do think it offers the best bang for your buck. It is a full frame mirrorless camera that shoots 24MP photos, shoots 4K video, has in-body stabilization, shoots continuously at 10 fps and the battery life is ridiculous.  

The body is also weather-sealed, making it perfect for adverse conditions and the autofocus is spectacular. All this combines to make it our top choice for the best mirrorless camera for backpacking. 

Our major complaint with this camera is the sub-par viewfinder. Sometimes it feels like your shot isn’t in focus, or looks grainy while you are shooting, but when you go and look at the actual photo it looks great. This isn’t the end of the world, but is definitely the main upgrade we would make here. If you want an even more spec’d up version of this camera, then take a look at the Sony a7R IV

What We Like: 

  • Excellent image quality 
  • 4K video is amazing 
  • Battery lasts forever 

What We Don’t Like: 

  • Viewfinder is quite poor 
  • No external battery charger included 

>>See prices for the Sony a7 III  

Sony a6400  

While the a7 series is our pick of the bunch, the Sony a6 series of cameras come in at a close second based on value and it is considerably cheaper than the a7 III. The Sony a6400 isn’t actually the newest camera in this series, but we feel like it offers the best value in terms of features versus the price. The newest model is the Sony a6600 and they still sell the original a600 which is still a great camera if you are on a tighter budget. 

It isn’t a full frame camera like the Sony above, it uses an APS-C sensor which is cropped compared to a full frame sensor. It still shoots excellent images at 24MP and is probably the best in class at this price point and using the APS-C sensor and is much more affordable than a full frame camera. The a6400 is one of the smaller mirrorless cameras making it a great choice for a hiking camera.

What We Like: 

  • Excellent image quality 
  • Autofocus is amazing 
  • 4K video 

What We Don’t Like: 

  • Not great to grip and hold 
  • No in-body stabilization 

>>See prices for the Sony a6400 

Fujifilm X-T30 

The Fujifilm X-T30 is a great alternative to the Sony a6400. It also offers superb image quality shots at 26MP, especially in JPEG format and the video shoots at 4K with no cropping.  

It has much easier to use direct controls than the Sony which makes it a much more fun camera to shoot with, especially when you have some basic camera knowledge. The Fujifilm is another APS-C camera which again makes it cheaper than a full frame camera, but you’ll be delighted with the photos it produces. It’s a really fun camera to have out on the trails with you.

What We Like: 

  • Excellent Image Quality 
  • Burst speeds up to 20 fps 
  • 4K video with no crop 

What We Don’t Like: 

  • Poor ergonomics on the back of the camera 
  • No in-body image stabilization 

>>See prices for the Fujifilm X-T30 

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III 

Our first proper camera for backpacking was one of the older Olympus OM-D E-M10 cameras and it was a great beginner’s camera. What’s nice about the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III is that it has slightly more features and functions you can grow into than the more limited E-M10 which we found we outgrew rather quickly. The OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is still a decent entry-level camera and cheaper than the E-M5. 

We think the Olympus might be the best-looking camera of the lot and while looks aren’t everything, it is an important factor for some people. It produces good images and 4K video without being outstanding – but it does have excellent in-body image stabilization.

The Olympus uses the micro four thirds lens mount. This is quite a common lens mount, meaning there is a wide range of lenses available for this camera, so whether you’re shooting wide landscape shots or need to zoom in on a distant mountain peak you’ll have the perfect lens for every occasion.

What We Like: 

  • Beautifully designed camera 
  • Control set up is great 
  • Impressive image stabilization 

What We Don’t Like: 

  • Battery life is average at best 
  • Continuous autofocusing isn’t the best 

>>See prices for the Olympus OMD E-M5 Mark III 

Nikon Z50 

Like Canon, Nikon was a little slow to the mirrorless camera party but they have come along with some great offerings in the last year or two. A great mid-market choice is the Nikon Z50 which as you’d expect from Nikon offers beautiful images and great video. It’s another really well-built camera that we think looks great. 

The major drawback is the lack of lens choices for this camera. If you are looking for a wide range of lens choices for your body, then unfortunately the Nikon is probably not the way to go. But for the diehard Nikon fans who don’t mind the limited lenses, this is a fantastic choice. 

What We Like: 

  • Beautiful images as you would expect from Nikon cameras 
  • Nicely built camera 
  • Great controls 

What We Don’t Like 

  • Lack of lens choices is a big concern 
  • Autofocus can be hit and miss 

>>See prices for the Nikon Z50  

Canon EOS R5 

The Canon EOS R5 is really targeted at those who want a truly professional grade camera in a mirrorless sized package. It shoots 45MP stills, can take 8K video clips, and is useful for just about any situation you may find yourself in. But this all comes at a premium as it is one of the most expensive cameras on the list. 

This is really only for those looking to spend the money for a top-notch professional grade camera. If capturing all of the beautiful places you visit in stunning detail is a top priority, the R5 will be an excellent choice for your backpacking camera.

What We Like: 

  • Excellent image quality 
  • 8K Video 
  • Excellent in-body stabilization 

What We Don’t Like: 

  • Very Expensive 
  • Can overheat when using max video capabilities 

>>See prices for the Canon EOS R5 

Best Lightweight Camera for Hiking 

Point and shoot cameras can be a great choice when looking for a compact camera that still offers great image quality. They fit easily into your pants pockets or in your bag, making them easy to access at a moment’s notice so you never miss a great photo while out on the trails. If the size is more important than image quality and you are looking to shed some weight when packing your backpack, this is the category for you. 

The biggest drawback to point and shoot cameras is that they don’t offer the same level of image quality as mirrorless or DSLR cameras.  

NamePictureWeightMegapixelsRatingPrice
Sony RX100 VII 302g20.14.4/5See Prices
Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II 319g20.14.4/5See Prices
Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS200/TZ200 340g20.14.2/5See Prices
Olympus Tough TG-6253g124.5/5See Prices

Sony RX100 VII 

The Sony RX100 VII hands down the best compact camera for hiking on the market. Sony has packed so much into such a small package and the image quality (both RAW and JPEG) you can get out of a camera this size is impressive.  The compact size and excellent image quality make this a great choice for hikers and backpackers who want something that will easily fit into any bag.

The Sony offers a great zoom range of 24 – 200mm making it useful for almost any situation and the Carl Zeiss lens captures photos in great detail.  

Having a pop-up electronic viewfinder is great to really help frame your shot and something you won’t see on many other cameras this size. On top of excellent images, the Sony will shoot video in 4K and the autofocus on this camera is very impressive which makes it the best small camera for hiking. 

The biggest drawback of this camera is the hefty price tag which may put a lot of people off. But if you can stomach the price then this is the best compact camera for backpacking that can easily fit anywhere in your bag. If you want similar features at a lower cost, then check out some of Sony’s predecessors such as the Sony RX100 V

What We like: 

  • Excellent image quality 
  • Very versatile with the 24 – 200mm lens 
  • Shoots 4K Video 

What We Don’t Like: 

  • Very expensive 
  • Low light performance isn’t great 

>>See prices for the Sony RX100 VII 

Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II 

The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II is a great alternative to the Sony as it comes in at around half the price but is still packed full of features. The sensor size is the same as the Sony’s so you still get excellent images, especially in RAW format, and the fast lens means it performs well in low light. The grip on the body makes this camera easier to hold and shoot with over the course of the day which is great if you are out on the trails taking photos all day.

One of the main drawbacks of the camera is its battery life and you are unlikely to get a full day of shooting with a single battery. The image compression on the JPEGs is another drawback but this can be negated by shooting in RAW. While it may not be the best lightweight camera, this is a great camera in the point and shoot class and comes at a much more reasonable price. 

What We Like 

  • Fast lens means it is good in low light 
  • Fast burst shooting 
  • Grip makes it easy to hold 

What We Don’t Like 

  • Battery life is below average 
  • JPEG image quality isn’t the best 

>>See prices for the G7 X Mark II 

Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS200/TZ200 

This camera made our list because of the long zoom all wrapped up in a compact package. The zoom goes from 24 – 360mm (15x equivalent) which is wild in such a small camera. This means you can capture a wide range of shots on your hike all with one small camera that’s easy to pack.

It also has one of the best batteries of any camera in the point and shoot range. While the image quality isn’t quite as good as some of the other cameras on our list, it still holds up quite well.  

What We Like: 

  • Long zoom 
  • Best battery life in this class 
  • 4K video is good quality 

What We Don’t Like 

  • Image quality not as good as others on the list 
  • Low light performance isn’t great 

>>See prices for the Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS200/TZ200 

Olympus Tough TG-6  

Last but by no means least, in our compact camera section is the Olympus Tough TG-6.  It is the most rugged camera on the entire list and will stand up to quite a beating, plus it is waterproof up to 50 feet. This is perfect for your hiking and outdoor adventures as you don’t have to be worried whether this camera can withstand the elements!  

This Olympus series of rugged, waterproof cameras has been best in class for several years and the wide aperture lens makes it great for low light and underwater photography.  

The image quality isn’t nearly as good as the other cameras in the compact section but the major benefit is that it is really designed to take a beating which might make it the best camera for trekking through some rough terrain. 

What We Like: 

  • Waterproof up to 50 feet 
  • Durable 
  • Add-on lenses available 

What We Don’t Like: 

  • Lower image quality than others on the list 
  • Video isn’t as good as others on the list 

>>See prices for the Olympus Tough TG-6 

Best DSLR For Hiking 

DSLRs may be slightly bigger and heavier than mirrorless cameras, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth considering. Overall, they probably offer the best value as you can buy a DSLR with the same specs as a mirrorless camera for much cheaper. This mostly comes down to the fact they have been around a lot longer and there is much more competition in this space. 

“DSLRs give you the widest range of lens choices, for similar reasons as above, and they will also cost less than their mirrorless equivalents. A DSLR is a great choice if you want amazing performance at great value as long as you are willing to take up a little more space in your bag.”  

If you can afford the space in your bag then a DSLR can be an excellent choice for backpacking, especially for those looking for great value.

NamePictureWeightWeather SealedRatingPrice
Nikon D3500363gNo4.5/5See Prices
Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / EOS 250D 449gNo4.4/5See Prices
Canon EOS 90D 1216gYes4.6/5See Prices
Nikon D7500 720gYes4.5/5See Prices
Pentax K-1 Mark II 1010gYes4.8/5See Prices
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV 890gYes4.8/5See Prices
Nikon D850 1005gYes4.6/5See Prices

Nikon D3500 

Our best overall pick for a budget camera for backpacking is the Nikon D3500 as it comes in at a very low price but you get a whole lot of quality for the money. It doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles which actually makes it the perfect starter camera and it even has a built-in guide mode to help you learn the basics.

Once you start to know your way around the camera you can operate it in full manual mode. It’s also a bit smaller and lighter than some of the other DSLRs on the list which makes it easier to fit in your backpack.

It has an APS-C CMOS sensor and shoots 24MP photos and video at 1080P. The image quality is great for new photographers but if you really want to shoot high-quality videos this may not be the right choice. But for the price, you can’t do much better than the Nikon D3500

What We Like: 

  • Very budget friendly 
  • Guide mode for new photographers 
  • Easy to use 

What We Don’t Like: 

  • Not great for video 
  • Auto focus is slow and limited 

>>See prices for the Nikon D3500 

Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / EOS 250D 

The Canon EOS Rebel SL3 (known as the EOS 250D outside North America) is Canon’s best offering at the entry-level price point. It has an APS-C sensor and shoots 24MP photos. Like the Nikon D3500, it also offers an excellent guide mode for new photographers making the step up to a DSLR much easier.  

If you shoot with the optical viewfinder, you’ll also get exceptional battery life from this camera. While it does shoot video in 4K, this gets cropped by 1.7x and isn’t the best quality as you may expect from a camera in this price range. 

What We Like: 

  • Good image quality for the price 
  • Excellent guide mode 
  • Nicely built 

What We Don’t Like: 

  • Video quality isn’t the best 
  • Viewfinder is a bit small 

>>See prices for the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / EOS 250D 

Canon EOS 90D 

Canon has a couple of excellent offerings in the mid-range DSLR market and that starts with the Canon EOS 90D. Its 32.5MP APS-C CMOS sensor delivers excellent raw images, shoots video at 4K with no cropping, and has one of the best optical viewfinders of any camera in this range. If you want something that will take epic photos while you are out on your adventures but don’t want to break the bank, this is a great choice. 

Like most Canon cameras, it is really nicely built and a pleasure to use. The autofocus is a little disappointing and although it shoots 4K it isn’t quite as sharp as the competition. 

What We like: 

  • Excellent raw images 
  • Best in class optical viewfinder 
  • Weather sealed 

What We Don’t like 

  • Autofocus is disappointing 
  • 4K lags behind some competitors 

>>See prices for the Canon EOS 90D 

Nikon D7500 

The Nikon D7500 is a mid-range DSLR that shoots 20.9MP with an APS-C CMOS sensor. In burst mode, it shoots at 8 fps for over 100 JPEG images which is impressive and great for photographing any wildlife or fast-action photography while out on your hiking adventures.  

This camera is well built and weather-sealed which is an important component to consider when backpacking with DSLR cameras. 

The Nikon D7500 shoots beautiful images and is one of the best cameras on offer in the mid-market range. One of the major drawbacks is that the 4K video is cropped at the full-frame equivalent of 2.25x making it hard to video wide-angle shots. Overall, this is an excellent camera for the price and one that photographers looking to capture action will love. 

What We Like 

  • Excellent image quality 
  • Well designed and fun to use 
  • Weather sealed 

What we Don’t Like 

  • 4K cropped at 2.25x 
  • Only one memory card slot 

>>See prices for the Nikon D7500 

Pentax K-1 Mark II 

The only camera not made by Nikon or Canon in our list of DSLRs is the Pentax K-1 Mark IIIts tough build and excellent weather sealing make it an excellent choice for adventure photographers.  

This full frame camera shoots 36MP stills but unfortunately only shoots 1080p video. While the image quality at lower ISOs is fantastic, the noise reduction in raw images at high ISOs is limited.  

This camera really made our list of hiking cameras as it is designed to take a beating that few other DSLRs could live up to. 

What We Like: 

  • Weather sealed and ruggedly built 
  • Raw images at low ISO are fantastic 

What We Don’t Like 

  • Video is only 1080p 
  • Burst speed is slow at 4.4fps 

>>See prices for the Pentax K-1 Mark II 

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV 

Widely regarded as one of the best full frame DSLR cameras on the market, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is a beast. It will capture stunning images at 30.4MP, shoot great 4K video, has great autofocus, good burst speeds and is just an overall awesome camera. For those looking to really take their photography up a level, this is an excellent camera choice and Canon’s Pro series of EF lenses may be the best offering on the market today. 

The main drawback that may stop this from being the best DSLR for backpacking is its size. All these features and build quality come in a decent-sized package. If you can make room in your bag it’s a camera you will absolutely love, but it may be a little too big for people trying to pack light for a hike.  

What We Like: 

  • Amazing image quality 
  • Outstanding auto focus 
  • Excellent high ISO quality 

What We Don’t Like: 

  • 4K video cropped at 1.64x 
  • Digital screen is fixed and doesn’t move 

>>See prices for the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV 

Nikon D850 

The Nikon D850 is a superb full frame DSLR that shoots 46MP with a BSI CMOS sensor. It’s regarded as one of the most well-rounded still cameras on the market. You’ll be able to capture stunning photos with incredible details in all sorts of varieties with Nikon’s wide range of top-quality lenses. The 7-fps burst mode and excellent autofocus also add to a brilliant shooting experience. 

It might just be the best DSLR for images on the market right now and if you are really serious about photography and want a DSLR then this is the perfect choice. While it does shoot good video in full frame 4K it still lags behind some other cameras in the mirrorless range at a similar or even cheaper price. However, if still images are mainly what you are after, then this is the perfect choice for you. 

What We Like: 

  • Almost unparalleled image quality for a DSLR 
  • Great auto focus 
  • Rugged, weather-sealed build 

What We Don’t Like 

  • 4K video lagging behind mirrorless competitors 
  • Quite a bulky camera for backpacking 

>>See prices for the Nikon D850 

A Few Final Contenders 

NamePictureWeightRatingPrice
GoPro Hero 9158g4.7/5See Prices
DJI Osmo Action124g4.4/5See Prices
DJI Osmo Pocket116g4.3/5See Prices
DJI Mavic Air 2570g4.8/5See Prices

GoPro Hero 9 

It’s hard to write this type of guide without including the GoPro Hero 9. It may not fit the bill for those looking to take their travel photos to the next level, but it is still a great option and the best action camera for hiking.  

There isn’t really too much that needs to be said about GoPro. You’ll get amazing stabilized video, even without a gimbal, decent quality images and maybe most importantly they are almost indestructible.  

You can take this camera to 33 feet underwater right out of the box with no case necessary and it won’t get damaged in your backpack. Whether you are hitting your local trails or shoving your backpack in the overhead bins in a plane, this GoPro can take anything you can throw at it. While it may not be the best for enthusiast photographers, it’s a great addition to your bag and easily the best action camera for backpacking. 

What We Like: 

  • Rugged and waterproof design 
  • 5K stabilized video 
  • Tiny overall package 

What We Don’t Like: 

  • Not great for regular photographs compared to most cameras on the list 

>>Check prices for the GoPro Hero 9 

DJI Osmo Action 

The DJI Osmo Action is a great alternative to the GoPro and it comes in at a much cheaper price. The image stabilization in the Osmo Action is exceptional, although the video and image quality aren’t quite as good as the GoPro. But if you are looking for the best video camera for hiking in a tiny package, the GoPro and Osmo Action are both great contenders. 

The DJI Osmo Action shoots 4K video and can be used right out of the box at a depth of up to 36 feet underwater. 

What We Like: 

  • Rugged and waterproof design 
  • Exceptional video stabilization 

What We Don’t Like 

  • Not great for regular photographs compared to most cameras on the list 
  • Image and video quality not quite as good as the GoPro 

>>Check prices for the DJI Osmo Action 

DJI Osmo Pocket 

The DJI Osmo Pocket is actually a contender for the best video camera for backpacking. If you haven’t seen the Osmo Pocket before it is a camera that sits on a small handheld gimbal.  

While the GoPro and Osmo Action do a great job of in-body stabilization, there’s no real replacement for a camera on a gimbal. You’ll get super smooth video 4K footage from this and we are surprised at how good the quality is.  

We actually take this on most of our hikes as well as on longer trips. One of the great things is that it fits into the hip belt pocket on your backpack giving you easy access to it at a moment’s notice. You can also attach it to your phone so you have a larger screen to help frame your shots. There is a DJI Osmo Pocket 2 but we feel the first version is of better value. 

What We Like: 

  • Best video stabilization of any camera on the list 
  • Impressive 4K video 

What We Don’t Like 

  • Hard to frame shots without the phone attached 
  • Needs a case to be taken underwater 

>>See prices for the DJI Osmo Pocket 

DJI Mavic Air 2 

We couldn’t finish off this list without putting at least one drone into the equation. Aerial photography is really what got us hooked and seeing everything from the sky is special. We particularly love aerial images from tropical places with blue water and beautiful beaches. The DJI Mavic Air 2 is the best drone for any type of backpacking as it is the perfect mix of high-quality imagery in a small body. 

17 Best Things to do in Tofino BC
Shot on the DJI Mavic Pro 2

The Mavic Mini is a smaller drone but we don’t think the image quality is quite good enough. You’ll capture some sensational photos and 4K videos on the Mavic Air 2 and it will fit just as easily into your bag as a mirrorless or DSLR camera. 

What We Like: 

  • Totally unique perspective 
  • Small compact size 
  • Great quality photos and videos  

What We Don’t Like: 

  • Drone laws are becoming stricter 
  • Image quality won’t match many of the other cameras on the list 

>>See prices for the DJI Mavic Air 2 

Things to Consider When Choosing Your Camera 

You’ll need to weigh multiple factors when choosing the camera that’s right for you. While we went with the Sony A7III as our number 1 choice, this may be too expensive or too big for some other people.  

These are some things you will want to consider when choosing your perfect camera for hiking and backpacking: 

Size and Weight 

Possibly the most important factor is deciding how much room you can make in your bag for a camera and how much weight you are willing to carry on your hike. When you have to carry a heavy bag on a multi-day hike then every ounce really matters.

If you have lots of room left then you can afford to choose a bigger camera, but if you always like to pack light you may need to choose a point and shoot or something with a much smaller footprint. 

Build and Weather Sealing 

As you look for a camera with hiking or travelling in mind, you will want to consider how well built it is and how well you think it will be treated. If you are constantly throwing your backpack around busses and planes or dumping it down to take breaks on your hike you may want something more robust like an action camera.  

You’ll also need to consider whether you will want your camera to be weather sealed if you think it will be exposed to the elements often. When you are out hiking or on outdoor adventures, you never know when you will be caught in the rain, snow, or other unfavourable conditions. 

Murrin Loop Trail
Shot on the Sony a7 III with the Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD

Image Quality 

How into photography are you? How much of an enthusiast do you think you’ll become? If you just want to ensure you get some decent photos on your hikes and backpacking trips, then any camera on the list will do the job for you!  

However, if you want to take it much more seriously, you’ll probably want to choose a mirrorless or DSLR camera that offers you a wide range of lens choices so you can choose a really nice bit of glass and access a huge range of focal lengths. For us, the best camera lens for hiking is something with a wide angle of around 14 – 28mm so you can capture as much of the scenery as possible. 

Price 

You’ll have to consider how much you are willing to spend to get the perfect photo. The cameras on this list range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. As you spend more money, you’ll get more features and much better images, but the cost can start to climb quite quickly when looking at camera gear, especially when you start adding in nice lenses and filters to the mix. 

Our #1 Must Have Camera Accessory 

A backpacking camera clip is the single best investment we have made into any camera accessory for our camera. The first few times we went hiking with our camera we spent ages taking the camera in and out of the bag and there are times when you just can’t be bothered to grab it so you may miss the shot. 

A backpack camera clip attaches to the shoulder strap of your bag and, using a mount on the base of your camera, allowing you to easily slide the camera on and off your shoulder in just a second or two. It has literally been a game changer for us and have spent the entire day hiking with a mirrorless camera and lens hanging off the shoulder strap mount without issue.  

Peak Design makes the best camera harness for hiking as it’s robust, lightweight, and easy to use. 

>>Learn more about the Peak Design Capture Camera Clip here 

Final Thoughts 

There’s a whole lot to consider when choosing the best cameras for hiking and backpacking but there are so many great choices depending on your needs. We hope you found this guide useful and that it helped you to pick your next camera. Whatever you choose we’re sure you’ll love it and you will take some unbelievable photos on your next adventure! 

Did we miss your favourite camera off the list? Let us know in the comments! 


Planning a hiking or backpacking trip? Check out some of our other gear guides:

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Wild About BC About Us

Hi, we’re Luke and Roxy, a couple of adventurers that are head over heels in love with British Columbia, Canada.

We share our activities and outdoor adventures with the hope of inspiring others to get out and enjoy beautiful BC!

Thanks for visiting our blog!

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