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No.1 Best Camera Backpack Review

The Thule Aspect has been my go-to camera backpack and general day-pack since 2019 and it’s a favourite of mine having tried numerous other day backpacks for my camera gear and out and about requirements for the day.

First of all, I want to say that this isn’t a paid sponsored post in any way. I bought the backpack with my own money in 2019 and this is my honest review of it, no strings attached.

Second of all, apart from being a professional travel blogger (Backpackingman) I have also done, and continue to do, freelance travel photography and writing for other websites and magazines, such as Lonely Planet, CNN, Fodor’s, and many more.

I’m not just a casual/amateur photographer. Photography is part of how I make my living.

Thule Aspect Introduction

Thule is a company that was founded in Sweden in 1942 and since then has gained a good reputation for its backpack designs, especially in the photography community. It was this reputation that made me purchase the Thule Aspect in the first place.

Camera backpack - Thule Aspect backpack being carried on the back.
The Thule Aspect fits comfortably.

The Aspect (I’ll call it just the “Aspect” from now on) is the best camera backpack if you don’t have huge zoom lenses. Simple as that. It’s also perfect as a general everyday backpack as it also has a well-padded laptop sleeve for a laptop up to15.6 inches and a large enough other pockets for everyday items.

All the pockets in the backpack are padded except the outer one on the back which is perfectly designed to slip in say a lightweight rain jacket and a snack or two.

As I said above this camera backpack is not for you if you have huge zoom lenses as it doesn’t have the space for them like other camera backpacks have.

The Aspect is designed for the photographer who has a DSLR or mirrorless camera setup, with the space to put the camera in the side pocket with 2 average length lenses. For most casual/amateur photographers that will be plenty of space.

Thule Aspect Practicalities in Use

Personally, I use a Sony a7II with a standard length lens on the camera most of the time and one medium telephoto lens and one fixed-length lens in the side pocket.

First of all, the Aspect is super comfortable to carry. I’ve carried it for several hours on my back when out hiking in mountains and doing landscape photography and I got no shoulder or back strain at all.

That’s down to the excellent padding on the shoulder straps and the impressively padded hip belt. Hip belts often seem to be nothing more than an after-thought for many camera backpacks, which makes the Aspect truly stand out.

With my Sony a7II and carrying the Thule Aspect.

The backpack has one main padded pocket on the side for storing your camera and some lenses that has a zip and the design of the pack is that you can swing the pack to your side and easily unzip this pocket to take your camera out without having to take the whole pack of your back.

It’s an excellent design feature and one that works smoothly.

A second padded pocket on top of the pack is actually designed to be able to fit a small drone which also makes this camera backpack a good backpack for a drone, if it’s a small one, like a DJI Mavic, for example.

Personally, I use the top pocket for putting some food, like a sandwich, when out doing photography to be able to have breakfast/lunch with me, and also for storing a lightweight top, like a sweater, or lightweight rain jacket.

In addition, there is a long pocket on the very outside of the pack which is good for one small clothing item, maps, a slim book, etc.

Finally, there is one outside pocket designed for fitting a small portable camera stand in, but is also useful as a pocket for a water bottle, which is what I mostly use it for.

The Aspect allows for good freedom of movement when being carried.

The other great thing about this camera backpack is that it is great as a standalone day-pack for hiking or out and around town without a camera or drone setup.

So many camera backpacks are designed specifically for carrying your camera gear, with many lens storage options, but not really practical for anything else.

That’s great if you just want a camera backpack for your camera gear, but if you like the idea of having space for some of your camera gear and also for carrying some food for when hiking, plus a side pocket for a water bottle, and space to spare for a clothing item, then the Aspect is perfect.

Hiking with the Aspect.

The only thing that I have encountered “wrong” in this camera backpack is the possible durability. The stitching that connects one of the shoulder straps to the main pack started coming a bit loose, but that was after 3 years of heavy use, especially carrying the backpack for extended periods of time hiking in nature, and was only a little bit and was easily fixed with a bit of stitching.

Having said that it could just be my backpack this happened to and not a general problem overall. I may be slightly at fault here as well, due to sometimes not using the hip belt to support some of the load when carrying more water when out and about.

After all, it’s not generally designed as a “hiking backpack” but as a camera backpack. Since fixing the stitching and using the hip belt more with heavier loads it is no longer a problem. Just be aware and don’t make the same mistake if you get this camera backpack. Lesson learned.

Thule Aspect Price & Features

As far as camera backpacks go the Aspect is an excellent choice. The Aspect retails for around $160 so is a reasonable cost when compared to other camera backpacks.

Take a look on Amazon for the latest prices and to purchase if you want to get one (get one, trust me):

Technical specifications for the Thule Aspect:

Dimensions (LxWxH)11.8 x 8.7 x 20.5 in (Roughly 30-40 litres)
Weight3.2 lb (1.45 kg)

Thule Aspect Pros and Cons

Let’s sum up the pros and cons of the Aspect:


  • Very comfortable to carry.
  • Decent size and freedom of movement.
  • Great hip belt.


  • The long-term durability of the strap’s connection area to the backpack may be of concern but these can easily be fixed with some stitching, and it may just be on my backpack that this was a small problem.

In Summary

If you’re looking for a camera backpack to carry a DSLR or mirrorless camera plus 1-2 other small-medium size lenses, plus space to spare for food and a clothing item and maybe some other gadgets, then the Thule Aspect is perfect.

If you have large lenses or you wish to carry several lenses at a time then the Aspect is not what you are looking for.

In my opinion, the Aspect is great for casual/amateur photographers. Or even a professional photographer if they just want to take a few lenses out with them, especially when out hiking or doing street photography.

Camera Backpack

If you’re looking for a good camera backpack and don’t have huge zoom lenses to lug around then the Thule Aspect is perfect for the job.

As this post covers a camera backpack you may be interested in the best cameras for backpacking.

For more gear advice take a look at my gear guides.

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