The best backpacking camera
When it comes to the best backpacking camera, it’s important to consider a few essential features. For example the weight of your gear, long battery life or if it is a good camera for vlogging. Nevertheless, a shockproof camera is a great option if you carry your equipment in a challenging environment. Although, exploring waterfalls or trekking by the river may require waterproof camera. The camera’s manufacturers are constantly competing with each other by providing better cameras every year. Some of them are not only shockproof, but also waterproof and provide excellent quality of images and videos.
Whereas, depending on your trek and photography skills, you will want to choose the best camera that suits you. Therefore, I have created an extensive list of different cameras with the help of other travel bloggers. Hikers and photographers from all over the world helped me to reveal the best backpacking camera.
Before we move on to the specific cameras, let’s find out what type of gear you need. In fact, there are different types of cameras worth considering for hiking. One of the best, but also the heaviest is a DSLR camera. However, keep in mind that any extra weight from your equipment might affect your trek significantly.
Gordale Scar, England
I really enjoy compact cameras that are ultralight, but also provide good quality photos. Of course, pictures might not be as good as those taken with a DSLR camera. However, hiking is more pleasant when backpack is not too heavy.
Photo with GoPro 7 camera
Is GoPro the best backpacking camera?
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Firstly, let’s start with the comparison of the classic GoPro cameras. Many hikers love them, because of the weight and 4K videos. Thus, it is an ideal backpacking camera for capturing magical moments in the mountains. Apart from that, you can take one of the best underwater photos. Whether you are on a glacier hike in Iceland or climbing mountains in the UK, this camera will never disappoint you!
GoPro HERO10 (Black)
GoPro HERO 9 (Black)
GoPro Hero 7 (Black)
Comparison of GoPro 9 vs GoPro 10 to illustrate the best backpacking camera (Action camera 5K and 4K)
By Koyeli from NatureDiary
Size and Weight: GoPro 9 vs GoPro 10
In brief, the chassis of both cameras are nearly identical. Luckily, that’s a relief for GoPro owners who have a lot of new attachments such as for example GoPro waterproof Dome. Also, it includes the same 1,720 mAh battery in both cameras. Moreover, the GoPro 10 has slightly less weight, measuring 153g vs 158g for the GoPro 9.
Processor: GoPro 9 vs GoPro 10
Both cameras, the GoPro 9 and GoPro 10 are ideal action cameras for vlogging and backpacking. In addition, the GoPro 10 has a brand new GP2 processor. It takes the place of GP1, used in all previous versions since GoPro 6. This camera also has speedier start-up times, a more sensitive touch interface, and faster captures.
Video: GoPro 9 vs GoPro 10
The new GoPro 10 is far more advanced in video quality. In fact, GP2 CPU allows for double the video frame rates at the same resolutions as the GoPro 9. For instance, the GoPro 9 can shoot 5K video at 30 fps. While the GoPro 10 can shoot 5.3K video at 60 fps at 100 Mbps. 4K video at 60 fps, and 2.7K video at 120 fps are the features of the GoPro 9. On the other hand, the GoPro 10 can record 4K video at 120 fps, and 2.7K video at 240 fps. Finally, 1080p is the lowest quality video that both cameras capture.
Lens Cover: GoPro 9 vs GoPro 10
In addition, a new feature of the GoPro 10 is a detachable lens cover made of hydrophobic, water-shedding glass. To conclude, it is scratch resistant and prevents ghosting of the camera.
Video by Jake Rich to illustrate GoPro 10
Review of GoPro 9 to illustrate the best backpacking camera (Action camera 5K and 4K)
By Ashley from girlwithherviews.com
If space tends to be a major issue for you, look no further. The GoPro is absolutely one of your best options for a backpacking holy grail camera. The GoPro Hero 9 in particular, is an excellent choice. It is not only compact, but it’s also ultralight, rugged, waterproof, and takes great photos and videos. For example, this model offers a larger battery and a front-facing colour display for getting the best selfies. Moreover, it also takes 20MP photos and shoots up to 5K video.
Equally important is the wide angle lens, which is awesome for capturing sweeping landscapes and breathtaking views. It is also very easy to take sharp and in-focus photos and videos on the go with the built-in stabilization. In addition, this camera is small enough to pack without taking up too much space, and it’s virtually indestructible. Moreover, the add-on accessories are a plus; from selfie sticks, numerous mount types and extra battery packs, the possibilities are endless.
The mere fact that you can connect it to your smartphone on the go is so important. Consequently, you don’t have to worry about having to pack extra gear to download your photo. Those cameras can handle a lot of wear and tear and keep on working while doing so. I have used DSLRs, mirrorless cameras, and point and shoots during my travels. However, I always pack the GoPro, no matter where I am going. To sum up, with such a stacked list of great features, who wouldn’t want a GoPro in their kit?
Video by Abe Kislevitz to illustrate GoPro 9
Review of GoPro 8 to illustrate the best backpacking camera (Action camera 4K)
By Campbell Louw from stingynomads
The Gopro Hero 8 Black is the perfect action camera to pack in your backpack; small, light, waterproof, shockproof and affordable. This unbelievably versatile and tough little camera takes fantastic photos at 12 megapixels and video up to 4K. The HyperSmooth video stabilisation works very well and it is perfectly smooth. You can take video while you are walking, cycling or even running without any shaking!
High fidelity audio from 3 mics with reduced wind noise ensures great sound. The camera is waterproof up to 10m (33ft). It allows you to capture amazing footage while snorkelling, surfing, rafting or whatever water adventures you are planning. A wide variety of mounts ensures effortless filming and that your camera is always in the middle of the action. A scuba housing is available for deeper diving. The white balance of the Hero 8 is really extraordinary, ensuring perfect colours while filming underwater.
Voice commands enable operating the camera even when your hands are busy. This Go Pro camera has a range of awesome functions such as face and scene detection, timer, and vertical orientation (ideal for Instagram videos). The incredible features in this action camera are not gimmicks. It delivers amazing detailed photos with a great HDR function. Various mods are available to expand and customise the functions of this camera for vloggers and creators. This is not the latest GoPro camera, but delivers excellent images and footage at an affordable price.
Comparison of GoPro 8 vs GoPro 7 to illustrate the best backpacking camera (Action camera 4K)
Some people change their GoPro camera as soon as a new model is available in store. I bought my GoPro 7 a few years ago and I still enjoy using it. You can also check tons of photos I took with this camera on my blog. Don’t miss out my top tips on taking incredible underwater photos with GoPro. However, let’s compare GoPro 8 with GoPro 7 as some of you might want to buy the older models of this camera.
In fact, both cameras are very similar, even the price is almost the same. However, GoPro 8 has some additional features like LiveBurst. Additionally, you can also do live streaming at 1080p in GoPro 8. While, GoPro 7 allows for live streaming at 720p. Not only that but also night lapse modes are a new feature in GoPro 8. As well as improvement of HDR and RAW photo capture in all modes.
DJI Osmo to illustrate the best camera for hiking
Similarly to GoPro, DJI offers a variety of products. For instance, DJI Action 2 with magnetic design perfect for action sports or smartphone gimbals like DJI Om 5. Moreover, with the DJI Mimo app you can improve your photos and videos. In fact, sharing beautiful moments with your friends through the app is super easy. I really enjoy using the DJI gimbal for my phone while hiking. Follow mode allows you to track moving objects and at the same time provide smooth videos.
Video by DJI to illustrate DJI Osmo
Review of DJI Osmo Action to illustrate the best backpacking camera (Action camera 4K)
By Debbie Fettback from WorldAdventurists.com
The DJI Osmo Action is no match for any elements of nature on a backpacking journey. Do not let its small size fool you. It is an impressively rugged and compact 4k action camera that is perfect for any journey. 4K30 quality is clear and vibrant, regardless of the landscape.
In fact, this action camera is a rival of the well-known GoPro. However, it offers some extra features. For instance, it features a great hyper-sensitive display. Moreover, with just a couple of taps of your finger, you can flip the screen. This way you can make sure your selfie or group shot is perfect before snapping away. It also makes it easier if you film for a vlog!
Furthermore, the battery is removable so you can bring extra batteries for your trip. That will ensure you will not miss a moment of memories you will want to remember for years to come. The battery life can last only a couple of hours if you are doing continuous shooting. Therefore, you will definitely want to bring extra batteries with you.
It also allows you to go from shooting on land to shooting in the water seamlessly. The DJI Osmo Action is shockproof up to five feet.
If you are looking for a camera that has impressive quality without lugging the extra weight, look no further. This camera is really a great choice!
Video by AuthenTech – Ben Schmanke to illustrate DJI Osmo Action vs GoPro Hero 9
Review of DJI Osmo Pocket to illustrate the best backpacking camera (Action camera 4K)
By Natasha Karcz from Planes, Trains and Karcz
The DJI Osmo Pocket’s manufacturer is the current world leader in drone technology. Also, this small device is largely considered one of the best consumer cameras on the market today. Undoubtedly, the DJI Osmo Pocket combines affordability and impressive compact design. In addition, weighing in at only 116g and constructed with the specific goal in mind. Specifically, to be able to fit in its handlers pocket. To sum up, it’s an ideal choice amongst backpackers and/or hikers alike.
An example of that is hiking in extreme conditions. In fact, the lofty range of 0°c to 40°c makes it super easy to use the DJI Osmo Pocket’s. It can accompany you in even the most remote corners your adventures may take you! If you intend on filming/vlogging, it’s also the perfect alternative to toting around a bulky film kit. Moreover, you can anticipate over 100+ minutes of video off a single charge. In addition its auto focus is really fast and reliable. Overall the quality of its shooting is much higher than that of comparable action cameras.
Video by Roo’s Reviews to illustrate DJI Pocket vs DJI Pocket 2
Review of DJI Osmo Pocket 2 to illustrate the best backpacking camera (Action camera 4K)
By Natasha Karcz from Planes, Trains and Karcz
Firstly, the DJI Pocket 2 is the successor to the original DJI Osmo Pocket. In fact, this small device makes for a serious milestone amongst compact camera gear. Not only weighing in at only 117g, but also has a low light capability. As well as a wider angle and better audio. Allows for zoom, captures more detail, and offers HDR mode filming – all for the extraordinarily reasonable price.
It’s a borderline necessity amongst backpackers and hikers alike due to its sleek gimbal design. The DJI Pocket 2 maintains a steadiness despite movement. Its subject tracking and horizon leveling is, of course, quite the draw as well. In other words, attracts those who wish to document their travels via video footage. However, the Pocket 2 really holds its own amongst single shots as well. Consider adding on one of its many accessories (specifically the Creator Combo, which includes a mini tripod, wireless microphone, and much more!). Moreover, they are even backwards compatible with the Pocket 2’s predecessor. While the DJI Pocket 2 may look very similar to the Osmo Pocket, they aren’t really considered direct competitors whatsoever due to their significant differences in operation and functionality. To sum up, find which works best for you and hit the road!
Video by Tom’s Tech Time to illustrate DJI Osmo Pocket 2
Is Sony a good vlogging camera?
Undoubtedly, Sony cameras are one of the most efficient on the market. With the invention of full-frame mirrorless devices in 2013, they were the best DSLR cameras back then. Due to competitors like Nikon or Canon, Sony constantly keeps improving their new models. Hence, Sony’s cameras are one of the best vlogging cameras that you can buy.
Sony Alpha 6400
Review of Sony ZV-1 to illustrate the best vlogging camera (4K video)
In fact, this is one of the best vlogging cameras on the market. If you love recording videos, you will enjoy excellent autofocus and side-flipping screen. Many travellers return to Sony’s cameras instead of using their phones due to compact design and good quality of films. Finally, check out the video below for more information about this camera.
Video by Parker Walbeck to illustrate Sony ZV-1
Review of the Sony a6400 to illustrate the best camera for beginners and intermediate photographers (4K video)
By Mal from Raw Mal Roams
The Sony a6400 is in particular one of the best cameras to take on an adventure from beginners to intermediate photographers.
This camera is one of the bestselling models of Sony that is extremely compact and light. Due to its weight of just 400 grams, you can take the Sony a6400 everywhere with you. Even on the most strenuous hikes! Another advantage is that, once you get more into photography, there are many interchangeable lenses for the Sony a6400. With an APS-C sensor they are designed specifically for Sony cameras. In fact, they are normally super compact and very affordable.
This mirrorless camera captures images at superb quality thanks to its 24 megapixels sensor and highly accurate autofocus. If you’re a beginner, the Sony a6400 has excellent automatic shooting modes to get you started. On the other hand, a fully manual mode is available for those who know more about photography.
The Sony a6400 is a perfect backpacking camera for aspiring vloggers and videography enthusiasts. As an example, 4K video capacity will ensure the excellent quality of your films. Comes with a super handy flip screen that enables you to see yourself when recording. This is an extremely handy function for vlogging and making fun, short clips for social media.
Overall, if you’re looking for a good quality, affordable camera, look no further than the Sony a6400. It is super portable and easy to use!
Video by Tech Through The Lens to illustrate the Sony a6400
Review of the Sony a7iii to illustrate the best camera for professional photographers (4K HDR video)
By Jiayi of The Diary of a Nomad
If you’re looking for a sturdy, waterproof, and portable camera, look no further than Sony a7iii. This camera in particular is the best choice for hikers who are serious about photography. In fact, image quality is absolutely impeccable, and it’s a very vlog-friendly device as well.
Firstly, one of the best features of this backpacking camera is its ultra-long battery life. For instance, it can take up to 610 photos and 180 minutes of video on one charge. Thus, it is super useful on long backpacking trips.
Want to get beautiful shots of the starry sky above your tent? This is surely the perfect camera for it as it performs spectacularly in low-light situations. In fact, you can get satisfying results at ISO 12,800.
Additionally, there’s also a large number of incredible Sony a7iii lenses. Top-notch wide-angle lenses such as the travel-friendly Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD are especially suitable for backpacking trips.
The best compact digital camera
The best way to illustrate a digital camera is a tiny size that fits in any pocket. Moreover, investing in this compact camera is very common for most owners of DSLRs. Especially, when you can use them in many places where bigger cameras would be just impractical. Cameras such as Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II, Fujifilm X100V, Sony RX100 III or Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III are one of the best compact devices.
Review of Sony DSC WX350 to illustrate the best Digital Compact Camera
Firstly, this is a super cheap digital compact camera with 20x optical zoom. Secondly, optical SteadyShot provides exceptional photo and video quality. Furthermore, with a weight of only 164 grams, you can take it on any trip. However, it also worth checking a few other similar models of Sony’s cameras such as Sony DSC-WX500 or Sony DSCHX60.
Is Canon the best compact zoom camera?
With a good compact camera, you can have the advantages of a DSLR without worrying about space in your backpack. In fact, it’s ideal for individuals who like to take photos quickly or just can’t afford more expensive cameras. Canon Powershot G7X III is definitely considered as one of the best compact cameras on the market.
Video by Tech Through The Lens to illustrate the best compact camera
Review of Canon Powershot G7X II to illustrate the best vlogging camera (Full HD 60 p movies)
By Emily from themandagies
My husband and I are avid hikers and Pacific Northwest photographers. We are constantly going on hikes in the Pacific Northwest. As a result of that, we value cameras that are compact, lightweight, and very powerful. In fact, one camera we always recommend to our fellow hikers is the Canon Powershot G7X II. This camera is small but mighty, with a compact body that fits in virtually any pocket for easy stowing.
Undoubtedly, it’s been one of the most popular vlogging cameras on the market. Due to its excellent video capability, portability, and easy-to-use flip screen for selfie videos. The flip screen is also touch-sensitive, so you can adjust settings even when you are on the go. It also has a built-in image stabilizer, meaning you can take high-quality photos even in shaky environments!
Video by Tech Through The Lens to illustrate Canon G7X Mark II
Nikon cameras for hiking
Review of Nikon d3400 to illustrate the best DSLR camera for beginners
By Val from voyageswithval
A Nikon d3400 or d3500 is a great for beginner hiking photography. A DSLR is a little heavier than a similar quality mirrorless. However, it is also much cheaper and will give you just as good or better quality. This series of camera bodies from Nikon, in particular, is well known as one of the best cameras. Especially, for entry-level photographers of all sorts to get the best quality for your price.
DSLR batteries also last longer which is perfect for several-day backpacking trips! Since this is a crop sensor it is also not as heavy as a full-frame DSLR or mirrorless. In my opinion it is not too much extra weight in comparison for the quality and price point of this camera. To save even more weight, pair this camera body with a prime lens. In reality, you will barely notice the 35 mm lens in your pack.
Video by Tech Through The Lens to illustrate the best Nikon cameras
Review of Nikon z50 to illustrate the best compact backpacking camera (4K/UHD movies at 30P)
For example this model of Nikon is for photographers who desire compact and professional camera. Moreover, in terms of capability and portability it offers incredible value for money. Thus, you can take it with you on any expedition without a hesitation. If you are a beginner in photography you can still enjoy great results of image quality.
Video by Tech Through The Lens to illustrate Nikon z50
Which is the best waterproof camera?
In the case of combining hikes with swimming, look no further than waterproof cameras. Undoubtedly, Nikon Coolpix W300, Ricoh WG-70 or Olympus Tough TG-6 Action Camera are worth buying. Those cameras will survive many challenging hikes due to their toughness. Nikon Coolpix W300 is not only shockproof up to 2.4m, but also waterproof up to 30m. It is slightly more expensive than Olympus Tough TG-6 Action Camera, however it gives better image resolution of 16 megapixels.
Review of Olympus cameras to illustrate the best shockproof device (4K video)
In contrast to Nikon Coolpix W300, Olympus Tough TG-6 Action Camera is waterproof up to 15m. In fact, this is half of the depth that Nikon’s manufacturer recommends. However, Olympus is a newer model from 2019, while Nikon is from 2017. It is a great replacement for a phone due to its small size. I bought it for my trip to Mexico. In the end, you can check out some photos I took with this camera while swimming with whale sharks.
To sum up, buying a new camera is not an easy task with such a variety of choices. Undoubtedly, there are plenty of amazing cameras so take your time before choosing the best camera for yourself. For instance, I am using Olympus Tough TG-6, DJI gimbal for my phone and GoPro 7. As a result of that, I have a lot of GoPro accessories such as waterproof case or GoPro Dome. In addition, I always take with me a DJI Mavic drone for aerial photos. Not only compact devices are good when hiking, but also DSLR cameras as recommended by other travel bloggers. Although, I have not used my Sony camera for many years.
Finally, I would like to say thank you to everyone who helped me to create this amazing list of the best backpacking cameras.