gopro hero 3

6 Best Backpacking Cameras 2021

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Backpackers who are looking for a camera that will travel well and that can capture great images should check out our guide below.

We’ve researched numerous brands to narrow down the choices to the six best backpacking cameras, and we offer details on the top three.

Chances are if you’re a serious, professional photographer who happens to backpack as a career, then you already have the gear that you need.

Everyone else…listen up!

Things to Take into Consideration

You should determine how you would use the camera as you backpack: a few fun snapshots during the trip or some serious photos that you need for business (i.e. journalists or bloggers).

Consider the following:

  • Size and Weight. You’ve already calculated the weight of your pack and the amount of gear that you can fit in it, so the size and weight of your camera is also very important. Do you want something that will fit in your pocket and take decent photos, or do you want a bigger, more serious camera that will allow you to take amazing photos.
  • Extra Gear?. While out in the middle of nature, you’ll probably want to take some landscape or wildlife photos. That would mean brining along a tripod.

And if you want to shoot a video? These take up a lot of storage on your memory cards, so you would need a few extra cards and surely some batteries since taking photos and video all day will suck them dry. All of those little things can add up in terms of space and weight on your bag!

Something to think about as you shop.

Top Six Backpacking Cameras Comparison

PictureNamePriceRating (1-5)
Rating (1-5)
1. GoPro HERO3+: Silver Edition$4.6
2. Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 16-50mm Power Zoom Lens (Silver)$$$$4.6
3. Canon PowerShot SX600 HS 16MP Digital Camera - Wi-Fi Enabled (Red)$$4.4
4. Sony DSC-TX30/D 18 MP Digital Camera $$4.3
5. Canon PowerShot SX230 HS 12.1 MP CMOS Digital Camera$$$4.3
6. Nikon COOLPIX S9900 Digital Camera$$4.3

Great Camera Features for Backpackers

Backpackers love a camera with the following features:

  • Zoom. Having a camera with awesome zoom let’s you capture distant scenes. Unfortunately, where there is zoom, there is also camera shake. That means you’ll probably need a tripod to steady your camera so that you can get nice, crisp photos.
  • Sturdy. You might drop your camera because you slipped on a wet rock or some loose gravel, so get a camera body that can take some tough hits.
  • Waterproof. You’ll probably encounter some rain (lucky you if you don’t!) or you might want to take some underwater photos. Think about getting a waterproof camera if that’s the case.

Top 3 Best Backpacking Camera Reviews

1. GoPro HERO3+

GoPro is the go-to camera for thrill seekers, so it fits in perfectly with a backpacker’s needs.

It has a curved adhesive mount or a flat adhesive mount, depending on how you want to wear it (hands-free and super lightweight).  You can choose to capture quality 1080p60 videos or 10MP photos at speeds of up to 10 frames per second.

It’s waterproof, so you can throw down your pack and jump in the lake you just spent five hours climbing to in order to celebrate.

Great low-light performance, high-performance audio and a wide-angle lens to make sure you capture all of the beautiful scenery around you on film.

Go with a GoPro. You won’t regret it!


  • Superb build quality
  • Produces high-quality images and footage
  • Outstanding field of view
  • Exceptional color and white balance
  • Improved camera lens, battery life, and output quality
  • Wireless connectivity is better
  • More compact than other backpacking cameras
  • Accessories enable all-weather application


  • Relatively more expensive than competing models
  • The navigation menu takes some time to learn
  • The enclosure is quite fiddly
  • Requires an adapter for external mics

2. Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless


  • Built-in flash and multifunctional hot shoe
  • Incredible HD video recording capabilities
  • Superb high ISO image output quality
  • Ultra-fast burst-shooting with tracking focus
  • Convenient tilting rear display
  • Has wireless connectivity with near-field communications
  • System camera, replaceable lens kits


  • Eye sensor can be overly sensitive
  • The startup is pretty slow
  • Requires purchasing apps for full functionality
  • No silent mode for shutter

If you’re looking for a camera that will offer you quality photos to capture your surroundings in style, then go with the Sony Alpha a6000. This mirrorless camera has a high ISO range (100 – 25,600) which is great for any night shots.

You’ll love the electronic viewfinder which allows you to see your images in real-time, which is great so you can adjust the

It has a 24.3MP APS-C CMOS sensor and the hybrid autofocus system features a 25 contrast detect points and 179-point phase detection – great balance between focus speed and accuracy

Great for backpackers who need a quality, compact camera.

3. Canon PowerShot SX600

A 4x digital zoom and 72x combined zoom with optical image stabilizer means that the Canon PowerShot shows you well beyond where the eye can see.

Great in snowy areas, low light and even night scenes without the use of a tripod.

This camera will give a boost to your everyday photos at a decent price.

Slim and compact, it’s just what backpackers need!


  • Has creative filters for altering image outputs
  • Wi-Fi and NFC-enabled
  • Exceptional zoom range for a compact camera
  • Compact, lightweight, pocket-sized
  • Easy to operate
  • Quick-focusing
  • Good value for money


  • Creative mode can use better control features
  • Macro focus is sometimes unreliable
  • Lacks advanced shooting modes or manual functionality
  • The zoom lens is a bit slow

4. Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-TX30/D Orange

If you don’t want something as toiling as the accessory-flustered GoPro Hero3, you might be better off with the Sony DSC-TX30. It is one of the toughest point-and-shoot cameras the Cyber-Shot lineup offers, and it does not even require accessories to be so.

This camera is waterproof up to 33 feet, shockproof against drops as high as five feet, and freezeproof to temperatures as cold as 14 degrees Fahrenheit. Furthermore, Sony has hermetically sealed it to prevent the entry of dust or any other minute particles. As long as you keep track of these limits, you can enjoy bringing this camera with you anywhere you go, in or out, wet or dry.

The Sony DSC-TX30 has an 18.2-megapixel Exmor R CMOS Sensor and a BIONZ Image Processor, capable of delivering high-definition outputs. Enjoy capturing sharply detailed images with minimal to zero noise, even in low-light conditions.

Additionally, you’d be able to easily take advantage of this camera’s ultra-fast performance and buffering speeds. Do this while enjoying the unit’s impressive Full HD Video Capture and Optical SteadyShot Image Stabilization features.

With its 3.3-inch OLED touchscreen and 5x optical zoom lens, you can capture your photos and videos and view them with much ease. Play around with exposure controls, different flash modes, and variable aspect ratios.

The Cyber-Shot DSC-TX30 measures 6.1 by 5.1 by 2.1 inches, and it only weighs 0.75 pounds. You can bring it with you anywhere without worrying about accessories and extras that other cameras usually require.


  • Decent image quality for its class
  • Stylish, ultra-thin design, pocketable metal body
  • Waterproof, freezeproof, shockproof, and dustproof
  • Large and sharp touchscreen LED display
  • Fast autofocus, no matter the lighting conditions
  • Pre-installed in-camera help guide
  • Records HD videos at 1080/60i


  • Smudged or mottled details on images at low ISO settings
  • Underwater touchscreen functionality is questionable
  • No anti-glare feature for the display
  • Can improve on battery life and flash brightness

5. Canon PowerShot SX230 HS

The Canon PowerShot SX230 HS is a compact digital camera with a built-in flash, a 12.1-megapixel sensor, and an optical image stabilizer. You’ll like that it offers 14x optical, 4x digital, and 56x combined zoom functionality. Plus, it uses both manual and automatic focus functions.

While this camera does not have an optical viewfinder, it has a three-inch TFT LCD with 461k dots and a wide viewing angle. Unlike many alternatives, it offers an LCD coverage of approximately 100 percent.

This camera offers plenty of shooting modes, including multiple stills options and video recording. Moreover, you will find variable photo effects and self-timer options for any camera shooting task. However, keep in mind that the SX230 HS does not offer any wireless controllability features.

Being one of the best backpacking cameras in its class, the Canon PowerShot SX230 HS produces detailed images both in excellent and poor lighting conditions. This camera is perfect for everyday use, especially for those trying to travel light.

That said, advanced users might observe some issues with image quality in isolated situations. While high ISO performance is typically reliable, lens distortion and color aberrations can be a problem in some shooting applications.


  • Shoots full HD videos with stereo sound and optical zoom
  • Produces exceptional images
  • Built-in image stabilization enhances image quality
  • Performs well in low lighting
  • Lightweight, excellent for on-the-go applications
  • Automatic and manual functions available
  • Easy-to-use point-and-shoot camera


  • Noticeable color aberration
  • Can benefit from more focus points
  • No environmental sealing, not water-resistant
  • Slow continuous shooting
  • Does not include wireless connectivity

Which Is the Best Camera for Backpacking?

Aside from its newer replacements, the GoPro Hero3+ Silver Edition is probably one of the best backpacking cameras you can find. It provides the most versatile features for documenting indoor and outdoor experiences for stills and live footage alike.

Furthermore, this unit offers compatibility with a wide array of accessories, enabling you to customize your setups for whatever activities you encounter.

However, if you need a handy camera that allows lens changes for more professional outputs, you might lean towards acquiring the Sony Alpha a6000. It is a high-end mirrorless digital camera with lots of accessories for all-around use.

It’s great to document your backpacking adventures, so refer to our useful guide above and you’ll  have no problem finding the best backpacking camera for your needs![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]