The Best SLR Camera Bag Features

More than seven years ago I acquired an M-ROCK camera bag for my recently purchased digital SLR camera. It's been one of the best pieces of gear I've ever owned. It's successfully protected my camera on hundreds of trips into the backcountry, including multi-day forays into winter snows and summer deluges. These are the features I love, which you can also find in other styles and brands.

Easy one-hand buckle closureI keep the bag slung over my shoulder and accessible on my right side at all times. It's crucial that I can quickly and easily open and close the case single-handedly. A single buckle, as opposed to a double buckle system or closure zipper is ideal for this.

Full closure zipper
That being said, it's also important that I have the ability to fully seal up the case when I need to, such as when it's wet, snowy, or dusty.

Padded shoulder strap
I keep the bag slung across my shoulders for hours and days at a time. A small amount of padding makes an immeasurable difference and helps prevent chafing against my shoulder and neck.

Plastic swivel hooks
The shoulder strap attaches to the case with two plastic swivel hooks, which gives me the ability to twist my shoulder strap flat without having to rotate the entire strap—a nice convenience. I've also found that plastic hooks squeak less than their metal counterparts.

Compact size
SLR cameras are already bulky objects. The last thing you need is a camera bag that increases the volume even more. "Holster" style bags taper towards the bottom, minimizing size. My holster case fits the camera with a standard, non-zoom lens—and not much more. (I sacrifice the ability to tote a zoom lens, but it's something I seldom carry into the backcountry anyway.)

Small pockets
I carry a spare battery, extra memory card, and lens cloth. A few tiny pockets are all that's required to accommodate them.

Excellent padding and protection
I've dropped my camera bag, stuffed it into my pack, and generally visited all kinds of unpleasantries upon it. It's important that the bag offers padding everywhere; a single stray weak point will inevitably be the one you drop it on.

Reinforced fabrics
I've noticed certain high-wear areas, especially where the bag rubs against my hip and pack waist belt. Reinforced materials in these areas are highly desirable.

Here are the current iterations of M-ROCK SLR holster bags. My camera case is most similar to today's Appalachian compact SLR camera bag ($50).

Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.