The ultimate camera backpack, in my opinion, will never be. In other words, every photographer or adventure is different. Each does not always have the same needs. Now if you are a photographer that travels/hikes a lot or simply has his or her pack on their back quite a bit. A good pick in camera backpacks would be The Atlas Athlete pack.
What I think makes the Atlas Athlete camera backpack is adjustability. For example, having a removable waist belt. In the above picture, I have the waist belt removed making this backpack easily carried on an airplane. Also, a feature unique to Atlas camera backpacks is their origami Camera Core system. What I like most about this system is that you can expand or contract the camera cube portion of the pack. Making travel or hiking gear packed in the pack. Along with the easily-adjusted dividers configuring your camera gear is a breeze.
Atlas Athlete Camera Backpack
Having used this backpack in everything from Utah snow to the desert in Johnson Valley California. With a camera backpack in this price range, you expect a quality build and a tough durable backpack. Atlas Packs are just that built very well with durable materials. I have and use the Atlas Athlete (40-liter pack) camera backpack which is the smaller of the two versions offered by Atlas Packs. A 70-liter (Adventure) version of the backpack is also available.
The best way to describe this pack versatile. I can stuff this backpack full of both camera gear, hiking gear, and clothing for a backpacking trip. A small but nice feature is their zipper pulls. I especially like the large plastic loops to get your fingers in allowing easy zipping.
The removable waist belt is another great feature. I primarily use the pack without the waist belt. Usually, I will only use the waist belt for longer hikes or when I have the pack loaded with extremely heavy gear. Shoulder straps on this backpack are comfortable even with a moderately loaded pack I have not gotten any strap bite on my shoulders.
I only have one downside or negative that, for me, is not my favorite—the depth of the camera dividers or pockets. The camera cube and dividers are relatively shallow at only 4″ compared to others I have used that were closer to 6″ deep. It’s not a significant drawback; the only thing I found is that you can’t have camera bodies on their sides in the shorter camera cube area. Overall I have loved using this backpack. The Atlas Athlete is a 40-liter pack, but it seems like a much larger backpack. It’s my goto for larger load-outs.