photo backpack padded insert

To start off I need to get a bit sentimental about camera bags for you:
I’ve had my camera bag for nearly 10 years. It’s a hand-me-down LowePro shoulder bag that has traveled with me all over the world. It has seen beaches and forests and ranches, from scorching hot summers to freezing cold winters. It’s not pretty anymore but still sturdy. It’s held all sorts of cameras, from high-end DSLRs to vintage cameras to a plastic Holga. Naturally I feel quite attached to it but as I have accumulated heavier camera gear and have gotten a few years older it became apparent recently that my beloved shoulder bag and I weren’t the best fit anymore.

I’m a small person and the strain on neck, shoulders and back from lugging around all that heavy equipment for hours on just one shoulder is getting too much. So I decided to get a backpack for my gear to distribute the weight more evenly. I’m not fond of the average camera backpack though. I even have one (another hand-me-down) but with camera backpacks you always have to take them off and place them flat on the ground to take anything out. I wanted a normal backpack that I can swing over my shoulder and grab something out of quickly when I need another lens etc. and one that I could take on day trips when we go hiking.
I found the ideal candidate in a hiking store: A small daypack with a thickly padded back to make it easier on the shoulders and it was on sale for 30€. The material is quite thin though and I can’t just throw my camera things in there. I needed a padded insert so I looked around for things I could use. I found a rigid foam mat and some leftover footstep sound insulation from back when we moved and installed the laminate flooring. So I grabbed some fabric and went to work from there.
padded camera bag insert. tidytipsy
I traced the contours of the backpacks’s bottom onto the foam mat and made a fabric cover. Then I measured the circumference of that piece and made a long strip of fabric covered insulation to go around it. Sewn together by hand and voilà – a padded insert that fits my backpack perfectly!
padded camera bag insert. tidytipsy
I also made another piece of fabric covered insulation to act as a separation piece for the lenses etc.
padded camera bag insert. tidytipsy
Sewing wise a complete hack job but quick, practical and functional and I’m using it all the time. And let me tell you… that little backpack feels heavenly on my neck and shoulders!

For a few much, much better tutorials check out this, this and this site.


8 thoughts on “photo backpack padded insert

    1. Kristina

      Ha, I didn’t even think of that! I actually wish the backpack was black, but I didn’t care about the color enough to be put off by it 🙂


  1. Lindsay

    Oh, that’s quite functional! I’m still using a canon camera big. It’s ugly and awkward, and I hate carrying it around. You’ve just inspired me to upgrade.


    1. Kristina

      You’ll notice the difference of carrying a padded and well-fitted bag immediately, I can really recommend it if you lug that camera around a lot. And you can customize any bag to be camera-friendly 🙂



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