The Leading Travel Camera for Hiking the Peaks in 2018
If you’re an avid hiker or backpacker who wants to capture some great images of your adventures, then you’re probably interested in buying the best hiking camera you can find. But with so many choices out there, from easy-to-use point-and-shoots to mirrorless models to full-frame DLSR cameras, choosing the product that’s right for you can be tough. You also have to consider durability, and whether purchasing a camera that’s weather-sealed or one that offers higher-performance is more important to you.
And that’s before we even get into the vastly different prices that some of these models cost. When you take all of these factors into account, choosing the compact or DSLR that’s best for you can be incredibly confusing. That’s why we did the work for you. In our review of the 10 best cams for backpacking and hiking of 2018, we examine the best cameras out there so you don’t have to. After reading our list of the best camera products on the market for hikers, you’re going to be able to decide which model is right for you. If you are looking for a point and shoot that you can use for YouTube Vlogging, click here.
Table of Contents
- What is the Highest Rated Backpacking & Mountaineering Camera in 2018?
- Buyers Guide Questions
- Are All Hiking Cameras Waterproof?
- What is a Good Hiking Camera Strap?
- What is the Best Backpack for a Hiking Camera?
- Best Video Camera for Hiking
- Best Camera for Backpacking Europe
- Top Pick
- Premium Choice
- Great Value
What is the Highest Rated Backpacking & Mountaineering Camera in 2018?
Buyers Guide Questions
Are All Hiking Cameras Waterproof?
Before you go out and buy your camera, it’s important to know that not every model is waterproof. Just like anything else, hiking cameras come in a variety of styles. Some offer no protection while others offer a waterproof, weather-sealed, or water-resistant design. If you’re looking for a model that does offer some protection from the elements, it’s important to understand that waterproof, weather-sealed, and water-resistant are not the same thing.
Waterproof cameras are sealed in a protective housing that allows them to actually be submerged in water, often up to 30 feet in depth. These are built to prevent any water from seeping into the inner mechanisms of the device, allowing you to capture unique, underwater shots as well as to operate in heavy snow or rain without any fear that you might be damaging your product. Water-resistant models are different. These cameras are built to withstand accidental or minimal exposure to water.
So if you’re worried about having your device out in light rain or snow or that you child might accidentally spill something on your camera, these models are perfect. You won’t be able to actually submerge your water-resistant device and if you are operating in heavy rain, it’s still advised that you take some extra care to prevent water from seeping into any seams in the device. Normally, a simple dry bag is more than enough to protect these models from the harshest of outdoor elements.
Weather-sealed models take the worry out of using your device in even the harshest outdoor elements. These models are sealed to prevent any moisture, dust, or freezing conditions to damage the inner workings of the device. While some of these cameras also offer waterproof protection, it’s important to make sure that the specific model you are using was actually designed to be fully submerged in water for extended periods of time (click here to find a smartwatch to keep track).
This is because, in terms of design, there’s a big difference between a camera being able to withstand a downpour versus being able to operate 30 feet under water. If you’re looking for a compact, and a waterproof product that is weather-sealed and can be operated at depths up to 50 feet, the Olympus TG-5 Waterproof Camera is a perfect, affordable option that is incredibly versatile and durable, while still being capable of producing very impressive results.
What is a Good Hiking Camera Strap?
Just like the lens that originally came with your new hiking camera, the strap that’s included might be good enough to use when you are first getting started but eventually you’ll need an upgrade. A camera strap is essential when you are carrying your compact or DSLR with you during your hike. It’s not practical to carry your device by hand during long hikes and keeping it stowed away in your backpack or pocket means that you’ll have to take it out whenever inspiration strikes. But straps keep cameras accessible, resting comfortably at your side, so you never have to worry about missing the perfect shot.
One of the most popular straps out there today is the BlackRapid Sport Breathe strap. This excellent option offers an impressive combination of ease-of-access, comfort, and security, all at a fairly reasonable price. The BlackRapid Sport Breathe strap offers comfortable cross-body design so that your gear hangs down at your side. This is the perfect placement for cameras since they’re out of your way when you’re moving but are easily accessible when you want to begin shooting.
The Sport Breathe simply attaches to your device’s tripod-mount, providing a secure grip that is capable of supporting even heavy full-frame DSLRS with large lens attachments. Plus, for added security and stability, this model offers a number of safety mechanisms such as spring-loaded bumpers that stop your camera from sliding up-and-down on the strap and an improved gate mechanism on the carabiner which prevents you from accidentally dropping your device.
With comfort in mind, BlackRapid designed this strap with a moisture-wicking fabric and breathable mesh material. This allows you to stay dry, cool, and comfortable even on the hottest days of the year. With a 4” shoulder pad, it’s very comfortable to rest this strap across your shoulder. And with the optional accessory of a CoupleR strap, you can even secure multiple cameras on your BlackRapid strap. At only $80, this option is a terrific, comfortable, secure alternative to the standard straps that come packaged with most models today.
What is the Best Backpack for a Hiking Camera?
When you first bought you’re new hiking camera, you might have thought lugging it around in a single-strap messenger bag or a regular Jansport backpack was going to be practical. But when you consider all of the other items you might want to take along with you during your hikers like alternate lenses, a tripod, water, snacks, and spare batteries, the last thing you want to do is dig around in your bag or hear everything clanking around all day.
That’s not even mentioning that a basic messenger bag or backpack wasn’t designed for grueling hikes. They don’t offer the right support and, after a while, your shoulders and back are going to start aching. But by purchasing a solid camera backpack that was specifically designed to store cam gear while distributing the weight across your waist and shoulders, you’re not only making your life easier, you’re making it more comfortable as well.
If it’s time to upgrade your carrying bag, one of the top hiking backpacks out there to store all of your gear and accessories is the Everyday Backpack by Peak Design. This bag costs around $250 but was built to withstand years of use and is capable of carrying tons of gear and equipment securely and comfortably. Designed with photographers in mind, the Everyday Backpack offers easy-access compartments, hidden pockets, and smart dividers that are perfect for carrying your camera, lenses, tripod, and batteries without everything just being thrown together.
It’s also made from weatherproof materials and sealed zippers that ensure your gear will be protected regardless of the weather. Four configurable external tension straps allow you to carry heavier gear outside of your backpack and, when not in use, they can easily be stowed away into the side pockets of the bag. Available in 20L and 30L sizes, the Everyday Backpack is perfect for any photographer. With comfortable shoulder straps and a waist strap that can be tucked away when not in use, it’s easy on your body and is perfect for even the most grueling hike.
Best Video Camera for Hiking
If you’re looking to take truly breathtaking, cinema-quality video while hiking then you need to purchase a camera with exceptional video capabilities. While there are some more compact alternatives such as models offered by GoPro, it’s hard to match the performance of a high-end full-frame DSLR camera. One of the top picks out there is the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. While a $3,000 model isn’t right for everyone’s budget, the 5D Mark IV is one of the most popular models on the market for a reason.
It’s simply capable of producing incredible results. With an expandable ISO range up to 102,400, the 5D Mark IV is perfect for working in any lighting condition. And with one of the best autofocus systems on the market, with a 61-point AF and 41 cross-points, and an impressive stabilization system, all of your videos will be fluid and smooth. And as far as video-quality goes, this premium option is a powerhouse. Capable of recording crystal clear, highly-detailed 4K video at 30 or 24p.
For people who don’t want to shell out $3,000 for a camera or want a model that is a bit easier to use, you can’t go wrong with the Olympus TG-5 Waterproof Camera. Simple to use, this point-and-shoot can withstand even the most demanding conditions. Waterproof, freeze proof, crushproof, dustproof, and featuring a lens that resists fog, this camera can be used anywhere. And at less than $500, it’s an affordable option for anyone on a budget.
Compact in size, the TG-5 is lightweight and easy to carry. But where it really shines is in its performance. Capable of recording 4K video with impressive results thanks to its large image sensor, excellent low-light performance, and noise reduction system, this model can stand toe-to-toe with many of its more expensive competitors. Plus, it offers one of the most impressive zooms in its class with a range of 25-100mm.
So if budget is no concern, the Canon 5D Mark IV is simply one of the most impressive filming gear for hiking that you can purchase. But if you are looking for an easy-to-use, compact, and more affordable model that throws in the added benefit of being completely weatherproof, the Olympus TG-5 is a great option for you. Both offer great versatility and high-quality 4K video performance that is perfect for capturing outdoor nature, landscape, and action videos.
Hiking has been shown to improve your wellbeing, and state – as described in this study. Bringing your camera along, to look back at happy memories is a good idea for avid hikers and backpackers – especially if you are travelling in a new country! There are also many other benefits to hiking – read them here.
Best Camera for Backpacking Europe
If you’re planning on travelling across Europe, the last thing you want to do is take up valuable backpack space with a bulky DSLR, lenses, and other photography gear. That’s why you want a camera that doesn’t only produce stunning images and video, but is also incredibly lightweight and easy to carry. That’s why the Ricoh GR II is one of the best options for anyone planning on backpacking through Europe for an extended period of time.
The GR II is the best point-and-shoot model for street photography. Since street and travel photography are remarkably similar, it’s easy to understand why the GR II is so perfect for taking photos of your travels. This compact offers a huge DSLR-sized APS-C image sensor that’s larger than any rival out there.
And with a solid f/2.8 maximum aperture and one of the best 28mm performances of any digital camera out there, it’s capable of capturing brilliant, high-resolution travel, cityscape, and landscape images. The GR-II also offers video recording at Full HD 1080p for exceptional film performance and thanks to built-in Wi-Fi, you can easily upload and share your latest images and videos from your smartphone while you’re on the go.
Our top pick for the best of these cams in 2018 is the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 V. The compact, lightweight, easy-to-use model is simply one of the best point-and-shoot camera systems on the market today. Versatile and offering high-performance, the RX100 V is capable of capturing high-quality stills and videos and is one of the best outdoor models around. With a large, DSLR-sized 20.1 Megapixel CMOS image sensor, this small powerhouse offers exceptional low-light performance as well as the world’s fastest autofocus speed at 0.05 seconds.
Incredibly fast, the RX100 V can shoot up to 24 fps so you’ll never miss an opportunity to capture the perfect shot. And further enhancing the AF system is its astounding 315-point phase detection system allowing it to perform better than some of its pricier competitors. For video enthusiasts, this Sony point-and-shoot is capable of recording beautiful 4K video and Full HD video.
And turning a shot of your film into a stunning image is easy thanks to the ability to capture high-quality 8MP stills from 4K video and 2MP images from Full HD. At just under $1,000, this is one of the best buys around, delivering DSLR-like performance in a smaller, more affordable package. With the ability to capture crisp, highly-detailed images and videos with ease, this device is simple to use and can deliver professional-quality results.
The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is our pick for best premium hiking camera on the market in 2018. While shelling out $3,000 for a camera might not be practical for everyone, if you’re looking for the best full-frame DSLR for outdoor photography, the 5D Mark IV is highly recommended. Capable of capturing breathtaking images at a continuous shooting speed of 7 fps, the 5D Mark IV is backed by an impressive 30.4 Megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor and has an expandable ISO range of up to 102400, making it a perfect low-light, low-noise option for any outdoor situation.
With its 61-point autofocus system with 41 cross-points, this model offers the best vertical coverage ranges in its class and can take vivid, high-resolution photographs.If you’re planning on shooting video, the 5D Mark IV has you covered. It offers 4K video recording at 30p and 24p as well as the ability to extract high-quality 8.8MP still images from your videos during playback.
Plus, it offers built-in Wi-Fi and NPC connectivity so that you can easily share your images and video to your smartphone or tablet. With all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a premium model, the 5D Mark IV is perfect for a professional or a beginner who is willing to take some time to learn the intricacies of this workhorse. With plenty of automatic settings, as well as the ability to manually work your exposure settings, this is the only camera you’ll ever need.
Our choice for the best deal is the Olympus TG-5 Waterproof Camera. At only $449, this high-performance digital camera is one of the most affordable options on the market for anyone looking for a compact model that delivers exceptional results. Plus, with its durable construction, this rugged model works in any condition. With a 12 Megapixel Hi-Speed Image Sensor, the TG-5 offers improved low-light performance and noise reduction while its Dual Quad Core TruePic VIII Image Processor allows it to capture stunning, high-quality images as well as 4K videos.
With a best-in-class zoom range of 25-100mm, the TG-5 is great for capturing any action or landscape scene and, thanks to an impressive maximum aperture of f/2, this model can even take fantastic underwater images. What really sets this one apart from the competition is that it is a high-performance device that is totally weatherproof. Normally, models at this price offer only one of these features but Olympus has managed to make the TG-5 practically indestructible.
It’s waterproof to 50 feet, dustproof, shockproof, crushproof to 220 pounds of force, freeze-proof to 14 degrees, and comes with an impressive anti-fog lens. At only $449, this easy-to-use model can withstand the elements while delivering the high-quality images and videos that you’d expect from the more expensive camera systems on the market.