The best backpacking camera will be a camera that balances weight, size, outdoor shooting capabilities and the ability to withstand exposure to rain, dirt and other conditions found while backpacking and hiking. With that in mind, the best cameras for backpacking are mostly going to be point and shoot cameras.
Point and shoot cameras are the top backpacking cameras because they're lightweight and small, much lighter than the larger DSLRs, and they're generally less sensitive to all the different weather you might find while hiking and backpacking. The only thing that a larger, heavier camera will do better is take better quality pictures.
But with that in mind, here are a few point and shoots that not only weigh very little but also take great outdoor pictures. They're probably among the better backpacking cameras you can find.
Best Backpacking Cameras List
- Panasonic Lumix LX5 - The Panasonic Lumix LX5 weighs in at just 277 grams, or 9.8 ounces, and is small enough to fit in a large pocket or a hip belt pocket. It has a 3.8x optical zoom, which is fantastic for getting the best pictures in the outdoors. It also gets 400 pictures per battery charge, which means you can probably leave the extra batteries at home, which saves on weight. It also works well in a variety of lighting situations, which is ideal for when you just want to take a picture and keep going down the trail.
- Canon PowerShot S95 - The Canon Powershot S95 is one of the better possible backpacking cameras you can get. First, it weighs only 173 grams, or 6.1 ounces, which is next to nothing for a camera. It also has a 3.8x optical zoom. The Powershot S95 is also small enough that it fits comfortably in your pants pocket, and wouldn't take up much room in a hip belt pocket. It has an easy to use menu and makes an excellent backpacking camera, especially if weight and size are big concerns.
- Olympus XZ-1 - The Olympus XZ-1 is another of the excellent backpacking cameras on the market right now. It weighs in at 499 grams, or 1.1 pounds, so it isn't as lightweight as some of the other point and shoots on the market. However, it makes up for the extra weight with superior picture quality as compared to the LX5 or the S95, so if the best possible backpacking camera for you is the one with the best picture quality, then consider the XZ-1.
- Panasonic Lumix G2 - The Panasonic Lumix G2 is not a point and shoot, but it never the less makes an excellent backpacking camera. First, it weighs just 593 grams, or 20.9 ounces, which isn't much more than the XZ-1 above. The larger body and lens, however, mean that it wont be a pocket camera, and you will probably need a case for it. It is still much smaller, however, than the average DSLR, and retains the image quality of a DSLR, which point and shoots just cannot touch. If you're looking for image quality and don't mind the extra weight and bulk, then the G2 is probably the best backpacking camera for you.