Best Budget Camera for Hiking and Backpacking in 2023

Best budget camera for hiking and backpacking
A man in the mountains taking a photo

Looking for the perfect camera to capture your hiking or backpacking adventures on a budget?

In this guide, I’ll share with you the best budget cameras of the year, along with insightful reviews, must-have accessories, and expert tips for taking breathtaking shots and maintaining your camera for lasting memories.

Keep scrolling to seize the perfect camera and immortalize your incredible outdoor experiences in 2023!

My Choice:

  • Budget camera for hiking: Fujifilm FinePix XP140
  • Budget camera for backpacking: Olympus Tough TG-6

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Budget Camera for Hiking and Backpacking

Choosing separate cameras for hiking and backpacking is important because each activity has its own unique set of requirements and challenges.

While there is some overlap between the two, there are key differences that make certain cameras more suitable for one activity over the other.

I’ve found that certain features are worth considering separately before making a purchase.

1.      Weight and Size

For my hiking photography shoots, I prioritize a lightweight and compact camera that’s easy to carry on day trips.

However, when I am photographing backpacking moments, I am more concerned about durability and ruggedness due to the extended nature of the travels.

2.      Battery Life

In backpacking, I often spend days or weeks away from charging facilities, making a camera with a longer battery life more crucial for me.

On the other hand, hiking photography may only need a camera with enough battery life for a day trip.

3.      Durability and Weather Resistance

Most of the time, backpackers face a wider range of environmental conditions and may require a camera with better weather sealing and shock resistance than a hiker on a day trip.

4.      Image Quality

Depending on the activity, different users might prioritize different aspects of image quality.

However, as a hiking photographer, I may want a camera that captures fast-moving subjects or provides better stabilization for handheld shots.

It might prioritize low-light performance for capturing images in various lighting conditions for a backpacking shoot.

Top 5 Best Budget Cameras for Hiking in 2023

The following cameras are recommended for capturing breathtaking shots during hiking expeditions.

1.      Canon PowerShot SX740 HS

Canon PowerShot SX740 HS
Canon PowerShot SX740 HS

The Canon PowerShot SX740 HS offers a perfect balance of portability, image quality, and features for hikers on a budget.

Its compact design offers;

  • 40x optical zoom capture distant subjects effortlessly while hiking without losing image quality
  • 4K video and 20.3MP image resolution
  • Easy to carry and pack during hikes with its compact and lightweight design
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

However, Canon PowerShot SX740 HS has limited manual control options. Additionally, its battery life may be insufficient for extended hikes, so you may need to bring spare batteries or a charging device.

2.      Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99 is perfect for hikers who want high-quality images without the bulk and weight of a DSLR.

Key features include:

  • With 30x optical zoom, I closed to subjects without physically moving closer
  • 18.2MP Exmor R CMOS sensor helps with capturing high-quality images in various lighting conditions
  • 4K video capability
  • Compact and lightweight design

However, it has limited battery life compared to other models and lacks weather sealing, which makes it less suitable for use in harsh environments.

3.      Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS70

Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS70
Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS70

The Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS70 is a versatile choice for budget-conscious hikers.

It offers:

  • 30x optical zoom and 20. 3-megapixel MOS sensor
  • Ease of carry and use due to lightweight and compact design
  • 4K photo and video capability
  • Touchscreen interface that makes it easy to use while on the go

Besides, its bulkier size and lack of weather sealing may be a concern for some users.

4.      Nikon Coolpix B600

Nikon Coolpix B600
Nikon Coolpix B600

The Nikon Coolpix B600 allows hikers to capture distant subjects with ease.

Key features include:

  • Capture far-off subjects in detail with 60x optical zoom
  • 16MP image sensors will reduce high-quality images in various conditions.
  • Full HD video capability
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

However, it may have slower autofocus in low-light conditions.

5.      Fujifilm FinePix XP140

Fujifilm FinePix XP140
Fujifilm FinePix XP140

For hikers in need of a rugged and waterproof camera, the Fujifilm FinePix XP140 is a top choice.

  • Waterproof, shockproof, and freeze-proof
  • 5x optical zoom to photograph close-ups of your subjects without losing quality
  • 16.4MP image sensor can deliver high-quality images in various lighting conditions
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

Additionally, it has a limited zoom range and may have a higher price compared to other budget cameras.

I believe you already referred to the article on what lens is best for hiking to buy a guide on a lens for your hiking shoot.

Top 5 Best Budget Cameras for Backpacking in 2023

When choosing a camera for a backpacking trip, it may require slightly different features and specifications tailored for longer trips and more demanding conditions.

So, the following are my top recommendations for budget-friendly backpacking cameras.

1.                  Olympus Tough TG-6

Olympus Tough TG-6
Olympus Tough TG-6

The Olympus Tough TG-6 is a rugged, compact camera built for backpackers on a budget.

  • Waterproof, shockproof, and crushproof, making it ideal for backpacking adventures
  • 12MP image sensor
  • 4x optical zoom help with getting closer to your subjects without compromising image quality
  • Built-in GPS and Wi-Fi

However, the limited zoom range restricted me when capturing distant subjects or landscapes without sacrificing image quality.

2.                  GoPro HERO9 Black

GoPro HERO9 Black
GoPro HERO9 Black

I found the GoPro HERO9 Black to be worth it for capturing dynamic and immersive footage during my backpacking trips.

  • 20MP image resolution and 5K video capability
  • Waterproof and durable can build to withstand the elements and rough handling
  • HyperSmooth 3.0 stabilization ensures smooth and steady footage, even during intense activities

Note that the camera lacks advanced manual controls and its fixed wide-angle lens may limit its versatility for different types of photography.

3.                  Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II

Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II
Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II

The Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II is a slim, pocket-sized camera that can be said to be another great option for backpacking shoots.

  • Has a 20.1MP image sensor
  • 3x optical zoom will ensure to get close to your subjects without losing image quality
  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

The lack of a viewfinder might make composing shots in bright sunlight difficult, which can be a drawback for backpackers who spend a lot of time outdoors.

4.                  Ricoh WG-70

The Ricoh WG-70 is a durable, waterproof camera designed for budget-conscious backpackers.

  • Rugged construction including waterproof, shockproof, and freeze-proof, perfect for backpacking in challenging conditions
  • 16MP image sensor
  • 5x optical zoom
  • Digital microscope mode will help to capture detailed close-ups of interesting subjects during your backpacking trip

However, the Ricoh WG-70 may have limited performance in low-light situations, which could be a drawback.

5.                  DJI Osmo Action

The DJI Osmo Action is an affordable action camera that is an excellent choice for backpackers who want to capture their adventures from unique perspectives.

  • Dual screens make easily frame your shots while backpacking and capture selfies or group photos
  • 12MP image resolution and 4K video capability
  • RockSteady stabilization ensures smooth and stable footage, even during intense activities
  • Waterproof and durable will build to withstand the elements during backpacking trips

But if you need more flexibility in your photography to capture a wide range of subjects, this is not the best choice since its lack of a built-in zoom lens can limit the camera’s versatility.

Essential Camera Accessories for Hiking and Backpacking

Man carrying a backpack with camera accessories on his backpacking trial
Man carrying a backpack with camera accessories

Rather than just having the best camera, it’s important to have a few accessories to enhance your photography on hiking or backpacking trips and make them more adventurous.

Let me share some must-have accessories that I use.

1.      Camera Cases

Investing in a durable camera case is essential to protect your budget camera from the elements, accidental drops, and scratches during hiking and backpacking adventures.

I recommend the Lowepro Adventura camera case for its durability and customizability.

2.      Straps

A comfortable and adjustable strap, such as the Peak Design Slide, will help distribute the weight evenly, making it easier to carry your camera for long periods.

You can check out my previous article on the best camera straps for hiking and backpacking the complete guide for a complete buying guide on straps.

3.      Cleaning Kits

Additionally, a cleaning kit like the Altura Photo Professional Cleaning Kit, consisting of a lens pen, microfiber cloth, and air blower is recommended.

They will help me keep my camera and lenses clean and free of dust, ensuring optimum image quality.

4.      Tripods and Monopods for Stability on the Go

A lightweight tripod or monopod is an indispensable accessory for hikers and backpackers who want to capture sharp, blur-free images, especially in low-light conditions or during long exposures.

So, I recommend the Manfrotto Befree Advanced Travel Tripod for its compact size, lightweight design, and stability.

A monopod, such as the Sirui P-326, can also be a valuable addition for added stability when capturing images or videos on the move.

Maintaining Your Budget Camera for Longevity

A photographer cleaning a camera
Cleaning a camera

If you value your camera, it’s important to take the necessary steps to protect it.

Here are some steps that I follow to protect my cameras in the long term.

1.      Proper storage

Proper storage is crucial for preserving the lifespan of your budget camera.

Invest in a protective camera case or bag to shield it from potential damage.

When not in use, store your camera in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Make sure to remove the battery and memory card to prevent corrosion and damage.

2.      Cleaning

Regular cleaning is essential to keep your camera in optimal condition.

Besides, use a microfiber cloth to wipe the camera body and lens gently.

For stubborn dirt, utilize a specialized cleaning solution or a lens pen.

Keep your camera sensor clean by following the manufacturer’s guidelines or seeking professional help if needed.

Besides, the following video shows a step-by-step guide on cleaning your camera.

3.      Battery Management

Battery management is another vital aspect of maintaining your camera’s longevity.

You can charge the battery fully before use and remove it when the camera is not in use for extended periods.

However, consider purchasing a spare battery to ensure that you always have a backup during your hiking and backpacking adventures.

Tips for Capturing the Perfect Shot While Hiking and Backpacking

Group of backpackers walking on mountains
Group of backpackers walking in the mountain

While doing photography on hiking and backpacking trips, I experimented with various tips and tricks to capture the most perfect shots.

The following techniques gave me the most successful outcomes, so you can try them too.

  • To create captivating images, use composition techniques like the rule of thirds, leading lines, and framing.
  • For camera settings, adjust the aperture, ISO, and shutter speed according to your subject and lighting conditions.
  • Wide apertures create a shallow depth of field, while narrow apertures increase depth and sharpness.
  • For landscapes, use a wide-angle lens and include foreground elements for depth.
  • For wildlife, opt for a telephoto lens and fast shutter speeds.
  • Keep in mind always have your camera ready to capture candid moments.

Besides, try to experiment on your own with different compositions, camera settings, and capturing various subjects. This will help you capture the best versions of your shots.


In conclusion, finding the best budget camera for hiking and backpacking in 2023 is an important task for capturing and preserving your outdoor memories.

Throughout this article, I’ve discussed the critical factors to consider when choosing a camera, such as portability, durability, battery life, image quality, and ease of use.

I’ve also presented my top picks for both hiking and backpacking cameras, along with in-depth reviews of their features.

Remember, my recommendations for each activity are tailored to help you make an informed decision based on your specific needs.