Safely transporting your drone is one of the more difficult tasks of drone ownership. Hauling a drone by hand is not entirely feasible, which is why there are many dedicated backpacks and cases out there today. Some of the smaller folding drones can slide into a big pocket or water bottle pouch, but most still need a bag.
You may not feel the need to spend double what you paid to protect a cheap drone, but your major investment in a quality drone deserves some peace of mind on the go. To that end, these are some of the best drone backpacks, drone cases and bags around.
As you look through the list below for a new case for your new DJI Mavic Air, join me in a chuckle realizing that a good wool sock can hold this new drone. It’s just that small, once it’s folded down.
What to look for in a drone bag
Finding the right carrying case, bag or backpack can be difficult. I tend to use all of the above, swapping out based on my current needs and destination. Transporting a drone when traveling is the right time to use a sturdy case. A basic bag often gets me from my secret lair into my backyard and my backpack(s) let me go hiking or otherwise head out for the day.
The important things to look out for are build quality, of course, size and configuration, so that everything fits, and carrying methods, because not all straps are made equal. You might also consider a certain amount of water resistance, even if you have a waterproof drone, I doubt the controller and all of your best drone accessories are also safe to get wet.
Manfrotto Medium Gear Backpack
As the trend for smaller, portable drones continues, we realized most of our bags on this list are made to hold drones as large as the DJI Phantom quadcopters. If you are hauling around a smaller drone and maybe a few other electronics, like a camera, this Manfrotto Gear Backpack may be all you need. A solid backpack made with versatility and portability in mind.
The Manfrotto Gear Backpack runs for $60 today. Regularly $90, often $50.
We gave away the Manfrotto Gear Backpack in our March 2018 drone giveaway. You could have entered for your chance to win the Fat Shark 101 trainer and this backpack.
SSE Backpack for Phantom drones
As seen in our Best drone accessories list
SSE offers up an assortment of unbranded bags, cases and backpacks for your favorite drone. To be more specific, most of their products are geared toward the Phantom drones from DJI, formed for the perfect fit. Each option offers different levels of device protection, ranging from a simple backpack slip cover that utilizes the foam case your Phantom drone shipped in, backpacks with velcro adjustable straps and dividers up to aluminum hard cases with foam inlays for ultimate protection.
The SSE backpack we’re interested in offers form fit for the Phantom drone, but is customizable for most any drone Phantom sized or smaller. There is room for multiple batteries, cables, the controller, a phone or tablet and up to a 15-inch laptop.
Basic protection for rough environments is provided by this somewhat simple backpack, and you can slip over a rain cover if you are stuck under a cloud.
Check out the SSE backpack for $50 on Amazon today.
Manfrotto MB BP-D1 backpack
If you are unfamiliar with the name, Manfrotto is a respected manufacturer of mid to high-end camera equipment. Nearly the entire Drone Rush, Charged.io and Android Authority team use one Manfrotto camera tripod or another. This distinction of quality carries over to their bag and backpack offerings, so much so that you will find Manfrotto bags for sale on the DJI website.
The Manfrotto MB BP-D1 backpack is my choice from their line, their thoughtfulness in the details and support for cameras won me over. I know that many of you are not as concerned with taking along a camera drone and a DSLR camera, but that’s how I shoot my video reviews for you folks, this Manfrotto bag is perfect for these needs.
A firmer padded backpack, for better protection, adjustable but molded compartment for your Phantom drone and compartments for all your accessories. Up top is a separate compartment for your DSLR camera, but of course, you could put your controller up there. Slide your laptop and tablet in the back and off you go.
Quality comes with a price, we really like Manfrotto backpacks, but we’d understand if the Manfrotto MB BP-D1 for $120 on Amazon is out of your price range.
Before we get into cases, let’s talk flight safety:
Lowepro DroneGuard CS 400
As a sort of crossover between a backpack and a case, the Lowepro DroneGuard CS 400 is a firm shelled backpack with little more than adjustable dividers inside. The simplicity in design is the advantage here. I’m sure you’ve noticed that the ever popular Phantom drones have been hogging the spotlight so far today, not with this bag. Your Phantom drone will fit, but it is well suited to the 3DR Solo, if you’ve got one.
Case Club hard case
Case Club offers an assortment of hard cases, some are waterproof, and some have foam cut to fit your Phantom 4 Pro. In terms of rugged storage and transportation go, a hard case is hard to beat, and this wheeled Case Club offering is airline approved.
With a few different sizes and configurations to choose from, we’ll just leave you with the link to this Phantom 4 Pro model. The Case Club wheeled hard case is $180 on Amazon today.
GPC (Go Professional Cases)
GPC, that’s Go Professional Cases, start with a waterproof, military grade shell, then carefully cut foam for an exact fit for your drone. They support many popular machines, particularly professional machines. We caught up with them at InterDrone 2017, they had an impressive display area, showing off more than just simple cases like these.
Check out the GPC Mavic Pro case for $119 today.
If you are flying for pay, or any other form of compensation, you must operate under a different set of rules and possess a commercial drone license. We call it the Part 107, it’s not too hard to get, but it will take some time to learn all the rules. We want to help you learn the rules and get your commercial license, check out our drone pilot training material.
When it comes to hard cases, Pelican is one of the oldest and most trusted names around. There are many styles, sizes and capability options available, but we’re going to point you toward a larger but generic model. The 1650 provides internally about 28 x 17 inches rectangle at almost 11 inches deep.
Buying the non-specific models like this allows you to pluck the foam, you can make any design and layout you’d like. There is no fighting to make your drone fit in a Phantom formed slot, you make the rules with this one.
If we had to choose a single product from our list to be the most secure for your drone, this would be it. Remember how quality comes with a price? The wheeled Pelican 1650 is $265 on Amazon today. But please do your homework, find the right fit for your drones and accessories.
Bonus quick list:
- Monoprice hard cases are great and cost less.
- DJI Phantom 4 official backpack.
- DJI Mavic Pro shoulder bag.
- DJI Inspire 2 official carry case.
- Yuneec Typhoon 4K backpack.
Truth is, there are many, many viable bags, backpacks and cases to safely transport and store your drone. More than drone safety, a good bag provides convenience, keeping your accessories contained and organized, if nothing else. I will say just one thing, please take your time choosing the right bag.
I have 4 backpacks, 3 simple bags, including a large army duffel, and 2 hard cases that I bounce between – they all work, but none do it all. More important, I love my backpacks as laptop and camera backpacks, but none of my gear made it to our list of drone backpacks today. Don’t be like me, make smarter purchasing decisions.
What drone backpacks, cases or bags do you use to transport and store your drones?