Peak Design Everyday Backpack

Posted by , 3 July 2017

What is the optimum number of camera bags?

When reading reviews of the Peak Design Everyday Backpack, I came across this great comment:

What’s the optimum number of camera bags for a photographer? The answer is X = X + 1 where X is the number of bags you already own!

So, here’s my latest addition…

Do I really need a new camera bag?

Two things have prompted me to look for a new camera bag.

Firstly, our trip to Europe this year means I need to think about a better way of organising and carrying my camera gear. Previously, I’ve used my trusty old backpack from The Northface which has been fantastic – it particular, a solid waist belt that can really lighten the load on the shoulders. With the Peak Design Capture mounted on one of the straps, it’s a great way of having the camera accessible when walking around. On the negative side, it’s really just one big open compartment (yes, it has a smaller compartment at the top) so when carrying the camera, spare lenses and just everyday gear it all goes into the same compartment – hard to access, and poor protection. I’ve alleviated that by adding a few Thinktank pouches on to the waist belt for easier access, but that’s not a viable option when travelling through airports and on trains.

The second thing is just that Peak Design have made a backpack. I’m a big fan of their products; they’re well designed, functional and look good. The last time I checked I already own:

If I already have the Everyday Messenger, why do I need a new bag? I’ve found the messenger style becomes uncomfortable as you load it up – remember all of the weight is on just one shoulder, although the sternum and waist strap help a bit. The first time I had it fully loaded was in New Zealand, and throw in the tripod and it was too much for a full day out. But I still love all of its features – easy access, well thought out design, good looking. In other words, everything worked except for the carry.

When I saw that Peak Design had launched the Everyday Backpack Kickstarter, I didn’t immediately put down some cash – with something like this, I wanted to see what the reviews said first.

So what did they say? Mostly the reviews where positive but the negatives all related to the carry – in particular, a waist strap that is too light to full transfer the load from the shoulders to the hips, with shoulder straps that lack padding. The only other negative was the price, but I figure that at my age I’m happy to pay a bit more for something that meets my needs.

OK, lets forget all of that and just go with the multiple positive reviews!

First impressions

These first impressions are after putting all of my gear in the bag, adjusting the various straps and attaching the Capture to one of the shoulder straps:

  • stylish – does this matter? I think so. It doesn’t look like a purely functional camera bag, its not like a standard formless backpack either which.
  • compact – this one definitely matters. If I’m going to be dragging this bag onto planes and trains, in and out of cars and everywhere in between then it’s compact design will help. With everything zipped up and all of the spare straps stowed away, there is really nothing to get caught or damaged.
  • storage – of course, storage is important. The central compartment can be sub-divided using flexible, foldable panels which gives you a lot of options. There’s also loads of storage in the zipped pockets inside the sides, an slot for an iPad or even laptop and options for external storage,
  • durable – the fabric feels durable. No doubt this adds to the weight but the bag holds its shape and feels like it will handle the inevitable bumps and scrapes along the way,
  • camera access – I think it will take time to learn the smooth movement you see on the demo movies where you unsling one shoulder, rotate the bag and access your gear from one of the side panels. I’ve attached the Capture to the left shoulder strap and noticed how hard it is to find a good position where the metal doesn’t dig into your skin – but maybe I had the same problem with my old backpack, and
  • carry – just testing it out, it fits snugly into my back which is good – too much movement can exacerbate any stresses. But as the reviews suggested the waist strap is just a thin belt – it’s better at stabilising than moving the weight to your hips. I won’t really know for sure until I have it out for a few hours.

At the moment, I have it packed with all of my lenses, the flash and minor bits of kits which I mostly left out of the Everyday Messenger bag. So in terms of carrying my gear it’s already a winner. And it also has some spare space at the top to throw in a lightweight top or rain jacket, a cap and our travelling emergency kit.

All up, the Everyday Backpack and feels like a winner despite a few issues that frankly I knew about in advance.

The main thing is that I can stop looking for my next camera bag. For now.

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