Last year I was on a hunt for the perfect camera bag for photographers. Testing out bags from companies such as MindShift, ONA, WotanCraft, Saddleback, and many others, I was given a last minute messenger bag from Peak Design called the Everyday Messenger. By now, I’m sure most of you are familiar with this bag that was designed with the guidance of photographer Trey Ratcliff. Over the past year, Peak Design has continued to expand their products through the addition of three new designs: Everyday Backpack, Everyday Tote, and the Everyday Sling. Recently, Peak Design sent me a sample bag of the Everyday Backpack 20L.
This bag still features many of the characteristics that made the Everyday Messenger such a unique bag. The Maglatch allows quick adjustable one-handed access through the top where space can be expanded. It made it easy for me to reach into the top to grab a flash. Versatile straps allow you to attach objects using their anchors with slots to store them for minimal dangling. One of my favorite features with this bag, the FlexFold dividers that can be adjusted like origami, are thin enough to save space in the bag, and firm enough to keep gear safely separated.
One of my clients said it best when I was testing the bag on a shoot and he stated, “That’s your camera bag? It doesn’t look like one!” But the question is, does it function well as one?
The bag allows dual side flaps that unzip to easily access all your internal gear. I found this easy and quick, but using a divider to separate two lenses, I often forgot which side I needed to access to grab a specific lens. This could be user error. =) The whole inside compartment is adjustable to specific needs using the FlexFold dividers. I easily fit my Canon 70-200 across the width of the bottom of the bag, my 16-35 2.8 and 50 1.2 divided, and my 5DMIII w/ 24-70 2.8 attached. I always keep my dual battery back on my camera body and when it is attached to my 24-70, the fit into the bag was a little too tight for my liking. This left me a little room at the top of the bag (accessed through the Maglatch) to store two of my Yongnuo flashes and trigger. Personally, the 30L would better suit my gear.
The inside of both of the side flaps zip open to many cushioned pockets for storing memory cards, business cards, batteries, etc. The outside of the flaps have a flexible pocket where you could carry a tripod or bottle. Multi-use straps are stored in here that allow you to attach additional items to the outside of the bag.
A zipper slot on the top of the bag allows you to access a pocket for your wallet, keys, etc. From this slot you can store a 15” laptop on the back side of the bag separated from a smaller slot for an ipad or tablet. The very back of the bag has a sleeve built in that allows you to slide the bag over a handle of rolling luggage.
What I love about this bag, as well as the Everyday Messenger, is that it is very well thought through and space does not seem wasted. At the same time, when you load this bag up the way it lets you, you can feel the density. Fortunately, the shoulder straps are comfortable and the bag molds against my back.
The strap that crosses the chest to hold the shoulder straps together is uniquely designed to quickly slide in and out of locking slots. I struggled with this at first because one of the clips didn’t come out until I yanked on it. Up until then, the strap went at an angle and felt awkward. Now that I have it figured out, I do like being able to clip ends of the strap in a way that they don’t dangle.
Overall, I’d say I’m impressed with this bag, but I’m not – kinda. The reason I’m not “impressed” is because it lived up to my expectations after owning the Everyday Messenger for the past year. (So I guess that’s a good thing!) If you’re a user of Peak Design’s other products such as their straps or clips, then you’ll enjoy this bag. Honestly, the price is hard to beat for the quality and compared to many other camera backpacks that are out there. Will I be buying one for myself? If I was searching for my first bag, definitely. Since I already have other backpacks I like and use, I’ll wait to see what they do next.