Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L
If you’re on the hunt for a stylish camera backpack, look no further than the Peak Design Everyday Backpack. Peak Design is well known for supplying photography accessories that not only look good but function extraordinarily well. The Everyday Backpack is no exception.
Despite being designed for photographers, the Everyday Backpack doesn’t look like a camera bag. This acts as both a deterrent to potential thieves, but also makes the backpack great for use even if you’re not intending to fill it with camera gear.
There are many reasons to use the Everyday Backpack, but unfortunately, it’s far from perfect. In fact, there are some quirks that could make an unideal bag for you. Read on for my take on what’s great about this bag, and what needs to be improved.
Why the Everyday Backpack?
First off, here’s how this backpack ended up in my camera bag collection. I’ve spent 7 years carrying my camera gear in a Think Tank Retrospective Messenger Bag and hauling a separate laptop bag. It was a lot to carry, and I wanted to consolidate my gear into a single bag. A backpack was key to balance weight, but most backpacks are too bulky.
Until recently, the InCase DSLR Pro Backpack had been my camera and laptop backpack of choice. It’s incredibly comfortable and spacious and was great when I was shooting primarily with Canon DSLRs. But when I switched to Sony mirrorless cameras, I wanted a smaller backpack. Enter Peak Design!
Here’s a quick video overview.
True to its name, this backpack is full of stylish design touches that truly stand out. Composed of several different materials including leather handles, anodized aluminum clips, and weather-resistant fabric, there is lots of visual appeal to the Everyday Backpack.
During my one month of traveling with this backpack from California to Florida, I’ve had multiple people stop me on the street just to inquire about the bag.
Sturdy, weather-resistant material
The Everyday Backpack is composed mainly of a weatherproof nylon canvas shell. It’s a nicely textured fabric, and it’s available in four different colors (black, tan, ash and charcoal). The two zippered side pockets are also reinforced with weatherproofing material, preventing liquid from entering. As a result, this bag is reasonably weatherproof without having to put a protective coat on it.
Flexible dividers for safely stowing gear
Inside the backpack are three of Peak Design’s FlexFold Dividers. These unique dividers aren’t flimsy like the ones you find in most camera bags. Instead, the FlexFold dividers are quite rigid, giving you peace of mind that your gear is being protected and not rattling around when being transported. Best of all, these dividers can also fold down to secure your gear and give you an added layer of space for stowing extras such as a small monopod or tripod.
Side zippers for easy access to gear
Unlike conventional backpacks that only give you access from the top, the Everyday Backpack gives you three points of entry. You can access your stuff from the top via the MagLatch flap, or from the two zippered side flaps.
This helps you better organize your gear and find it without having to rummage through the entire bag.
Lots of pockets for stowing gear
Besides the main compartment, the Everyday Backpack has several extra internal spaces. Each side flap is lined with a spacious internal pocket for storing small accessories like batteries and memory cards. Within the MagLatch flap, there’s also a small magnetized pocket that’s the perfect size for sticking your keys or wallet (be careful you don’t demagnetize your bank cards though!) for quick access.
On the outside, there’s a separate laptop compartment and two expandable side pockets. Finally, the back panel slightly detaches to allow for the backpack to slide easily onto a luggage handle, but I like using this area to secure bulky items like a reflector.
Discrete carrying straps
Thankfully, the Everyday Backpack comes with straps to help you carry heavy loads or bulky items. Specifically, there is a chest strap, waist strap, and tripod straps. All the straps are quite thin and easily tuck into the bag’s external pockets when not in use.
In practice, the chest strap does come in handy, but the waist straps are too thin and not padded, making them uncomfortable. The tripod straps are quite sturdy and reliable, but I find very few instances when I want to add the weight of a bulky tripod to this bag. More on that below.
All in all, the Peak Design backpack looks great and functions really well. But there are some problems that arise mainly when the bag is packed to capacity.
No wiggle room for extra gear
If you’re like me, your camera bag is often stuffed to the seams with gear. Most camera bags are built with expandable sections so you can add a few extra items to your bag. This is not the case with the Peak Design bag. It’s designed to snugly hold a set amount of gear.
From then on, there’s really no room to throw in extras. This is due mainly to the fact that the bag’s material is really rigid, probably to add support and protection to your gear but at the expense of flexibility.
The backpack is really uncomfortable when too heavy
At the expense of looking pretty, the Everyday Backpack fails at one basic thing: making the back panel and backpack straps consistently comfortable. Both the back panel padding and straps are rigid and they cut into your back and shoulders when the bag is heavy.
This isn’t a problem if the bag isn’t weighed down with tons of gear. But it’s unwearable for long periods of time when filled with too much gear.
Compromise – use this backpack with a belt pack
Since the backpack is comfortable when not packed to the brim, my compromise has been to use the backpack in conjunction with the Think Tank waist pack. The belt pack is typically what I’ll wear during shoots anyway, so I stick my extra lenses and flash in the belt pack.
My camera body, laptop, and computer accessories go into the Peak Design bag. I simply carry them both to shoots. So far it’s been a much more comfortable way to carry my gear without feeling too bulky or weighed down.
Zippers tend to slide open if not secured
Another problem that results from the backpack being too full is that the side zippers tend to slide open. Luckily, Peak Design did supply a solution. All zippers are equipped with little black loops that can connect to each other and prevent accidental spills.
Not possible to lock or secure bag when not in use
One of the key points of the Everyday Backpack is the “revolutionary closure system” called the MagLatch. According to Peak Design, it is the only bag closure system that is “no-lock, one-handed, quiet, and secure.”
In practice, the MagLatch is a unique way to quickly access to the top section of the backpack. But the fact that the MagLatch doesn’t lock makes the bag questionably secure. I wouldn’t leave this bag unattended since there’s nothing to prevent a thief from reaching in.
At $259.00 a pop, there’s no denying that this a pricey purchase. Compared to the myriad of comparable camera laptop backpacks out there, this backpack might seem too expensive. However, the Peak Design Everyday Backpack truly has a standout design and high-quality design touches that could justify the price.
The Peak Design Everyday backpack is a truly stylish bag with some great features. I use the backpack often when carrying mirrorless camera gear around and absolutely love it. But if you plan to carry heavy camera gear or stuff this bag to capacity, consider another backpack such as the Incase DSLR Pro Pack for a more comfortable experience.