The Everyday Messenger Bag from Peak Design has been the pinnacle in photography messenger bags for the past several years since the original was launched with the help of Trey Ratcliff.
I got the original Everyday Messenger Bag in 2016 and put a lot of use into it doing street photography, traveling, road trips and even for business. When I found out Peak Design updated the Everyday Messenger in early 2020, I decided to get the smaller 13L to use with my new smaller laptop.
I have been using my new Everyday Messenger pretty regularly since April of 2020 and am now comfortable to give what I hope is a helpful review for anyone looking into the bag. I can heartily give it my recommendation.
Below, I will look at what has changed with the new design of the Everyday Messenger, what I still love from the original design and things I wish Peak Design would have done differently.
Changes from the Original Design
At first glance, I didn’t notice most of the new changes. While there were some changes to the look and materials of the new Everyday Messenger, I thought it looked mostly like the original version; however, digging into and using the bag, I found a handful of key differences.
Probably, the least important of the changes is the color. Nevertheless, Peak Design changed one of the colors you can get the Everyday Messenger in. You can still get the Ash Gray, which is my personal favorite, but they have swapped out the tan color for a black.
I liked the tan color, but the new black is more practical and looks quite stunning with all black accents. The black Everyday Messenger will look impressive whether you are on a photo shoot or sitting in a corporate meeting. I am a big fan.
I didn’t notice this change at first, but it has become one of my favorite changes with the new Everyday Messenger. Called UltraZips, the new zippers on this bag are fantastic.
The new zippers are super smooth. The handles are easy to grasp so a quick tug opens the pockets with ease. There is no catching, unevenness or fear of breaking the zippers.
The coolest part, however, is a cloth tape the bonds with the zipper coils, seamlessly covering and protecting the zippers at all times. Not only does it look great, you will never have to worry about the zippers catching on anything. This is a big upgrade in my opinion.
The new Everyday Messenger still uses the unique MagLatch system, but it has seen some pretty significant upgrades that make it look and perform better.
The Maglatch, to me, is the best attachment mechanism on the market. It is not big and bulky at all and only takes the use of your thumb or other finger to lock or unlock it quickly. It provides the easiest and quickest access to your gear of any messenger bag on the market.
Improved Shoulder Strap
I liked the shoulder strap on the original Everyday Messenger, but Peak Design was able to improve it even more. The strap is very comfortable whether you wear it over your shoulder or slung across your chest.
Beyond the comfort, which is big, I love how easy it is to adjust the shoulder strap. With just a flip of a lever, you can slide the strap up or down to change the length. There is nothing to unfasten or thread and it is really quick and easy, which is a big benefit when you are switching between carrying methods.
On the original Everyday Messenger, you carried your tripod inside the bag’s flap. It was pretty secure, but was kind of a pain because it blocked your gear and made it so you could not quickly remove your camera.
On the updated design, the Everyday Messenger allows you to carry your tripod under the bag. The straps easily attach and detach so you can store them away in the bag when you aren’t carrying a tripod. Although easy to attach, they are very secure as long as you snap them tight. They are also easy to tighten and loosen so you can easily get the tripod on and off the bag.
Overall, I think this was a really big improvement in the design. I have used some Think Tank messenger bags where you can carry the tripod like this, but these straps were easier to use and were much less bulky so I like them a lot better than the old design.
Sleeker and lighter design
The original Everyday Messenger was not a heavy bag, yet Peak Design has cut away some of the bulk and decreased the weight by 24%. While I always like a lighter bag, I do feel like I have lost a little carrying space in this bag. Of course, I am comparing it to my prior 15L so it is not a fair comparison.
Additional Storage Pockets
I am never quite pleased with the organization of a messenger bag when I want to carry a decent amount of gear. You usually get a few spots for your body and lenses and then one or two pockets to cram all your smaller stuff.
The new design on the Everyday Messenger adds some smaller pockets on the inside and outside, both zippered and open. These additional pockets go a long way in helping to organize more gear in a usable matter that is a big improvement.
Luggage Pass Through
On the new version, Peak design added a very sturdy luggage pass through, which is a great addition for anyone that flies a lot like me. The downside is you lose an exterior pocket and direct access to your laptop. This is a huge loss in my opinion and, as nice as the luggage pass through is, I am not sure it was worth the trade off.
Things you will still love from the original design
Although Peak Design did upgrade the materials for the outer shell and interior lining, including the use of more recycled materials, the quality of this bag has always been great. The small improvements just move it up to another level.
I said this about the original Everyday Messenger, you will never have to worry about this bag wearing out on you. It is truly top quality and you can feel it when you use the bag. I have no concern being as rough as I want with my Everyday Messenger because I know it is not going to get damaged.
The Everyday Messenger sticks with a nice weatherproof shell that is a big selling point to me. I haven’t taken the new bag out in the rain yet, but my original Everyday Messenger has seen a fair amount of rain without water ever reaching my gear inside the bag.
There were some subtle changes made to the look of the Everyday Messenger, with more rounded edges and tighter seams, but the overall look of the bag remains mostly the same.
I am glad they didn’t make any major changes to the look of the Everyday Messenger because, in my opinion, it is the cleanest looking bag on the market. It is the only photography messenger bag I regularly use for business meetings in addition to photography.
The versatility in this bag is one of its biggest features. A lot of it comes from the look discussed above. The fabric used is super classy in addition to being rugged.
The design can dress up or down so you won’t feel out of place taking this bag into a business meeting, which I frequently do, or throwing it on the sand at the beach, which I have also done.
The FlexFold Dividers and extra little pockets make it so customizable, you can use it for street photography, events, hiking, traveling and more. Personally, I have used it on short hikes, road trips, basketball games, events, family outings and more.
The other thing that adds to the versatility is how easily the bag expands or tightens down just based on where you attach the MagLatch. The different spots really do make a big difference so the bag will shrink or expand as needed based on what you are packing.
Easy Access to your gear
My favorite thing about using the Everyday Messenger is just how quickly I can access my gear. Thanks to the MagLatch, it is so easy to quickly open the bag and get right into your camera. It is then just as quick to put it away and secure your bag. It is seriously the most convenient bag I have ever used for getting to your gear.
The FlexFold Dividers
To me, the FlexFold Dividers are one of the coolest part of all the Peak Design bags. These dividers are simple yet ingenious. The top of the dividers fold over so you can easily stack an extra lens under your camera body or otherwise stack and organize different sized items.
These save you from wasting a bunch of space as I find happens with other messenger bags. These dividers really make a huge difference when it comes to fitting more in and organizing it better.
Things I don’t Love
While I do love and highly recommend the Everyday Messenger bag, there are some things I don’t love. Some of these things were improved with the newer design, but I still don’t think Peak Design is where they should be on these features.
The Laptop Sleeve
The laptop sleeve was my biggest complaint about the original Everyday Messenger bag and I railed on it pretty hard. To their credit, Peak Design to improve the laptop sleeve in the new design to provide more capacity, but there is still a lot of room for improvement in my opinion.
The laptop sleeve is packed into the back of the bag, which I like, but it is a tight fit to fit even a small laptop in there and it is difficult to get in and out with the bag tightly packed. This can be an inconvenience if you fly a lot and are having to get your computer in and out of the bag to go through security.
I wanted to add in here after looking at reviews to see if anyone had things I missed that this was probably the biggest complaint about the bag. Just a little size here would be able to fit a lot more laptops in the bag. It feels like it was just designed for the 13 inch Macbook, which is a shame because it really limits who can use this bag. That being said, I just bought a new 14 inch HP that just barely slides in so I can’t complain.
The Exterior Side Pockets
The side pockets were a big complaint of mine with the original design. The original side pockets were just too small to be of much use. Peak Design improved these pockets quite a bit by making them deeper zippered pockets that are very useful for carrying lots of smaller items; however, I still feel like they are missing a big opportunity by not having at least one of the pockets be a bigger pocket that can carry a water bottle or something a bit bulkier.
As you can tell, I have very few negatives on the Everyday Messenger. The newly redesigned bag is the best messenger you are going to find. I really wish they kept the option of a bigger size so it could work for people with normal to bigger laptops, but if you have a smaller laptop that works in this bag, I highly recommend it.
Peak Design is a great company that does a lot of good so I try to support them as much as I can so I recommend buying directly from them instead of Amazon or another retailer. You can find the new Everyday Messenger at Peak Design here.
If you want to see more about the bag, check out the following video from Peak Design.