I have written many glowing reviews of the Peak Design products I like, like their Capture Pro Clip, Range Pouch, Slide and Field Pouch, but the Everyday Backpack was not my favorite. I pined after the Everyday Messenger Bag for a while (review coming up), but was even more excited when the Everyday Backpack was released because I use a backpack most of the time.
what i liked about the bag
When I say I did not care for the bag, there were still a lot of innovative features that I really liked. That is to be expected in something from Peak Design. There are some valid reasons why the Everyday Backpack has a lot of huge fans out on the world wide web.
The Maglatch is my favorite part of these bags. The Maglatch is a magnetic latch that opens and shuts the top of the Everyday Backpack. The bag has four connection points where the Maglatch can attach. This allows you to close your bag tighter if you want, and essentially change the size of the bag, depending on how much gear you have in your bag.
The ability to contract or expand the backpack is amazingly convenient. More importantly, the attachment mechanism is very quick and easy to use. While there are some downsides to not having a zipper enclosing the bag, I loved being able to quickly open and shut the bag with ease.
The moldable dividers are my second favorite features in all the Peak Design bags. I honestly don’t feel like I can adequately describe how they work, but essentially, the dividers have edges that fold over different ways so you can better organize your gear.
My favorite part about using the Flexfold dividers is they allow me to stack gear, such as lenses, on top of each other. Unfortunately, I felt like the dividers did not fit well in the Everyday Backpack. While it was nice to be able to adjust the size of the dividers for different gear, the set up of the bag really only makes it convenient if you are putting lenses or larger equipment in the dividers. As I use a mirrorless system, I had a lot of extra space where small items fell around in the bag. I also could not get my X-T1 body to fit smoothly and it just did not seem like I was ever organized. Perhaps all those people that love the bag, are using larger gear that fits better.
My complaints about the backpack have nothing to do with the build quality of the bag. In fact, I was really impressed by how well made the bag is. One of the coolest things about the Everyday Backpack is the fabric out of which it is made. Peak Design claims they are weatherproof. I did not dig into what level of weatherproofing that means, but I had no concerns carrying the backpack in light rain for extended periods or heavy rain for short periods. The fabric is not waterproof by any means, but the material is such that the water runs right off. It also looks great so I prefer the style over the common fabric found on the vast majority of camera bags.
the side pockets
The bottom half of the bag can be accessed from either side with zippers that can come down from the top or up from the bottom. This is nice as you can quickly access any portion of the bag at any time. Inside the flaps on each side are surprisingly large pockets that are separated from the rest of the bag by another zippered compartment. Inside those compartments are organizational pockets, with each side being designed for different gear.
I both loved and hated these pockets. They were awesome for packing smaller items that did not organize well in the main compartment. I kept a speed light and batteries on one side and remotes, memory cards and other small things on the other side. Surprisingly, there was a lot more room in these side pockets than you would expect. This led to the annoying part of the pockets. As they got fuller and heavier, accessing the bag became more cumbersome. The separate compartment also meant going through two zippers to access anything in those pockets.
I like the handles on this bag a lot. They put nice, heavy-duty handles on both the top and side of the bag. I ended up not using the side handle nearly as much as I expected, but it is still nice to have. I used the handle on the top a lot. I do not understand why some backpacks do not include a handle on the top of the bag to make it easier to move around when you do not want to actually put the bag on.
Carrying a tripod is a must for me. The tripod holder in this bag ended up much nicer than I thought it would be. The legs slide nicely into the side pocket and a low-profile strap slides out and hooks around the top. The easy latch system is much nicer than the normal clips most bags use. It should be noted I used this bag with a travel tripod, which was ideal. I would not want to use this bag with a larger tripod.
what i did not like about the bag
As you read above, there are some really innovative features in the Peak Design Everyday Backpack that you are not going to find on any other bag. While those features were intriguing, my overall experience with the Everyday Backpack left me disappointing. Here is why:
At the end of the day, I just did not find this backpack to be very comfortable. While it was fine for short distances, I found it pulled at my shoulders at a weird angle. I actually really liked the chest or sternum strap as it was easy to latch and you could change the height of the strap to the most comfortable position. Unfortunately, there was nothing securing the strap to the bag and I lost it somewhere in Barcelona. Without a chest strap, the bag became more uncomfortable. Worse than having a sternum strap that fell off, I was disappointed there was no waist strap at all on the backpack. The bag would have been much more comfortable as it would have helped take the pull off my shoulders.
The Everyday Backpack had no problem with my 15.6 inch laptop as it has a dedicated laptop pocket. This worked great for normal use, but when my bag was stuffed full for the plane, I had a lot of difficulty shoving the laptop all the way to the bottom as the inside of the bag would be pressed too tightly against the pocket.
Comfort and organization were the two big downfalls for me with the Everyday Backpack. I addressed the organizational shortcoming above in discussing the Flexfold Dividers. In the end, the main compartment of the bag was just too open to organize. The side pockets helped a lot with all the small items, but there was no way to organize gear well in the main compartment without having fall together. I think it would work better with larger equipment than my mirrorless gear. However, I don’t think the bag is designed for big gear given the tripod attachment, size of the bag and other factors.
With all the innovation and great features of this bag, I thought it would be the perfect backpack. I have talked to lots of photographers that believe this is the perfect backpack too. However, it just did not work for me. Perhaps it is my body frame, or that I used it during a grueling 16-day Europe trip with lots of walking and little sleep, but it was not comfortable enough for me.
If you are willing to look past the problems I had with it because of all the great features and the hordes of photographers that disagree with me, you can find the Everyday Backpack on at Peak Design.
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