Peak Design Everyday Backpack hands-on: Intelligent design, flexible compartmentalization, and quick access

The Peak Design Everyday Backpack checks all the boxes for a multi-purpose backpack while offering an optimal experience for the photographer.

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Image: Peak Design

In order to hold my camera securely to my backpack on hikes to Mount Rainier, I purchased a Peak Design Capture clip, and it works perfectly. When I heard that Peak Design also had gear bags, I sought to find out more about its offerings.

Peak Design recently launched its Everday Backpack as a Kickstarter campaign. The Peak Design folks sent along a 30-liter size for me to test, and it has served as my primary bag for more than a month. It's available now for $289.95 in two color options.

While one of the primary purposes of the Everyday Backpack is to carry loads of gear for photographers, the innovative FlexFold dividers let you customize the internal compartment arrangement to fill a number of purposes. I have a rather small Olympus camera, but no lenses or other gear, so I use the backpack to carry mobile devices, my lunch, and more.

The backpack comes in charcoal or ash colors, with the charcoal one being sent to test. You can also purchase it in a 20-liter size or 30-liter size, with the larger 30-liter size being my test case. The 30-liter size weighs just 3.4lbs. Even the larger 30-liter size is designed to be carried under your seat in an airplane, so feel free to travel with it.

The outside material is a waxed Kodra synthetic canvas that has a DWR (durable water repellent) coating for weatherproof carry. I live in Washington State and wear the backpack regularly in a light drizzle for my walks in the morning and afternoon.

Peak Design has a unique closure mechanism for the primary compartment, called MagLatch. You can unlatch or secure it with one hand through the use of ladder lock points and a magnet. It's quite slick and adjusts to the amount of gear you are carrying.

After opening up the main compartment, you will find a small magnetically sealed flat pocket on the back side (useful for a phone, wallet, or documents). I place my passport and business cards in this pocket.

The large main compartment can be subdivided through the use of three included Flexfold dividers. They have very strong Velcro sides, with a unique foldable system to create distinct compartments in your backpack. While the intent is that photographers create compartments for different lenses, batteries, etc., I used it to create a phone area, camera area, and lunch area for my daily commute.

One of the most interesting parts of the backpack to me is the side pocket design. Each side of the backpack is secured through zippers, with useful anti-theft zipper design, so that both sides completely open up for full access. This is extremely handy when using the internal pockets for gear you want stored low but cannot get to unless you move the Flexfold dividers.

These large, side-access flaps also contain several pockets behind zippers. You can use these for more phones, gear, batteries, cables, business cards, pens, notebooks, and more.

There are also outside pockets, with no closure devices, on the outer portion of these side flaps. One contains a key ring-securing lanyard with a handy dongle that makes attaching and removing your keys very quick and easy. You can place a tripod or bottle of water in these side compartments.

In addition to a top handle, there are also side handles, so you can carry the bag sideways if that works better for your content arrangement. Moving it sideways also lets you then slip it over your rolling luggage with the opening along the back to slide down on your luggage handle.

The chest straps are comfortable and easy to adjust. There is an interesting sternum strap that lets you attach and release it with one hand while also preventing a bunch of dangling straps. The bag is very comfortable, even with a load of gear.

The Everyday Backpack is also designed to support external carry of gear, including a drone. Long compression straps are stowed up under the back compartment, which can then be used to secure gear to the back of the backpack. There are six attachment points on the back for flexibility in strapping down your gear.

It's wonderful to use a backpack that is comfortable and doesn't have a ton of wasted pockets or features. I love the flexibility to change the entire large compartment, safely carry a laptop and tablet away from other gear, and access everything quickly and easily. The side handles and full zippered side access is an awesome feature that makes the bag very useful for photographers switching lenses out all the time.

I used to carry my homemade lunch in a plastic grocery bag and try not to forget it on the train. With the Peak Design Everyday Backpack, I can carry all of my mobile gear and my lunch in different sections of the primary compartment.

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