Allow me to set the scene: You’re in Port Townsend, Washington, for the weekend. After a remote meeting in the morning, you’re eager to hike with your drone and long lens and capture the wild and craggy beauty of Olympic National Park, and then sip a beer by the water. And you will! Just as soon as you dig the rental car keys out of the bottom of your bag…
You don’t have time rummage around for the essentials. You know it, and Peak Design knows it. The Everyday Backpack 30L is a chic and understated, endlessly adaptable and easy-to-use pack that can go everywhere you go, from the woods, to the office, to the bar. And it’s designed to let you grab things quickly and without fuss.
I tested the bag by packing for several different scenarios: A work and gym commute; going to a music festival; and bringing laptops, DSLR, and notebooks on a business trip. In each scenario, the bag was able to accommodate an astonishing amount of gear. The romantically-inclined should take note: It’s the perfect size for two bottles of wine, a small cooler tote, a jacket, two roll-up camp chairs, and even a woolen blanket (I strapped it to the front).
Peak Design Everyday Backpack 30L
FlexFold dividers are easy to use. Pickpocket-proof button zipper pulls. Synthetic canvas exterior with nubuck leather looks super classy. Cleaned up nicely with a wet rag, even when I (deliberately) spilled coffee all over the interior. Lifetime warranty.
Not comfortable for extended hikes. Would be nice if Capture clip for a camera was included.
Side zips open completely, allowing you to access each segment of the bag’s main compartment. Three FlexFold dividers separate, protect and organize different pieces of gear. Each divider attaches via Velcro to the bag’s interior, and you can manipulate their shape to fit multiple cameras or simply segregate your stinky running shoes from your lunch.
A dedicated tablet and laptop zip-top sleeve, lined with soft felt, on the bag’s back makes electronics easily accessible. Although the bag looks stiff-sided, the exterior side pockets stretch enough to accommodate items as large as a rolled-up yoga mat. The interior panels in both side zips have embedded pockets that are perfect for organizing random detritus like spare camera batteries, lip balms, or headphones.
Thoughtful design details made the bag much easier to use. For example, quick-release loops on the arm straps let me swiftly loosen one just far enough to swing the bag around and get out my keys or wallet while standing or walking. The patent-pending MagLatch on the bag’s top closure is quiet and designed to be operated one-handed, as is the bag’s chest strap. I didn’t even know I wanted to drink coffee while clipping my chest strap, until this bag let me do so. All the straps on the Everyday Backpack slip into pockets, preserving the bag’s streamlined look when not in use.
I did have a few quibbles. If you’re under 5’4” and enjoy flexing your lower back as you walk, a bag height of 20 inches is too tall (the smaller 20L size is two inches shorter and will be a better fit). Other choices indicated that the bag is probably not the best choice for super burly adventures. The hip strap has no padding and even on this very short-torsoed tester, clipped awkwardly just under my ribcage. Just unclip it entirely and be done with it.
The oversized (but stylish!) rivets added unnecessary weight, and vulnerable zippers on the bag’s bottom corners seem doomed to blow out over time. And depending on how long you’re outside, you may be gambling with your computer (and hence, your life) since the bag’s laptop compartment opens directly up to the sky. Especially here in the rainy Pacific Northwest, that’s a pretty iffy proposition if the zipper leaks in a downpour.
Finally, the arm straps are extremely stiff. I reached out to Peak Design, who said that the straps are designed to be rigid to provide greater stability for their Capture system, which allows photographers to clip their cameras directly to each strap for quick access. That may be so, but my shoulders hurt after carrying a fully-loaded pack for an hour.
But for anything besides the burliest of adventuresome explorers, the Everyday Backpack is a solid, if pricey, go-to. Throw in a Capture clip and this bag becomes as perfect for photo hikes as it is for business trips.
And since it’s designed to be freestanding, you can use it as a footrest up while you’re lounging at the terminal! What more can you ask of a bag, than to solve problems you didn’t even know you had? With the Peak Design Everyday Backpack, you can kick your feet up and relax, knowing everything is safely pocketed and right where you left it.
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