Friday, November 4, 2016

Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L Review

     A few days ago, I refreshed my inbox on my iPhone.  I couldn't believe my eyes.  I knew Peak Design was planning to ship earlier than their initial projection of early December, but the email said that my order had already shipped - and that I was getting my backpack the very next day.  I jumped for joy inside, and pretty much was like a kid waiting for Christmas morning.  

     I'll admit it (and anyone that knows me, knows this to be true) - I'm a total bag whore connoisseur.  I like all kinds of bags, ranging from handbags to camera bags.  Basically, if it'll hold my stuff, I'll like it. I was more excited to get this Everyday Backpack than I was when buying Louis Vuitton or Chanel.  That's right, I just said that. :-O

     I won't bore you with the details of the bag, because you can find all the details and see videos of the bag here on the Peak Design website.  These are only my initial impressions and thoughts about the bag compared to what I've seen or read about the bag on the internet and through their Kickstarter campaign.  

     Here it is in all its glory.  I ordered the 20L.  I am 5'1" on a good day, and my first reaction upon seeing the size of the bag was - wow, that is a bigger bag than I was expecting!  It now made perfect sense to me why they encouraged people who were taller than 5'10" to get the 30L.  I think the 30L would be far too big on me.  Despite it being bigger than expected in person, I was excited that I could pack a whole lotta everything into it.  Bonus points to the Peak Design people for shipping their products using environmentally friendly packaging that uses less materials, and can be recycled!

*All photos taken with my Canon G7x.

     When I first inspected the bag, I was SO impressed by the manufacturing of it.  They did an AMAZING job in their choice of materials, and definitely delivered an exceptionally well-made bag.  The pictures/videos on the internet don't even do this bag justice.  Honestly, I am surprised they didn't charge more for it in their Kickstarter campaign!  Haha, I'm just kidding - please don't raise the price, Peak Design!  I may need that ash colored one with the tan accents. :) 

     There are three access points to the bag's interior - two dual zip access points on the sides and the mag latch system in the top compartment.  This is just genius.  I've thought of this idea before (because I have time to think about bag design ya know), but I knew it'd be hard to keep a backpack aesthetically pleasing when introducing dual side access points.  The zippers are strong and sturdy.  They open and close smoothly, but don't feel cheap or loose/flimsy.  

     Each side access panel has an inner zipped compartment.  The material they used on it feels buttery smooth and soft.  The best description I could come up with for the feel of this material is to imagine a super thin smooth neoprene (wet suit material).  It is sturdy, but also stretches.  My only concern here was whether the material would continue to be stretchy, or if it would sag over time and daily use.  Imagine if you had a nice tight pair of leggings, but over time and washing, it becomes stretched out and saggy.  Although, in the worst case scenario, even if it stretched out, the material would still be fully functional. 

     I plan on using one of the side access zipped pockets for batteries and memory cards. 

     I cannot wait to use this bag for travel.  Each of the dual zippers has a security feature to deter pick pocketing.  Seriously. So much thought was put into this bag!

     I decided to put some of my lenses into the side access points to show how they compare to the size of the bag.  There is still room for the lenses to move around in.  I can see some people complaining about this.  I know other bags use dividers that are much more padded to protect the lenses, but to be honest, that's actually a pet peeve of mine when it comes to padding.  The flex fold dividers Peak Design came up with are so well made.  They are attached by velcro to the back panel and front panel of the backpack.  The velcro is strong.  I definitely have no concerns about the dividers coming loose and my things falling around inside.  The flex fold dividers also allow me to pack my lenses in various ways.  You can place them in vertically or horizontally.  I was also able to fold down the middle panel and have a little compartment just for my computer mouse inside. 

     In my other side access zipped pocket is an Anker battery pack, a Lara bar, and some Fuji Instax film.

     The Peak Design website says the 20L can hold up to a 15" laptop.  My laptop is decently thin, and is 15.6".  I was able to make it fit.  However, when I used the separate compartment above my laptop (see below) for my iPad mini, the bag felt too tightly packed.  I was okay with this since I was just happy my 15.6" computer fit in the laptop sleeve.  I could easily place my iPad mini inside the main compartment.

     There is a small pocket with a magnetic closure at the top of the mag latch hooks.  I placed a Canon 5d mark III battery charger in there to show its size.  It will easily fit a regular sized wallet. 

     The mag latch system is everything Peak Design says it is.  It's a very interesting way to open and close the top compartment.  I quite enjoyed playing with the magnetic closure.  For those of you worried about it opening on its own, no need to worry.  It clicks into place and won't open unless you pull down on the latch.  My only suggestion to Peak Design would've been to make the latch into a functional bottle opener. :) 

     Here is a look inside the top compartment.  From here, you can see one of the flex fold dividers, as well as the side access panel pockets.  This acts as a great way to separate some personal items, and the camera gear at the bottom of the backpack.

     On both sides of the side access panels is a stretchy pocket to hold a water bottle, accessories, or even a tripod.  There is also a very sturdy handle.  The handle feels like dense memory foam coated with seat belt material.  I know that wounds weird, but I assure you, it feels strong and sturdy.  I love that I could grab this bag from the sides or from the top since it has this handle at the top access as well.

     When companies make bags and backpacks, one of my biggest pet peeves is they don't incorporate a luggage pass through.  Peak design incorporated this into their back panel cushioning.  It allows for greater air flow, while at the same time acting as a luggage pass through.  The straps on the the backpack are not overly puffy, but padded enough to be comfortable.  The straps also rotate to adjust to your size.  

     The photo below is the backpack with all the items shown below inside.  By the way, I STILL had more room for a light jacket, and even more accessories!

Inside, I was able to fit my:
  • 15.6" laptop
  • 16-35 f2.8
  • 135 f2
  • 50 f1.2
  • 35 f1.4
  • 28 f1.8
  • Anker battery pack
  • two backup batteries
  • CF/SD card holder
  • Lara bar
  • my old Canon 5d body (#hoarder)
  • lens cloth
  • mefoto mini tripod

     I can't wait to actually take this bag out and use it.  It's the perfect blend of stylish, yet totally functional/practical in every way. I really could've used this bag when I had my 24 hours in the Bay Area fiasco! :) 

     Once I've had a chance to actually use this bag in the field, I'll post an updated review!  Thanks for reading!  Please feel free to leave any questions/comments below!


  1. Hi Soupy,
    I am 5' tall and also ordered 20L backpack. Could you take a photo of yourself with the backpack on your back? Thanks!

  2. Hi Kim! I have a blog post with me wearing the backpack coming up very soon! :)

  3. Maybe you're not a professional or business man that's okay also because briefcases are also made to serve the average male as well BriefcaseBash

  4. This bag looks cool and can carry quite a lot I might say. I would definitely add this to my list of camera bags to check out. Thanks.

    1. I've bought this same backpack three times (different colors). I can definitely vouch that it's one of the best (if not THE best) camera backpack out on the market. That being said, I'm interested in what may top it in the future! :)

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