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In October 2016, Peak Design released the Everyday Backpack, a pack that has become iconic and ubiquitous among photographers and non-photographers alike. You might recognize this bag by the MagLatch and unique design that doesn’t scream, “I’m carrying tons of expensive camera gear!” Three years later, Peak Design updated its Everyday Bags to V2, and added brand new bags to the line including the Everyday Zip. In this Peak Design Everyday Backpack Zip review, I’ll discuss some of the unique features of this bag and who this bag is for.
Even though its formal name is the Peak Design Everyday Backpack Zip V2, this is the very first iteration of this backpack design. Its design borrows heavily from the original Everyday Backpack, but there are a couple of key differences. First, the Everyday Zip is only available in 20-liter or 15-liter versions, while the Everyday Backpack can be either 20 liters or 30 liters. This review is of the 20-liter version of the Everyday Zip. Second, the Everyday Zip does not have the MagLatch and instead is secured via the wrap-around zippers.
If you’re familiar with the Everyday Bags V1, here are some of the V2 changes:
I originally purchased the Everyday Backpack V1 (20L) as a daypack for shooting and working in the city. The features that most appealed to me was the ability to carry my full-frame DSLR camera, 2 lenses, and flash, plus my 15-inch MacBook Pro in a low-profile bag to fit my 5’2″ frame.
Many other camera backpacks out there are either too big and bulky or have an outdoorsy design that doesn’t fit well in corporate photography settings, which is where I often find myself. I also appreciated the fact that the bag dividers are not specific to camera gear and you can even remove them if you want to use the backpack for non-photography purposes.
If you can relate to my situation above, then the Everyday Backpack might be right for you.
Throughout my 2 years of using the Everyday Backpack V1, the main thing that I disliked about it was also its main selling point: the MagLatch.
It gives the bag a unique look and makes it very easy to access the top portion of the bag, but it was not possible to lock or secure. In many of my photography settings (corporate events), I empty my camera bag of most of its contents and walk around to shoot, while leaving the bag in a semi-secure area. Oftentimes, my laptop and a spare lens are in the bag, and it is unnerving to leave the bag unlocked. While I haven’t had the bag or its contents stolen before, I am often pushing my luck.
My hope with the Everyday Zip was that all of the big compartments could be locked and secured. While it takes a little DIY work to secure the 5 zippers on this bag, it does indeed live up to this standard.
Another great feature of the Everyday Backpacks is that you can access your camera gear (or chosen contents) via the side zippers. This means you don’t have to empty the entire contents of your bag to reach things sitting on the bottom.
Given the wrap-around zipper on the Everyday Zip, side access requires a bit more attention to detail to avoid accidentally opening your entire bag, but it is still a nice feature.
The Everyday Zip also has side pockets for stowing things like a small tripod, monopod, water bottle, etc, and a back panel for easily attaching the bag to a rolling suitcase.
There are also straps for attaching a tripod or large item to the outside of the bag, but I always find that a cumbersome and impractical way to carry a tripod.
Another selling point of the Everyday Backpacks is their ability to carry a 15″ or 16″ laptop, or so Peak Design claims. A lot of modern bags have sized down and only carry 13″ laptops or tablets. On the Everyday Zip, my 15″ MacBook Pro from 2015 fits, but it is very tight and leaves no room for adding anything else to that pocket, even though there are dividers for adding other items such as documents.
Modern laptops are getting thinner and will likely fit more easily, but be wary if you have an older computer.
The final selling point of this bag and Peak Design products in general is the overall aesthetic and attention to detail. This is a really unique and modern-looking bag with tons of storage pockets throughout. Peak Design values not wasting any space and that rings true for the Everyday Backpack Zip. It’s easy to pack this bag full and not have any loose space anywhere.
However, the maximization of space comes at a cost, which echoes my original complaints about the Everyday Backpack V1.
When filled with heavy contents, this definitely is not the most comfortable backpack out there. Sure, the bag has sternum and waist straps to distribute the weight more ergonomically, and the shoulder straps are noticeably more padded.
But the comfort problem stems from the ultra-stiff back padding, which seems to be there to allow the bag to attach to rolling luggage. This is indeed helpful if you travel a lot, and is a feature lacking on my favorite large camera backpack. But in general, this bag still feels like a pair of stilettos – you sacrifice some comfort for the sake of fashion.
Let’s end this on a positive note by talking about the real reason why I’m sticking to Peak Design: there’s a lifetime warranty on all of their products.
My Everyday Backpack V1 was a trooper for 2 years, but the zipper came apart recently, rendering the bag useless. Upon realizing there was a lifetime warranty, I contacted Peak Design via their website, and within days organized for a replacement bag to be sent my way.
I could not arrange for a new style of bag as the replacement and paid for the Everyday Zip out of my pocket. I still have a brand new version of my old bag that I can give away or sell, and I know that my Everyday Zip is covered under a similar warranty.
If you’re looking for a sleek, modern backpack to hold light camera gear and a laptop, this might be the camera bag for you. Because this bag is uniquely structured when compared to other camera backpacks on the market, it can take some time to get used to if you’re new to Peak Design backpacks.
Given its compact size, thorough utilization of space, and that lifetime warranty, this is a great bag to consider. It’s not perfect, but then again, what bag is?