Review: Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L

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If you’re on the hunt for a stylish camera backpack, look no further than the Peak Design Everyday Backpack. Peak Design is well known for supplying photography accessories that not only look good but function extraordinarily well. The Everyday Backpack is no exception.

Despite being designed for photographers, the Everyday Backpack doesn’t look like a camera bag. This acts as both a deterrent to potential thieves, but also makes the backpack great for use even if you’re not intending to fill it with camera gear.

There are many reasons to use the Everyday Backpack, but unfortunately, it’s far from perfect. In fact, there are some quirks that could make an unideal bag for you. Read on for my take on what’s great about this bag, and what needs to be improved.

Peak Design Everyday Backpack Camera Laptop Bag - woman with backpack on

Why the Everyday Backpack?

First off, here’s how this backpack ended up in my camera bag collection. I’ve spent 7 years carrying my camera gear in a Think Tank Retrospective Messenger Bag and hauling a separate laptop bag. It was a lot to carry, and I wanted to consolidate my gear into a single bag. A backpack was key to balance weight, but most backpacks are too bulky.

Until recently, the InCase DSLR Pro Backpack had been my camera and laptop backpack of choice. It’s incredibly comfortable and spacious and was great when I was shooting primarily with Canon DSLRs. But when I switched to Sony mirrorless cameras, I wanted a smaller backpack. Enter Peak Design!

Here’s a quick video overview.

Pros

Stylish Design

True to its name, this backpack is full of stylish design touches that truly stand out. Composed of several different materials including leather handles, anodized aluminum clips, and weather-resistant fabric, there is lots of visual appeal to the Everyday Backpack.

During my one month of traveling with this backpack from California to Florida, I’ve had multiple people stop me on the street just to inquire about the bag.

Peak Design Everyday Backpack Camera Laptop Bag

Sturdy, weather-resistant material

The Everyday Backpack is composed mainly of a weatherproof nylon canvas shell. It’s a nicely textured fabric, and it’s available in four different colors (black, tan, ash and charcoal). The two zippered side pockets are also reinforced with weatherproofing material, preventing liquid from entering. As a result, this bag is reasonably weatherproof without having to put a protective coat on it.

Flexible dividers for safely stowing gear

Inside the backpack are three of Peak Design’s FlexFold Dividers. These unique dividers aren’t flimsy like the ones you find in most camera bags. Instead, the FlexFold dividers are quite rigid, giving you peace of mind that your gear is being protected and not rattling around when being transported. Best of all, these dividers can also fold down to secure your gear and give you an added layer of space for stowing extras such as a small monopod or tripod.

Peak Design Everyday Backpack Camera Laptop Bag

Side zippers for easy access to gear

Unlike conventional backpacks that only give you access from the top, the Everyday Backpack gives you three points of entry. You can access your stuff from the top via the MagLatch flap, or from the two zippered side flaps.

This helps you better organize your gear and find it without having to rummage through the entire bag.

Peak Design Everyday Backpack Camera Laptop Bag

Lots of pockets for stowing gear

Besides the main compartment, the Everyday Backpack has several extra internal spaces. Each side flap is lined with a spacious internal pocket for storing small accessories like batteries and memory cards. Within the MagLatch flap, there’s also a small magnetized pocket that’s the perfect size for sticking your keys or wallet (be careful you don’t demagnetize your bank cards though!) for quick access.

On the outside, there’s a separate laptop compartment and two expandable side pockets. Finally, the back panel slightly detaches to allow for the backpack to slide easily onto a luggage handle, but I like using this area to secure bulky items like a reflector.

Peak Design Everyday Backpack Camera Laptop Bag

Discrete carrying straps

Thankfully, the Everyday Backpack comes with straps to help you carry heavy loads or bulky items. Specifically, there is a chest strap, waist strap, and tripod straps. All the straps are quite thin and easily tuck into the bag’s external pockets when not in use.

In practice, the chest strap does come in handy, but the waist straps are too thin and not padded, making them uncomfortable. The tripod straps are quite sturdy and reliable, but I find very few instances when I want to add the weight of a bulky tripod to this bag. More on that below.

Peak Design Everyday Backpack Camera Laptop Bag

Zippered pocket inside the side panels, very handy for small items.

Cons

All in all, the Peak Design backpack looks great and functions really well. But there are some problems that arise mainly when the bag is packed to capacity.

No wiggle room for extra gear

If you’re like me, your camera bag is often stuffed to the seams with gear. Most camera bags are built with expandable sections so you can add a few extra items to your bag. This is not the case with the Peak Design bag. It’s designed to snugly hold a set amount of gear.

From then on, there’s really no room to throw in extras. This is due mainly to the fact that the bag’s material is really rigid, probably to add support and protection to your gear but at the expense of flexibility.

The backpack is really uncomfortable when too heavy

At the expense of looking pretty, the Everyday Backpack fails at one basic thing: making the back panel and backpack straps consistently comfortable. Both the back panel padding and straps are rigid and they cut into your back and shoulders when the bag is heavy.

This isn’t a problem if the bag isn’t weighed down with tons of gear. But it’s unwearable for long periods of time when filled with too much gear.

Compromise – use this backpack with a belt pack

Since the backpack is comfortable when not packed to the brim, my compromise has been to use the backpack in conjunction with the Think Tank waist pack. The belt pack is typically what I’ll wear during shoots anyway, so I stick my extra lenses and flash in the belt pack.

My camera body, laptop, and computer accessories go into the Peak Design bag. I simply carry them both to shoots. So far it’s been a much more comfortable way to carry my gear without feeling too bulky or weighed down.

Peak Design Everyday Backpack Camera Laptop Bag

Zippers tend to slide open if not secured

Another problem that results from the backpack being too full is that the side zippers tend to slide open. Luckily, Peak Design did supply a solution. All zippers are equipped with little black loops that can connect to each other and prevent accidental spills.

Peak Design Everyday Backpack Camera Laptop Bag

Not possible to lock or secure bag when not in use

One of the key points of the Everyday Backpack is the “revolutionary closure system” called the MagLatch. According to Peak Design, it is the only bag closure system that is “no-lock, one-handed, quiet, and secure.”

In practice, the MagLatch is a unique way to quickly access to the top section of the backpack. But the fact that the MagLatch doesn’t lock makes the bag questionably secure. I wouldn’t leave this bag unattended since there’s nothing to prevent a thief from reaching in.

Peak Design Everyday Backpack Camera Laptop Bag

Expensive

At $259.00 a pop, there’s no denying that this a pricey purchase. Compared to the myriad of comparable camera laptop backpacks out there, this backpack might seem too expensive. However, the Peak Design Everyday Backpack truly has a standout design and high-quality design touches that could justify the price.

In Conclusion

The Peak Design Everyday backpack is a truly stylish bag with some great features. I use the backpack often when carrying mirrorless camera gear around and absolutely love it. But if you plan to carry heavy camera gear or stuff this bag to capacity, consider another backpack such as the Incase DSLR Pro Pack for a more comfortable experience.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Peak Design Everyday Backpack
Author Rating
3.5

Read more from our Cameras & Equipment category

Suzi Pratt is an internationally published Seattle event and food photographer. Her photos appear regularly in Eater and Getty Images. She is also a blogger who teaches others how to run a successful photography business.

  • Dale Cruse

    Thanks for this, Suzi. I live in SF & bought a Peak 20L Everyday Backpack in charcoal a while back. Great bag, but I’m a large person. I moved up to the 30L & it fits me the way I want. That means I’m selling my 20L for $200 plus shipping. I can be reached at dale.cruse@gmail.com. Thanks!

  • The reason the bag gets uncomfortable is that you don’t know how to fit it correctly. The reflector behind the lumbar support panel? That’s a big no.

  • sdreamer

    Definitely expensive, but top quality stuff. That’s pretty much the extent of it. You get a really well made backpack honestly, and I don’t think you’d regret it if you did your homework and know what you’re getting into. I had the 30L, but it was too big so I sold it, and it was top notch quality. It was really an amazing piece of backpack. I have the 10L for my EDC, and it’s really nice too, pricy, but really nice. Spend the money to get something you really like and works for you instead of just messing around with cheaper alternatives. That said, for my means of a backpack I’m looking elsewhere. The 20L is much too small. The size that it’s portrayed at is merely 12L. The 20L is if you have it on the top rung of the maglatch and at that point it almost looks comical. I imagine you could secure the front with a TSA wirelock if you leave one rung free to thread it through as a work around for the security thing. But those were the same gripes that lead me to look elsewhere. The side access, while nice, wears on it’s novelty imo. I rarely used it, I mean rarely. I tried and tried, but it just got too cumbersome imo for side access, especially when the thing is pretty darn heavy. Straps I didn’t have issues, but there are more comfortable backpacks out there that are even heavier (Boundary Supply Prima from what I’ve researched is heavy but very comfortable). I’m currently looking at The North Face for a good travel backpack and just using a Tenba camera cube because I just have a mirrorless system.

  • mtnredhed

    Got the 30L during the kickstarter. Completely underwhelmed. The straps are thin and don’t distribute weight well, the laptop pocket eats space out of the main interior and fights with your camera gear, the “shelves” aren’t nearly rigid enough. If you use the flip up and out end shelves, anything you put there will fall out when you open the side flap. The pockets in the side flaps are sewn so tight it’s tough to get anything fatter than a pen in. There are literally through holes where the zippers of the side flaps end at the top and bottom.

    The pack seems like a good idea till you fill it up with serious kit and try toting it around for a few hours. It’s an ok day pack and a near total fail as a photography backpack. For this money, Tenba, Lowe and Think Tank have much better offerings. I’ve told them as much at WPPI this spring. Whomever designed the shelves needs to find a new line of work.

  • I had the 30l it was a great bag. can’t find anything else that I like at the moment.

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