I bought this bag in April 2017 and used it for the rest of 2017 on my hiking trips. I do just one day trips and then return to hotel or home, but I still carry a number of things – a full frame camera with two lenses, filters, tripod, sweater, jacket, water, food and some smaller stuff. This was becoming slightly too much for my previous Kata 3n1 30 bag (Kata was bought by Manfrotto, so they are now producing its successor), so I wanted to upgrade and eventually chosen the Peak Design Everyday Backpack 30 from several bags I have considered.
Both backpacks can be seen on the introduction picture and they seem to be similar in size, but the Everyday Backpack has large side pockets for tripod and water making it significantly larger.
You probably know a lot of details already if you are considering this backpack. I will skip the usual specification and just point out the facts which were surprising to me.
This review will sound a bit negative. I wanted to note that I already owned or still own bags from Kata, Lowepro, Vanguard and Holst (a German company, now unfortunately gone) and I had been using each of them for a long period of time, so I am comparing this bag to the others in real use. Considering the Peak Design company, I use a few other other products produced by them, mainly their Camera Capture clips, which are amazing and were able to withstand daily professional (ab)use for the last four years. I am also a fond user of their anchors and Cuff strap.
There was hype about the Everyday bag, as is usual with any other Peak Design product. But unfortunately I didn’t found the tales about “the perfect bag” to be true. I even wonder if some reviewers actually have used the bag themselves.
There are some advantages, but at the same time there are big flaws that I haven’t seen on any other bag. So let’s get to it:
Issues / disadvantages
Heavier then advertised
The Peak Design presents all the features of the bag, followed by the “naked weight” specification. The word “naked” is crucial and now I see that it means the weight without all the features that are can be removed. So without the inside dividers, without the webbing etc. making the bag unusable.
The presented “naked” weight is 1542 g (3.4 lbs), while I measured the “real” weight to be 1 950 g (4.3 lbs) – a 25 % increase.
I consider that cheating. No other manufacturer does that. And it is obvious on Amazon, where the real shipping weight is listed. The Everyday backpack is shipped in its branded heavy paper bag (measured to be around 0.6 lbs), so consider the following:
The order is weight in manufacturer specification on their website / Amazon item weight / Amazon shipping weight (in pounds):
Peak Design Everyday backpack 30L – 3.4 / 3.4 / 5.2 (i.e. 4.6 without the bag)
Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW – 5.7 / 5.6 / 5.6
Vanguard Alta Rise 48 – 4.2 / 4.2 / 4.4
Tamrac Anvil 27 Pro – 4.8 / 4.2 (?) / 5.2
Do I need to add anything here?
Straps are getting loose during a trip
The main shoulder straps and also the strap for tripod are getting longer and longer throughout the day. I need to tighten the main straps 1 or 2 times per hour. Fortunately, there is a stop at the end of the strap, so the bag cannot fall down. This issue arises from the fact, that it is designed to be unfolded intentionally very quickly by lifting the metal buckle. Unfortunately, it also releases itself when you don’t want it to.
The tripod strap behaves the same, which is even more unnerving. The tripod legs are securely put in the pocket, but its upper part is held by the strap ending with a metal buckle with a hook. Again, if you lift/tilt the buckle (not unhook it) it will quickly unfold. Unfortunately it is doing it by itself, so the tripod is getting loose and it starts to move around. After a time it feels like it would fall over my head if I bent down. I ended up disregarding the original tripod strap and sewing my own one with somewhat more complex trajectory and a standard quick release buckle, so for the last several months the tripod has been very secure.
Even the belt strap is getting loose, but it was possible to tie a knot there. Doesn’t look elegant, but works. The second issues with the belt strap is that it uses hook to operate and this hook is sometimes getting entangled with my clothing (mostly jacket’s tightening rubber band and pockets). Standard belt buckle in place of the hook would be nice.
I didn’t test the drone straps, but from my experience I would be in constant fear of drone falling down. (It is on the back side of the bag, where you cannot check it easily.)
The interior padding/dividers are innovative, but probably only really useful, if you have lenses of the right size. I would be happier with standard padding with velcro or something in between. For example, the Kata backpack has a divider with a small patch of velcro, acting like a closable pocket.
The idea of using FlexFolds to quickly chang the configuration is nice, but you can’t use it much anyway: I am reaching for my camera and lenses always from the same side of the bag. This means it is extremely difficult to fold the part of the FlexFold that is further from me (on the other side of the bag). Once it is folded and there is an item behind it, you cannot fold it back and also cannot get your item easily. That is only possible while accessing from the opposite side of the bag.
Also, you have to sacrifice one FlexFold to be a divider between your camera things and and the clothing or food above. This FlexFold be almost always be unfolded. Furthermore, if you want the bottom “shelf” to be divided, you have to place one of the FlexFold directly on the base of the bag, loosing one shelf.
Weird interior dimensions
This is related to FlexFolds. The 30L version of the bag is very deep, meaning you can store your camera easily in the landscape orientation, no need to go portrait. However, that also means that on one shelf you could almost put two lenses side by side. Since the FlexFolds have no way to secure such lens, you have to put the lens somehow askew or stuck some other items alongside the lens or, in the case of 70-200/2.8, use the tripod collar to extend the lens sideways at least a bit.
Again, one reason is that FlexFolds themselves have non-sticking surface, so you can’t attach one FlexFold to another. On the other hand, the Kata dividers are partly from stickable material allowing greater configuration.
Mediocre rain protection
There is no rain coat and the bag relies on its “water-proof” zippers. I was walking for three hours in the Alps during a rain. The bag performed acceptably, but the top zipper shown signs of leaking inside. The side zippers was a bit better (not that exposed), but there was another catch: I was shooting with my camera, which was then wet. When put inside the bag, the interior cloth (cotton?) on the sides absorbed some of the wetness and distributed it further. The other manufacturers use synthetic materials for the interior, which would be better here.
If your tripod is wet it also seems to help to get the humidity inside through pocket and the the side zipper.
Also, it you are not careful it can be raining straight into the main top compartment of the bag, so check the arrangement of the top side before going into the rain.
The main zippers are unzipping
This is not that critical, but still: The side zippers are ending near my bottom. I probably keep pushing them during my travel, so they are almost always opened a bit. But the opening process stops after a few centimeters, so no lens fall yet.
Should straps squeaks
The shoulder straps are hinged, connecting rubber to rubber, which started to make squeaky sounds.
The advantages I found are also mostly highlights from the Peak Design presentation, so you know the main points. I just point out the ones I consider interesting or important.
Huge side pockets
Tripod on one side and 1.5 liter of water on the other are easy to carry and you can still easily get inside via the huge side openings.
The top opening is easy to use and it can very quickly shrink or grow the bag, in case you take a sweater out or put it in. The bag is really spacious in the maximal configuration.
Large side handles
It is possible to carry or hold the bag rotated 90 degrees, which is almost a necessity when you need to get your camera from a bag laying on a ground.
Firm shoulder straps
They are very hard to twist, so putting the backpack on is fairly easy.
Various loops across the bag
There are various attachment points for the supplied straps. But if you need to, you can attach anything to them. For example, should you need a bigger capacity, I can imagine a jacket hanging outside.
The final word
While the bag is not bad, it is also far from perfect. Some of the issues could be resolved in version 2.0 and I am still thinking about replacing the interior FlexFold system with something else. Or replacing the bag itself, for example with Lowepro Protactic 450W, which seems to be on the similar level (while being cheaper). However, there is no perfect bag, each one has its own set of flaws. I can live with Peak Design Everyday Backpack, but I hope I will get a better bag some day.