Fingers frozen atop the icy, slippery mountain. Sweltering heat and permeating humidity, soaking through the pores on my skin. Shots in a moment presenting themselves in glimpsing fashion, teasing a draw with the first to wince. There’s a fine line between being in the moment and being too late that leaves little to no room for error. Thus, the Peak Design Everyday Backpack 30L stands up to the occasion to defy extremities, demonstrating durability, accessibility and versatility that you don’t have to compromise on.
The Peak Design Everyday Backpack 30L excels in accessibility, durability and versatility. Designed to be secure yet not buried under countless compartments, it makes the inner bag accessible from most fronts. Swing your bag to its side while on your back. Unzip the compartment for full-bright visibility, or lift the maglock lid by pulling down and out for access from the top.
When it comes to pulling out my drone or my mirrorless camera, this is one of the best in the business. Like a standoff, I can quickdraw my camera from the Everyday Backpack with such ease, that it leaves photographers reaching deep into the abyss of unorganised backpacks. It’s a fast, quick backpack that lets you carry on walking while sifting through your gear. This works because the shoulder straps can adjust at will for a tight or loose fit. For those that want to keep on the move and explore the wilderness, this backpack is agile.
This thing is waterproof and really durable. I’ve been through heavy downpours, gusty winds and bitter colds and its withstood them all. I’ve always felt confident with my gear secure and organised even when hiking or jogging – I’ve also had no problem putting this down on rocks, sand, grasslands… even accidental puddles of water. The bottom layer has extra padding and a more durable texture as you find yourself placing it down from time to time.
For storage, It has smart compartments and pockets built away from the main compartment while accessible in their own right. Unzipping the internal portion of the sides reveal different sized slots fit for camera batteries, drone propellers, hard drive or a notepad and pen. The left side of the Peak Design Everyday Backpack 30L contain 2 medium pockets and 2 large pockets, while the right side exchanges these for 3 small pockets and 2 medium, but long pockets. The range of pockets leave a lot to the imagination in what it can fit.. Trust me, it can fit most things without the bulk.
In terms of materials, you’ll find no detail amiss – the inner materials are strong, but soft and relatively smooth to the touch. The zippers are rugged for the most aggressive of motions, with the exterior ones presented in a leather trim. Though not the most secure when it comes to anti-theft features available, it does enough to resist any attempts by locking the outer zippers to corner loops to deter. Enough for you to spot it and react before anything is taken which is a plus.
It’s always difficult to find the right balance between something accessible yet secure minded as design tends to result in compromises. I found Peak Design made a sound decision as I’ve taken my Peak Design Everyday Backpack 30L in the crowded streets of Kowloon in Hong Kong with no worries whatsoever.
The main maglock mechanism looks simple, but embodies that same balance between access and security. An added layer to opening the top lid makes it a little more secure yet easy to open at will. It allows 4 levels of expansion at the top when you need to really pack your backpack up (which I’ve also done a few times).
A crumple zone of sorts allow that extra expansion at the top when needed, and crumple inwards when not. It works well though find really packing it exposes items where the lid is stretched beyond coverage. These are rare exceptions but did leave me a bit more conscious of pushing it to the limit.
I’m happy to say the unique origami inspired dividers have held up over the 2 years and regular folds and subfolds over time. They’ve been the best part about the Peak Design Everyday Backpack 30L, mainly because it freely opens up possibilities how you can pack different items when you need to. Small accessories like chargers, lenses or pieces of clothing can be sectioned into a small cub, while tall items like a water bottle can occupy one side with the divider fully folded inwards for space across dividers.
I’ve packed clothes, shoes, cameras, drone, my drone goggles, food and such inside and always found a way to put them all together. Then the best part is seeing all of them accessible from the side when I want to. Anyone who enjoys being free-flowing and efficient will love the Peak Design Everyday Backpack 30L for this.
You can also organise the inside with packing cubes, pouches etc too if say one section for clothing, one for tech accessories and another for field/ off the grid essentials.
I travel a lot with my laptop so having a separate zipped compartment from the top makes taking out and putting away my laptop a breeze. The 30L fits up to a 15″ with ease and space to spare. There’s a slight divider if you wish to separate documents or bring a tablet with you too which is also nice. The inner material is scratch-friendly with good shock proofing should you find your bag drop from a height.
Then you have a shallower open pocket in the same zipped compartment which I use for quick access to my portable charger, travel wallet if I’m flying or personal hygiene essentials. So as a backpack for storing equipment, it’s very impressive. Clever storage options, quick to access and robust to use in the most taxing of situations.
But how did it fare when it comes to wearing it for a full day, fully loaded and on a hike? Decent to carry, but on many occasions hard on the shoulders and back. If you have a full load including a laptop, it can be pretty forceful on the back as it pushes into your body. Not overtly, but over time you notice and it has strained on times. Then you have the relatively weighty footprint of the backpack itself which comes to 1.5kg as the starting weight. That’s something I think many can overlook (including me) for the versatility, but something I find less forgiving are the shoulder straps.
The Peak Design Everyday Backpack 30L just not that comfortable on a fully loaded setup. I’m very tolerant so have dealt with sore shoulders on my shoulders hiking for hours, carrying it in the urban cities because I just have this pushing yourself mantra. But for the average person, you’ll want to give your shoulders a rest quite often if you want to avoid neck sores, shoulder sores and pain.
The included chest strap you can attach alleviates this to some degree, but not wholly. While well-padded, it doesn’t stop the weight burdening the shoulders and I find the material not that breathable , often resulting in sweat strap patches on a tight setup. Same goes for the back, the rear panels not breathable enough to allow moisture and air to vent into your back unless you loosen up the straps.
If I’m critical about this, it’s because this is a great backpack. It really is. But having worn it as a daily carry in the sweltering heat and humidity of Hong Kong and 7 months in Asia, as an active explorer, it’s important to highlight this. I would still happily wear the Peak Design Everyday Backpack again, but can say it definitely isn’t the most comfortable to wear over a long period under a heavy load. Medium and light loads however, it’s a much better and lighter experience.
Bringing it all together and this is one well-crafted backpack. I can bring my mirrorless, an extra lens, drone with all the essentials and accessories with my tripod on one side and a flat water pouch in the other. If there is ever such a thing, this would be very close to tech / gear bliss.
Since I travel and create content majority of the time on my own, being self-sufficient is important with the shots I want to take. And over the 7 months of my 9 month Asia tour I used this as my daily driver, I give sizable credit to the Peak design Everyday Backpack 30L in allowing me to achieve that. My journey to being as minimal and efficient without compromise continues on, but this was a major milestone in defining that for me.
Time is of the essence in the world of photography and exploration. I like to stay light on my feet but with the array of equipment still on-hand. The need for something to withstand the elements that you put your body through, keeping your equipment safe yet agile for access is paramount. The Peak Design Everyday Backpack 30L gives extra breathing space for longer stints of exploration or diversity in equipment to make sure you perform as you expect of yourself. I’m left no divider unfolded, no zipper closed to know it’s one of the best of the bunch in handling even the most of the extremities as an adventurer, a photographer and an everyday walker. It’s got it all.