If there is one way to identify a journalist at a car event or auto show, it has to be by the large backpack and/or hard-shell suitcases carrying photography equipment. Over the years, the video and photo equipment have gone through downsizing and the need of large hard-shell suitcases has diminished. Now what you’ll mostly need is a versatile camera bag that can be more than just an equipment hauler. We’ve tried several bags in the past, including multiple backpacks, but none of them have really checked all of our boxes — durability, versatility, construction and fashionable.
Meet the Peak Design, a company based in San Francisco who started its life as a Kickstarter campaign before launching one of the best products on the market. The company ultimately raised $6,565,782 from 26,359 backers to produce it, and almost $7 million more on Indiegogo in the form of preorders.
Every one of Peak’s products are available in Ash and Charcoal colors. The Ash with its blue accents and brown leather combination resembles the interior of a BMW i3, and often I’ve been asked if it was made by Peak Design for BMW. The Everyday Backpack is available in 20-liter ($260) and 30-liter ($290) sizes. I’m testing the 20L model, which I think is the ideal size for a primary-use gear bag.
At this size, I can comfortably carry a MacBook Pro 13 inch (can fit up to 15 inch laptop), an iPad Air, an Olympus OEM-D1 mirrorless camera, a Nikon D7000 DSLR with a wide lens, a DXONE camera, a USB battery pack, an audio recorder, a variety of chargers, adapters and cables, a Zhiyun Smooth 3 Gimbal, a pair of Bose headphones, sunglasses, pens, drugs of the legal kind, wallet and water bottle. Yes, that’s what a car journalist has to haul around to get the job done.
By our standards, that’s quite a lot of gear to fit into a single backpack, without stretching out the bag.
But the EveryDay backpack is not just about photography aficionados. You can use it as a dedicated gear bag, as a gym bag – by removing the compartments inside – and as a regular laptop bag. The 20L backpack came with three Flex-Fold dividers, which can be completely removed from the bag to create larger compartments, or folded up to create dedicated storage areas for lenses, cameras, or other items. Measuring 33 x 51 x 59 cm (13 x 20 x 23 in) and with a naked weight of 1,542 g (3.4 lb) even the large 30 L Everyday Backpack is approved for carry-on by major airlines.
If you own a Capture Clip, you can clip it onto the shoulder strap so another camera could be added to the gear bag.
The best thing about the Everyday Backpack is the ease of access — between the MagLatch at the top and the two zippered panels along the side, you can reach into the Everyday Backpack from basically any direction. Like all the Peak Design bags, the straps are neatly tucked and hidden away.
There are also inside zipper compartments where you can store additional items, like passport or credit cards. Two pairs of webbing straps with G-hooks can be found in the side pockets and you can use these to carry yoga mats and similar large objects. At the top of the bag, there is a weatherproof zipper that gives you access to not only the laptop compartment but also to a waterproof small pocket.
With all that gear inside the bag, a set of wide and comfortable straps are much needed. The straps are integrated with a swivel which allows you to swing the bag around so you can access the contents without ever taking off the backpack. This is likely the best feature when you’re on the go at at a race track and you need to change lenses quickly. And, of course, the EveryDay backpack is water-resistant so your gear stays protected even when you’re outside shooting in pouring rain.
We’ve used the EveryDay Backpage 20 L at several events this year, including auto shows, test drives, location photoshoots, 24 hrs Le Mans Racing and many overseas trips where it served mostly as a sneakers bag.
The Everyday Backpack is a great work of design and engineering, and one that proved to be extremely versatile, regardless of the use case.