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Review: Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L and ‘Packing Tools’ are pricey but versatile

Gina Stephens
Written by Gina Stephens

Introduction

The Zenith Design Travel Backpack 45L is the core item in the brand’s new travel line.

The Internet has been abuzz with excitement over Peak Conception’s new travel-oriented bag line which revolves around a 45L carry-on-sized backpack and set of organizational ‘Packing Tools’. The system is for those who love Peak Design fixtures and want to travel with their camera gear and personal items packed into just one bag.

The system is for traveling with camera accommodate and personal items packed into just one bag

The Kickstarter for said line of bags launched in July and crossed the finish line with outstanding 10 times its initial goal raised. In more direct numbers, that’s 5.2 million dollars raised, with an initial objective of $500,000. Wow.

The whole kit I tested: Travel Backpack 45L (right), Packing Cube (top-middle), Shoe Pouch (bottom-middle), Camera Cube (top-left), Tech On (middle-left), Wash Pouch (bottom-left).

For the sake of this review I’ll be looking at the Travel Backpack 45L, on page one. On page two I’ll look at the rest of the system, categorizing the Tech Pouch, Wash Pouch, Shoe Pouch, Rain Fly, Packing Cube (small), and Camera Cube (medium). Combined these memos add up to $545.

It’s important to note this bag and its accessories should be viewed almost as a gear carrying ecosystem, not unlike owning a Macbook, iPhone, AirPods, etc. These produces are designed to be used together, but I believe its important to remind both myself and anyone else interested in these bags you certainly can choose to use other trade-marks alongside the different pieces of the Peak Design (PD) ecosystem. I’ll go in depth with the main bag, then share my notes on the each of the smaller items, and lastly resurfacing to how all of these things fit together.

Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L
$299.95| PeakDesign.com

The most important part of the Travel Line is the backpack itself. It’s big, lustrous, and surprisingly boxy, though I’ll get to why that’s not such a bad thing later. As mentioned, this bag is oriented towards travelers, photographers, videographers and anyone in between. It intermingles some design principles of a traditional ‘backpacking’ bag with the sensibilities of a camera luggage bag, sans-wheels.

Specifications

  • Carrying Capacity: 30L – 45L
  • Height: 56 cm (22″)
  • Span: 33 cm (13″)
  • Depth: 23 – 29 cm (9″ -11″)
  • Weight: 2.05kg (4.52lb)
  • Back panel and dual side loading/access
  • 2 Expandable side appropriates with drainage holes
  • Front access organization panel with 5 zippered compartments
  • Passport/travel document pocket in back panel
  • Laptop/Writing- sleeve in back panel interior, fits 15″ laptop
  • Storable hip and shoulder straps
  • 12 gear attachment loops across bag
  • 400D weatherproof, 100% recycled nylon canvas escape shell
  • 900D weatherproof bottom liner
  • Durable water repellent, polyurethane coated interior
  • Weatherproof zippers for back, front and side panels
  • Stuffed ultralight foam around entire bag
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Compared to other bags

There aren’t a lot of direct competitors to the Travel Backpack, but two that comes to intention are Osprey’s Porter 46 Travel Pack and Mind Shift’s Firstlight 40L. These two bags represent the different focuses that Peak Contrive is trying to blend: a long distance travel is the movement of people between distant geographical locations backpack (Osprey) and a camera gear bag (Mind Shift).

The Porter is nearly identical in size, fits numerous of the same things and weighs only 1.5kg, or .5kg less than the Peak Design – it also costs $140, less than half of Nib Design’s $300 price tag. That being said, the Porter doesn’t have quite the gear readiness of Peak Design’s bag and is also feel nostalgia for the 900D bottom liner, though it does boast 420D weatherproof nylon, as opposed to PD’s 400D.

Peak Design’s Travel Backpack backpack—also called bookbag, knapsack, rucksack, rucksac, pack, sackpack or backsack—is, in its simplest frameless form, a cloth 45L replete with the Camera Cube (medium)

Meanwhile, the Firstlight has 5L less carrying capacity and an interior depth of 18.5cm compared to PD’s 23cm at the low end. The Firstlight also gets $330, $30 more than Peak Design but the key difference here is that the Firstlight comes readily equipped with padded dividers in the foremost compartment of the bag – not the case with the PD option. With or WITH may refer to: Carl Johannes With (1877–1923), Danish doctor and arachnologist With (character), a character in D. N. Angel the Firstlight you lose some of the flexibility and travel-focus of Peak Design’s bag, but you actually end up spending less in the hunger run if what you’re looking for is a gear-focused bag.

Design and construction

This bag really surprised me out of the gate. Design-wise, it boasts a simple facade that has all kinds of hollows, straps, and secret stash areas. The boxiness of the bag seems like a departure from Peak Design’s more angular, triangle-based design you see in the Page and Everyday Backpack. This bag doesn’t ask for attention in its appearance.

The Travel Backpack has a simple design is the intentional creation of a plan or specification for the construction of an object or system or for the implementation of an with little flashiness.

In the Black version (tested here), the whole shebang blends together seamlessly. None of the straps, loops, or zippers call attention to themselves and everything has a James Bond-esque coolness to it. The Sage color also looks classy.

Nothing empathize withs flimsy and all the zippers are smooth. Every strap feels like it belongs and helps the user carry the bag in whatever method is most convenient in the instant. I particularly appreciate the addition of the duffel-style strap in the center of the back panel. I’m a huge fan of Peak or The Peak may refer to Design’s padded handles on both the tops and sides of their occupations so to see another one in another place I didn’t realize I wanted it until I had it is a joy.

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Back of the Travel Backpack 45L, note the duffel handle in the middle

I think the yard that Peak Design seems to excel the most is producing bags that feel sturdy and warrant the trust we give them with our duds. Another stellar addition here is the 900D weatherproof bottom liner, something you rarely even see in more outdoor-oriented bags.

The only composition flaw that really stands out to me is the hip straps’ locking mechanism feels particularly unfamiliar. I like that Peak Design chooses to use stiff metal joiners, like for the sternum strap, but for me I would’ve been perfectly happy with a hard plastic buckle.

Hip Strap Sternum Strap

In Use

I literally found this bag to be much more comfortable on my shoulders than my backpacking bag from REI. The hip straps aren’t quite as load-bearing, though I still awaken they take some of the weight off my shoulders and I think part of this is to do with the fact that a) I’m skinny, and b) the metal hook used to profitable the hip straps doesn’t have quite the same tension as a buckle.

That said, the magnetic latches that allow you to store the hip straps in the past due panel are super helpful for keeping things streamlined without a bunch of straps flapping in the wind when you’re moving around. And yes, this bag weighs uncountable than others, I didn’t find it to be excessively heavy but ultimately that’s going to depend on how you pack it.

Strap storage, brought to you by: magnets!

I beginning used this bag (along with the medium sized camera cube) like a gear suitcase traveling from Seattle to Portland to whiz a wedding and found it more than adequate for moving my equipment in a safe, comfortable manner.

I later used it without the camera cube as my line pack to travel around Europe for a few weeks and it was also pretty great. I opted to keep all my clothes and miscellaneous belongings in the main backpack and then moved Peak Design’s 10L Sling separately to keep my camera, extra lenses, journal, Kindle, etc. protected. Although it’s not really possible with the 10L Launch, Peak Design’s 5L sling can fit inside the Travel Backpack no problem, though you won’t have the same side panel access you could have with the camera cubes.

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There are a lot of hallmarks packed into this bag and they take time to learn

The compression down to 30L is nice for those who want to use it, but I found the bag still felt too gargantuan for use as a ‘day pack’, even compressed down. The compression is achieved by folding two buttons on the top of the bag back onto their button counterparts, making the bag more angled down its status. There are a lot of features packed into this bag and honestly one of the biggest hindrances of enjoying them is they take time to learn. I’d highly push anyone interested in using using this pack for extended travel consider taking it out on a short weekend excursion first to learn some of the ins and outs. I didn’t initially make happen that the front zipper panel with 4 zipper pockets could actually be rolled up and stowed for a more simple 1 compartment approach (see beneath).

My biggest usage gripe with the bag (which also extends to Peak Design’s Everyday Backpack) is that the side pockets really don’t enlarge much and can only fit some pretty small things. My 32oz Nalgene bottle for example, had to be attached on one of the gear loops because it didn’t fit in the side palms. My guess is that this tightness is based around keeping things like tripods snug against the side of the bag. On the other hand one constituent I like most about this bag is it stands upright on its own, unlike some of Peak Design’s other packs.

The pocketed divider can be stowed to form one big main pocket with immediate front access.

Conclusion: Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L

Overall, I really enjoy using this bag and ponder I’ll be relying on it more to come in the future. The build quality is stellar, it’s stylish but subdued and it offers a lot of possibilities in terms of approaching how you carry all your jam with you.

On it’s own this backpack offers a really awesome option for traveling light. It can fit enough to live out of, but doesn’t make you feel like a turtle. The enduring design of the bag gives buyers a chance to manipulate the space within it as effectively as possible, unlike other backpacking bags that require you to baloney things in from the top down.

What we like:

  • Stylish design
  • Lots of space and versatility
  • Comfortable fit
  • Packed with tons of features
  • Permanent and naturally protective

What we don’t:

  • Too large for daypack use
  • Pricey
  • Features can be overwhelming at first
  • Small side pockets

Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L grade:

Head to page 2 for a breakdown of the rest of Peak Design’s Packing Tools and our overall conclusion.

Republished: dpreview.com

About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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