Peak Design creates a set of staple and highly regarded bags and accessories, set for any day shoot.
Bags are problems for photographers. Often, many considerations makes simple choices into headaches. Size, weight, and shape, all effect how we carry our gear, which is directly proportional to how happy we are.
If anything is off, it creates waves of inconvenience down the road, which is why Peak Design specifically sought out to make an everyday messenger bag for photographers. Not only this, but they’ve been pumping out some hardcore accessories that all work in ecosystem with one another.
Do they succeed? Appropriately enough, it’s a bit of a ‘mixed bag’ for me.
Everyday Messenger Bag + Field Pouch
With an almost infinitely customizable main compartment, if the Everyday Messenger Bag does one thing well, its lugging your gear. This bag is huge on the inside. Every time I used it, I felt I could keep stuffing in more and I still haven’t figured out its max capacity.
Easily handling two full-frame DSLRs, plus room for a long lens, accessories, a laptop, and the kitchen sink, it surely impressed me with its cavernous capacity. The fun part here is versatility. On some days I had photo gear, others I had a sack lunch and plethora else. On one occasion, I slipped in two M-Audio monitor speakers and all the included connectors/adapters for a presentation. There’s even a spot for your tripod/monopod, what can’t it fit?!
Being adaptable is, in part, thanks to the futuristic and foldable dividers. Even set in place, they can be geometrically molded to better suit different sizes of odds and ends you might be throwing in. GoPros, smaller lenses, etc, are secure, then again, so is everything else. I’m tempted to make the bold statement that Peak Design may have cornered the market on the next wave of photo organization.
With that, there’s a spot for almost anything you need in this bag. While the list is seeming endless, a great variety of pocket options are sure to fit your everyday carry doo-dads. From memory cards, to business cards, everything has a space.
With as much organization comes a slight burden. At a certain point, I love simplicity, and the Everyday Messenger may be over the top on some ends. Zippers here, pockets there, compartments everywhere. That isn’t to say they don’t serve a purpose, just that at a certain point, I personally, don’t need as many. In some cases I think one might do, rather than two.
That being said, I’d be highly curious to see what happened if the designer scaled down some organization and relied more on clever solutions like the versatile Field Pouch. With or without the messenger bag, the Pouch is able to scale with how much you put in it.
Great for power accessories, cords, maybe a small camera, it has attachment points for the Peak Design series of straps, making it a trooper and transformer. I found myself using it for larger items I needed to organize, but couldn’t find a great spot in the bag itself.
My biggest issue with the messenger is the strap. Everything else seemed designed with so much forethought and detail, the strap felt like an afterthought. Of course, this is my personal preference, but I can’t understand the need for a slippery shoulder strap. (Peak Design states the slipperiness is intended for users to be able to quickly bring the bag to the front of the body for access to gear.) Unless I have a heavy load in the bag, I’m constantly adjusting for a better fit.
Yes, there is a rubberized surface on the outer, and the manual instructs users to flip upside down, but at that point it looks like you’re wearing the bag wrong. With as fashionable as the bag is, I can’t imagine a user wanting to mar the great looks but wearing an inside-out strap.
Should this prevent you from purchasing? It’s hard to say. Such a great bag shouldn’t be held down but a possibly minor irk, and sticky surfaces can be purchased for the underside to keep from sliding off.
The main take away is that for $250, you get a bag that’s exploding with features, nooks and crannies, stuff you wouldn’t imagine and will be surprised at. I don’t even have room for all the things I wanted to write about. Add to that, durability, smart design, with sharp looks and this messenger bag surely deserves the praise its been given.
These guys did the smart thing in making nearly all of their accessories completely compatible with flagship products and the CapturePRO Clip is one great example.
Burly and heavy duty, the unique clip easily screws to the underside of your camera and quick releases from wherever you can mount the clip onto. I’ll be honest, the concept is still scary to me. You are fully trusting the locking mechanism to hold (it does!), but foolishness and gravity have tested me many times in the past.
I’ve been assured by other reviews and the short time I’ve used the CapturePRO that it does not release unless you press the button.
Apparently I like to wear things the wrong way. I was informed by Peak Design that the clip usually faces the opposite direction that made most sense to me, so that you lift the mount up vs. down. This makes the clip much more secure.
From Peak Design… “Even if you accidentally press the button before you have a firm grip on your camera, it will stay securely in place.” Thanks guys!
Other than that, the unit is made of heavy metal to assure a solid hitch to your also heavy camera. It’s a totally convenient way of having your hands free, but camera ready at a moments notice. At $80, it will be well worth it for anyone who manages many tasks and changes gear often, but no convenient place to put a camera, other than the floor.
For a messenger bag, the clip systems works extremely well, without the weight feeling like too much on one side. For me, I felt slightly off wearing it on a backpack, schlepping the DSLR off one side and no counterweight on the other. Again, another one of my picky tendencies.
All in all, Peak Design manages to create a great set of photo accessories that work extremely well with each other. Sure, they might be on the pricey side, but what photography gear isn’t? At the very least you get well-made stuff that looks sharp. A few minor annoyances do get in the way, though that doesn’t keep the overall feeling down.
Do make sure to at least check out Peak Design. In addition to products, they like to show everything off in style, so colorful and bold photos abound!
Extra special thanks to friend Brandon Darnell for helping out with a few of the images.
Disclosure – I received these products from Peak Design for the purposes of review. All opinions are my own and honest.