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Peak Design Travel Backpack Review - Performance

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Peak Design Travel Backpack Handling & Performance

Peak Design has an ex-Apple designer in their arsenal, and so you'd expect them to bring their A-game when it comes to functional and innovative features. The bag is definitely unique and does offer a different take on the versatility and fundamental function of a photography bag.


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Comfort wise, the straps are quite soft and flexible, however, don't offer as much padding as we'd like to see, especially when the bag can be configured to carry a hefty amount of weight. The pivoting system is clever but it does leave you hoping that the fixtures will take the strain when hauling heavy loads. The back could also do with more padding and cushioning - there's no venting and the structure is very flat - which doesn't feel great when worn. The handle rests directly where your spine will lie and this can feel uncomfortable. The waist strap has a good level of padding around the sides and also offers a small pocket on the left-hand side for spare memory cards. 


An unusual clip system is used to secure the waist belt and chest strap, which is simple and works well. When not in use the straps clip to the bag handles, or stow into the padded part of the waist belt.



The strap-stowaway system is a great idea, despite causing comfort problems, for allowing you to carry the bag and stow it neatly without flaps flailing around everywhere. 



In terms of security, the initial reaction is that there is a hell of a lot of ways to get into this bag - through the front (if the mesh separator is stowed away) the back and each side. The side zips would be fairly accessible to malicious hands if you weren't paying attention. However, because all the modular inserts also zip up and fasten securely, you're essentially putting a bag in a bag. This makes it a lot harder to access kit in the bag unless the whole back is unzipped and the inserts are removed. The camera inserts are provided with clips which attach to the inside of the bag, stopping this from happening.  


Medium camera cube with tech pouch and small packing cube


With the large and medium camera inserts, side access to the cube as well as full u-shaped zip access along the top is provided. This allows you to line up the side access with the bag's side access to create quick access to certain elements of your kit. If you do need to go rummaging through the bag for something, it's not the quickest system to find and retrieve items from, so you'll need to weigh up if the modular system will work for you.



The bag weighs 2.05kg without any inserts - when these are added they'll eat into your weight allowance for travel, making it more difficult to take all your gear on aeroplanes without potentially having to pay extra. A tripod can be mounted to either side of the bag. Handles feel sturdy and well made, as do the loops which allow you to add straps for external carry options. The outer shell of the bag is well padded and feels tough.



The various packing tools that you can fit into the bag do offer you everything to enable you to use the bag for a trip away - with a washbag, clothing and shoe bags, tech pouch and camera cubes, most of which are available (separately) in different sizes. The problem is that you can't fit all of them in at once, so you need to compromise on what you take. The medium camera cube, for example, will only leave you with space for one other item. So you might find that you struggle to fit in everything you need. It's great that the bag can compact down to 30L for carry-on, and can expand to 45L but if you're travelling abroad, this means you'll only have the smallest capacity available to you, leaving the size versatility irrelevant. The fact that the waist and shoulder straps rotate and tuck away is handy for travel, but it can take longer than you'd like to fit everything in, which might prove problematic if trying to tuck things away in a hurry.



The Camera Cubes offer a good selection of dividers including two which have origami-like folds allowing you to create shelves to separate between smaller accessories. Dividers are ridged and have firm, memory foam style padding. The outer shell of the bag has thicker padding and everything has a soft surface which both keeps kit scratch free and allows you to attach dividers with velcro anywhere. The main entry flap folds down allowing you easy access to parts of the cube without revealing the rest of the contents. They can also be used on their own, by attaching a shoulder strap.


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Peak Design Travel Backpack & accessories SEARCH

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