Finding the perfect bag to take on a trip has never been an easy task for me. I want to carry my camera gear, clothes, toiletries, and my laptop too; along with all of the necessary cables and cords I’ll need for that trip. I’ve used several bags over the past few years, from the TYLT Energi to Peak Design’s Everyday Backpack 30L, Messenger Bag 15, and even the WaterField’s Air Porter.
Each serves a purpose unique to itself: the Messenger Bag 15 is great for carrying one camera body and a few lenses along with a laptop, the Everyday Backpack 30L is an awesome bag to carry tons of stuff, though it’s not super comfy. The Air Porter is an awesome laptop bag with plenty of room to carry other tech items, like my Switch. But, in the past, I’ve always had to carry multiple bags when going on a weekend vacation or convention. That all changed with the Peak Design Travel Backpack.
Nomad Base Station
The Peak Design Travel Backpack I received has the following accessories: a small camera cube, tech pouch, a packing cube, and the wash pouch. I didn’t have the shoe pouch or a larger camera cube to test, but you can guess what those would do.
At first, I wasn’t sure the small camera cube would work for me. I just changed cameras and switched from the Panasonic Lumix G7 + Canon T3i to a Sony a6500. With the change in camera bodies, I picked up a few new lenses and reused some old ones. In my camera cube, I have the a6500 body, Sony’s 18-105mm f/4 lens, the Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 lens with Metabones adapter, a Sigma 17-50 f/2.8 lens, and a few prime lenses.
All of that fits perfectly into the small camera cube and is fantastic if I just want to grab that and go. I know when grabbing the cube I have just about everything I’ll need for a shoot, outside of tripods, extra batteries, and extra SD cards, but those are simple to slip in my pocket or carry next to me.
I was very surprised with the tech pouch, which holds the following: a Lightning to USB-A cable, Lightning to USB-C, Apple Watch charger, USB-C to Ethernet/USB 3.0 adapter, Ethernet cable, SD card holder, an a6500 dual battery charger, three a6500 batteries, Anker’s PowerPort+ 5 with USB-C, the Logitech MX Anywhere 2, multiple other USB cables and dongles, as well as the HyperDrive Solo USB-C adapter. That’s right, all of that fits into the tech pouch and is the perfect on-the-go companion, making sure I have everything I need for any cable situation.
The wash pouch is great for keeping toiletries and essentials in. I have everything I’ll need to an overnight (or even multi-night) stay in here, including shaving cream, razors, toothbrush, body wash, and more. It all fits into this convenient pack that can either sit on a counter or hangs from a bar.
The last accessory we’ll look into before diving into why I love this bag so much is the packing cube. This cube is great for a change of clothes for an overnight trip. I recently went to Orlando, FL for a one-night stay and brought just the Travel Backpack with me, and fit everything I needed. The packing cube is perfect for a single change of clothes and keeps everything neat and tidy.
I have a…love/hate relationship with the Peak Design Travel Backpack. This bag is awesome for weekend trips and is great for a videographer or photographer. The internal cube system is awesome for organizing things, and the external features are numerous (I’ll go into detail later on that). The price of this bag, however, will put it out of the reach of many. As kitted out above, my Travel Backpack would cost around $600 or so in retail pricing, and a similar setup (with a few more additions) will run you $429 while the Kickstarter is still live (ends September 20th).
The Peak Design Travel Backpack has an internal capacity of 45L, which is 15L more than Peak’s previous Everyday Backpack 30L. Peak said that this bag will still work as a carry-on for most airlines, even when full, which also makes it perfect for business trips.
When it comes to accessing the internals, there are a few ways to do this, but only one I’d really recommend. Every time I get into the Travel Backpack, it’s through the back of the bag. This is the easiest method, and the best, in this writer’s opinion. You can access it from either side, or even the front, but both of those will be a bit more convoluted than using the rear hatch.
Speaking of the sides, on each you’ll find a pocket that can hold a tripod, water bottle, or anything you try to stuff in there. Each side also has a carrying handle should you want to transport the bag that way, instead of carrying like a regular backpack.
On the rear, there are a few nifty things tucked away. You can hide the straps behind magnetic flaps, turning the backpack into more of a duffle-style bag, or in those flaps there are even body straps to wrap around your waist, alleviating some of the strain a heavy backpack can normally cause.
You’ll find many hidden compartments around the bag like this. On the front of the Travel Backpack, there is a large zipper compartment, which I found great for transporting books, larger chargers that I couldn’t fit into the tech pouch, and other odds and ends. There are multiple smaller zippered compartments up here as well, keeping you organized. Also, you can choose to unzip the front completely and gain internal access to the Travel Backpack, which could be useful on an airplane or train when it’s not easy to flip the entire back around to access the back.
Inside of the bag, there are multiple tie-down points where you can secure the different pouches so they don’t shift in transit. If you plan to access the Travel Backpack from the rear and rear only and want the cubes to stay put, this is an awesome feature. You can be sure that nothing will shift during flight, and everything will make the trip just as safe as you do.
One last mention of storage on this bag. You’ll be able to store a full-sized 15-inch laptop as well as a tablet, ensuring that you can easily carry everything needed when traveling. I kept my Razer Blade Stealth in the laptop compartment and had more than enough room to fit at least one more laptop, and a tablet should I need to.
This bag really checks 99% of my wants or desires when looking for a weekend bag that caters to techy people. It has plenty of room to store everything, looks great, and makes things easy to stay organized. The only downside, design-wise, that I could find was the amount of padding on the straps. It’s more than the Everyday Backpack 30L, which is great because that bag gave my shoulders bruises like you wouldn’t believe during CES 2018, but it’s not quite where I’d want it to be.
The only other downside is the price. Most people have a hard time spending $250 on a backpack, let alone $400, or even $600. Compared to some high-end carry-on luggage, the Peak Design Travel Backpack isn’t outrageously priced. When you compare it to other camera bags or backpacks, however, it does find itself near the top of the pricing category. Peak wanted to offer a dual-purpose bag here, one that would be an awesome carry-on bag for flights, and also one that can hold all of your tech without problems.
If you plan to get the Travel Backpack, now’s your chance as the company’s Kickstarter ends on September 20th, so enjoy the savings while you can. Peak Design already has many bags in production and has told me that delivery in time for the holidays is just about guaranteed.