Behind the Screens: Peak Design’s 45L Travel Backpack is my new favorite travel solution after a CES trip

The new year is here, and that means we’re kicking things off yet again with CES. This is my fourth year attending the show, and I’ve had the pleasure of testing out some great new gear on my trip. Here’s how the Peak Design 45L Travel Backpack helped me manage the insanity of the show floor.

For CES 2019, I decided to see if I could manage to pack “light.” That meant on the flight to and from Las Vegas, I only carried two bags – the Peak Design Travel Backpack and a Tylt Energi Pro. The Travel Backpack is specifically designed to be the right size for a carry-on bag, and it fits that purpose very well if you ask me.

Peak Design’s 45L Travel Backpack

With a whopping 45L of carrying capacity, this thing is absolutely a monster, but in a good way. That excess capacity made it easy to cram a week’s worth of clothing as well as my camera gear (more on that in a minute) and some other assorted items such as toiletries and more.

Once I hit Vegas, I transitioned the bag from carrying clothes to solely my gear for the show floor. That included a tripod mounted to the outside of the bag with an external pocket and strap (pictured below), as well as housing my laptop and tablet.

For a laptop, I used Huawei’s Matebook X Pro and it powered through plenty of photo and video edits over the week, as well as an episode of Alphabet Scoop. For the tablet, I used an Apple iPad Pro 10.5 with the keyboard attachment. Both of these easily slipped into the laptop pocket at the very back of the Peak Design Travel Backpack, and it was a breeze to grab them on a whim.

The real star of this bag, though, are the assorted “cubes” that are available for it. Without any installed, the 45L capacity is essentially like a duffel bag. It works, but with the cubes you’ll be able to organize better. In my case, I used the tech pouch and the small camera cube primarily, and they worked great.

The Tech Pouch

The Peak Design Tech Pouch is something I think a lot of people will find handy on a long trip. This accessory makes it ridiculously easy to house all of your charging cables, battery banks, and dongles in one secure location. It opens in an origami style with several pockets in the center, and a few more on the edges too. It really is easy to keep things organized with this product.

The Camera Cube

The real star of the show for me, though, has been the Peak Design Camera Cube. After it’s been attached inside of the bag, it sits right alongside the side access zipper and is incredibly easy to access on the go. A quick swivel of the bag on my shoulder gives me access to my Sony A7iii without taking the entire bag off of my back.

Despite being the “small” option, I was easily able to fit the A7iii and the attached Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 lens which is no small option. The camera cube also has dividers inside which provided a safe place to store my 5-inch field monitor, some extra batteries, and the extra cables and adapters I needed for the setup.

What’s more, the camera cube doesn’t have to be used with the travel backpack. After unclipping it from the bag, I can easily use it as a day bag for going out on a photoshoot. Honestly, it’s by far the best part of Peak Design’s new gear.

To attach the bag, you’ll use four clips on the inside. It’s a bit of a pain to setup, but it works crazy well. Simply slipping them in attaches the cube securely within the bag. It’s hard to describe this in words, so you can check out Peak Design’s tutorial to see it for yourself.

Final Thoughts

To hit on a few points that I haven’t before now. The Peak Design Travel Backpack has a ton of handy features built-in. There are hidden straps basically everywhere, including a chest strap and waist strap. Unfortunately, the chest strap did end up falling off after the first day of CES.

As for comfort, this bag is surprisingly great. After everything was packed up, I was carrying a minimum 30 pounds each day on the show floor. In any other bag, that would have been pure torture. With the Travel Backpack, though, it was bearable. I’ll still have sore shoulders once home, but it was far better than I expected.

Overall, Peak Design simply has a winner with the 45L Travel Backpack. It’s rather pricey at $299 without any of the packing cubes. However, I can honestly say it’s worth the money. This bag is very well-made and is basically perfect for travel. If you take a lot of trips that are a day or so, look no further.

If you want a bit more in-depth look into what the Travel Backpack offers, Peak Design has a great series of videos available, and Patrick Campanale also took a closer look at the bag last year.

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