Outbound Reviewed: Peak Design Travel Backpack

An all-in-one travel pack with genius design.

If my travels to all seven continents during the 2017 calendar year doesn’t make it crystal clear, I travel a ton for my work as a freelance photographer. So when I heard that Peak Design -- an all-star brand whose products I’ve frequently used for years -- was coming out with an all-new Travel line, I knew I had to get my hands on one of their new backpacks.

Between out-of-state travel for both work and pleasure, I recently got the chance to test out Peak Design’s new 45L Travel Backpack. (I got it in black color, although sage is another option.) In addition to the backpack itself, I also tested out the packing cubes, tech pouch, wash pouch, camera cube, and shoe pouch.

Despite high expectations, it exceeded them and more. Here are my findings:

The Good

Given the genius design of this pack, there are too many “pros” to list in full. The biggest pro, in my view, is this backpack’s all-in-one capabilities. In other words, for someone like myself who rarely if ever travels with fewer than two or three bags, this backpack makes one-bag travel possible. (In fact, for perhaps the first time in my life, I traveled with one bag (this pack) as part of a multi-day travel. No management of multiple bags, no waiting at baggage claim. Almost impossibly, it seems to carry everything in an organized fashion. And it is carry-on approved at its normal state (35L). If needed it can be expanded to 45L capacity.

The pack’s outer shell material is weatherproof nylon canvas (with waterproof zippers). Being from rainy Seattle, and an avid outdoor-goer, this is music to my ears. Additionally, the main exterior material is made from recycled plastics, which I’m a huge fan of.


Unlike Peak Design’s earlier Everyday backpack line, this 45L Travel Backpack has a back zip which provides easy, wide-open access to the pack’s main compartment. As a photographer, I’ve been using the customizable camera cubes, which use a clip-in mount system to stay put (or be easily removed).

When I want to store the pack in a trunk or set it aside with minimalist straps hanging off it, I use the built-in “stowage” for the shoulder straps and waist belt, which is pretty much magic.

The soft-lined top pouch is my go-to spot for keys, cards, and small nicknacks. The expanding side pockets are clutch for my trusty water bottle, or anything I want to stuff away with ease.

I’m always working on my 15” laptop, which fits well into the laptop/tablet pocket.


The Bad

I guess the only concrete “con” is how you may have to wait a little longer to get your hands on one of these backpacks -- given how the Kickstarter campaign is only just now wrapping up.

The Verdict

In a product category you’d suspect has zero room for innovation and improvement, Peak Design has done it again and raised the bar. This Travel Backpack is so many good things: accessible, customizable, expandable, compatible, convenient. It will surely become my go-to, all-in-one pack for all my travel, whether or not I’m with all my professional camera gear or rather my personal gear. I couldn’t more highly recommend this backpack.

Published: October 15, 2018

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Scott KranzExplorer

Seattle

Full-time commercial and editorial photographer specializing in outdoor sports, lifestyle, landscapes, and travel photography.