TL;DR : Peak Design Everyday Backpack Zip is a perfect fit for my daily commutes on an urban environment, on public transports or on my bike. It carries all my essentials as well as my computer gear flawlessly. It doesn’t perform as well as my camera bag, though. Loaded with a similar setup, my photo gear feels more secure and accessible in the Everyday Backpack v1.
I love bags
I’ve used and enjoyed a number of messenger bags and backpacks from Timbuktu and Tom Bihn and I’m always on the lookout for something new.
Up until last October, my daily carry and preferred photo and travel bag was Peak Design’s Everyday Backpack 20L v1 (EBv1). I used it on my daily commutes, as well as on my holidays and travels, through sun, rain and snow.
I was intrigued to discover if this new model could replace my beloved EBv1. The single closing zip seemed like an interesting and pragmatic idea. After 8 months of usage, here are a few thoughts.
I’ve used this backpack on a daily basis, in an urban environment, daily commutes on my bike, hiking in the mountains and now that we can travel again, in planes and ferries, hiking in the Greek sun and lying on sand beaches by the sea.
The overall build quality is very good. It feels lighter than my previous backpack, the seams and zippers are fantastic, its waterproof shell has kept my gear nice and dry. Correctly loaded, it stands up straight and doesn’t topple on one side or another. The bottom of the bag is reinforced and feels sturdy.
I felt immediately at home as its design is an iteration of its predecessor, but with a few significant differences.
The top and side handles feel strong and secure, and the shoulder straps rotate nicely like on the EBv1. The sternum strap works just the same too. But somehow, they don’t feel as sturdy. The material feels a little thinner and makes me wonder if it won’t wear out quicker. Especially on the inner sides of the straps. Exposure to sand, salt and heat seems to accelerate the process.
The exterior expandable pockets are amazing. You can carry a 2-litre water bottle or two 750 ml bottle in the same pocket. A big plus from the EBv1 where they tended to be just a bit tight depending on what you wished to carry.
The luggage handle passthrough is so handy, just as it is on the EBv1. On planes, it fits neatly under the seat in front of you, but without the compression the EBv1 has, takes up a little more vertical space. Remember to face it downwards, with the shoulder straps crossed on top.
The main difference, is the single zipper and its usage. It serves to access the bag’s content from the top, as well as from the sides. The EBv1 zippers are only used to access the bag from the sides.
Make sure to secure the bottom zippers if you are spending time on beaches, as it can be a point of ingress.
Closing the back pocket can be tricky when the bag is loaded and you are holding it by its top handle. The zip gets caught when you try to close the bag. You need to relieve the pressure by putting the bag down in order to align the zippers. This doesn’t happen if the bag is on your shoulder or when you hold it by a side handle.
The 20 L volume is always available. There is no compression strategy like on the EBv1, which has its pro and cons. There is a handy little zipper pocket at the top.
This bag comes with 2 internal FlexFold dividers instead of 3 on the EBv1. I only recently found this made a difference as the bag is lighter and more supple, it flexes much more. A 3rd divider might give it more robustness. The new FlexFold doesn’t seem as rigid either (and is called Everyday Bag Divider. My camera setup doesn’t work too well in this bag. I found the dividers give in and unfold too easily to the weight of my camera body, which never happened with the EBv1.
I set the dividers to host my DSLR body with a small prime lens mounted on one side (3 quarters of the width) and store 2 prime lenses on the other side (1 quarter of width). If both sides aren’t full, this setup doesn’t work. I found workarounds by storing my kit bag, headphone case or a notebook to fill the void when just carrying my camera body with a single lens. The dividers and the body of the bag feel sturdier on the EBv1. I’ll buy a 3rd divider when I get home. This might help mitigate this issue.
I love the external cinch straps that can be used to fix and carry a wide palette of different gear, from wet sandy towels to 4 strings kites and tripods. Easy to clip and unclip.
The inner side pockets are different. Only the content of the lower pocket can be closed with a zip. The EBv1 entire side content is behind a zip. The top section has a small magnet to clip the pocket to the back. Depending on what you store there, it might slide out into the main bag area. I prefer the EBZ take when using the bag in an urban daily commute, and the EBv1 solution when travelling for my camera accessories. Depends.
I love the additional tablet sleeve, and the way it closes with that satisfying click. I don’t often carry my 13” MacBook Pro and my iPad together, but it happens a couple of times a month. I mostly have my iPad Pro 11” with me. There’s room for storing a not-too-thick A4 documents, which is always handy. The EBv1 back pocket is narrower and a bit tighter.
The top soft pocket is super handy to store your phone, external battery or whatever. Two small pockets help you organise your smaller gear too. Beware that the more things your store there, the bigger the inner bulge in the main compartment will be. No miracle here.
The little anchor link is now on an elastic tether and easier to get hold of without removing the bag from your back.
The bag feels comfortable on your back, and, as on all of PD’s bags, it’s easy to find the right fit, whatever the clothes you are wearing.
Fun fact: the shoulder straps have started to squeak when I hike in the heat for more than 30 minutes in the heat. That never happened with the EBv1.
When the backpack is snug against your back, the shoulder straps dangle and get in the way of your arms. It would be nice if we could fix them through a loop in a similar fashion as the cinch straps. The EBv1 has a similar problem.
I love both bags, and I think they fill different needs in my life. The EBZ is a perfect fit for my daily commutes on an urban environment, on public transports or on my bike. It carries all my essentials as well as my computer gear flawlessly. It doesn’t perform as well as the EBv1 as my camera bag, though. With a similar setup, my photo gear feels more secure in the EBv1. I still need to test the setup with a 3rd divider (ordered at the time of writing).
If I had to keep only one, it would be the Everyday Backpack (v1), but as I don’t, I have the best of both worlds.