This year we’re seen some pretty exciting releases from camera gear companies. I think we’re getting to a point where another major breakthrough is going to happen with cameras. But right along the big camera brands, we also have companies like MindShift Gear, Peak Design, and others who push the status quo of the typical camera bag. I’ve read this somewhere, but it’s 100% true – the key to success is to know how to evolve a brand. I think Peak Design so far has been doing it really well.
They just funded a series of new bags, which in some ways you don’t really have to call camera bags. They are more of everyday all around bags that can also store and protect your cameras. Out of the lineup, I picked what seemed most interesting to me to review – the Everyday Tote. Backpacks are fun, but I wanted something different to have in my hands.
I went with the ash color, looks more pleasing to me and a bit more upbeat I guess. It’s not the first bag by Peak Design that I review. So I’m pretty familiar with the new FlexFold divider insert system they came up with and just overall design direction and aesthetic. There is a lot of thought process and knowing what you want when bags like these are made. Don’t expect Horween leather on these or waxed canvas. That’s not Peak Design. And that’s also the cool part about them that they have this niche and a very precise and distinct choice of materials.
Alright, onto the bag itself. Here is my first confession – I don’t like female camera bags. I am more of a messenger or unisex bag person. I always think purses are made for other things and it’s just a hassle to try to use a bag for something it is not, even when there are camera pads inside. So I got this tote knowing my prejudice towards such bags.
The bag looks pretty big and it’s quite deep as well. On the outside, there is the front pocket that can store quite a bit but the bag will then look a bit odd. So I chose to put just a bit in there to preserve the overall design. The shoulder straps are long enough and the bag sits comfortably next to my body. Even when fully loaded with a laptop and a tablet inside and two camera bodies, the bag is still not feeling like a rock. There is a luggage handle insert, so if you travel a lot, this bag can just be attached to your carry-on.
The top has a series of magnets that keep it locked up. There is no zipper, so you can’t really go in water with this bag, but for any mellow rain the bag will do just fine because of the shape of the main top area. You’ll see on the photos, it’s always turned to one side, so it’s not easy to get water and dust in there when magnets are locked.
Both sides of the bag have magnets at the top and zippers going all the way to the bottom of the bag. This creates two dedicated camera compartments that can store Sony A7RII with 24-70 FE 4.0 attached. I don’t think bigger lenses on the body will fit in there, probably nothing like a super telephoto lens. These side compartments are pretty easy to get into, but you’ll have to bend a little to see what you’re doing because the bag is deep. I like the fact that each of these sides has an independent entry. I could access it all from the top, but I rarely found myself doing that.
The internal FlexFold dividers are great as always. They’re slim, sturdy and protective, quite versatile for the most part, and have a very cool design. You can completely remove them and the tote will just become a normal tote. You get two dividers included with the bag and that’s all you really need. The dividers have these “cup” sections up top, they can fit my Sony RX100IV with no problems. They’re nice to carry small items like USB power pack, keys, and other small items that you want to have super quick access to.
Inside of the bag is also in light grey color, which makes it easier to find stuff inside compared to black bags. There are little stretch pockets for batteries, memory cards, or coins. Basically whatever you want to store there that’s small. There are a few bigger pockets, my Moleskine small reporter fits inside. In the middle there is an open area and you can put battery cases in there, a sweater, water bottle, and so on. I wouldn’t say there is a ton of space inside when you have dividers inside, but it’s still enough for everyday use.
The biggest problem with female camera bags, and often with bags in general, is how long it takes you to get used to them. It’s a new placement of pockets, and a new way you need to pick up a bag too. Some bags are super easy to get used to, others just don’t really become a part of my routine. I’m sure a lot of photographers feel the same. This Peak Design Everyday Tote is like a perfect pair of jeans that look and fit awesome from the start. I don’t say this about many bags, and Everyday Messenger that I reviewed a few months ago was awesome, but not really the bag for me that blended in with my flow right away. Well, this tote did. I’ve been using it for about a month now before even starting to write this review. So I’m not saying all this lightly.
Visually, everyone will need to decide if this look is for them. It’s kind of a mix of outdoor and cycling with some very modern materials. I found myself enjoying the look and it kind of fit nicely with how I dress and what I carry with me. I also think this is my favorite bag for weekend travels when I need to walk around the city and also have my laptop with me for the trip. The one thing I didn’t like much is how the divider cups unfold to make cameras visible from the top. This usually requires both hands and at least a few tries to get it right. This probably sounds like a minor drawback, but for me that’s the only one that stood out. I haven’t tried to carry this bag as a backpack, but it’s possible. I’m not sure it will be very comfortable, but it’s an option.
Overall, this bag is super easy to get used to, carries cameras securely without our usual desire to stuff all gear we have inside of a bag, and is ergonomically one of the best bags I’ve used. You’ll need to get used to the techy modern look of this tote, but Peak Design once again released a super solid lineup of products that will start shipping soon.