When I – with the same pride as a cat who presents a dead mouse to its owner – brought home yet another camera bag and showed it to my partner, a very patient and loving woman, I felt that she was not as impressed as she was with the first ten camera bags I bought. However, being a perceptive woman with a heart of gold, she sensed my eagerness and asked “What does this one do then?”.
Out of the many backpacks I already own, only one of them is good enough to use: the Lowepro Protactic 450AW. This is one ruggedly handsome backpack which can take a ton of gear and is comfortable to wear for long periods of time. It is my go to bag for most of my shoots. Although its size is what I bought it for, it is also what prevents me from using it as an every day bag. As a photographer, I want to have a camera with me pretty much all the day but my back problems prevent me from using a sling or messenger bag. What I needed was a smaller sized backpack, with the same durability as my Lowepro, but with a look more suitable to the city commute. It only needs to hold one camera body (X-Pro2) with one lens and have a laptop compartment for a 15″ laptop. If I could also fit another two primes it would be golden.
The Everyday Backpack (20L) by Peak Design certainly seemed like a good fit for my requirements, and since they have already made a very well received bag I felt confident they would come through and backed them on Kickstarter without hesitation. Christmas came very early to London when I was selected by Peak Design as one of the 500 backers to receive a bag early to test whether their logistics were firmly in place. The bag arrived a week before a planned trip to visit my sister in the south of Sweden, which was the perfect opportunity for a field test of my new toy. I spent 3 days in Malmo and one in Copenhagen together with the Everyday Backpack.
The aim was to travel as light as possible as I knew we would be spending the days walking around exploring Malmo or Copenhagen. The subject matter I would focus on would be seascape, cityscape, architecture and long exposures. I took the following with me:
- Fuji X-Pro2 Body
- Fujinon XF 16-55
- Fujinon XF 10-24
- Lee Filters Holder
- Various Lee Filter filters 🙂
- X100s (carried it for my partner during the flying)
- MeFoto BackPacker tripod
- Bits and bobs, lens cleaner kit, spare battery and memory cards
- SpiderLight Handstrap
- Tiny torch
The Everyday Backpack swallowed all this without a problem. My X-Pro2 with the 16-55mm lens attached to it fit perfectly. I did remove one of the origami dividers as I felt I only needed two to form three compartments. The camera with the lens went in the bottom compartment and the spare lens along with the X100S and the filters went in the very top compartment. The MeFoto BackPacker tripod attached to the side of the backpack with one leg inside one of the pockets and I then used the straps to attach it. There are lots of handy straps on this backpack for attaching/securing your kit.
The smaller kit (batteries, cards, etc) all went into side pockets on the inside of the bag. These side pockets are on the inside of the side lids on both sides of the bag and cover the entire side. They are opened with a zipper and have a handful of smaller compartments none of which have a zipper, a feature which would have been good for small things like memory cards.
I felt there was room to spare after I fit all my kit, not a lot but I could have also fitted a 35mm lens for instance and maybe a small flash. The Everyday Backpack is pretty roomy for a small bag.
During our holiday we spent roughly 6-7 hours a day walking around, with plenty of coffee breaks, and throughout the day the backpack was comfortable to wear. The Everyday Backpack has both a waist strap and a chest strap, which are easy to adjust and allows for a very snug carrying experience. It is the same with the shoulder straps which are very easy to adjust in the same fashion as the other straps. Ideally I would have liked the waist strap to be broader but it was fine as a smaller bag means a lighter load.
Even though the waist strap was easy to adjust, it was perhaps too easy as the buckle had a tendency to travel from its mid starting position to all the way to the left. As I pulled on the left strap to shorten it the right strap extended. So far this is my only criticism and not a big deal.
The Everyday Backpack is packed full of all sorts of features meant to make our lives easier. I will go through the ones I found the most useful, but there could be quite a few I don’t even know about.
Quick Access Release – This is my favorite feature and one of the reasons I got the back. The shoulder straps have a quick release feature which allows you to quickly (relatively) swing the bag around your shoulder by loosening one of the shoulder straps.
Origami Dividers – The dividers can be folded in all sorts of ways creating more compartments. I did not really need this much during my trip but in the middle compartment where I had a lens and a X100s I managed to create a new pocket to separate the two.
Big Side Pockets – On both sides of the bag you have a generous pocket for water bottles or tripod legs, which came in very handy.
Straps – Each of the big side pockets has a strap inside of it which you can use to secure items to your bag. I used this to make sure the tripod stayed in place and I also attached a little pillow on the back of the bag. The pillow is for my dodgy back when I fly. The seats are not very comfortable.
Zipper Locks – I did not actually use this, but I thought it was a nifty feature. To protect yourself against pickpockets you can ‘lock’ the zippers, which should be enough to prevent anyone from quickly opening your bag.
I highly recommend the Everyday Backpack as a bag for the photographer who does not need to bring a lot of gear, or who wants to bring their camera with them on a daily basis. It looks great, it is super practical and most importantly very comfortable to wear. Treat yourselves this Christmas, you won’t regret it.