Peak Design Travel Backpack Review | 30-45L Pack Perfect For One Bag Travel


– In this video, we’re
going to be taking a look at the Peak Design Travel Backpack. I’m Tom, the founder of Pack Hacker and we love helping people
optimize their travel experience with guides and reviews just like this one. So if you’re new to the
channel, consider subscribing. If you want to see more content like this, never miss an update. Let’s jump right into the
Peak Design Travel Backpack. Some really smart, innovative
thinking going on here and I’ve personally been testing this pack for three weeks and two flights. Let’s jump right in. [upbeat music playing] Oh and one more thing – one of the great things
about a pack like this, is the greater system
that comes along with it. Although it’s a little bit
too much for this video, give the first comment a thumbs up if you’d like to see an in-depth
review on the tech pouch, wash pouch, packing cubes and camera cubes that go along with the greater
Peak Design travel system. [upbeat music playing] At the time of the Kickstarter, the Peak Design Travel Backpack comes in two different colors. You have the black on black, which is the one that we’ve opted for. And they also offer it in a the sage color, which is a little bit
greener than the ash color that’s offered on the Everyday Backpack. And Peak Design definitely
releases their bags in a lot of different color ways so we’re curious to see
if they try anything a little bit later this year or early next to release the pack in
different colors, we’ll see. Each color uses the same material. It’s a 400D nylon canvas and then you have a 900D
nylon canvas at the bottom that’s going to help protect
from additional abrasions. And it has a slightly
rubbery feel to it as well. And speaking of setting your pack down, it does a great job at keeping its form even while it’s empty, due to
the high density foam padding around a lot of parts of the pack. So definitely keeps its
shape even when empty. Overall, the pack is sleek and minimal even with all the crazy
features going on inside of it. So Peak Design did a great
job of balancing aesthetic and function when it comes to this one. And of course, aesthetics
are always subjective so before this review, we
had a poll on our Instagram as we do with a lot of different bags and here are the results. If you’d like to get involved
with that for next time, be sure to go follow
@packhacker on Instagram. We’d love to have you
involved in future polls. Wrapping up the materials, there is a DWR coated polyurethane liner, aluminum hardware and on
the black version we found that the coating can scratch a little bit after a bit of use. And then there are a bunch
of zippers on this thing. Some are YKK and some are Zoom zippers. And we’re a little bit
confused with that choice. We’ve got a bit of a bone to pick with it which we’ll cover later on in this video. [upbeat music playing] All right, let’s start
with the external features going on with this pack; there’s definitely a ton going on. So let’s get started
with the harness system – one of our favorite, most
innovative pieces of the pack. All right, starting with
the shoulder straps. You have Peak Design’s
rotatable shoulder straps here. Kind of a signature
thing that they’ve done with other packs, including
their Everyday Backpack. That’s really great for getting the pack into side access mode
while you’re wearing it, as well as hiding the strap system, which we’ll get into in a second. The straps themselves offer
some high-density foam, definitely comfortable here. More comfortable than the
Peak Design Everyday Backpack; so just note that they’ve
definitely improved upon that system that they had going
on with the previous pack. And then they also feature
aluminum glide hardware on the straps themselves, which are good. At the end, we’ve got a
plastic keeper going on here. A little bit different than, most companies end up
using some kind of elastic, this one’s plastic. It can be a little bit
harder to get back on if it falls off like during transit. Probably have to take the bag off and fiddle with it a little bit. If you want to see one of our
favorite strap hiding systems, go check out the Evergoods MPL30. That thing offers really incredible ways to hide and manage excess straps. And of course we have a
detachable sternum strap here. This is stored in the permanent position. There’s also a temporary
way to store it on the side. And one little minor
detail with this is that it’s fully detachable which is great. Although it’s kind of a little bit easier to detach than we’d like to see. One side grips a little
bit harder than the other however it still comes
off a little bit easy. So that always makes us a little nervous when it’s, you know,
easy to take these off. Definitely easy to lose. Peak Design does offer
replacements on their site for like 10 or 20 bucks,
but just keep an eye on it while you’re using it and make
sure that doesn’t fall off. And then we’ve got his hideable
hip belt at the bottom here which has that signature
rotating system as well, just like the straps have. On the wearer’s left-hand side, there is a 3D stretchy
mesh-like pocket going on that’s going to work for flatter items. Even stiffer items because
there’s a little bit of give and you can still wrap
this thing around you. On the wearer’s right-hand side, you have additional attachment points for things like the field pouch and other accessories
that Peak Design sells. This hip belt is next to perfect. There’s the right amount of padding, it’s the right size and it’s stowable when you don’t want to use it. The one nitpick we’d have
is on the aluminum hardware. It takes a little bit getting used to that bouldering hook
while you’re attaching it. It’s a little bit harder
than say a plastic buckle or something like that. Once you get used to it, easy to use and just a great experience overall. Provides a nice carry. And now onto the main event. Everything on this harness
system is hideable … Fast. First, you slide the hip belt in. Then you rotate the strap
and hide that away as well. Now you’re really close to
a dangle-free experience. So you basically have no extra straps hanging off of this thing,
which is really great. And this handle here can be
used to carry it in duffel mode. Or it’s a pass through system
for your roller luggage. And while the strap is folded out, you can fold that hider flap. Gives you a little extra padding here; offers a little more airflow. Once small note here, when
you’re putting the hip belt away, make sure it’s as flat as possible ’cause you can feel it
in your back slightly as you’re carrying it around. And lastly, there’s a
luggage tag indicated by this little icon here. You can put in your information there if you ever lose your pack. One thing about this,
although it’s uglier, windowed usually works a little bit better for something like this. Or just hanging a tag
right off of your pack. You want that to be a
little bit more obvious so that a Good Samaritan
or a baggage attendant can quickly identify whose
bag this is if you lost it. And also a quick note from Peak Design, the production versions
will have Velcro here. Ours is just open and
it’s a little bit shallow. They’re going to deepen it a
little bit, add some Velcro. This is the pre-production
copy of this pack. The side water bottle
pocket here is big enough to fit your huge Nalgene bottle as well as this larger
S’well bottle that we have. And now, while this is being
used by their water bottle or tripod, this side is
going to be curved here, but one thing to note is
that there is a pocket here that’s good for hiding items of any type. So you can fit a larger
plus-size iPhone in there or just little quick grabs,
things that you want to keep away – maybe your passport, it’s a secure pocket. The zipper is pretty much hidden. But flatter items aren’t
going to work as well when you have something inside
of this water bottle pocket, so just note that. But there is a ton of expandability here. The pockets are gusseted
allowing for more room. And again, you can fit
that huge Nalgene bottle in here as well. There’s still ample space even
with this massive S’well one. There are a total of four grab handles on this pack, which we love. There’s one at the top, nicely padded. Good if you want to keep it
flush against the wall, hanging up on a hook or something – maybe in the grimy airport bathroom. You don’t have to set this thing down. Two on the side which
are good for quick grabs, although they aren’t centered so the weight’s a little bit
awkward when you grab it. Perfect for just grabbing
out of an overhead bin, but for more longer distance
carry, not quite as good. And lastly, there’s one on
the bottom here as well. Just if you want to use
to quickly grab your bag, so that’s great. Grabbable from all sides, we love that. On the front side, there’s a bit of a sneaky hidden pocket going on here. This is a magnetically closed pocket that’s going to hold lash straps. And ours didn’t come with them. We think that Peak Design
either forgot about them or on our three-week trip of testing this thing
really hard, they fell out. Hopefully that’s not the case, but I think they just
forgot to include them. So similar system that they use on the Peak Design Everyday
Backpack which we reviewed, that magnetic pocket is also great for holding a rain fly. If you get caught in
a torrential downpour, good to have that as an option for some additional weather protection on top of what Peak Design
already offers with this pack. And outside, we have a bunch
of lash tabs on the pack. There are so many configurations that can be used and
customized to hold your gear no matter what it is. Peak Design has even put
lash tabs on the interior of the water bottle pockets. Super high customizability here. Lastly, there are two compression
features on this pack. There are two zippers on
the front panel exterior to add a little bit more liter
space to that front panel. And there’s also a handy button
system that comes together, makes the pack a little bit
more slim towards the top and cuts it down and
compresses it a little bit. It’s important to note
that the button compression system placement is not final and Peak Design is still working on that. So when they launch the bag, the positioning may be
adjusted a little bit, but the function’s the same. [upbeat music playing] Moving on the inside of the pack, at the top here, you’ve got a pocket here with some stretchy mesh
going on the inside. Going to be good to hold anything that you want quick access to – you got a passport in there. Basically anything that is in your pockets as you’re traveling through the airport is probably going to fit into here. Just kind of a nice space to have everything quickly accessible. Moving onto the interior
of the front panel. You’ve got some smart
organization going on here. So we just take a look
at this top mesh area. It’s kind of an interesting,
kind of plasticky, rubbery-feeling mesh going on here, pretty good for visibility. You can see what’s going
on inside of there. Open that right up. I like that the zipper’s a bit curved so it allows you to have good access. So we’ve got a larger battery
pack here on the side, outlet converter. Of course Pack Hacker patch
’cause we love branding. Got that goin’ on. Two pockets for longer items like pens or something like that. Thought these pockets would
be a little bit tighter for the pens, just note that. As long as you have them
kind of attached like this, they won’t slide around,
but again, this is lay flat. The organization here is, you
know, completely optional. You just use this as a
ordinary pocket without any of the separation, if you’d like as well. And then towards the bottom, got a similar pocket here. Going to be using that liner. So you can just stuff in flatter
items here, diggin’ that. And then, when we flip it around, we’ve got more pockets goin’ on here. So a half-mesh pocket and then
a liner pocket at the bottom. And this system is really great because the pockets are accessible from each side of the bag. So it’s accessible from
the main leader compartment and then accessible from
the front side as well. And the separator unzips
and you can stuff it into itself in the bottom
of the main compartment and then pack it to a small pocket and just use the bag
basically as a giant duffel – just massive capacity. This is one of the innovations that make the Travel Backpack from Peak Design really great and unique. And keep in mind, this is the extra fabric that allows the pack to expand when you unzip those
side compression zips. So you can access that main
compartment through here or one more way, on the back hand side which we’ll get to now. So you basically have two
zippers going on here. Just unzip those and boom, you have access to the main compartment of this pack. These are the Peak Design
travel pouch systems. Again, if you want to see that, just thumbs up the first comment and we’ll definitely dive into those and all the detail there. But want to get into this
main compartment first. One note on zippers, we’re
really curious as to why Peak Design didn’t include YKK zippers across the entirety of this pack. There are some on some
of the internal pockets. However, the two side access zippers as well as the main one that’s opened on the main compartment appear to be Zoom zippers, a different brand. YKK zippers are on just about every heavy-hitting travel pack that’s in more of the premium category. Tortuga, Aer, Track, Topo Designs, Heimplanet, Cotopaxi, Lenaul, GoRuck. The list goes on. A lot these manufacturers that are more on the premium end of bags, choose YKK because of their durability and the quality is unmatched. One of our contacts has
been using the Peak Design Everyday Messenger and
they’ve gone through two because the main zipper
has broken on them. Another contact had the zipper break on her Everyday Backpack from Peak Design. In all three of these cases, Peak Design has handled
the return and exchange of the broken zippers gracefully. They’ve replaced it with
little to no questions asked and provided great customer service. However, that customer service and warranty isn’t going to do super well if you’re using this bag in
a remote village in Thailand and the zipper breaks. That’s where you’re going to run into issues. Especially on the placement
of this main zipper, it sort of renders the pack
useless if it were to break. You can’t really use the harness system and it’s definitely hard
to close without that. It’s one of the key components of the pack and where it’s positioned. There seems to be a lot of pressure going onto the zipper as well. So time will tell if these zippers break, like we’ve seen in the
Messenger and the Everyday pack. Although it’s a high-numbered
#10 zipper, it’s not YKK. And especially
on a premium bag like this, that gives us a little bit of concern. Okay, that was a ton on zippers. Let’s go back to the main compartment. Basically, you’re greeted
with a giant bucket that works well with Peak Design’s dedicated travel accessories
and packing cubes. You don’t need to use their
system; however it helps, as they size them
specifically for this pack. And on the sides you’re
going to note some elastic loops going on here. And that’s actually for the integration of their camera cube system. So it offers a little bit
more padding, locks right in. Holds your lenses, holds
your camera gear in place. Again, we can dive a
little bit more into that in a later video if there is interest. Moving onto the laptop compartment. This is actually pretty easy to access, just if you unzip that zipper
to about here, so that’s nice. Then there’s ample space
in here for a laptop, nicely closed by this Velcro. Then you have a separate
tablet partition on the inside. One small issue with that
tablet partition is that the Velcro target is a little bit small, a little bit tight so it’s kind of hard to accurately velcro down
unless you’re looking at it. Now in contrast, this is lot more Velcro. Just easier to close
without even looking at it. That main compartment is also accessible from the zippers on the side. So if you have things
strategically positioned in here, unzip that from the
side, grab what you need. This is especially handy
for the camera cube insert. Keeps your camera easy
to grab, easy access. One last feature to notice
here is that all the zippers on this are lockable with
O-rings and they come with some additional
securing features as well. The zippers on the
front side are securable via a loop at the bottom. The side zips attach to a
toggle inside of the pack and then these big zippers
secure to one another via a loop-and-button system. None of these are completely foolproof, they are just deterrents
however it’s enough to where if a thief is quickly
rifling through everything, they’ll likely just pass by your bag if they are unable to access it quickly. [upbeat music playing] By the time of this review, I had been testing
this bag for three weeks and on two flights as well. So I’ve been to Detroit, Minneapolis and then Northern Minnesota for a cabin. Definitely had a versatile
setting to test this bag in. Overall it’s been a joy to use. And after inspection, not much
has gone wrong with the pack besides a slight scratch in
the black aluminum hardware on the sternum strap. No visible marks on the
exterior after the three weeks and no problems with the zippers yet. So to wrap this thing
up, some pros and cons. Holistically, there’s some
really great design going on across this pack. It has the most innovative and the fastest harness
hiding strap system to date. And lastly, it’s fit for
wide varieties of carry. You can almost get away
with this things as an EDC. If you like a bigger bag,
round the 30, 35 liter range. And it goes all the way up to 45 if you want to carry larger stuff. Not to mention the integratable
camera systems as well. Onto some of the cons. The zipper choice really puzzles us. The sternum strap comes
off little bit more easily than we’d like to see. And lastly the side hails provide a bit of a funky imbalanced carry. Good for just quick grabs,
but you’re not going to be able to use this thing in briefcase mode. [upbeat music playing] Overall the design of the
Peak Design Travel Backpack is a thing of innovative beauty. There are so many features going on here that we just haven’t
seen in many other packs. It brings a fresh take to
the travel backpack market. With all that said, some of
the choices on materials, specifically the zippers, left us scratching our head a little bit on the durability side of things. And time will tell on
that durability piece as they get these packs
out into the market. Thanks for taking a look at our review on the Peak Design Travel Backpack. We know that picking a
travel backpack can be tough. That’s why we made an entire guide on it and a four-part video series. So be sure to check that out. You could help identify the
best travel backpack for you. Thanks for checking this out. We’ll see you in the next video.

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