Peak Design has been making a name for itself for a while now in the world of photography gear. Recently, the company has fully crossed over into making general travel gear with their carry-on size 45-liter Travel Backpack. Below, we’ll take a closer look at this bag with a full Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L Review to help you determine if it’s the right fit for your next camera travel pack.
The 45L Travel Backpack has a ton of clever features. So many that it pays off to watch some of Peak Design’s tutorial videos to understand everything it can do. Even after using it for several months, I kept being reminded of its many functionalities.
Design-wise, it boasts a simple facade that has all kinds of pockets, straps, and secret stash areas. The boxiness of the bag seems like a departure from Peak Design‘s more angular, triangle-based design you see in the Messenger and Everyday Backpack. This bag doesn’t ask for attention in its appearance.
There are four very comfortable handles you can use to manage the pack while the harness system is not in use, and the handle on the back panel slips nicely over a rolling bag if you are traveling with additional luggage.
Another stellar addition here is the 900D weatherproof bottom liner, something you rarely even see in more outdoor-oriented bags.
Size and Carry-on
This is the single most important feature of the Travel Bag. In this case, size does matter. What’s great about this bag is it can be expanded from 30 liters to 45L. This backpack meets international max carry-on standards in the default 35L configuration. Stick to these dimensions and you shouldn’t have trouble getting onto even the strictest budget airlines. 35 Liters is its normal size, but it can expand 10 liters, or you can use the compression snaps to reduce the bag to 30L, making it a day bag.
The EVA foam shoulder straps have a slight curve enabling them to sit further in on your shoulders without choking out your armpits. The thick adjustable hip belt offers the option to disperse the weight across the entire upper body and tucks away when not in use. The shoulder straps and hip belt tuck away separately behind magnetic flaps with such ease that you can tuck the hip belt away, or pull it out, while the pack is on your back.
The panels which store the shoulder and hip straps are made of flexible foam so you cannot feel them when they are tucked away. The back panel is made of a breathable textured fabric that allows for a little space between the pack and your back.
This is where Peak Design’s backpacks shine. They make their packs with ultimate customizability, so you can organize and access your things in whichever way works best for you! The back access keeps the straps clean from the main compartment and allows you to access the bulk of your things like a suitcase. The back flap also houses the laptop (up to 15-inch) and tablet sleeves. If you leave the main compartment zip openings at the top of the bag, you can access your laptop or tablet quickly when you’re out and about.
Both sides of the backpack have access points. This will be familiar to anyone who uses a Peak Design Everyday Backpack. It means you can swing the bag around on one shoulder to access the contents of the main section without putting it down.
The front of the bag has an organization section with several zip-closing pockets. It’s this section that is expanded by undoing the two expansion zips. Cleverly, the pockets in the panel that backs the main compartment can be opened from the front of the main compartment.
The uppermost pocket on the front side of the organization section unzips to reveal four stretchy pockets to organize essentials like your passport, pens, and the like. If you don’t need all the inner pockets, the panel between the main compartment and the front section can be unzipped, rolled down, and stowed in a pocket at the bottom of the inside of the bag. This means that you can then access the main compartment from the front or the rear of the backpack.
Like the Everyday Backpacks, the Travel Backpack 45L has a pocket on either side. They have gusseted expansion and there’s plenty of space for a water bottle or a tripod. Concealed at the back of the side pockets are two small zip-closing pockets that are ideal for your passport or phone, anything that needs to be kept safe but within easy reach.
[Related Reading: The Best Camera Backpacks for Photographers (Updated)]
Peak Design is indeed on the more expensive side of the travel gear spectrum. However, it’s granted that their packs will last you a very long time. The weatherproof 400D nylon canvas proves durable in all types of weather. The thick EVA foam holds its own and helps keep this pack true to its original shape. The 900D weatherproof bottom liner keeps the bag dry under heavy rainy conditions. On top, the zippers are a combination of YKK and ZOOM zippers, which is rare to find.
If you’re a serious traveler looking for a serious backpack, then you should check out Peak Design’s Travel Backpack. The materials used are amazing, the bag constantly surprises you with its convenient features (while still maintaining a minimalistic design), and it feels like a backpack that’s made to last.
The 45L backpack is an excellent choice for photographers who need to carry a significant amount of gear while traveling, but not enough to necessitate a large hiking backpack. The 45L Travel is not a low-cost backpack, however, it has a superb build quality and interesting engineering.
Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L Review Summary
The Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L is a well-executed travel bag from a company with an excellent track record of designing innovative and customizable backpacks.
- Stylish design
- Lots of space and versatility
- Comfortable fit
- Packed with tons of features
- Too large for daypack use
- Features can be overwhelming at first (there will be a learning curve)