The Peak Design Travel Backpack 30L bag is the newest addition to Peak’s Travel Line. It is the baby brother to the 45L Travel Backpack, which we reviewed here. It is a rugged, expandable daypack ideal for shorter travel and everyday carry.

Materials & Aesthetic of the 30L Travel Backpack

This bag comes in three colors: black, sage and midnight. The main shell of the bag is constructed with 400D nylon canvas, and the base is made of some much more robust 900D nylon canvas. The sage and midnight colorways come emblazoned with a leather accent, while the (vegan-friendly) black colorway has a Hypalon accent (Hypalon looks and feels like a hard bike inner-tube).

Peak Design Travel Backpack 30L

Harness System of the 30L Travel Backpack

Peak Design applies the same harness system they designed for the larger 45-liter version of the Travel Backpack. The shoulder straps feature thick and dense padding—a staple characteristic of any comfortable backpack. Both straps are anchored on rivets at the top of the back panel, and this allows them to swivel easily without the awkward buckling and stress more typical straps experience. Swinging the Travel Backpack around is easy thanks to these rivets.

Peak Design Travel Backpack 30L

Shoulder Straps

The shoulder straps themselves have some nice touches that show Peak Design’s attention to detail. Each strap has a Hypalon loop at the top of the sternum strap rail, as well as one nylon loop at the bottom. You can attach a decent number of accessories to these loops, and there is even one on each of the aluminum adjusters in case you need more. On that note, aluminum adjusters always come with the risk of being too slippery since metal is smooth. Fortunately, we found that these have enough grip to stay in place after we adjusted them.

Hip Belt

There is also an optional hip belt if you need a more secure way to carry the bag. Underneath the main back panel, there is a small pass-through that is lined with loop and hook fasteners. This accessory is sold separately. One scenario where it could prove useful is if you are taking the Travel Backpack while biking or hiking to provide further security and stability.

Peak Design Travel Backpack 30L

Storage capacity of the 30L Travel Backpack

In true Peak Design fashion, the 30L Travel Backpack has a myriad of features inside and out.
You have two external pockets to play with: a small hidden pocket at the back, and a larger pocket at the front. The front pocket (pictured) is lined with two banks of storage dividers, perfect for your daily goods, as well as five SD-card pockets, and a stretchy zippered pocket to boot. The weatherproof UltraZip can withstand decades of use thanks to its proprietary abrasion-resistant thread.

Peak Design Travel Backpack 30L

Carrying Solution

Between the back panels is an integrated carry strap, the most helpful of all the handles. It allows the bag to be carried like a duffle, which for many is the most comfortable way to carry it. Like most travel backpacks, Peak Design’s also has a luggage pass-through on the back panel. Note that this is a vertical-style pass-through, which means that the Travel Backpack will sit horizontally on your rolling luggage.

Peak Design Travel Backpack 30L

Mesh Pockets

Towards the front of the main compartment are two zippered mesh pockets. We dig that these are see-through mesh because it means everything inside of them is easily visible. Plus, the mesh gives them some room to expand. These could be great for tech accessories, but they are in a tricky spot. Once they are buried behind packing cubes and other gear, they are inaccessible; this is not ideal if you have your charger back there and you are sitting at just 5% battery level. A more practical role for them would be as built-in toiletry pouches for when you are already unpacked in your hotel room or as security pockets for important travel documents.

For other smaller gear, there are side pockets built into the walls of the main compartment. They are zippered and low-profile, so they will not rob much space from the main compartment. Each pocket is divided into a small and wide segment, with the former able to fit a standing credit card while the latter fits a passport sideways.

Peak Design Travel Backpack 30L

Accessory Straps

The Travel Backpack also has several attachment points for accessory straps. There are four at the corners of the back, plus four at the front. You can get creative with how you use these straps; attach a sling strap for a duffel-style carry. However, they are primarily there for accessory straps that you can use to secure camera gear. For example, you can use a pair of straps to attach a tripod to the bottom-most loops at the front and back of the bag.

Peak Design Travel Backpack 30L

Aimed at Visual Content Creators

Most people who look at Peak Design are not looking for a normal travel bag. They are photographers and creators!

When used in tandem with PD’s camera cubes, this bag also functions very well as a camera bag. As with all their bags, the Peak Design 30L travel backpack also works well with PD’s modular system – you can Tetris this bag with any mix of their camera cubes, packing cubes, and wash or tech pouches.

This means that you can still stuff in a Peak Design large camera cube, although the medium size will be the better option to still have some extra space to through in other personal items.

The dividers in the Peak Design camera cubes (sold separately) are sublime and allow you to utilize the entire camera compartment.

This bag also allows for carrying 15” laptops and tablets in the dedicated laptop compartment, so, for all the digital nomads among us, this is the best arrangement. As a nice little bonus, there is also a tablet sleeve inside in case you are also traveling with an extra device. Of course, it is suitable for carrying your tripod, too.

Peak Design Travel Backpack 30L

Peak Design 30L Vs. 45L Travel Backpack

The 45L still has a few party tricks that the 30L does not. Most notably, the compressible volume takes the bag from 35L down to 30L. If you undo the compression zip, then it opens to the full 45L volume. The Peak Design 30L just does not change that much in size (27L–33L). Neither bag ever feels that small or that big, certainly not cumbersome, but the 45L is the more versatile of the two.

One of the most notable subtractions is the front clothes pocket on the 45L. This makes the 30L significantly harder to recommend for photographers who also want to carry clothes as you no longer have the extra space to stuff a few shirts. This is most frustrating when using the bag with the large camera core as you have no space for clothes at all.

The last difference is the side access. The 30L has done away with the large side doors in favor of a smaller profile. As much as we value side camera access, only the medium and the large cubes support side access, and using it can severely restrict your divider placement.

Peak Design Travel Backpack 30L

Peak Design Travel Backpack 30L

Peak Design Travel Backpack 30L

Extra Additions to Peak Design’s Travel Line

Peak Design Packing Cubes

Packing cubes come in handy more often than we might imagine. The durable fabric is built to withstand the trials of travel and the sizing is perfectly suited for storage in Peak Design’s travel bags.

Peak Design Wash Pouch – Small

An ideal toiletry bag for the light traveler, toss hygiene essentials in this lightweight wash pouch. Internal storage pockets help guarantee you will not confuse toothpaste for ointment, while silicone lines the interior for easy washing. Use the small aluminum loop to hang the pouch in the hotel bathroom.

Pros

• The compression system is simple, clean, and works well
• Structured sides and clamshell opening makes packing a breeze
• Has plenty of attachment points inside and out for camera gear

Cons

• The main compartment’s zippered mesh pockets lack accessibility
• Hip Belt not included
• Magnetic closure on the back to retain the shoulder straps has been removed and therefore, works less efficiently

Peak Design Travel Backpack 30L

Final Thoughts

There are a few misses, but most of them are nitpicks, and there is so much more to like than to dislike about the Travel Backpack 30L. Most features feel neatly integrated and well-considered; much the same story as with the 45-liter version, but now in a much more manageable and affordable 30-liter form.

The smaller 30-liter pack is ideal for weekend getaways or days spent hauling your favorite gear. Rugged and expandable, it features multiple zippered pockets, internal stretch dividers, and enough interior space for three packing/camera cubes.

The Peak Design 30L travel backpack is a bag that will appeal to many of you. It does not leave you wanting more, it lets you do what you need to. Simplicity is often overlooked or scoffed at – but that will not be the case here – the 30L travel bag is an excellent balance of design and functionality. Therefore, this is a highly recommendable backpack for multi-uses.