After years of hearing about it I finally bit the bullet and picked up this camera bag to see if it lives up to the hype. In my Peak Design Everyday Messenger review I personally put it to the test in a variety of conditions and share my honest insights into whether or not this bag is worth the investment.
As a professional travel photographer, there are two things that I can’t escape – Jetlag and having to haul around lots of gear to all kinds of weird and wonderful locations.
It just comes with the job, and after a decade of doing this pretty much full time I’ve always been a backpack girl.
To me there was just no better way to carry the amount of gear I usually have with me than throwing it all in a camera backpack.
But recently I had a bit of a health issue which means using a heavy backpack is now a bit of a hindrance. Not exactly ideal for someone like me that travels a lot for work and needs a bunch of equipment at all times.
So, much to my reluctance, I started to look to alternatives, and started to find myself drawn to the idea of messenger bags.
They looked…pretty good actually.
They are easy to access, stylish, and surprisingly roomy. Plus I could sling them over one shoulder instead of having my cameras on my back.
So I embarked on a quest to find the perfect one and put it to the test.
It doesn’t take much research to see the Peak Design Everyday Messenger Bag come up as a recommended product, and although I had seen them in lots of camera stores and listened to Peak Design gear fans rave about it, I’d never actually tried one.
READ MORE: While you’re at it, check out Jarryd’s personal, honest review of the Peak Design Travel Backpack!
Then one day I decided to just say “screw it” and get one to see if it would be my new go-to option a travel bag.
I downsized my camera gear slightly and hit the road with what I needed thrown into the Everyday Messenger V2 Bag.
From the rice terraces of Bali to the plains of Africa I did my best to put my shiny new bag through hell and determine if it would be my new go-to luggage accessory.
How did it go? Let’s dive in and see if it could be the game-changer I’ve been looking for.
Table of Contents
- Peak Design Messenger Bag Review – Key Takeaways
- My Personal Peak Design Everyday Messenger Review
- Real-Life Performance
- Downsides and ‘Could be Better’ Thoughts on the Messenger Bag
- Overall Rating for My Peak Design Everyday Messenger Review – 8/10
- Frequently Asked Questions
- What size laptop can the Everyday Messenger Cag carry?
- What size laptop tablet and DSLR does the everyday messenger bag fit?
- Is the Peak Design Everyday Messenger Worth the Price?
- What are the disadvantages of a messenger bag?
- What is the capacity of the Peak Design Everyday Messenger?
Peak Design Messenger Bag Review – Key Takeaways
With its weatherproof construction, customisable interior, and an array of technical features, this Everyday Messenger bag is designed for all kinds of photography adventures.
- The bag can carry a laptop, mirrorless camera with two-three mid-sized lenses (or one long telephoto lens), accessories like batteries and SD cards, documents and other bits and bobs.
- The Peak Design Everyday Messenger strives to be the perfect camera carry bag, with adjustable FlexFold dividers, Capture Clip compatibility., and MagLatch closure system for easy access.
- It offers efficient construction with custom organisation, plenty of pockets, an exterior tripod sleeve and a padded laptop sleeve to keep your gear safe & dry in any weather condition.
- With its versatile design & multiple carrying options, this bag is great for photographers or travellers looking for convenience without compromising style.
- The bag can carry
Keep reading our “Peak Design Everyday Messenger review” to find out if the Peak Design Everyday Messenger V2 is the right bag for you!
My Personal Peak Design Everyday Messenger Review
Over the past year of testing the Peak Design Everyday Messenger it quickly went from “this is a bag I have to use” to “this is a bag I love to use”.
And trust me, as somebody that has been through over 30 camera bags, that’s a big call for me to make.
*Nervously glances at the spare room full of now unused bags collecting dust*
For a roving photographer like myself, the weatherproof 400D nylon canvas shell keeping my equipment safe and dry in unexpected downpours and versatile camera organisation made it very impressive.
Apart from its durability, what impressed me the most was the bag’s overall design.
The Everyday Messenger is a convenient way to carry camera equipment with its padded dividers, stretchy internal pockets, ample space, and easy access.
The unique MagLatch closure system made it a breeze to quickly reach my gear while on the go too.
But spoiler alert – While it’s very good, it’s not a perfect bag and there’s a few things I wish were different.
The Best Features
The Peak Design Everyday Messenger has a whole range of features to make a photographer’s life easier.
Or if you’re a non-photographer that just wants an awesome messenger bag for everyday use, this one makes a solid argument for being the top product on the market right now.
Some of the key features of this bag that I like and will be exploring in this Peak Design Messenger review are:
- It’s use as an ideal ‘camera carry’ option
- How it performs as a general ‘everyday carry’
- The laptop sleeve
- It’s easy access performance
- Custom organisation
- Pockets – lots and lots of pockets
- Durability in all kinds of conditions
- Luggage pass-through, which now that I’m a suitcase girl is super handy
- Various carry options
I’ll explore each feature in depth, discussing the benefits for your photography trips and daily travels.
Peak Design bags are known for excelling in their ability to safely carry camera gear, and the Peak Design Everyday Messenger is no exception.
The padded dividers and ample space claims to allow you to fit in a full-frame DSLR with three small, prime lenses and other accessories, ensuring your equipment is well-protected.
Personally I use it to carry one mirrorless camera (a Sony A7iv) with a 24-70mm lens mounted to it, a 16-35mm wide angle on one side, and the other side for random bits and pieces like an SSD, batteries, etc.
Check out my full list of recommended cameras for travel.
With this amount of gear the bag does get quite tight, so I have a bit of doubt around the camera company’s claim of fitting everything else in and still having easy access, except in the case of saying, “See, it does fit!” if you jam it all in.
I can also use the customisable FlexFold dividers to mix things up with the body and a 70-200mm lens packed on its side.
If you’re using smaller cameras like an APS-C or Micro 4/3 setup then you can definitely fit more in there.
So if you’re just bringing one full frame body and two lenses max, or a smaller setup like a mirrorless camera with a lens and a GoPro, this bag is perfect.
You could also fit in a camera with a small drone like the DJI Mini 3 Pro, which Jarryd has done before comfortably.
If you’d like to mount the camera externally, which I’ve done plenty with backpacks but not really with this bag, there’s the option to use a Peak Design Capture Clip (seriously, do yourself a favour and buy one right now – they’re amazing) and sling it on the outside.
Basically, it’s perfect a shoulder bag for street photography and travel photography.
Not only is this everyday bag perfect for photographers, but it’s also great for everyday use if you’re not lugging around camera equipment.
The Everyday Messenger is designed to carry a bunch of random items and can be adapted to different situations.
With its FlexFold dividers , outer access zips on the front access panel, functional organisation and magnetic latches, you can easily organise and access essentials like your keys, phone, headphones, a light sweater, random accessories, a 2.5” external hard drive and wallet.
Plus, the padded laptop compartment in the main compartment provides a secure space for up to a 15-inch Macbook Pro, or a tablet, phone, notepad and passport.
One of my favourite features of the Peak Design Everyday Messenger is the dedicated laptop sleeve.
This compartment can fit up to a 15-inch laptop (my 14-inch Macbook Pro fits super easy, even with a plastic case around it), providing ample padding to ensure the device is protected during your travels.
However, it’s worth noting that when the main compartment is full, the laptop sleeve can be a bit tight and tricky to use.
In short you can use this purely as a laptop bag, which I did on a recent trip to Sydney where I didn’t need to take any cameras with me.
READ MORE: See what else made the list of our top camera backpacks for travel.
Imagine you’re out for a walk in Tokyo, casually scanning around for some street photography opportunities, but really you’re just focused on finding a delicious ramen restaurant because you’re starving.
Suddenly you walk past a dark alleyway and see a whole string of illuminated lanterns and interesting angles, and there’s somebody walking down the middle.
You have precisely 5 seconds to bust out your camera, turn it on, dial in your settings and get the shot.
Now if you can’t quickly access your gear the moment is gone, no matter how fast you are at the other elements.
This is where I’ve now found a messenger style bag to be way better than my usual backpacks – easy access!
The unique MagLatch closure system on the main flap of the Peak Design Everyday Messenger makes getting into the bag a breeze.
With just one hand, I can easily open and close the bag to grab my camera and capture the (almost) perfect shot (I say almost, because who am I kidding, I’m not so good that I nail a perfect shot every time).
The magnetic latch is not only convenient but it expands and is also secure, keeping my gear safe at all times.
One of the standout features of the Peak Design Everyday Messenger is its custom organisation capabilities.
The bag comes with adjustable dividers for extra space, ultrazip external zippers and pockets, allowing you to tailor the interior to your specific needs.
The internal organisation with little side pockets, front pocket, internal expansion provided through a stretchy pocket, attachment points for a key tether or anchor link and zipper on the top flap makes it more than just a good bag, it makes it extremely user-friendly.
Whether you’re carrying camera gear, your lunch, or anything else, the two FlexFold dividers make it easy to create the perfect setup for your belongings.
Lots of Pockets
No matter how much space you have, you can never have enough pockets, and the Peak Design Everyday Messenger delivers on this front.
The bag is equipped with heaps of pockets for organising small items and accessories.
From the external zipper pockets for keys and wallets to the zippered pocket with soft fabric lining for lens filters or sunglasses, you’ll find a place for all your essentials.
READ MORE: So you love photography? Why not have a read of our absolute favourite travel tripods!
Durability is a crucial aspect of any bag I travel with, and the Peak Design Everyday Messenger does not disappoint.
Crafted with a weatherproof 400D nylon canvas shell and a DWR coating, the bag is designed to withstand daily wear and tear while keeping your gear safe from the elements.
I can testify that the bag didn’t miss a beat during 2 months of safaris and overland travel in Africa, from torrential downpours in Cape Town to sand storms in Namibia.
You can trust this bag to protect your belongings, no matter where your adventures take you.
My only change would be that there was an additional zipper that covered the main compartment to get rid of any gaps between the opening and the magnetic latch.
Luggage Pass Through
This might be considered standard for every bag in the world, but as someone who travelled exclusively with a backpack up until a year ago I had never known the luxury of cruising through airports with a wheeled suitcase and a bag that slips over the handle.
Oh dear lord how my life has improved since having this as an option.
Travelling with the Peak Design Everyday Messenger is a breeze, thanks to its little luggage pass-through feature.
The sleeve on the back of the bag allows you to easily mount it on the trolley handle of your wheeled luggage, making it a convenient travel companion.
No more carrying extra weight purely for the sake of it. Nice!
Multiple Carry Options with the Shoulder Strap
Versatility is key when it comes to finding the perfect bag, and the Peak Design Everyday Messenger offers multiple carry options to suit your needs.
The bag features a comfortable shoulder strap as well as a top handle, allowing you to hold it cross body, as a single shoulder carry, or by hand.
The shoulder strap design is quite comfortable as well, and I’m a big fan of it.
The Peak Design Everyday Messenger is made from high-quality materials that not only provide durability but also weatherproof protection.
The bag’s shell is crafted from 100% recycled 400D nylon canvas that is double PU-coated, making it resistant to water and other elements.
As I mentioned above the bag held up during downpours in Cape Town, but the biggest test was getting nice and close to the edge of Victoria Falls, where you may as well be in a shower with water spray coming from all angles.
The outer fabric exterior of the bag got absolutely soaked, but the interior was bone dry.
Just remember though that it isn’t fully sealed, and there’s a gap between the top flap and the inside.
That being said, you can be confident that your gear will stay safe and dry in this bag, no matter what the weather has in store.
Aesthetics and Style
The Peak Design Everyday Messenger is not only functional but also pretty stylish.
Well, as stylish as a camera messenger bag can really get, I suppose.
You’re not exactly going to waltz down the catwalk in Paris with it, but at least it doesn’t look ridiculous.
With a clean and minimal design, it’s suitable for most professional and casual settings. The bag is available in a variety of colours, including Black and Ash, allowing you to choose the one that best suits your personal style.
I went with Black due to it being neutral, and am pretty happy with my choice.
One thing to note though is that the bag is quite big, and looks so if you have a smaller frame like me.
If size is a concern, check out the Peak Design Sling Bags, which both Jarryd and I also own and genuinely love.
This bag is a perfect blend of form and function, making it a great choice for photographers and travellers alike.
On paper this bag looks pretty sweet. And if you’re like me, reading these types of reviews makes it sound like it’s the world’s bestest, most incredible, never-to-be-beat messenger bag that’s ever graced the earth.
But positive words on paper (or a screen?) doesn’t mean a bag actually performs decently in the real world.
And that’s what I always set out to share with my honest experience from a year of constant use.
You see, most tech review websites are given a product for a few days at most to test before they publish their reviews.
Not me though (mostly because I’m too busy travelling and taking photos to write a review, haha). I’ve waited until I’m fully confident in my assessment.
So to review the Peak Design Everyday Messenger I put it through dozens of practical scenarios, with the goal being to evaluate its performance in the following areas:
- Camera gear carry capabilities
- Weatherproof performance
- Comparison to backpacks
- Suitability for individuals with pacemakers
By the end of my evaluation, you’ll gain insight into the bag’s performance in common situations and its suitability for your personal needs.
Is it Comfortable?
During my testing, I found the Peak Design Everyday Messenger to be reasonably comfortable to wear, especially during long walks.
The dense shoulder strap, with its padding and grippy material, provided adequate support during extended periods of use.
However, it is worth noting that the bag can be somewhat awkward to carry on a bicycle, which may be a concern for some users.
When the bag is packed with a laptop, all my camera equipment, water bottles and accessories though it does get quite heavy after a while.
Using as a Camera Gear Carry Bag
As a camera gear carry solution, the Peak Design Everyday Messenger truly shines. As long as you’re not bring a bunch of long telephoto lenses with you.
The bag’s customisable interior, padded dividers, slide camera strap and ample space allowed me to securely fit my camera, lenses, and other accessories with ease as long as I didn’t overpack with a tight fit.
I never had to worry about our gear getting damaged or jostled around during our travels, thanks to the bag’s protective padding and interior zippered pocket too.
One thing I found quite useful too was its ability to be used as a bit of a base camp while out on road trips or safaris.
Essentially I could just put the bag down on a seat next to me and have instant access to whatever equipment I needed.
For a couple of pieces of camera equipment, it’s perfect.
For full-on camera load for wildlife photography, or paired with a drone and action cameras, it’s not big enough though.
How Weatherproof is it Really?
To test the weatherproof capabilities of the Peak Design Everyday Messenger, I exposed the bag to a whole bunch of crazy weather conditions, including rain, sand storms, and dust.
I was impressed by how well the 400D nylon canvas shell and DWR coating protected my gear from the elements, keeping everything inside the bag dry and secure.
The toughest situation I put it through was definitely that Victoria Falls day trip, which if you’ve been to before you know managing to keep anything dry there is a big deal.
This camera bag is a reliable choice for photographers and travellers who need a weatherproof solution for their gear, including camera batteries.
How Does it Compare to a Backpack?
When comparing the Everyday Messenger to a backpack, I found that both options have their own advantages and drawbacks.
While the Messenger Bag offers better accessibility to camera gear, a backpack provides more even weight distribution and greater overall comfort.
Plus a backpack can generally carry a lot more gear.
However, the comfortable shoulder strap and top handle make the Everyday Messenger Bag a versatile and convenient alternative to traditional backpacks or messenger bags, as well as an everyday sling.
Best Camera Bag for People with a Pacemaker
So yea, I have a pacemaker now. An implantable cardioverter defibrillator to be precise.
And while this little section is pretty niche, the biggest reason I got this bag was because I can no longer sling heavy backpacks and put weight through a strap on my left side where the pacemaker is.
If you’re a bionic human like me with a pacemaker and are looking for a suitable camera bag, I can hand-on-my-(robotic)-heart stand by this as a great option.
I do have some concerns about using a bag with magnetic closures, such as the Peak Design Everyday Messenger.
However, the MagLatch closure system doesn’t sit over my device.
Nevertheless, it’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional if you have concerns about using any bag with a pacemaker.
Downsides and ‘Could be Better’ Thoughts on the Messenger Bag
Despite its numerous features and benefits, the Peak Design Everyday Messenger is not without its challenges and limitations.
Here are some potential drawbacks of this bag I found, particularly security issues when overpacked and its considerable size.
Not Secure when Overpacked
If you’re the kind of person who tends to overpack a bag, like little old me, the Peak Design Everyday Messenger can lead to potential security issues, such as gaps along the opening, which could put your camera gear and accessories at risk of falling out.
The reason is because the top flap is just secured with the adjustable MagLatch rather than a zipper pocket.
It is Big
The size of the Peak Design Everyday Messenger may be too large for some people and in certain situations.
Yes, the Peak Design Everyday Messenger V2 Bag sits well within standard carry-on regulations for all airlines.
But it is a largish bag, measuring 41cm x 36cm by 30cm, or 16 inches x 14 inches x 12 inches for my American readers, and weighs just over 1kg empty (2.2lbs).
The bag is also quite bulky, and even with the excess strap you can’t really compress it to make it smaller.
While this size does allow for ample storage space, it may not be ideal for those who prefer a smaller, more compact bag for their daily needs.
It’s Not Cheap
Nothing that Peak Design makes is cheap…well, come to think of it the Capture Clip and their awesome Slide Straps are pretty affordable…but then again Peak Design bags aren’t really in the market of making cheap products.
They invest heavily in R&D and only use super high quality materials to create their gear.
So while you may look at the price of the 13l Everyday Messenger v2 and think it’s expensive, just keep in mind that you get what you pay for.
But if you’re on a tight budget, I understand that it can be hard to justify spending a few hundred dollars on a bag.
Ultimately, it’s up to you whether you think the bag is worth the price.
I do think it’s worth it.
Is this Bag for You?
So at the end of the day this is the ultimate question, right? Is this the dream bag you’ve been searching for all this time?
If you’re a photographer or traveller in need of a versatile, weatherproof, and stylish bag to carry a select range of gear, and don’t want to go down the route of a backpack, this bag is an excellent choice.
With its customisable interior, multiple carry options, and durable construction, the Everyday Messenger is well-equipped to handle most photography adventures and everyday needs.
However, if you prefer a smaller, more compact bag, or on the other end of the scale require something to carry multiple lenses and camera bodies or prefer better weight distribution, a traditional backpack may be a better fit for you.
As far as side satchels, slings and messengers go though, the Peak Design option really is best in class.
Overall Rating for My Peak Design Everyday Messenger Review – 8/10
In conclusion, the Peak Design Everyday Messenger is an impressive bag that offers a great combination of features, performance, and aesthetics.
Its weatherproof construction, customisable interior, and easy access make it an ideal choice for photographers and travellers like me.
While it does have some challenges and limitations, its overall value and functionality make it a strong contender in the market.
If you’re looking for a reliable and stylish side bag to carry your camera gear, laptop, and other essentials, the Peak Design Everyday Messenger gets more honest vote of confidence
Frequently Asked Questions
What size laptop can the Everyday Messenger Cag carry?
The Everyday Messenger bag can easily accommodate up to a 15″ laptop, plus space for documents, cords, spare batteries, and more. Its weatherproof shell keeps your gear safe while the stowable strap system provides extra carrying capacity.
What size laptop tablet and DSLR does the everyday messenger bag fit?
The everyday messenger bag fits a 15″ laptop, 11″ tablet and a full-frame DSLR with mounted lens, plus the internal pockets can fit smaller items like batteries, cords and cables.
Is the Peak Design Everyday Messenger Worth the Price?
The Peak Design Everyday Messenger is an excellent all-rounder with durable materials, a great capacity, and handy features such as magnetic latch closure. While it’s expensive compared to similar products, it made with high quality and industry-leading features.
What are the disadvantages of a messenger bag?
Messenger bags may be stylish, but they can be uncomfortable to wear and have limited storage capacity. They also don’t provide the same organisational options as other bag styles.
What is the capacity of the Peak Design Everyday Messenger?
The Peak Design Everyday Messenger has a capacity of 13 litres and can be expanded to fit even more when you need it.
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Peak Design Everyday Messenger Review
It took me one year of heavy testing to bring out this Peak Design Everyday Messenger review and honestly answer whether it's as good as it sounds.
Product Brand: Peak Design
- Very durable material
- Carries a lot of camera gear
- Lots of accessory pockets
- Can be used for general travel and everyday carry use
- No wraparound zipper