Peak Design is expanding its lineup of premium bags with the new $299 Travel Backpack 45L, launching on Kickstarter today and shipping this fall. The Travel Backpack can hold more than the company’s Everyday Backpack, which comes in 20L and 30L sizes. The Everyday, as its name implies, is meant to serve as your essential carryall — and it does that job well if you can swallow the asking price. I see it fairly often on the streets of New York. Several of us at The Verge use the Everyday bag.
But the Travel Backpack is meant for, well, traveling. It’s designed to squeeze as much as possible into a space that’s still compliant with airline carry-on regulations. The bag’s straps can even stow away, making the whole thing easier to shove into an overhead compartment.
The magnetic latch system from the main cargo area of the Everyday Backpack isn’t found here. Instead, the Travel Backpack uses heavy-duty zippers on the exterior. The rear opens up completely for instant access to the whole bag, which makes filling it up with your stuff a little easier. Bags with back access are nothing new, but the company’s prior products didn’t offer it.
The Travel Backpack carries over some of the conveniences of the Everyday bag, including easy side access (from either side) when you flip it around to the front of your body. There’s also quick top access to the laptop/tablet sleeve. Carrying handles are on both the top and sides and you get an organization panel (accessible via the front) “for smaller items.” Peak Design has also included hidden passport pockets, a soft-lined sunglasses pocket, and the same theft-deterrent zips as its other bags.
But storage works a bit differently than the Everyday bags for larger items like cameras and other gear. Peak Design’s existing products each come with several modular, flexfold inserts that can be repositioned with velcro and folded into separate compartments for whatever organization style fits you best. You don’t get those this time. Instead, there’s a zippered dividing panel that can be used to separate the bag into two sections — or stowed away to give you a big empty bag.
Beyond that, Peak Design is selling different “packing tools” as add-on purchases for different use cases. There’s the basic $30 packing cube for your clothes, but you can also get a wash pouch ($60) that’s made for a toothbrush, razor, and toiletries. Or perhaps the tech pouch ($60) is a better fit for your needs with its pockets optimized for small items like cables, SD cards, and other essentials. If you want the same, camera-friendly storage as Peak Design’s other bags, you’ll need the camera cube, which ranges in price from $50 for the small size to $90 for large.
Add a few of those on top of the $300 bag, and your price could quickly jump up to $400 and beyond. That's a tough sell. You certainly don’t have to spend $300 to get yourself a good travel bag. However, don’t balk at the price as though it’s an outlier; The Wirecutter’s top pick for a travel bag is also $300.
In this case, I definitely feel like buyers should at least get a single packing cube included with their purchase. But there’s an argument to be made on the other side: one of the criticisms of the Everyday Backpack is that it’s not terribly space efficient. Here, you’re getting a ton of space to use as you wish. Maybe it’ll take some time actually testing the Travel Backpack to appreciate the new tack that Peak Design has chosen for organizing and managing your bag’s contents.
The bag’s “normal state” offers 35L storage capacity. It can expand to the 45L size if you open up the expansion zippers. Peak Design says it’s also compressible down to 30L, making it less burdensome as a day bag. If you get in early on Kickstarter, you’ll be able to get a limited time price on the Travel Backpack: $235. The crowdfunding campaign will run through September 20th, and Peak Design says its latest bag will be available for purchase from its site and at other retailers by the holidays.