There is an unparalleled sense of satisfaction you get when a piece of new gear can not only function exactly how it needs to, but also beyond the needs that were anticipated. Like that time when you were wondering where you were going to stash your key and finding a hidden pocket in the back of your pants … Or finding a loop on your backpacking pack that’s exactly where it needs to be to keep your ice axe from getting tangled up in your climbing rope.
When it comes to selecting the right travel backpack, one of the biggest challenges lies in the fact that no two trips are the same, therefore your bag needs to be nimble and customizable to fit your travels. That being said, can there really be a bag that runs the gamut from sleek and manageable, to durable and versatile?
Peak Design has put some serious thought into how to incorporate each of these characteristics when designing their Travel Backpack 45L. One of the more profound things about this bag that sets it apart from its competitors is the greater system that comes along with it, and the configurations that can be used to make the bag fit for multiple types of carry.
The main compartment of the bag sort of like a giant bucket. The reason for this it to be able to utilize this as a blank canvas to customize the inside to fit all of your organizational needs. Peak Design has constructed packing tools that easily integrate into the bag (packing cubes, tech packs, and compression sacks) that are sized to fit perfectly within the compartment.
While these aren’t always necessary, they can really help to organize your clean clothes from your dirty clothes, or your camera from you chargers. A huge pro of this is that the bag is exactly the size it appears. No unnecessary padding or cushions that dig at the volume, just ample space and no pre-set organizational structure (aside from a sleek laptop sleeve flushed to the back).
For your smaller items, the compartment on the top of the bag is intended for stowing things like passports, pens, wallets, notebooks, etc. Within that compartment, Peak Design cleverly included two organizational pockets: one is lined, and one is mesh (to allow visibility into the items stowed).
The bag is able to maintain an ultra-sleek design in its ability to conveniently tuck and conceal shoulder and hip straps. What’s more, when the carry straps are stowed away, the bag has 360-degree grab handles. This means you can pick it up like a duffel, and easily snatch it from places like overhead compartments on planes, underneath your bus seat, or from the trunk of the car. No hanging straps, and no getting caught when in a rush from Point A to Point B.
Another huge bonus: The structure of the bag is designed so it can stand on its own without falling over, whether empty or full.
What about access points? One of the biggest annoyances that avid travelers face when it comes to travel bags is being able to easily (and quickly) access things that often get lost in the depths of the bag. Most people are all too familiar with items getting engulfed by the black vortex of the main compartment. Peak Design has tackled this challenge fantastically, strategically placing zippers and access points on all sides of the bag that are instrumental to grabbing an item on-the-go, whether it’s lost in the middle of the bag or down at the bottom. Access any part of the bag through the top compartment zipper, the bottom compartment, and from the side.
Given the amount of features going on, one would expect this bag to be quite bulky. But the crew at Peak Design really impressed us with their innovative design to ensure that all loose straps, zippers, and pockets are able to be flushed with the bag, or concealed. If the bag has more space than needed, it can be compressed down to 30L, a feature that makes this especially useful for flexible travel. Additionally – and possibly one of the biggest pros – the water bottle compartments on the side of the bag expand to actually fit your large water bottle. Large-water-bottle owners, rejoice!
Design, and versatility are the name of the game for this travel bag. At $299.99, the price point for this bag is not exactly cheap, but if you think of this as an investment in a durable bag that can not only last for a long time, but balance functionality, comfort and aesthetics with excellence, we think it’s worth every penny.
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