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Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L and Packing Cubes Preview

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One of my favourite brands, Peak Design just launched a kickstarter for their new travel line. While I haven't received any samples to review, I'll try to provide some analysis based on specs and photos I've received from Peak Design. 

I'll write a more detailed review after I get my hands on the new bags so stay tuned.

What's in this Travel Line Kickstarter

There's quite a few stuff in this Kickstarter round, are you ready?

  1. Travel Backpack 45L - Kickstarter Price: $235, MSRP: $299
  2. Packing Cubes - MSRP: Sm - $29.95, Md - $39.95
  3. Camera Cubes - MSRP: Sm - $49.95, Md- $69.95, Lg - $89.95
  4. Tech Pouch - MSRP: $59.95
  5. Wash Pouch - MSRP: $59.95
  6. Shoe Pouch - MSRP: $24.95
  7. Rain Fly - MSRP: $29.95

All prices are in USD.

The main item here is clearly the Travel Backpack. It's Peak Design's first foray into true travel bags that are designed to carry both your cameras and your travel essentials. It's got a main compartment that can be adjusted between 30L - 45L, and is mostly empty to allow for flexibility.

The cubes and pouches are a modular set of accessories that can be packed and arranged into the Travel Backpack or any of your current travel bags.

You can find the Kickstarter link and some of my analysis of their press release below.

Highlights and Analysis

Travel Backpack 45L

 Available in two colours - Sage and Black

Available in two colours - Sage and Black

With its adjustable 30L - 45L main compartment, it seems like this backpack will be great for three situations that aren't necessarily mutually exclusive:

  1. You're going somewhere without clear pavements or sidewalks. Think destinations in Southeast Asia like Indonesia, or even European cities with their cobbled paths. Bringing a backpack instead of a trolley bag means you don't have to worry about damaging the wheels on the bag or exposing your gear to vibrations.
  2. You're going on a short weekend getaway.
  3. You're travelling for business, don't want to check your bags and need a separate bag to carry your camera gear for photo sessions outside office hours.

It seems like a lot of thoughtful consideration has been put into the design of the backpack, cubes and pouches - just like their previous products. Here are some of the features that I’m looking forward to:

  • Made from a weatherproof, 100% recycled nylon canvas shell.
  • Fully zippered compartments - my previous bags have let in sand and snow when tossed around in those environments.
  • Back Panel access provides additional security.
  • Hidden passport pockets - Something you'll definitely need when travelling.
  • Soft-lined sunglasses pocket - what else is a must bring on vacation?
  • A side pocket for tripods or water bottles that's deep enough to secure the tripod close to the backpack, preventing it from swinging and hitting people.
  • Quick access to the laptop and tablet compartments, despite its location within the main compartment.
  • Side access to camera gear when using the Camera Cubes - rarely do you find this level of integration.

Packing Cubes

These come in two sizes. At first glance, these look like any old luggage organisers. Look closely though and you'll find a divider to separate clean and dirty clothes. An extra zipper also allows you to compress clothes that are already packed in, preventing the need of compression when you're trying to close the main luggage.

Camera Cubes

These come in three sizes and have modular dividers. It seems like some of the dividers have the FlexFold designs, so customisation options should be pretty wide.

The most impressive feature though, is how it secures onto the Travel Backpack 45L and allows quick access to your gear via a side compartment. This is massively convenient given that the bag is opened from the back panel. Really great integration here.

Tech Pouch

Like a spiritual successor to the field pouch, the Tech Pouch fits many compartments into its package using an Origami style arrangement. It would be interesting to see how it handles when packed with thick solid devices such as the Magic Mouse in the picture.

Wash Pouch

I've been using a MUJI toiletries bag for the past 5 years and it's been the gold standard for me. A hook on a toiletries bag is a must in my opinion, as it saves valuable counter space in Japanese hotels.

One problem with the MUJI bag is that it cannot stand on its own when you can't find a bar to hook it on, which is often the case in Western style hotels. The Wash pouch seems to address this by placing the hook on the rear of the bag.

I'll have to wait and see if it fits the small MUJI travel bottles and whether it's easily washable before I can replace the MUJI bag.

Shoe Pouch and Rain Fly

I didn't get any photos for these, so I'd assume that this is a shoe pouch and rain cover that's meant to be used with the Travel Backpack 45L.

Like many other rain covers, the Rain Fly will provide the already weatherproof Travel Backpack 45L with complete waterproof protection and can be stuffed into a storage pocket when unused.

Small steps for Travel Accessories, giant leap for Travelkind?

Peak Design claims that each of these items were designed as standalone products and pushes each category with new innovative features. It certainly seems like the case from the features we've seen above. You can view the various packing configurations below.

I'll certainly be backing this Kickstarter and look forward to writing a full review once I've used it for a few trips.

Nanda KusumadiComment