Everyday Messenger - Peak Design

Today we're looking at the Everyday Messenger bag by Peak Design!

Brace yourselves, if you've just bought the bag and you're looking for someone who is going to reassure you that you've invested your money wisely, then this probably isn't for you.  Keep in mind, I can only speak for my experiences with it, and how it functions given the specific demands I put upon it.

 
 

Single Sentence Summary

I'm not quite so convinced anymore.

Why I bought it

Alright, let's start off with all the hype.  From Kickstarter, to industry pseudo-hipster standard, this bag was the bee's knees to thousands of photographers.  I'll admit, I did swoon over the options of those sweet folding inner pockets.  So when time came around to pick up a little messenger bag it was on my mind.  When it turned out that I knew a guy, who knew a guy, who could hook me up with a deal, well... the bag had me at, "Hello."  But the real reason I bought it was because it filled a niche that needed filling.  I have Pelican cases, I have a pretty awesome Lowepro backpack, but I needed something I could take with us when we take the kids to the museum, and something stylish enough to wear during a wedding, this seemed to be the answer.

What I Like

I like the look.  It has a convenient and stylish way about it, and I like how it came in tan; I've always wanted to own a set of nice brown leather bags like my dream bag, the Orvis Weekend Carry-On but to be honest those bags are well beyond my budget.  Sure this bag's not leather, but it has the bonus of being designed around camera equipment.  It fits my Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 with a protective case in the back laptop section quite nicely.  It has color-coded pockets so I can track my memory card and battery dumps on the fly, it's weather resistant, the stitching and material are solid enough that I've actually taken it on military gigs.  The clasp having a sort of locking feature so that people can't just open my bag easily and jack my stuff when it's on my back is also reassuring. 

It carries quite a bit, just look at the photos above where I show what is generally inside my main compartment of the bag. Left to right you'll see the following: Nikon 85mm F/1.4, a small velvet bag carrying my prism and another bag inside with a double convex lens, a D810 w/ a Nikon 35mm F/1.4, my Hoodman Loupe, a Nikon 105mm Macro, a Sekonic L-358 light meter, and tucked in out of sight are also an MB-D12 with BL-5, a Pelican 6 CF Card case, 4 EN-EL15 batteries, and 2 EN-EL18a batteries.  That's not even touching the side pocket which is fantastic for keeping filters, business cards, lens cleaning gear, card readers, etc.

Plus, aside from the bottom, it is incredible to standing up to wear and tear, the dang thing looks brand new after a year of decent use.  I know what you're thinking, with all of this praise what could possibly lead me to such a, "Meh," single sentence review?

What I Don't

It was just too much hype.  Especially for the suggested retail price!!! I mean honestly, what was I expecting?  The folding dividers aren't as cool as you'd think.  To be honest, I don't use them in any crazy folded-up way, and that's not because I didn't try them. It's because it's a bit of a headache to have to adjust and maintain the divider system. With the dividers folded in all weird ways, it's not convenient to grabbing anything you might need out in a rush (like I dunno, mid-wedding). 

The bag doesn't let me store my D810's with a battery grip on them without becoming so wide it basically transforms into a gym bag.  I know that's not the bag's fault, but it's not something I anticipated, how much the bag juts out when it's being used with a D4s or a D810 with a grip.  Then, when it is jutting out, the dividers don't hold the rest of the contents in the same way.

The features aren't as convenient as they play them off as in the ads.  The tripod holding feature is just not really that convenient, unless that is you aim to smash children in the face with a Manfrotto head, in which case carry-on!  Many other features like that, while yes, they are there, don't inspire me to adjust my present methods to utilize them.

I own the Peak Design Capture Pro clip too, and with heavier cameras the bag really doesn't sit well.  It pulls heavily to one side unless you have a decent counterweight inside, which if you do, pulls it to the other side once you take the camera off.  It's like a Benny Hill sketch.  It further irritates me that Peak Design created two systems to work together that utterly fail to work together well.  It's certainly not the peak of design in my opinion.

Plus it's super popular now, so it's like advertising to camera thieves that since you own a very high-end bag, you probably have some nice high-end gear they can help themselves to if they see you put it down anywhere. 

Bottom Line

Ultimately: it's a freaking bag.  There are thousands upon thousands of them on the market, and almost all of them are less instantly recognizable, feature most of the same options, and cost half the price.  Plus with the other options, you have, well, more options.  I'm not going to get rid of it, because it does fit well into my present flow, but it's not exactly something I would suggest friends buy.

Score

6/10

As always, this is not a technical analysis, it's just my impression of gear I've tried.  As you can probably tell by my comments, I am not endorsed by Peak Design in any way, and if I were I'm pretty sure this would make me their worst spokesperson ever.  Meh, it's my blog, and I'll say what I want. ;)

-Wes.