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  • Lars Jameson

Peak Design: Worth the Hype?

A rare photo of me in the wild, using the ol' Lowepro to carry two bodies and 4 lenses

There are some things that almost every photographer needs, like a good bag, or a camera strap, or a tripod. When I was first getting started with digital photography my go-to brand for carrying all of my gear was Lowepro. I still have my Lowepro bags but these days I rarely touch them. In my experience they just aren’t as practical or functional as my Peak Design bags.

The Infamous Anchor

If you’re a photographer at any level you may have heard of Peak Design, or at the very least you may have seen their red and black “anchors” and wondered what the hell they were for. Those are what **peaked** my interest in the company. I didn’t know what those little discs hanging off the cameras of the professionals I followed were. I did some research and ended up on Peak Designs website.

Peak Design is a company that makes the some of the more necessary accessories for the modern photographer. The above mentioned “anchors” go along with their “Slide” camera strap as well as their other straps. I’ve had these anchors on all my cameras since 2017 and have had zero issue. I have never had an anchor show signs of wear, and I am confident in their ability to secure my gear. While I have heard of the rare occurrence of them failing, it’s extremely rare and easy to avoid by paying attention and looking out for signs of wear. The new anchors from after 2015 have a red core that will show if there is wear to the cord. In my experience, I have yet to actually get to the point of seeing it. The Slide camera strap is comfortable and easy to use. I like that it can be quickly adjusted to any length and locked in.

So we know the straps and anchors are quality, but what about the bags?

My V1 Everyday 20L Packed and ready to go

My personal experience with Peak Design bags has ruined camera bags for me. I just can’t see any need to ever switch up what I’m using. I bought the Everyday Backpack 20L V1 back when it was the current offering. There were some quality control issues then, like uneven side pockets, but the bag is still phenomenal. The V2 is the current offering now, though I’ll be hanging onto my V1 because I don’t like the redesign to the zippered pockets on the inside of the sides of the bag. It’s not that they aren’t a decent solution, it’s just that I think they did it better the first time. I’ve had my Everyday backpack for over 5 years now and there is only wear showing on the fabric that runs across the top of one of the shoulder straps. If I could buy another V1 I totally would as a backup, but now the only option for me to do that is via Pre Owned selections. No thanks.

Perhaps my bag fails in a way that matters. If that were the case I would swallow my pride and get the V2 as a replacement. It’s still the same great setup, minus the changes to the internal zippered side pockets.

Just a sample of what goes in when I go out

In the 20L bag I have been able to fit an absurd amount of kit. I specifically chose the 20L to have as little hassle at the airport as possible when travelling with my gear. The 30L is also advertised to work as a carry on, but I wanted no doubt. Even so, with the smaller bag there have been multiple times I’ve travelled with 3 cameras and a DJI mini jammed in there. The adjustable dividers keep everything organized and I like being able to quickly access every piece of gear I have via the side zippers. It’s a lot more of a fluid experience than trying to quickly get to my gear in my Lowepro bag.

The 6L sling is a good compromize of amount of gear vs. size

Recently, I decided that I wanted something even smaller for when I just want to go out and shoot quickly. Because of my positive experience with the Everyday Backpack, I decided to go with once again one of Peak Design’s solutions. I settled on the Everyday Sling V2, in 6 liters.

In a pinch I can fit two bodies and a lens in the sling, but I tend to use it with one body, two lenses, some filters, batteries, my strap, and an iPad Pro to edit on the go. If I really want to bring a second camera while using this setup, I have attached one of Peak Design’s Capture Clips to the side of the bag. Overall, I have been very happy with the 6L sling, its perfect for a quick outing or even as a minimalist travel setup.

A Possible travel setup with the 6L sling

I also want to talk about that Capture Clip. This thing is an awesome idea, and I love it. It’s a little clip that can attach to the strap of your backpack or your belt. A small baseplate is attached to the bottom of your camera, which you can then slide into the clip. Once in the clip, the baseplate locks into place. With the press of a button, you can then slide your camera out of the clip, or you can twist the button to lock the mechanism further securing your camera. I have a clip on both of my bags and have used them in countless scenarios. Peak Design makes a whole host of accessories that open a variety of uses for their clip, from holding onto lenses to mounting a Gopro.

Overall, I’ve had nothing but a positive experience with the Peak Design products I’ve tried. The bags are second to none and for myself, there is no going back. Sometimes hype is just hype. In the case of Peak Design, I think it’s well warranted. I recommend their bags to every person who will hear me talk about them. For myself, they are the perfect solution.

Unitended product crossover. The bag has unlimited uses.

One request I would like to make to Peak Design (if you’re listening to lil’ ol’ me) is to please make a bag similar to the everyday line, sling or backpack, and seriously reinforce the padding to the bag. Call it the “Everyday Action Bag.” Please. This request is motivated by an upcoming project of mine, but I know countless people who could use this kind of product in their workflow.

I'm working on a project where I will be integrating inline skating with photography and videography. I would love to have more confidence in the survival of my gear in the case of a fall.

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