Peak Design Everyday Messenger Bag (2020) review

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REVIEW – When it comes to my everyday gear bag, I prefer a messenger style bag. They just feel more comfortable to me than a backpack to both carry and use. About four and a half years ago, I reviewed the original Peak Design Everyday Messenger Bag. I ended up using that bag on and off for several years but ultimately gifted it to a family member because it felt too large for my current selection of EDC items. Now Peak Design is back with an updated version of their Everyday Messenger Bag. Let’s check it out.

What is it?

The Everyday Messenger Bag from Peak Design is a 13L messenger bag designed for photographers that is made of weatherproof 100% recycled 400D poly-coated DWR-impregnated nylon canvas.

Design and features

Like a traditional messenger bag, the Everyday Messenger has a large compartment with a flap and an adjustable shoulder strap. This new version of the Everyday Messenger is available in either black or an ash color like the one shown here that was sent to me. The new version of this bag has a less boxy shape than the original version, making it feel more modern and sleek.

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A new feature on the 2020 version of the Everyday Messenger is a pass-thru slot that allows you to slide the bag over the handle of your rolling luggage for easy transport while traveling.

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It is a little odd that the top of this pass-thru slot has a magnetic closure, but the bottom is completely open. I find it disappointing that Peak didn’t add a zipper to the bottom of the pass-thru slot in order to make this a functional pocket. Especially because the original Everyday Messenger bag had a large zippered back pocket designed for a laptop.

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The bottom of the bag has a 900D waterproof bottom liner to keep it protected if you set it down on a wet surface.

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The bottom of the bag is flat but the base is pretty narrow, so it tends to fall over instead of remaining upright.

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On both sides of the bag, you’ll find a vertical zippered slash pocket. Both pockets are pretty cramped/small though and unlike the previous version of the messenger bag, my phone (Huawei P30 Pro) will not fit in either side pocket, but an iPhone X does fit.

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One of the side pockets has a built-in tethered key holder. The included Anker Link key tether has a snap-in tab that allows you to remove the keys when you need to use them and then re-attach them again when you’re not using them.

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The bottom corners of the messenger bag have an attachment loop.

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Using the included Cord Hook external carry straps, you can lash items to the bottom of the bag, like a tripod.

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The adjustable straps can also be used under the main flap of the bag where there are 6 more attachment loops which are shown below.

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The design of the main flap and closure mechanism is almost identical to the previous version of Peak Design’s messenger bag.

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The bag features a unique closure mechanism that includes an aluminum clasp in the flap that has a magnet. This clasp is attached to a strong elastic strap so that it can be pulled down to attach to the bottom bar on the front of the bag.

The flap itself is not as flexible as the flap on the original messenger bag. This is disappointing to me because you can’t fold the flap back behind the bag while it’s open. It’s just too stiff and it wants to flop back closed.

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Under the flap, you’ll find a narrow zippered pocket and 4 attachment points that can be used with the Cord Hook external carry straps to hold other gear.

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This vertical zippered pocket can be used to hold small items like your phone, sunglasses, pens, etc.

Below this zippered pocket in the back wall of the main part of the bag is a large slot/pocket for your laptop or tablet. The pocket has a divider and can hold up to 13 inch laptop of a max size of 22.9cm x 2.5cm x 33cm (9″ x 1″ x 13″) or a tablet-sized device of 30.6cm x 22.1cm x .7 cm (12″ x 8.7″ x 0.3″) like a 12.9″ iPad Pro. The top edge of the pocket has a magnet to hold it closed.

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On the front wall of the bag is a zippered pocket that has four small open-topped slots that are perfectly sized for compact flashcards, batteries, or other small items. Compared to the previous version of this bag, there are significantly fewer storage slots and pockets.

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The storage in the main compartment of the messenger bag can be customized using the two included Flexfold dividers.

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The dividers can be completely removed from the bag if you don’t want to use them because they are just held in place with Velcro strips on the edges.

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The Flexfold dividers can unfold to allow the dividers to create two levels of storage for your gear.

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As an example, you can use them to store multiple camera lenses without them touching each other.

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Last but not least, there are two side pockets inside the bag that are made of thin stretchy material.

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Here we see the bag loaded down with some gear. I have my 12 inch MacBook and an A5 paper notebook in the back pocket, a large pen holder, a bottle of Vita Water, an iPhone, and some other gear in the other compartments.

The bag is relatively comfortable to carry and feels well balanced.

Video overview

What I like

  • Flexfold dividers allow for customization of the interior storage
  • Ability to lash bulky items like a tripod to the bottom of the bag
  • The main flap closure mechanism is easy to use

What I’d change

  • Make the base larger so it sits upright without falling over
  • allow the flap to fold open behind the bag
  • Design the sides so that weather/rain can’t get inside
  • Put a zipper on the bottom of the pass-thru slot on the back of the bag
  • Rain/snow can get into the bag through gaps in the flap

Final thoughts

I really liked the original Peak Design Everyday Messenger Bag and as I mentioned before, I used it for several years as my main gear bag. I was excited to try an updated version of this bag, but other than the refined style, I am sad to say that I don’t like this new version of the bag. I feel that the 2020 version of the Everyday Messenger bag is missing a lot of the features that I liked most about the original version of the bag. The newer bag doesn’t have a zippered back pocket, the main flap won’t stay open, the bag falls over on a flat surface, and there are fewer compartments that aren’t as easy to access or are smaller.

Peak Design’s products look nice and are very well made with quality materials, but I think they took a step backward instead of forward with their new Everyday Messenger Bag. Here’s hoping the next version does a better job of wowing me.

Price: $219.95
Where to buy: Peak Design
Source: The sample for this review was provided by Peak Design.

3 thoughts on “Peak Design Everyday Messenger Bag (2020) review”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
  2. Hi Julie,

    I own Peak’s EDC Backpack, V2 / 30L. My issues with this pack are echo some of your Messenger Bag concerns. I REALLY think Peak uses a thoughtful design approach, but the backpack’s implementation leaves a bit to be desired. It uses the same foldable separators and the same interior design as the Messenger. The flap IS too stiff. I asked for this pack for Christmas last year and wound up using it for only one month (home-car-office-car-home), during which time it never grew on me. It’s big, it’s functional, but it’s not for me. It does stand upright when empty, but with a forward-pitch to it that doesn’t require much loading to convince it to tip over. The internal structure is minimal. This pack would do a decent job with camera equipment, but “EDC” implies something else. It’s been sitting in my home office, virtually new since the end of January. It’s a shame because I wanted to like it because I like the company.

    1. Earl, I feel the same way. I really liked their first version of this bag and the new one is a huge disappointment for me as I was looking forward to switching over to it for a while. But as it is, I don’t see that happening which is a bummer.

  3. Hi Julie,
    I have a messenger back and I lost that due to wears and tears for some reason. But after this informative article, I bought a bag and it has amazing quality and I love this bag. Thank you for sharing this article and help me to buy the best messenger bag.
    This article is the best buying guide for me.

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