REVIEW – I was very excited to pack-out the latest (V2) design of one of Peak Design’s Camera Cubes, specifically the Peak Design Medium Camera Cube when it arrived, as I attempt to answer the question: What changes has Peak Design implemented in the new versions of its already awesome camera cubes, and are these changes positive changes for the product line?
What is it?
Specifically, the newly designed Peak Design Medium Camera Cube, a redesigned component of the Peak Design Travel Line’s eco-system.
What’s in the box?
The first image is how it is shipped. I pulled out all the dividers for the second image.
- Peak Design Medium Cube, with all dividers as show in image.
- 6 C-Clips for attaching to either 45L Backpack or 35L Duffel
- 2 Large Dividers
- 2 Small Shelf Dividers
- 3 X-Small Dividers
- 1 Detachable Pocket
- Reference Card and PD Sticker
Here are the outside dimensions for the V1 and V2 versions of each different size of a Peak Design Camera Cube. Note that there are two new sizes available in version two.
- Extra Small Camera Cube (New for V2)
- V2: Outer: (23 x 12 x 15 cm) 9.1″ x 4.7″ x 5.9″
- Small Camera Cube
- V1: Outer: (32 x 16 x 17 cm) 12.6″ x 6.3″ x 6.7″
- V2: Outer: (31 x 15 x 15 cm) 12.2″ x 5.9″ x 5.9″
- Small Medium Camera Cube (New for V2)
- V2: Outer: (31 x 23.5 x 15 cm) 12.2″ x 9.3″ x 5.9″
- Medium Camera Cube
- V1: Outer: (32 x 32 x 17 cm) 12.6″ x 12.6″ x 6.7″
- V2: Outer: (31 x 31 x 15 cm) 12.2″ x 12.2″ x 5.9″
- Large Camera Cube
- V1: Outer: 32 x 46 x 17 cm) 12.6″ x 18.1″ x 6.7″
- V2: Outer: (31 x 45 x 15 cm) 12.2″ x 17.7″ x 5.9″
Some readers may have noticed that all the new versions are slightly smaller than the previous versions. You were not seeing things; I will speak to that difference more below.
Design and features
Before I get too far into the evaluation and my opinion, I should state right up front that I have more Peak Design gear than I use on a regular basis. You can read that as; I am a fan of Peak Design products, even when I may not need them. With respect to this review, I already own the V1 Small Camera Cube, the Travel Backpack 45L, the Travel Duffel 35L, Wash Pouch, Tech Pouch, and a Small Packing Cube. I mention these items as they will appear in some of the pictures with Peak Design’s newly redesigned Medium Camera Cube. It is in no way to suggest that it is my complete Peak Design inventory of gear. Finally, like all products from Peak Design, there is a lifetime warranty, and 30-day returns.
Before I get to the major differences between the first and second versions of the Peak Design Camera Cubes I want to say a little about what they have in common. All camera cubes are constructed of a padded weatherproof nylon shell. Each camera cube has integrated webbing loops that support the attachment of various Peak Design straps. All camera cubes are designed to support side access on compatible travel bags like the Travel Backpack. All of the camera cube lids have breaks in the foam to support the tucking away of the lid when placed in one of the Travel Line bags. Each Peak Design Camera Cube is shipped with differing counts and types of protective flex-fold dividers to break up the interior space of the Peak Design Camera Cube. These protective flex-fold dividers are origami designed to allow for the greatest flexibility in their mounting in the respective camera cube.
Now that the common information has been addressed I am going to begin with the major line-item changes that I am aware of between the initial versions of Peak Design’s Camera Cubes and these latest versions. In some cases, I may add my opinion of the change.
Number one, as pointed out above, the sizes of each cube has changed. In addition, two new sizes are now offered: the X-Small cube and the Smedium. Two Smedium cubes are just a tad larger than the Large camera cube, and should easily fit in either of the Peak Design Travel Line bags. The slightly smaller sizes of the second version camera cubes just give a little more room in a Travel Line bag, without really sacrificing any meaningful interior space. As for the extra sizes, more options are always a positive. The following two pictures show the slight sizing differences. V1 camera cubes are taller, wider and longer than their V2 counterpart.
Next, the second version lids now are the full width and length of the respective camera cube, vs previously where the lid zippers were a little inset on the top of the camera cube. I only have a V1 version of the small cube, and I am not sure if the single pull feature, unique to this camera cube is still available with the newer zipper location of its second version counterpart.
The padding can now be removed from the lid to allow for better storage of the lid if the camera cube is used in a manner where the lid is always open and always folded back. While the first version does not allow for the padding to be removed, there is a break in the padding as mentioned earlier for both versions which allow for the lid to be folded naturally either on the back or under the bottom of the camera cube when the padding is present in the lid.
In summary, this means that the second version of the cube can be used exactly like the first version with respect to the lid, and if using this feature, the lid can almost completely be hidden away if the padding is removed.
Instead of the previous YYK zippers which were very nice but not weatherproof, the new cubes have very nice weatherproof zippers. I think the new zippers are Peak Design’s own UltraZips, and as expected, they are buttery smooth. I can see nothing wrong with that. In addition, these improved zippers will clearly increase the protection of the cube when used outside of one of the larger, more protective, Peak Design Travel Line bags.
The interior of the new Peak Design Camera Cube’s fabric is brighter and a little less coarse. While the lighter color provides for more contrast inside a dark bag than the previous darker gray color does, the lighter color may more readily show dirt compared to the older, darker color.
Finally, instead of the first version’s front dedicated handle and a strap in the back, the second version of the Peak Design Camera Cubes has a strap that goes all the way around the camera cube. I think the first version design was better suited from a stand-alone carry standpoint because of that dedicated front handle, however being able to grab the cube from any side has its advantages as well.
The next thing I need to address is the design philosophy that Peak Design followed in designing their Travel Line of bags, primarily the Backpack and Duffel, and corresponding packing tools. Most everything that Peak Design offers, is based around the concept of a “packing unit” of which the Travel Backpack and Travel Duffel have room for three. The Peak Design Medium Camera Cube is two packing units in size, which leaves one packing unit left with both the Travel Backpack and the Travel Duffel. The following set of pictures shows the Peak Design Medium Camera Cube loaded mainly into the Travel Backpack with some of the other Peak Design packing tools, followed by two pictures of it inside the Travel Duffel.
A packed out Peak Design Medium Camera Cube in the Travel Backpack with plenty of room left for other stuff.
A packed out Peak Design Medium Camera Cube in the Travel Backpack, with a compressed Peak Design Small Packing cube, and the Peak Design Wash Pouch. Easy overnight travel support with a lot of camera gear.
A packed out Peak Design Medium Camera Cube in the Travel Backpack, with a Peak Design Wash Pouch, and the Peak Design Tech Pouch.
A packed out Peak Design Medium Camera Cube in the Travel Duffel and another single packing unit accessory.
Most camera cubes, regardless of manufacturer share the design philosophy of a pseudo rectangular open space, which is further broken up by adjustable dividers and Peak Design’s Camera Cubes are no different.
I have two images showing the version one and two versions of the protective flex-fold Shelf Divider. The lighter one is the second version. This is the only protective flex-fold divider that is shipped with the first version of the Peak Design Small Camera Cube, and is the only first version camera cube that I had access to, allowing for this side by side look. You can see that the hook part of the divider connection in the second version is better color matched with the interior fabric of the camera cube.
Both versions of the camera cubes ship with different variations of protective flex-fold dividers based on the size of the camera cube purchased. Given there are more different sizes for the second version, I would guess that the dividers are better sized to fit the camera cube sizes they ship with.
For the first version of the Peak Design Camera Cubes, there are the following protective flex-fold dividers: floating pocket, shelf divider, short divider, long divider, (3 different styles/sizes of dividers + 1 floating pocket).
For the second version of the Peak Design Camera Cubes, there are the following protective flex-fold dividers: floating pocket, small shelf divider, x-small divider, small divider(new), medium divider, long divider, x-large divider (new), (6 different styles/sizes of dividers + 1 floating pocket).
The shelf divider is by far the most flexible of the protective flex-fold dividers as it not only can be used to customize the internal space of the camera cube, but includes a fold down shelf allowing for example a small prime lens to be stored on top of another small prime lens without them actually touching each other.
I wish the newest version of the floating pocket had some way of staying closed. The first version has a small Velcro strip along to top to keep the pocket shut. I think a small zipper would have been a great upgrade for the second version of this useful camera cube insert.
As mentioned above, all of the Peak Design Camera Cubes for both versions have integrated webbing loops, two on each side, which allow one to use Peak Design’s anchors which enable the using of any of the sold separately Peak Design camera straps, or the external carry straps which come with some of the Peak Design travel bags, to carry around the camera cube all by itself. With some of the larger camera cubes the location of these webbing loops support stand-alone side entry as well.
The setup for any Peak Design Camera Cube is very user specific. That said, the setup is nothing more than configuring the various included protective flex-fold dividers to wrap the specific camera gear that you have, maximizing the amount of gear you haul, while minimizing the chance of it getting damaged. You will see a description of my load-out in the next section of this review.
What follows is a load-out with some (most) of my camera gear into the second version of the Peak Design Medium Camera Cube, configured to allow for side entry for my camera and my long telephoto lens, either when used stand alone with a Peak Design Camera Strap, or enclosed inside of the Travel Backpack.
My Load-out – Starting at the top left
- Canon EFS 17-85mm F 1: 4-5.6 IS USM
- Peak Design Leash
- Peak Design Slide Light
- Canon 580 EX II Flash
- Canon EOS Rebel XT Manual
- Canon 580 EX II Flash Manual
- Compact Flash Card Holder
- Canon EOS Rebel XT with Canon EF 70-300mm 1: 4-5.6 IS USM
- Air Brush
- Lens Cloth
- Below Shelf Divider
- USB Data Cable
- USB to Lightening adapter
- Extra Battery
- Battery Charger
- 58 mm Circular Polarizing Filter
- Above Shelf Divider
- Peak Design Capture
- Peak Design Pro Pad
Empty Peak Design Camera Cube with all camera gear removed and the shelf divider opened up on the right hand side.
Filled, but not stacked camera gear in the Peak Design Medium Camera Cube.
Finally, filled and stacked camera gear in the Peak Design Medium Camera Cube.
Using the six included C-Clips you can securely attach the Peak Design Medium Camera Cube to the top of either the Travel Backpack or the Travel Duffel using the attachment points, allowing for a secure and fixed position in the bag. The included 6 C-Clips facilitates the ability to secure the camera cube to three sides of the Peak Design Travel Backpack. The Peak Design Travel Duffel, does not support side entry, and only supports for connection to opposite sides of the bag. The 6 point connection becomes important when using the cube inside of the Travel Backpack allowing access for side entry by firmly securing the Camera Cube to the bag. Regardless of a side entry need, using the C-Clips prevents the camera cube from sliding back and forth in either Travel Line bag.
Looking through the side panel of the Peak Design Travel Backpack you can see that two C-Clips are visible in this image with the Peak Entry Medium Camera Cube’s side entry door zipped shut.
Looking through the side panel of the Peak Design Travel Backpack, flipped over, the cavity is visible where the camera and lens will slip in.
Same vantage point, with the camera slipped in.
Three different images, accessing the camera, via the Peak Design’s Travel Backpack’s side access door, slid into the Peak Design Medium Camera Cube’s side entry panel.
What I like
- Excellent build materials and quality
- New weatherproof zippers
- Better integration into Peak Design’s Travel Line.
What I’d change
- Provide small zipper for the floating pocket to keep things inside.
As I mentioned above, I am a huge fan of Peak Design, and I see no reason to curb my excitement and trust based on changes in the second version of the Peak Design Medium Camera Cube. The new design decisions seem to be focused on improving the use of the Peak Design Camera Cubes with Peak Design’s Travel Line bags, allowing for a wider opening on the top, a better fit inside of the Travel Line bags, and lighter inside color to aid one in identifying their camera gear inside of any of the Peak Design Travel Line bags. The only exception to this is the incorporation of Peak Design’s weatherproof UltraZips which will add value when a Peak Design Camera Cube is used as a standalone camera bag.