In July of 2018, Peak Design launched their eighth (!) kickstarter campaign, launching a whole line of products designed with travel in mind. At the end of the campaign, the line-up included:
- 45L backpack
- 65L duffel pack
- 35L duffel
- Tech pouch
- Wash pouch
- Small & medium sized packing cubes
- Small, medium, & large sized camera cubes
- Shoe pouch
- Rain fly
One item quickly grabbed my attention, the tech pouch, as I’ve been coveting a way to neatly pack my tech stuff for travel. Next, the wash pouch looked like a better take on a dopp kit than my current solution, and the bags looked good, too. It didn’t take long before I’d backed another of their campaigns, with the items arriving in early December.
The tech and wash pouches
The tech and wash pouches both became immediate favorites, supplanting my previous solutions in no time flat. They are both good examples of the thoughtful design that has become Peak Designs stock in trade since they launched the everyday backpack. With lots of organisational options, I am fully expecting these two to be with me for a long time to come.
They are not, however, perfect. The hook on the wash pouch feels poorly thought out, different for the sake of being different, and not a fresh take on a classic solution, and both would have benefited from having two-way zippers for the main compartment.
The travel backpack
Before getting my travel backpack, my go-to for packing has generally been either a rolling suitcase or some sort of duffel bag. This has often meant I have had to check luggage that didn’t really need checking, simply due to the size of the luggage, rather than the volume of the packed items. The travel backpack is carry-on sized, meaning that it’s only for longer journeys I’ll need to check my bag. Another bonus is that this means that I’m able to pack what I need to remain independent of my checked luggage should it become delayed in transit.
The backpack features access from both the front and back, as well as from the sides (these latter two are of particular importance to those using it for the camera cubes, which I did not buy). The side towards the back has dual tablet/laptop storage on the inside, while the other side features two large organisation panels. Beyond that, I’m going to refer you to the ample collection of photos and videos on the Kickstarter.
With compression to 35 liters, and expansion to 45 liters, a multitude of carrying handles, as well as a stowable waist belt and backpack straps, it works well for a lot of applications and modes of travel. The duffel-style carry handle doubles as a luggage pass-through, allowing the backpack to sit securely atop a roller-bag or suitcase.
Like the tech and wash pouches, the backpack is not perfect. In particular, the pocket for an address label feels tacked-on. The velcro closure – which would have been fine on most bags – feels unrefined on this bag, which otherwise features zippers and magnets. It should also have had some way to attach an address card, rather than the card included in it.
The packing cubes and shoe pouch
The biggest surprises to me in the bundle, were the packing cubes. While I do appreciate organisational options in my luggage, I hadn’t realised that packing cubes might be a good idea until I started using them. With a combination of a light-weight material with a mesh portion for expansion (or, more importantly, compression), they make packing for a trip very easy.
While I wouldn’t advocate packing a suit or dress shirt in them (preferring to stow them between the organisation panels of the backpack), they work well for most other items of clothingThe shoe pouch is made from the same material as the packing cubes, and is large enough to accommodate two pairs of shoes.
The shoe pouch fits one pair of shoes no problem, and one could very conceivably fit two pairs – depending on the type or size of shoe.
Though not perfect, and though I would have liked them to keep to the colorways from the everyday backpack campaign, rather than replace the ash colorway with the sage colorway, the travel line feels well thought through, and has a lot of sensible features that really brings it together.