Peak Design reached its $100,000 Kickstarter campaign goal for its Everyday Messenger camera bag in less than 90 minutes. Since then more than 7,500 backers have pushed the funding beyond $2 million, setting records for the most funding for camera-accessory and bag-related projects.
A pledge of $195, which converts to AU$265 and £125, gets you a bag in either charcoal with red accents or tan with blue accents. Peak Design sent us a preproduction sample to check out for a couple of days so we could see firsthand what makes this bag worth the pledge.
The shell is made from a waxed and coated synthetic canvas with a heathered texture. The coating makes it weather resistant, though the bottom has a foam coating that makes that part waterproof. I don't particularly like the feel of the fabric -- it's like a papery denim -- but that could be because of the coating or that it might just need to break in a bit.
The bag's MagLatch closure is the answer to Velcro, cheap plastic clasps and other mechanisms that can't easily be opened with one hand while remaining secure.
As the name implies, the latch uses a magnet to grab onto one of four catchpoints. A quick tug on the top grab handle sets the latch.
The clasp is definitely clever and more secure than I expected because you have to pull up on it to release the magnet. It's a pretty natural one-handed movement, and the design keeps the front looking nice and clean without flappy straps.
The bag's design and the MagLatch closure allow it to be expanded and collapsed as needed. There are other messengers that do this, of course, but this bag does it and still looks like a tailored suit for what is -- or isn't -- inside.
The strap is easily adjusted, too, from 31 to 56 inches (78 to 142cm), and it can be reversed so it can be worn across the left or right shoulder. It's made from seatbelt-style nylon with 2-inch tubular webbing and is embedded with high-density EVA padding.
Embedding the pad means you're not constantly shifting a big, bulky pad around. Instead, you just change the strap length to put the pad in the right place. This is what allows it to be used as shoulder bag or messenger, too.
The main compartment comes with three foldable dividers for creating spaces for your camera gear or whatever else you're carrying. The dividers are made from compression-molded EVA foam, making them much thinner than what you'd typically find in a camera bag, but the folding design makes them more formfitting for cameras and lenses.
The pockets are made from an elastic cloth, which makes it easy to get your fingers or your whole hand into them, but they shrink right back up to hold your stuff in place. There is no skinny pen-shaped pocket, which is only disappointing if you still like to have a skinny pocket specifically for a pen or, in my case, a lens-cleaning pen.
Peak Design got its start making the Capture clip. It consists of two main pieces: a metal clip that clamps onto a strap or belt and a mounting plate that screws into a standard 1/4-inch tripod mount on your camera. The bag has a strap on each side specifically designed as attachment points for Capture clips.
Just behind the Capture-clip strap on each side is a small pocket. They're not easy to get in and out of, at least for me, but if you need a pocket to store your sunglasses or a small water bottle, they do the trick. They are open, though, so I wouldn't trust them with anything you would be devastated to lose.
Oddly, for all the little things this bag offers, it's the strap adjustment that I appreciated the most on my daily commute. (The MagLatch was a close second.) Just pull up on the metal handle to shorten the strap or slide it down to give you more room. Pushing the handle back down locks the strap in place.
Little pockets on each side give you a place to hide the stabilizer straps. However, I found getting them back in neatly to be a little tricky and if you just jam them in, it looks bad, they tend to fall out, and eat space for the side storage pockets.
This is a crowdfunded project, though, and sometimes there are delays, so read Kickstarter's policies before you back any project. The positive here is that Peak Design has gone to Kickstarter for its other accessories and have been responsive in the past when something didn't go quite right.