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Peak Design Everyday Messenger

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.

Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

Looks like canvas, but isn't

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.

Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

Patent-pending MagLatch

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.

Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

It's a grower

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.

Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

Origami-inspired dividers

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.

Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

Stack your gear

The dividers also  reduce wasted space as you can basically create a protective shelf over your equipment and put more stuff on top.

Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

Pockets!

Up front is a zippered pouch with eight color-coded pockets for batteries, memory cards, filters, keys and whatever else you want to jam in them.

Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

Tiny, but still big

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.

Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

Fast access

A water-resistant zipper gives you access to the main compartment without lifting the flap.

Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

Secret stash

Just inside the flap at the back of the bag is a pocket just big enough to stash your phone or other small things you want to get to fast without digging around in the bag.

Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

More room in back

Another weather-resistant zipper on the top at the back seals a padded pocket for a tablet/e-reader and a laptop.

Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

15 inches of laptop

The pocket fits up to a 15-inch laptop, but depending on what's already in the front of the bag, it can be a bit of a squeeze. Releasing the MagLatch before you put your laptop in helps.

Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

Capture-clip ready

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.

Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

Keep your camera handy

Adding a Capture clip (one isn't included with the bag) gives you some place to quickly put your camera when you need your hands free for something else.

Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

More pockets

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.

Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

Easy adjusting

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.

Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

Stabilizer strap

A waist strap gives you some extra support, but can also attach to the main strap to keep the bag from flipping around when biking.

By the way, there currently is no strap for carrying a tripod, but the designers are currently working on a solution for that.

Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

Don't need 'em, won't see 'em

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.

Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

One more pocket

Inside the flap you'll find one more zippered pocket.

Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

$2 million and counting

The Kickstarter campaign ends on September 20 and, yes, Peak Design will have "San Francisco" spelled correctly when it ships to backers, currently expected to be in December.

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.

Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

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