Peak Design Everyday Sling
Just a note, at the time of writing this review I have been solely using the Everyday Sling for over 6 months. In the occasion I need more of a backpacking setup to haul more camping related gear I simply slide this bag, loaded with my camera gear, into an actual backpacking pack.
Update July 2017: I have since added a Peak Design field pouch to my setup putting some of my less commonly used items in it. I has made the Everyday Sling that much more roomy and versatile. When I think I'll need any of those items (table top tripod, wired remote, lens pen, small tool kit, etc) I either simply put those items back in or I carry the field pouch with me.
Many of you have by now heard of the company Peak Designs and possibly used some of their products. The short version of their story is several years ago they created a product called the “Capture” and sold them quite successfully on Kickstarter. They continued the trend getting into the camera bag market again successfully releasing several bags on Kickstarter.
Much like their product timeline, my exposure to their line was very similar starting with the Capture Clip and evolving forward. I currently own many of their straps and bags and will touch on several of them but the one product I’d like to discuss is the Everyday Sling.
Like many other photographers there seems to be a never ending quest to find the perfect bag. We buy bag after bag until we finally find what works exactly as we wish just so we can do a minor gear change and start the quest over. I've been told the equation to figure out how many bags a photographer should have is A+1=X. The perfect number of bags is "X" and the current number of bags owned is "A" in the equation.
For me I seemed to introduce another challenge in the fact that I switched over to a completely mirroless kit consisting of some Fuji gear. I will get into a little more detail of what gear exactly shortly but the unexpected problem came in the fact that most all bags are designed to fit larger DSLR systems. The result was a bag that was too big, didn't organize well, and easily lost the relatively smaller mirroless equipment.
I tried many bags and many of them worked well enough. Interesting enough at one point I thought I had the "perfect" bag which wasn't even a camera bag. It was a shoulder style discreet carry bag with an inexpensive universal camera insert. It worked great, I stopped bag shopping, and then I thought it would be great to pick up another lens that was physically larger than the others. While my photography has greatly benefited, my "perfect" bag no longer existed in my world as I had slightly outgrown that shoulder bag.
I had always looked at the bag options from Peak Design but again, they all seemed to be built for a DSLR sized kit. That is until the Everyday Sling was introduced. I carefully watched it's progression on Kickstarter. Watched as the final design size was more or less put to a vote. I'll be honest, I didn't back it as it isn't a cheap bag and I really didn't want to be disappointed. I wanted others to get it and review it before I put forward the cash for one of my own.
Once the bag started to ship I watched for reviews from photographers using a similarly sized smaller camera system like mine. After a few positive reviews of the sort and seeing how happy people were I decided to order one of my own.
When it showed up in the mail and I opened it I was instantly disappointed. It was much smaller than I had expected and was all of a sudden concerned there wouldn't be enough room. I actually set the bag on my table and didn't jump to packing it as I normally would. After the realization came across that I was just going to sell it I decided to at least put a camera in it and try it on.
Instantly as I was moving the dividers around I understood why other photographers have been raving about their dividers. They are quite simple yet very unique. They are much thinner than the normal ones, they were more versatile, they had flaps that folded, yet they felt like the protected better than the standard thick padded ones. I kept placing dividers where they needed to be to fit my camera and a few lenses and I quickly understood how well this bag was sized for a mirrorless camera.
A few minutes of arranging and managed to get my Fuji X-T1 with Fuji 10-24 mounted in one side and the dividers were carefully storing my Fuji 56mm f/1.2, Fuji 35mm f/1.4, Fuji 18-55, and Rokinon 12mm f/2.0. I zipped it up and was right then amazed and what I managed to fit in that little bag. I threw it over my shoulder and started playing with the straps. This is when I learned that all the raving about their straps was well worth it. Like I said, I've had many quality bags, but the straps and adjustments on this Peak Design bag felt superior. They were solid yet adjusted so smoothly. I snugged it up on my back and walked around a bit. I was quickly becoming a believer that I may have found the "perfect" bag again.
One of the features that I don't hear talked about much is how easy it is to work out of this bag. This is honestly one of the best features hand down in my opinion. With the sling form factor I am able to cinch it up on my back for walking/hiking and quickly sling it to my side or front where I can work out of it. It stays securely where it needs to be and I maintain use of both hands. The bag is almost like having a table or holder everywhere I go. I never set the bag down even when shooting. It is so easy to have everything I need readily available.
Along the same lines Peak Design figured something out that not many others have. If the flap opens away from your body it is a lot easier to work out of it as well as more secure against items falling. With the bag on my side or front I can open the flap and have access to nearly everything while it remains securely stowed. I have balanced on the tops of some structures and managed to change lenses or filters without concern of anything falling. (This is something I hope Peak Design pays attention to in possible next generation versions of their Everyday Backpack.)
As for the size of the bag I think they nailed it. There are times I wish it was a little bigger but in that comes more weight. With the bag the size it is I always manage to have the gear I want and then some. The list of gear I carry in that little bag still amazes me when I list it out.
- Fuji X-T1 w/ L Bracket and 10-24 f/4
- Fuji X-E1 w/ 35mm f/1.4
- Fuji 56mm f/1.2
- Formatt Hitech Firecrest 100mm ND filter kit with CP and holder
- Manfrotto tabletop tripod
- Wired remote
- Peak Design Leash
- Peak Design Cuff- Peak Design Capture Pro (On the side)
- Mefoto Roadtrip Tripod (In the straps on the bottom)
- 5 Batteries, lens cloth, alcohol wipes
There isn't much I can't tackle with the above mentioned kit and the kicker is there is still room for random items. On a short hike last week I took my X-E1 w/ 35mm lens and attached it to the side of the bag with the Capture Pro which did two things. It freed up enough room in the bag to easily put a 32oz Nalgene bottle of water in there and made my X-E1 readily available for snapshots along the trail. I actually yielded several great photos with that camera that way.
If my "mission" requires different gear I can adjust accordingly. If I know I might have the chance to shoot the Milky Way I'll throw my Rokinon 12mm lens in there in an empty slot. I don't carry it all the time as it is fairly purpose specific for me.
If I need to carry a speedlight I'll often leave the X-E1 behind to throw the speedlite in. With a little creativity it would probably fit with but in the effort of keeping it simple and light I usually just temporarily ditch the X-E1.
For size reference the bag may look really small when I'm using it but keep in mind I'm over 6' tall and 300lbs, not exactly a small person. However, even on a small person it doesn't look out of place. Chalk it up as another point scored for this bag.