Are you still searching for the best travel backpack for your clothes and your precious photo equipment? Then the Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L might be the one for you.

If you’re willing to pay a premium to get a premium product, you’ll find this one from Peak Design interesting. Are you done buying new backpacks all the time? It might put an end to your dilemma.

But for its sticker price, will this 45-liter Travel Backpack prove true to its promises? Or are you forking out money for the brand name?

Nobody wants their hard-earned money wasted. So to help you decide, we put Peak Design’s offering to the test. Read on, and we’ll walk you through every detail you need to know.

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.5

Things we like:

  • check-mark
    You can access your items easily through side loading
  • check-mark
    Robust material ensures it lasts for a long time
  • check-mark
    Rigid wall construction makes it an ideal camera bag
  • check-mark
    Magnetic-locked pockets allow you to stow away straps
  • check-mark
    There are lots of haul loops, so you can easily pick up your backpack
  • check-mark
    Flexible capacity
  • check-mark
    Many anti-theft pockets for your valuables
  • check-mark
    The removable divider between the main and front compartment lets you max out storage space
  • check-mark
    Lash points are also available for your extras
  • check-mark
    You can lock the zipper pulls together for additional security
  • check-mark
    The laptop sleeve provides solid protection
  • check-mark
    Sleek modern look blends in anywhere
  • check-mark
    Lifetime warranty coverage

Things we don't like:

  • check-markIt's hard to access your laptop on the go
  • check-markG-hooks on webbings are time-consuming
  • check-markThe backpack's face must be on the ground every time you need full access to the main compartment.
  • check-markCompression snaps at the top aren't that secure.
  • check-markThe secret pocket on water bottle holders compromises the holster's space.

Where to buy:

Peak Design 45l Product Image

Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L

Specs & Features

  • Material: 400D Nylon (Shell), 900D Nylon (Bottom), DWR-Coated Polyurethane Liner, Aluminum G-Hooks, Zoom Zippers, Hypalon Pull Tabs
  • 30-Liter Compressed Dimension: 21” x 13” x 5.5”
  • 35-Liter Default Dimension: 21” x 13” x 6.5”
  • 45-Liter Expanded Dimension: 21” x 13” x 7.5”
  • Weight: 4.5 lbs.
  • Colors: Sage, Black
  • Ideal for: Multi-Day Travels, Office Use, Photographers
See the complete list of the best Travel Backpacks here!

A Well-Organized Heavy-Duty Minimalist

We know how frustrating it is to jump from one backpack to another after every trip, whether it’s due to capacity or it just can’t deal with your demands. With Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L, you get a modern low-profile design, flexible and organized storage space, durability you can count on, and many unique features.

With the combination of 400D and 900D nylon and tough and clean stitching, there’s no need to worry about your bag ripping. The rigidity of the entire bag also made it an ideal camera companion since it’s cube-compatible. Plus the side-loading options so you can quickly grab your DSLR without taking off the whole backpack.

Its comfortable harness system is stowable in magnet-locked panels with adjustment points to let you modify its capacity. You can choose between 30 liters, 35 liters, and 45 liters. And no matter how much storage space you opt to use, there are lots of zipped compartments and secret pockets to keep your items organized.

Construction and Design

First off, we love Peak Design Travel Backpack’s sleek look. It’s modern, minimalistic, yet very functional. You can choose between Black and Sage, and both provide robust overall construction.

Black vs Sage

peak-design-45l-black-vs-sage

Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L comes with technical-grade materials. Its 400D nylon shell can handle the load with proper weight distribution, and the 900D nylon base ensures that your items stay safe. Both offer high tear– and abrasion resistance. With a high denier count at the bottom of the bag, it feels like rubber to touch, a tell-tale sign it can withstand abuse.

Peak Design 45l Bottom Of Backpack

Since there’s DWR-coated polyurethane liner wrapping the entire bag, you can walk around with peace of mind that your things will stay dry even if you get caught in heavy rains.

The fabric combination of this Peak Design bag is one of the best (if not the best) in all of the backpacks we have tested so far. Even hiking bags like the Osprey Aether 65 have a 420D nylon shell and base.

When it comes to the zips it was surprisingly not YKKS but ZOOMs. They didn’t glide as smoothly as we wished they would at first, but they proved to be easy to use (just needed some warming up). The Hypalon pull tabs are big enough to sneak a finger and open/close the zipper. Bonus, they can work as O-rings to secure the pulls together, providing a bit more security. The stitching is clean and reinforced, giving the seams an excellent capacity to carry a heavy load.

Peak Design 45l Stitching

And oh! Even though the Peak Design Travel Backpack got heavy-duty construction, you got a lifetime warranty for it. If something happens to your bag, they’ll repair or replace it. As long as it’s not intentional, you’re covered.

Harness System

Peak Design Travel Backpack’s harness system got a clever design. You get the basics- thickly padded shoulders straps providing a comfy fit. There are also lash points for your sunglasses. But what made this bag stand out is its rotating shoulder straps that can hide on the magnet-locked back panel. And if you love hip belts, you can take them out of the panel, and you have instant straps.

peak-design-45l-back-magnet

Zipped hip pockets on both sides are also present. They’re pretty small but can deal with your mints and Bluetooth headset. They come with standard nylon webbings and a G-hook. And truth be told, we’re not fond of them—a bit time-consuming compared to quick-release buckles. There’s also an optional sternum strap included.

360o Haul Loops Coverage 

It’s crazy how Peak Design filled Travel Backpack 45L with haul loops. You’ll find them in every direction- top, bottom, sides, and back. No matter how you want to grab and carry your travel bag, there’s a haul loop for you. The one at the back also doubles as a pass-through for your luggage’s handle. It’s the same edge we enjoyed using when we tested out The Stubble and Co Adventure Bag. Level8 Atlas Backpack also has its take on luggage handle compatibility. But among the three, we like Peak Design’s simplicity and the fact you can grab it with one hand when needed.

Peak Design Travel Backpack vs The Stubble and Co Adventure Bag vs Level8 Atlas

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1/3
stubble-and-co-adventure-bag-comparison
2/3
level-8-atlas-haul-comparison
3/3

Storage

With options from 30, 35, and 45 liters, this Peak Design travel backpack has you covered no matter how much you need to pack for your next trip. Whether it’s a weekend in Miami or a week in Jacksonville, its flexible capacity helps you go through one adventure to another without buying new travel backpacks.

Main Compartment

You have two ways to access the main compartment of Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L, from the dual side loading or the main clamshell opening. The clamshell design offers you full access to all of your items, and you have everything in sight. But to do so, you need to lay the bag with its face on the ground. It’s a common compromise you must take with clamshell travel backpacks. We also experience this with the HEIMPLANET Transit Line. Essentially, the only time you’ll manage to have full access is once you reach your destination.

Peak Design Travel Backpack (Left) vs. HEIMPLANET Transit Line (Right)

peak-design-45l-vs-heimplanet

We’re glad that Peak Design decided to have side loadings on both sides. There’s no need to worry whether you let go of the wrong strap since there’s only one side access like in Gregory Paragon 58.

It is a perk that every photographer will love. You can swing your backpack to your front, and voila! Quick snatch to your camera through the side access—no need to remove the entire bag to get your gear.

peak-design-45l-with-camera

Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L is also compatible with their camera cubes. We guess it’s safe to say that this bag is one of the best for photographers constantly hitting the road.

We squeezed in a jam-packed large packing cube, a small one and PD’s Small Wash Pouch for the actual storage. That’s more than enough for a four-day getaway.

Laptop Sleeve

Inside the main compartment, you’ll find a built-in laptop sleeve that can accommodate almost every lappy. The material feels solid, and the Velcro seal holds securely. You won’t have to worry about damage while using Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L. It also comes with a separate tablet sleeve, which is nice since you rarely come across such an add-on.

Now, since this Peak Design bag comes with a clamshell opening, it’s a bit tricky getting your laptop on the go. If you’re not careful, your items might end up scattered everywhere. But if you’re in a café or sitting at the airport waiting for your flight, you can undo the zips on top and snatch your laptop.

Peak Design 45l With Laptop

Front Compartment

The front compartment of Peak Design is spacious enough for your extra jacket or cardigan. On the lid, there’s a zipped mesh pocket on top with accessory slots- for your pens, USB cables, charger, headphones. Next to it is another medium-sized zipped pocket.

The divider between the front and main compartment is stowable. You can unzip it if you have bulkier items that require more room. It’s the same feature we loved about Level8 Textured Luggage, but in a portable way with this Peak Design backpack.

Peak Design Travel Backpack (Left) vs Level8 Luggage (Right)

Peak Design 45l Vs Level 8 Luggage

If you decide to stow away the divider, you can gain full access without the need to put this travel backpack’s face on the floor.

Top Pocket

Your passport, some cash, IDs, anything you need quick access to can sit inside the mesh-lined top pocket. It’s also low-profile, giving Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L a clean look.

Magnet-Locked Bottom Pocket

Here, you’ll see a couple of daisy chains hiding inside. You can attach it to the loops and create extra lash points. You can hide it inside the pocket when not in use, and the magnet seal will auto-lock.

Secret Back Pocket

There’s a hidden pocket on the back with a Velcro seal. Anything you deem vital, like your IDs, can stay safe here due to its close-to-body location.

Side Water Bottle Holders

Now, this travel backpack from Peak Design provides you with big side pockets for your water bottles. Tall jugs like Hydro Flask 24 oz. Standard Mouth and YETI Rambler Water Bottle won’t have any trouble here. But small ones will be tricky to snatch since the holsters are deep. It’s the same dilemma we dealt with the Salkan Backpacker’s Main Pack.

Peak Design Side Pockets vs Salkan Backpacker’s Main Pack’s

peak-design-side-pockets-comparison
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salkan-backpackers-main-pack-comparison
2/2

It’s not a deal-breaker. And since you have lots of room, these side pockets can also accommodate your selfie stick, perhaps your windbreaker jacket, for just-in-case situations.

The water bottle holders also got secret pockets. Although anything bulky will, of course, affect the space for your drink. It’ll render the water bottle pockets almost useless.

Adjustment Points

Another edge of Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L over its competition is its flexibility. The default mode of this bag can accommodate 35 liters. If you want to compress that down and work it as a carry-on, you’ll find snaps at the top of the bag, sizing down 6 inches from its dimension, providing 30-liter capacity. The snap buttons feel a little flimsy and tend to undo themselves even without much weight if you grab from the side or top haul loop, so you need to be cautious of that. For additional storage space, undo the side zips, and you get a 45-liter maxed-out capacity.

Peak Design 45l Side Zips

Summary

For roughly $300, Peak Design’s Travel Backpack 45L is a truly high-end product. There’s no denying that. And although it’s not perfect (because really, no bag is), it offers the best value for its price.

It’s rare that you come across a travel backpack with a solid fabric combination, put together by excellent stitching. We tested lots of bags that either have tough fabric or tough seams, but not both.

You have plenty of customizing options, from capacity to organization and harnessing. This bag from Peak Design is also relatively easy to use and maintain.

It’s a wise investment if you’re searching for a long-term travel backpack that can adapt to your modern lifestyle.

Buy this travel backpack if:

  • You’re a photographer looking for a secure camera bag
  • You have the pocket for it
  • You need a reliable travel backpack
  • You’re a light packer
  • You somewhat have OCD and need everything well-organized while traveling.

Related Reviews

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.5

Things we like:

  • check-mark
    You can access your items easily through side loading
  • check-mark
    Robust material ensures it lasts for a long time
  • check-mark
    Rigid wall construction makes it an ideal camera bag
  • check-mark
    Magnetic-locked pockets allow you to stow away straps
  • check-mark
    There are lots of haul loops, so you can easily pick up your backpack
  • check-mark
    Flexible capacity
  • check-mark
    Many anti-theft pockets for your valuables
  • check-mark
    The removable divider between the main and front compartment lets you max out storage space
  • check-mark
    Lash points are also available for your extras
  • check-mark
    You can lock the zipper pulls together for additional security
  • check-mark
    The laptop sleeve provides solid protection
  • check-mark
    Sleek modern look blends in anywhere
  • check-mark
    Lifetime warranty coverage

Things we don't like:

  • check-markIt's hard to access your laptop on the go
  • check-markG-hooks on webbings are time-consuming
  • check-markThe backpack's face must be on the ground every time you need full access to the main compartment.
  • check-markCompression snaps at the top aren't that secure.
  • check-markThe secret pocket on water bottle holders compromises the holster's space.

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FAQ

Frequently asked questions

How do I clean my Peak Design bag?

Using a damp cloth with mild soap on affected areas is the most recommended. If it doesn’t work, use a soft brush instead and rinse using warm water. Just repeat until the dirt/stain is gone. Let it air dry or hang with an electric fan directly hitting it.

Never machine-wash your Peak Design backpack.

Where are Peak Design products made?

Although currently based in San Francisco, Peak Design has two overseas factories, in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, and another in Gongguan, China. The first focuses on soft products like bags and cubes while the latter manufactures hard items such as mobile and camera accessories.

Is Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L waterproof?

Yes. The 400D nylon shell alone is already highly water-resistant. Pair that with DWR-coated polyurethane lining, and it’s completely waterproof. Even the zippers can endure the rain.

Is Peak Design a good brand?

Yes.

They produce sleek-looking and durable products you can rely on. Peak Design is taking over the photography scene with its high-quality camera-compatible bags. Popular brands like Sony even collaborated to innovate products that complement their camera units.

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