Thankfully, Peak Design really did a truly fantastic job here that I think is worthy of even more praise than the Everyday Messenger bag has. The Tote goes from tote bag to backpack with ease, allows for quick access where you need it and provides the photographer with a lot of versatility. In many ways, this is a perfect bag; but it’s also not the most attractive.
If you look at the Peak Design Everyday Tote bag, you’ll realize that it looks like a general tote bag. Indeed, that really is what you see here. It’s got handles, pockets, an interesting closure system, etc.
The top handles are slightly padded with a grippy area very similar to what you see with older camera bags. The straps themselves feel like recycled seatbelt material.
When you open the bag up, you’ll realize that it stays closed with magnets. There are three on each side and they help keep the bag tightly closed. When opening the bag, what would have been nice is some sort of extra spines to give the bag a bit more shape.
When you look inside, you’ll see three sections. They can all be removed or converted to function differently. You can stuff a DSLR in the middle and cameras in each side. Or you can stuff lenses in there too. Towards one side, you can stuff a 13 inch laptop into the bag.
Now here’s the really cool part: one of the straps elongates to become configurable to a backpack. The straps aren’t that large so if you have broad shoulders or are wearing a thick coat, this is going to be a very snug fit. Just like the Everyday Messenger bag, I wonder if certain parts were only made for the slimmer amongst us.
One of the most important parts of the bag is this very subtle clip. I loaded the bag with a DSLR before and when I put it on my back, the entire top opened up. Then I took a look at the company’s product images a bit closer and found that this little clip can keep the top locked closed.
When you’re not using the bag in backpack mode, you’ll most likely want to affix the clip to its original and less tight fitting loop. Indeed, this is also one way to allow the photographer to have quick access.
On each side, you have these side slots that close shut with a magnet on top but also zipper closed. This gives photographers quick access to their gear.
The quickest access will be done with the camera bag in tote bag configuration but if you are shooting with it in backpack mode, you’ll also have pretty quick access. What would have helped here is a built in belt system to go around your waist.
The bag is made of a tough canvas that is really durable. I took it out during a short rain shower and it deflected the rain with no trouble. The bottom is made of leather and has a bit of padding to protect your gear inside.
I don’t think that it’s as well built as the Everyday Messenger bag, but it is indeed one of the best made camera tote bags I’ve used. The second is from Artisan and Artist.
Ease of Use
When you get the bag, I recommend really exploring every bit of it and carefully looking at it. There are things that you’re bound to miss. This helps solidify my belief that the bag is extremely well made and makes a lot of sense to many photographers looking for something with a tad more versatility. I would have honestly liked a strap to go from one side to the other to make it into a more functional messenger bag–but I’m not sure how they could have done this when you consider the side access ports.
Like the Everyday Messenger bag, I’m awarding this bag the Editor’s Choice award. With the messenger bag though, I did it knowing that I personally didn’t like the bag but knew a lot of you would. With the tote, I can genuinely say that I like the bag. It isn’t the most handsome bag, but that could also mean that someone doesn’t try to go in and steal something.
There is enough padding thoughout the bag, but I think that it’s best designed for mirrorless camera users. I’ve used it with a camera, lenses, and flashes stuffed in there along with a laptop. For working photojournalists, it can make a lot of sense. But it may be better for bloggers/editors.
The Peak Design Everyday Tote bag receives our Editor’s Choice award and five out of five stars.