First of all I just want to say this: Peak Design got the name of the Everyday Sling wrong. This bag isn’t the Everyday Sling, it’s the Everything Sling because this bag literally does everything I would ever possibly need to do when I’m going out.
Second of all, you may not share my opinions and that’s fine. I made that statement based on my lifestyle and use practices but really, if you need more than this then maybe it’s time to go all zen by downsizing and living a simpler life.
So let’s dive into this bag shall we?
First of all, the build quality is amazing. While this is not the first Peak Design product I’ve ever owned, it’s the first bag that I’m trying out. The material just feels rugged. It feels like they took military cargo pants, dipped it into hot surf wax, then took a scouring pad to it to rough off the excess. Simply put, this feels like it’ll take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’.
The problem I’ve had with bags such as the Think Tank Retrospective is that the gear seems to get swallowed whole by the bag. Initially I thought it was because the bags were too deep, but eventually I realized that it’s due to a compartment with flimsy side walls that will lean in and cover up the contents.
This bag is deep but because it’s nice and rigid, that problem is non-existent. I can easily open the bag and see something teeny tiny all the way at the bottom where lost SD cards usually end up. It tightly fits my iPad Pro 12.9″ with Smart Keyboard and silicone cover on the back, in fact it sticks up a slight above the zipper line. But because there’s more material on the top flap, the iPad Pro fits nicely, although slightly snug with all of that protection on it.
Now at a total of 10L, this bag isn’t big, but it’s the Flex-Fold dividers that make the entire volume of storage useful. I’m easily able to place a larger Fujifilm lens on the bottom, flip over the divider to make a shelf, and place a smaller prime lens on top. Best part yet, these dividers are extremely rigid, yet will give and bend if needed to conform to the shape of gear if the need arises.
So what I’ve been able to fit in here is quite remarkable. On one side there is a XF23mmF1.4R with the XF35mmF1.4R above it. In the middle there is either an X-Pro2 or X-T1 with either an XF10-24mmF4R OIS or XF18-55mmF2.8-4R LM OIS. On the right there is the XF56mmF1.2R on the bottom with the Peak Design Slide Lite coiled up above it. That’s borderline overpacking for me because I never swap the lenses around that much when I’m out working.
So this is where I would’ve liked to see a few differences but I can understand and appreciate their design choices. There is simply a large expandable compartment where various things can be shoved inside, and there are two very tight compartments as well that doesn’t have much stretch to them. I would have loved a pen slot specifically for my Apple Pencil but the use of that is really limited a stylus or pen/pencil. I can see how they’ve treated this compartment as a place where all of the odds and ends should be put into and I can see how that has for more utility than dedicated and specific individual compartments.
Personally, this holds the odds and ends that might be needed on a shoot but isn’t essential. Arctic Butterfly, lens and body caps, Color Checker Passport, Pec Pads, Peak Design Leash, the slot goes on and on because of its expandability.
The design of the strap is quite amazing. Having it swivel on both ends allows it to really conform the bag to your body shape and size. The strap itself feels exactly like a Slide camera strap, but the padding on the strap is a bit hard for my taste. I would have liked something a bit softer and gel filled but I can see how this is going to last a lot longer than an option like that.
I can’t not talk about the briefcase style handle either. Whereas most bags has soft handles that, when used with a heavy bag, will deform the bag into a V-shape making you worry if this handle will break off, this one isn’t. It is really rigid and makes you feel confident knowing the gear is safe, it’s a small little subconscious thought but it’s one less thing on your mind when the bag is filled up completely.
So before this bag I was forced into one of two scenarios. I either bring my F-Stop Gear Kenti that’s big and bulky but holds everything, including a Profoto B1 on one side, or I bring a Think Tank Photo Retrospective 7. I don’t like the F-Stop bag because it’s not easy to sling around a bag that large and swap lenses, and there’s no way you’re getting to the smaller compartments for batteries without putting the bag down.
I’m not the biggest fan of the Retrospective 7 either because that bag likes to swing around when you lean forward for photo, lens changes are more cumbersome than it should be because the bag is so flimsy and the large flap that covers the bag gets in the way as well.
With this bag, all my prayers have been answered. Now I have a bag where I can leave the bag on me the entire time I’m taking photos. Why you ask is it so important for me to keep the bag on my body? Sand. Hawaii is surrounded by it and depending on the beach, it can be coarse and grainy or fine like dust.
So depending on where I’m shooting, placing my gear down on the beach can incidentally introduce gear damaging sand into the bag where it’ll harm my precious Fujifilm gear. But with this bag I can swap lenses, change batteries, attach the camera to the outside of the bag with Capture Clip, and reach into the front compartment for paper and pen to get Daniel Dae Kim’s signature. The last time I saw him and said hi he was walking on the beach with his family and I didn’t want to bother him, but this bag breeds confidence.
Now of course this won’t always work for me. Some jobs will require lighting in the form of the Profoto B1 and a beauty dish or even a 3 foot octabox and for that I’ll take the F-Stop Kenti and strap whatever I need to the outside of the bag. But for those days where I’m taking natural light photos, this bag lets me fly under the radar because it looks like a typical messenger bag, it’s not bulky at all, and for the prolonged periods of time that I’ve worn it fully loaded I can say your shoulder doesn’t fatigue very much. Of course gear weighing the same amount as a cute chubby baby will get tiring around the shoulder and neck, but this does a far better job than the Think Tank Retrospective 7.
Of course this bag wasn’t just aimed at the professional photographer, and I’ve been able to use it as a day bag as well. With my iPad Pro in, the Flex-Fold dividers out, I’m able to pack notes, books, etc. and it all feels very balanced. In fact I’ve placed books in it with one divider in there to make a shelf for my charging bricks on the bottom and the charging cables on the top. So if you own a 12″ Macbook or possibly the new MacBook Pro 13″ if it fits, don’t take this bag to Starbucks. We all know you’re going to Starbucks to show off that new Space Gray MacBook Pro hoping that people will ask you about it, but they’ll be more interested in this bag and it’ll crush your ego like Hot Dog on a Stick crushes lemons.
The Bottom Line
This bag has completely replaced my Retrospective 7. I have no further use for that and maybe I can find it a good home, trash cans are cozy depending on the time of the year. There’s always going to be a need for a bigger bag when a bigger elaborate job calls for it, but for everything else, this is the one to buy.
This is the perfect marriage of Fujifilm equipment to a bag that you’ll ever get. This is the Ryan Reynold and Blake Lively, no, it’s the John Legend and Chrissy Teigen. Everyday the Fujifilm X-Pro2 sings to this bag about how much it loves being with it. It’s built to last, it has the functionality of a Jeep, the looks and design of a Ferrari, but more importantly, durability and a warranty that will outlast a Corolla.
Maybe sometime tonight I’ll take it off my shoulder because it’s getting in the way of things like sleeping and showering.
About the author: Allan Higa is a Hawaii-based lifestyle and travel photographer. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of his work on his website, or by following him on Facebook and Instagram. This post also appeared here.