I heard about this some months ago, a new camera bag being designed by Trey Ratcliff was about to be released in cooperation with Peak Design, who is already well known as a high-end player in the photo accessories space. They made a name for themselves with some innovative camera mounting gear some years ago and have been producing interesting stuff since. Then the Kickstarter campaign started, and I saw Trey, who shoots with Sony gear just as I do, using this Everyday Messenger bag that seemed to work perfectly, far better than mine did since I switched from Canon gear this fall.
Attention to Detail
One of the things I hate about camera bags, in general, is how crappy they are built by most companies. Using snap clips made from plastic that can catch your fingers or crack under seemingly normal conditions. Additionally, sometimes I think camera bag designers aren’t photographers. If they were, they wouldn’t have released such useless designs.
Enter Tray Ratcliff
I originally knew of Trey from his popular HDR images and have followed him since. Then, one year ago, I applied to join The Arcanum and was accepted. This was Trey’s vision for an apprentice/master community of high-level photographers who wanted to help others get past their stuck-zone and really improve their work. I am involved for the last year and have loved working with an Arcanum Master A.D. Wheeler.
When Trey decided to get involved with the design of this bag, I paid attention. Let’s take a look at the way the bag works: Here’s the inside view of the bag, which at first glance doesn’t look very special at all, it’s just a bag, but check this out. there’s a “system” of dividers that can be arranged in unique ways to mold the bag around your gear.
Notice how the panels fold to accommodate lenses and accessories. The entire inside of the bag is adjustable in many different configurations. The front flap has several compartments for memory cards and longer, wider compartments for filters, a USB reader, and cables.
My own bag is configured differently to work with my system of two Sony full frame bodies; a Sony A7 RII with the Sony FE 16-35mm zoom and the last generation Sony A7r which is fitted with the Sony FE 24-240 zoom. The center space, currently empty can accommodate my Sigma 15mm diagonal fisheye or my Rokinon 14mm F2.8 for night sky work.
Little Surprises Everywhere!
Another innovative move on the part of Peak Design (the manufacturer and distributor) was to build in a slot at the top of the bag so you can access your cameras and lenses without opening it up from the front. This slot closes for waterproofing yet opens easily in the field.
There’s also a pocket under the top flap inside the bag that I use to store business cards, several extra memory cards, a pen, and a large microfiber cloth. But wait, there’s even another flap/pocket inside the bag for airline tickets, passport, and dental floss. Don’t laugh, I’ve used dental floss to repair tripods, mend carry-on bags, attach tags and fix belts. Yup, it’s versatile stuff.
What About Using it “Every Day?”
Since it’s called the Every Day Messenger bag, I decided to put it to the test. Out I went for an evening of photography and discovered how much I love this bag. Even the straps are made thick, soft and wide to stay firmly on my shoulder and disperse the weight of the bag evenly. I carried it on my shoulder for a while, and that was fine, but I like it swung around my back over one shoulder, so I can swing it around me, to my front and easily grab a camera without taking it off or repositioning my body.
The Everyday Messenger only weighs 2.5 pounds which is about 1/2 the weight of my old camera backpack. It’s waterproof with clear coated aluminum hardware, and it’s covered under Peak Design’s LIFETIME warranty. Would I buy this bag even after using it? Absolutely, it happens to be everything I need in a camera bag and there’s ample space for a laptop computer as well. Sure, it’s going to get heavy at that point but I used to carry two bags; my camera bag and my briefcase. Maybe this will replace both!
And by the way, there is a concealed strap on the back of the bag that lets you secure the bag to your roller for traveling through airports with ease!
Visit the Peak Design website and see if you can get one. As of this writing, they are still on pre-order but they have already shipped several thousand orders. I welcome your feedback on this review and would love to hear how you have configured yours.
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Some additional photos: