There is undoubtedly a perfect German word to describe the pleasure you get from having a place for everything and putting everything in its place. “Tetrisfreude”, maybe. Like their Everyday Backpack, the Peak Design Messenger relies on bendable FlexFold dividers that fasten with Velcro to the interior of a freestanding bag.

If you’re a certain kind of person, you can set this bag on your coffee table, fiddle with your belongings and minimize dead space all evening, to your heart’s content. No, Moleskines, you may not touch my lunchbox! DSLR, you fit there, with my pencil pouch tucked underneath. Everything is great. My day will be so much better now.

Designed in collaboration with famous travel photographer Trey Ratcliffe, the Everyday Messenger is a camera bag that doubles as a commuter bag. It has a number of features that will only be appreciated by photographers, like a stiff, dedicated strap on either side for hooking on Peak Design’s award-winning Capture clip. The Capture clip lets you attach a camera on the outside of this bag for fast access.

Peak Design Everyday Messenger 13



With leather touchpoints on the ash version, oversized webbing, and beautiful metal hardware, this bag is classier than the Obamas on vacation. Shoulder strap loops make it easily adjustable for different carrying styles: High and tight on the back, loose, or even looser. Hugely expandable. Included hip strap for greater stability while biking. Lifetime warranty.


The strap’s three carry-style settings only work well if you’re within a certain height range. Heavy. Would not go hiking with it.

How We Rate

  • 1/10A complete failure in every way
  • 2/10Sad, really
  • 3/10Serious flaws; proceed with caution
  • 4/10Downsides outweigh upsides
  • 5/10Recommended with reservations
  • 6/10Solid with some issues
  • 7/10Very good, but not quite great
  • 8/10Excellent, with room to kvetch
  • 9/10Nearly flawless
  • 10/10Metaphysical perfection

A built-in pocket and included black rubber loop (which looks like a Livestrong bracelet), allows you to fasten a tripod to the bag’s top flap. Slide one leg into the pocket under the bag’s top, close the bag, and loop the other two legs together for a secure hold. The front access panel houses no less than six separate stretchy pockets. Subtle red and green stitches on either side help photographers easily store and distinguish between empty and full batteries and cards.

But that’s not to say that there aren’t bunches of other details to delight the most persnickety of bag snobs who aren’t photographers. For example, take the zipper garage, or the housing for the zipper pull. It is angled, which A) looks cool, but B) allows for easier opening, and C) also prevents the garage from trapping water and springing a leak—important in a place as rainy as Portland, Oregon, where I live.

I also appreciate the shiny, oversized rivet that attaches the shoulder strap to the front of the bag. It’s stylish, of course, but it also lies flush with the bag’s surface. The rivet allows the strap to swivel with greater ease. And as someone who has lost countless tiny chunks of skin and hair to lobster clasps on messenger bags over the years, it’s greatly appreciated. It’s beautiful, yet functional; it’s beautiful because it’s functional.

Like the Everyday Backpack, the Messenger is marketed as a burly adventure bag, when it’s just not. Annoyingly, the Messenger’s laptop compartment opens straight up to the sky, which is convenient when you’re in the office, but a little nerve-wracking when you’re biking in the rain (even with weatherproof zippers). All that protective padded foam, luxuriously smooth and oversized webbing and sandblasted aluminum hardware—especially the multiple latches for the quiet, one-handed MagLatch closure system—also adds a lot of weight.

But if you trek to Starbucks more often than you do Nepal, and you’re looking for a sleek and ingenious solution that can hold cameras, tech, and everything you need before dinner, the Everyday Messenger just might be the perfect fit. I haven’t felt so much Tetrisfreude since I stole my toddler’s Tangrams.