peak design

Peak Design Everyday Sling by Tom Henderix

Yes, this is a post about a man talking about a bag.

Yes, I realise that's never a good thing.

Yes, I agree, any bag will do basically, even a generic backpack or a shopping bag…

For those of you who need something more versatile on occasion though, this article is for you.

Normal service will resume soon, no more gear talk for at least the next six months.

The pitch

I was approached by the Peak Design people to try a prototype of their new Peak Design Everyday Sling bag, as featured in their latest successful Kickstarter campaign. This one and their other bags are still available for pre-order here:

For product shots and specifics on size, check the link. I won’t be copying that info down here, just my thoughts and experiences with it after two months of steady use.

Once shipping starts, expect to see it in stores near you as well. I had some previous experience with their products and I always ordered mine from The Netherlands.

I’ll emphasise that I am not affiliated with their company, and my opinions below are my own. I also don’t get any commission or benefits from this review, other than having had my own prototype bag available for my travels. The prototype was a near-finalised design, and the included letter stated that the final product would be produced to an even higher standard, though I have to say that at no time did this feel like an unfinished product.

The product

As I’ve written in previous posts, I like to travel light. Very light even. Often, I won’t even take a bag, just a camera on a strap and a spare battery or some film tucked somewhere into a pocket.

Unfortunately, the circumstances or the weather don’t always allow me to travel that way and for longer trips I’ll usually want to take some more gear. For those times, I’ve been using a ThinkTank Retrospective 5 these last couple of years. It’s a small bag, with a retro design, removable padding (which you don’t need anyway) and just enough space to hold two small mirrorless or film bodies, each with a small prime attached, and some basic accessories. Or one body with two spare lenses. The downside of that bag is that it’s not very comfortable to wear for very long periods, and the material is not rain repellent. It also looks aged, which is a good thing mostly, but for more classier destinations, it looks a bit too old and worn. I was told on several occasions to take that dirty old bag from the table at bars or restaurants, so that’s a good indication of the effect it has on people.

So, enter the Peak Design Everyday Sling. The major differences are is that it is water repellent to a good degree, it’s bigger and it has a completely different styling, which is more urban and definitely not retro or hipster.

The biggest ergonomic difference is that this one is carried significantly higher up on the back. It feels most comfortable halfway between the shoulders and belt, while normal messenger style bags usually tend to rest much lower and to the side. This makes it more comfortable to wear, as long as it’s not too hot. When it was very hot and humid, it caused a significant amount of discomfort due sweat buildup on the lower back. For any subtropical travels where you might expect those conditions, I would rather recommend a backpack with a well ventilated back. In the normal average European weather though, this was never a factor. You can wear it on the hip like other messenger bags, but due to it being a tad larger and also slightly more rigid, this did not feel as comfortable as the natural position on the back. The best way I could describe it then is a hybrid bag. The comfort of a backpack, but the security and versatility of a messenger bag. For people who move around on a bike, this is easily the best bag of it's kind. Just pull the quick adjustment strap tight and it stays in place perfectly while riding.

The outside shell is made of Kodra, which is remarkably weatherproof as I found out in Manchester earlier last week. The zippers and locks are equally weatherproof, so getting caught in the rain or snow is not the immediate panic situation it used to be. I’ll always recommend that you don’t push your luck and look for shelter anyway if it’s anything more than a passing shower. But at least you can rest assured your gear will stay dry when you need it.

The front pocket is expandable and comes in nicely when you need to carry more than your usual kit. For normal day to day use, I prefer not to keep anything of value in it since it’s more easily accessible to pickpockets. I usually just keep my shouder strap and wrist strap in there for when I need them. The front pocket and the inner compartment can be sort of locked by attaching both straps to each other, a feature I’m still getting used to but does look like it will at least slow down or annoy a pickpocket long enough for you to notice them. 

Plenty of room for two cameras and a host of accessories and lenses. This was my bag for a short trip to Tel Aviv: Fujifilm X-T2, 16/1.4, 35/2, Hasselblad Xpan, 45/4 and some film. I still had room left on the left for another lens, but decided this would be enough.

On the inside the good news continues with minimal but sturdy padding and flexfold dividers that can be shaped into any shape required. I can happily say they are big enough for most smaller prime and zoom lenses, and will allow you to stack two lenses on top of each other with padding in between. This way you could for instance take a camera like a Fujifilm X-T2 and up to 5 smaller lenses. The interior pocket features separate compartments for small accessories such as batteries, memory cards, film,… The compartments feature green and red stitching to help you remember which batteries and/or cards are full or empty. The final production version will also feature a Peak Design Anchor lock on the inside, so you can quickly and safely attach your keys using the same anchor link as you would on a camera. My prototype version however was still lacking this feature.

The other end of the interior features a separate divider for a small tablet, like an iPad or in my case a Surface Pro 3. The Surface Pro 3 will fit with its dedicated keyboard, but I doubt you’d be able to fit anything larger than that. An iPad Pro probably won’t fit, but I didn't get to try it. Any tablet will add to the rigidity of the bag, that’s why I never take one when travelling. I use my phone for my online needs and will only sort through my images when I get back home. Film usually stays in a drawer until I have collected enough rolls to send off to the lab.

The top placed zipper needs to be closed to secure the contents of the bag. Whereas messenger bags with a flap allow some leeway to squeeze a little bit more into the bag, this one most definitely does not. I would have liked to see the same lock mechanism on this one as is featured on its larger sibling, the Peak Design Everyday Messenger. Considering this bag is usually carried more on its side when it’s on your back though, I figure the reason for the zipper is probably because smaller items might fall out otherwise.

Quick attachment loops for a tripod or lightstand come in handy.

On the bottom we find two adjustable straps that allow you to attach a small tripod or a collapsible light stand. My Gitzo 1541T fits like a dream, so it’s safe to assume most modern travel tripods will do too.

Other notable features are:

  • A quick adjustment shoulder strap with the same easy adjustment mechanism as found on the Peak Design camera straps.
  • Adjustable strap lugs on the side allow for more long term customisation of the strap.
  • Capture Clip attachment points on both sides of the bag so you can carry a camera or accessory on the side for quick access.
  • Folds flat when empty, so it’s easy to carry in check-in luggage.
  • Rolling briefcase and luggage strap on the back, for easy attachment to a larger bag.
  • Carry-on sized and fits under airplane seats easily (without the tripod).

In use

So, what are my own thoughts after two months of use? Well, it’s a mixed bag (pun intended).

I love the build quality, weather proofing, comfort and overall design of the bag. But... I wished it was just a bit smaller. I still feel that it has been designed with a DSLR and iPad in mind, and for my usual needs, that is just slightly too big. It’s classified as 10 litres internal space, while I just wish there was a 5 or 7 litre version so we could at least have the option to travel even lighter.

That being said, do I prefer it over my old choice, the ThinkTank Retrospective 5? Yes, definitely. Considering they both cost more or less the same, I’d have a hard time recommending the ThinkTank to anyone who does not absolutely need the smaller size or the weathered look of the Retrospective. The Everyday Sling is just so much better in all other aspects, it’s not even a close call anymore. The rain repellent coating in itself is a big selling point, all the other usability upgrades are just icing on the cake.

Practical examples

So, what kits could you expect to transport with this bag? I’ve tried out some practical setups so you can have an idea what to expect. As always, you’d best try it out in store before purchasing if you are in doubt. The following lists are based on what I found to be easy to fit into the bag without overstretching it and still be comfortable to wear for an extended period of time.

The usual accessories like batteries, strap, memory cards, Peak Design Capture Clip and cleaning kit are always included.

The strobist kit
Fujifilm X-T2, 16/1.4, 56/1.2, Fujifilm X100T, Cactus V6 trigger, Cactus RF60 flash, one collapsible light stand, small foldable softbox or shoot through umbrella.

The natural light kit
Fujifilm X-T2, 16/1.4, 56/1.2, 50-140/2.8, collapsible reflector, travel tripod.

The landscape kit
Fujifilm X-T2, 10-24/4, 35/2, 50-140/2.8, travel tripod, filter kit, flashlight.

The film shooter
Hasselblad Xpan, 45/4, Nikon FM2, 50/1.8, ten rolls of film, Fujifilm X100T.

The old school medium format shooter
Hasselblad 503CW, 80/2.8, 120/4, a spare magazine back, five rolls of film, Fujifilm X100T, travel tripod.

The daddy
Fujifilm X-T2, XF 35/2, pack of cleaning wipes, 5 spare diapers, pack of disposable diaper bags, set of spare clothes, small towel, bottle of water/milk.

The traveller
Fujifilm X-T2, XF 16/1.4, XF 35/2, XF 50-140, Fujifilm X100T.  

If you have any further questions, feel free to ask in the comment section below.

Let's talk about gear... by Tom Henderix

All the wrong questions...

Once you've taken a sufficient amount of pictures, people start asking questions. But rarely are they the sort of questions you'd imagine, such as "Where do you find inspiration?" or "Why did you take that picture?". No, most of the time, if not all the time, the only question you get asked is "What gear do you use?". As tiring as I find the question, maybe it's time I give you my thoughts on that subject, at least when it comes to travelling. I've had some messages asking me about gear and I find it's easier to answer all of them in one big swoop.

My main concern nowadays is the creative part of photography. Gear used to occupy my mind a lot more until a couple of years ago. These days, I'm happy to use whatever happens to be available to me. Since I travel a lot for work, my preference is always to carry as little as possible to get the job done. Reducing the gear to the bare essentials helps you enjoy the trip and focus more on the scene and subject... Last 18 months I've taken more pictures than ever before, yet I've never used as little gear as I currently do...

Camera choices

So let's start with cameras. I currently use Fujifilm bodies and lenses as my digital cameras. I have a X100T and a X-T2 should be arriving shortly. For film work, I use a variety of older cameras, including a Nikon FM2 and Hasselblad Xpan. I find that any current modern APS-C or larger sensor is more than adequate for most photography, so whatever it is you use or prefer should be able to do the trick. I like Fujifilm bodies mainly because they are small and feature the same manual controls as old film cameras. They're nice to look at too, so that's a bonus. DSLR's still have their place, but for travel, I usually go with the "less is more" mantra. Any mirrorless camera of the latest generations is a good bet as a travel cam. One camera is fine, two at most with one lens each.

Newer is not necessarily better, one of my favourite travel cameras is a classic Nikon FM2 with a simple 50mm lens.


I usually pair two focal lengths together. I tend to go with either 24mm & 50mm or 35mm & 85mm as complementary focal lenghts. The gaps in between standard focal lengths are redundant I find, so prime lenses are usually my go to choice. You could go with a 24-70mm or similar zoom lens, but I'd rather have the faster apertures and lighter weight of a prime. Usually, I only keep one prime on the camera (35mm or 50mm) and keep the other lens in the bag. I rarely switch them during any given day, unless I really need a different field of view. There are "travel zooms", like a 24-200mm zoom, but I've never seen one that I liked. You usually trade image quality for reach, and that is normally not a compromise I'm willing to make.

Unless you are sure you need a long telephoto lens, I usually recommend leaving the longer focal lengths at home. Good telephoto zooms or primes tend to be heavy, and I've rarely used one when I bothered to drag it along. If you are sure you need it (for wildlife or sports for instance), longer is nearly always better. I'd recommend at least something in the 600mm range for birds and wildlife, so usually your choice will be a 150-600 zoom, or a fast 300mm prime with a 1.4x or 2x teleconverter. I find the 70-200 lenses usually too cumbersome for travel, and you can always take a nice portrait with a 50mm or 85mm anyway, as long as you get a few steps closer to the subject.

Narrowing down the options to one or two focal lengths, helps focus more on subject, scene and composition. It doesn't matter if you can't get every possible shot. What usually happens is you'd either miss the moment while contemplating what lens and gear to use, or you'd never even experience the moment because you got tired from hauling everything around all day. The point is to enjoy yourself, as soon as that happens, the shots will follow. No matter what gear you happen to carry at the time. The more you use a single focal length, the more you will get used to seeing the frame without even raising the camera to your eye.


As little as possible. I usually only bring the following and anything else I brought stays in the safe at the hotel.

  • One or two extra batteries, just enough to last the day. I've never used up more than two batteries on any given day with my Fujifilm cameras. But I keep the camera switched off untiI I see something. By the time I've raised it to my eye, it's on again anyway. For film cameras, one spare battery of whatever type they use.
  • A lens pen. Just in case I really messed up my front element or filter. I don't even bother with the occasional dust specks until it gets really dirty. Cura Lens Cleaner & Wipes works even better if you can find it, they have tiny travel sized kits. And those are better for old film cameras and lenses.
  • My phone. I use offline maps a lot to navigate a city and mark interesting places beforehand. I never bother with paper maps anymore. Also, how else will you capture those pesky Pokémon?
  • My ID, a debit card, a credit card, some cash. Maybe a public transport card, like Oyster. Everthing else stays in my wallet in the safe. I keep the cards and money in my front pocket.
  • A small hex key to unlock an Arca Swiss plate, if I'm using one (like for the Peak Design Capture Pro clip).
  • Sometimes, I bring a battery pack to charge the phone, since it's battery life is just plain bad. As an added bonus, the battery pack is also compatible with the Fujifilm X100T and hopefully also the X-T2 via the built-in usb micro port.
  • Depending on the weather, some sunblock in a small tube.
  • If you shoot film, two or three extra rolls tops.

Bags and straps

If you're hiking, a backpack is usually the best choice. LowePro and ThinkTank used to be my go-to brands, but the most interesting one at the moment looks like the new Peak Design ones that are in their new Kickstarter campaign. Check out their new Kickstarter here. They are in the same price bracket as the others, but are way more modular and the coating on the shell is superior.

For everything else, I'd recommend a messenger bag. The messenger bags are usually less conspicuous in a city than a big backpack or dedicated camera bag. I currently use a ThinkTank Retrospective 5, but later this year the new Peak Design Sling bag will hopefully fix the minor things that bug me about the Retrospective. I like leather bags a lot, but given how expensive they are, I can't justify squishing it into my luggage three times a week.

For me, a good bag takes care of the following requirements:

  • It shouldn't be too heavy and should fold as flat as possible when not in use. I keep my cameras in a backpack or flightcase when on the plane, and store the messenger bag in my luggage. So the less space it uses, the better. If the bag is padded, I usually remove most of the padding. I find that as long as you're not totally reckless, minimal padding is just fine. A camera is still a tool and they tend to be far more rugged than people usually think anyway.
  • It should not be too obvious that it's a camera bag. Some people like to show off how much gear they are travelling with, but I don't. At best, the bag should look like anything but a camera bag. The Retrospective series bags look old and worn, which I like. I'm curious to see how the Peak Design bags hold up. They do look more modern and utilitarian, but they don't look like every other generic camera bag out there, so at least that's a plus. Ona bags rock the looks, but I find those are more suited to take along if you happen to work in an office.
  • It should be rain repellent. The Retrospective I currently have isn't. It comes with a rain cover, but I've never used it since it takes up space when not in use and it blocks access to the bag when used. This is where Peak Design bags have the edge with their rain repellent coating. When it pours, obviously, the best bet is still to take shelter, have a drink or a bite to eat and wait till it passes...
  • It should be modular. I currently use a Peak Design Capture Pro Clip on the outside of my ThinkTank bag. It's handy for when I keep the camera on a strap but need both hands for something else. Instead of opening up the bag to put the camera down, I just quickly clip it onto the outside of the bag. It's also very useful for when I've already put a sweater or bottle of water in the bag. I've even attached a Cactus RF60 flash this way to the bag, so I can still travel light and only needed to worry about carrying the light stand. I wasn't sure about the use of the Capture Clips, but since using a review sample, I have to say that it's one of the few accessories I actually used every time (a lot). The option to strap a tripod or light stand to the bag should be there too. On the Retrospective, it's a bit of a Frankenstein rig but it works. Looks like the new Peak Design bags have a better system for that too, but I'll need to test it first before I can comment on it's usefulness.
  • I use one strap, also a Peak Design one, the Slide Lite. They have locks that can be attached to every camera, so I just have the connectors on all my cameras and swap out the strap depending which camera is in use. For evenings, I just use a wrist strap and don't even take a bag.

Tripods & filters

If you're travelling alone and/or your whole trip is based around taking pictures of landscapes, sure take a tripod. I like the travel sized carbon ones, but aluminium is fine too if budget is a factor. Any simple sturdy ballhead will do, there are many great options available nowadays. If you are travelling with family members or you only shoot a landscape when the opportunity arises, I wouldn't bother with a tripod. I mainly use mine at home or leave it in the car. When travelling abroad, it's mostly just too much hassle. Especially in cities, tripods are a pain and do little else but slow you down. A good intermediate is something like a monopod with a fluid base and tiny extendable feet. They are mostly used for video shooters, but they work fine for pictures too up to a certain point, and are far more easy to store and carry around.

Unless you are shooting landscapes or long exposures from a tripod, you don't need to bother with a filter kit. The occasional shot without will be fine. Obviously if you are a dedicated landscape shooter, you'll need at least the tripod and a few filters. I don't use them so I can't recommend any specific brands or sets.


For travel, a TTL capable flash with an adjustable head is just fine. Modifiers are not really a must and I like the tiny flashes for travel, like Meike or Nissin. I actually don't bother with flash for travel at all, but I get the point of people who need one. You could tape a quarter or half CTO gel to the head just to warm up the light a bit to avoid that "deer in the headlights-look". If you need a modifier, MagMod to me is the gold standard, but I leave those at home for serious shoots.

Some tips?

  • Wear comfortable shoes. But make sure you don't turn up in white sneakers either. That's just not classy at all.
  • Don't worry too much, enjoy yourself first and foremost. You don't need pictures of everything and everyone.
  • Go eat where the locals eat. If the menu has pictures on it, run.
  • Smile and talk to people, but don't go bother everyone with your life story either. Learn a few words in the local language.
  • The fun parts of travel are often the unexpected ones, don't be scared to improvise and do something other than the highlights.
  • Pictures are there to reminisce on the memories of your travels, they are not the point of travelling.

That pretty much sums up my views on essential gear. Anything else is usually excess baggage, but feel free to comment below on your views when it comes to how you travel. Care to share some top travel tips? Please do so below as well!