The author of the review Lea Rose Allbaugh smiling for a photo while carrying her Peak Design Travel Backpack

Peak Design Travel Backpack Review – Is The Bag Worth It?

I’ve traveled domestically and abroad for years, and in this Peak Design Travel Backpack review, I’ll share my honest opinions on the bag.

I personally tested this bag for six weeks while backpacking through Europe.

I’m excited to share the pros, cons, and features that make this backpack great for the organized traveler. And if you decide this bag isn’t for you, I overview a few ideal alternatives travel backpacks, too.  

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support us by purchasing via the affiliate links on this page, which may earn us commissions. Thank you!

45L Peak Design Travel Backpack Review Quick Summary

The author and her Peak Design Travel Backpack on her back ready to go
My Peak Design Travel Backpack and I ready to go

Based on my tests on a recent trip to Europe, the 45L Peak Design Travel Backpack is a solid travel bag with a good balance of structure, organization, and open space. It’s extremely durable and thoughtfully designed, so you can travel smart and stress-free. While it lacks in its range of color options and can get a bit bulky when overstuffed, these are relatively small drawbacks. Overall I am very happy with the Peak Design Travel Backpack.

I love a lot of things about this backpack, but I have to especially praise its easy-to-access design. I never felt like I had to rifle through the bag to find what I needed while I was traveling through Spain and Portugal recently.

There are enough pockets and compartments to keep everything neatly organized, but it’s not so structured that you can’t customize how you pack. This saves so much time and hassle when you’re on the go. Plus, it’s comfortable enough to carry and works great for plane travel. 

This travel backpack is expensive, but worth the investment if you travel often. For more options, there are alternatives at the end of this article.

Pros of Peak Design Travel Backpack

  • Great organization
  • Super durable exterior
  • Soft and stretchy, yet durable interior material 
  • Lots of compartments 
  • Comfortable, adjustable, and padded shoulder straps
  • Multiple grab handles 
  • Stowaway features with magnetic flap 
  • Hidden pockets 
  • Multiple access points
  • Expandable panels 
  • iPad/laptop sleeve 
  • Useable for camera gear

Cons of Peak Design Travel Backpack

  • Stock availability (backordered for certain locations at times)
  • Comes with a small learning curve
  • Few color and design options 
  • Can get a bit bulky if it’s packed to the max (too “turtle shell” like)
Quick Summary
Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L
4.7

A comfortable yet durable travel backpack with great structure and organization. With tons of customizable features and a hassle-free design, this Peak Design Travel Backpack makes a great all-in-one travel companion. It’s perfect for weekend travel, as well as longer backpacking trips.

Peak Design Travel Backpack is best for:

  • Travelers who want structure and organization 
  • Travelers who want less hassle 
  • Travelers who prioritize durability and quality 
  • Frequent travelers 
  • Digital nomads 

Peak Design Travel Backpack might not be a fit for:

  • Budget travelers 
  • Outdoor backpackers and serious hikers
  • Those who don’t travel often 
  • Maximalists and overpackers 

Peak Design Travel Backpack Full Review

View of the My Peak Design Travel Backpack and I ready to go from the outside
The Peak Design Travel Backpack is super durable

Now that you’ve gotten a good overview, let’s get into the details of the Peak Design Travel Backpack. It has features like multiple access points, stowaway shoulder straps, and more. There are tons of things that make this backpack highly functional and hassle-free. Let’s break the Peak Design Travel Backpack down. 

Features

The best parts of this backpack are its features for customization, organization, and accessibility. This backpack was thoughtfully designed and it shows. Now, into the top features you should know about…

Zippered Pocket Compartment

View from the inside of the zippered pocket compartment of the Peak Design Travel Backpack
The zippered compartment makes organization simple while still keeping your things accessible

The front zippered compartment is one of my favorite parts of the Peak Design Travel Backpack. Four total zippered pockets make up this section. Two feature soft, but durable material. The other two have different mesh materials for breathability. 

The top mesh pocket on the flap section has additional internal pockets for passports, pens, and more. This section makes accessing your things easy. All the details were thought out with this one!  

Zippered Dividing Panel with Dual-Side Access

The zippered diving panel inside the Peak Design Travel Backpack
The pocket panel has a zipper to make accessing multiple things easy

Another great feature of the Peak Design Travel Backpack is the dividing panel with dual-side access. This panel has many features. 

The panel zips along the internal lining so it can actually be tucked away into the main compartment pocket if you don’t need it. When it is zipped up though, you can access the pockets from the back panel in the main compartment as well as the outer section.

Stowaway Shoulder Straps and Hip Straps

Hip and shoulder straps of the Peak Design Travel Backpack
Hip straps and shoulder straps tucked away in the magnetic back panel

On the back panel of the travel backpack is a magnetic flap that opens vertically on each side. This allows for easy stowaway of the shoulder and hip straps, along with customized wearing options. 

For example, you can easily have the hip belt in or out, depending on what you prefer. I personally really liked this feature. I was able to easily and quickly tuck the straps away before stowing the bag on planes.

Padded and Pocketed Waist Straps

The author holding the waist straps of the Peak Design Travel Backpack
The left waist strap has integrated loops, and the right one has a zippered pocket

The waist straps on this backpack have a good design that I made a lot of use of. When in use, they provide ample support and weight distribution, and are reasonably comfortable. They have easy-to-attach loop hardware, too. 

One of the waist straps has a zippered pocket. This is great for storing things like cash, so it’s secure but accessible. The other waist strap has integrated loops to attach other Peak Design camera accessories. Namely, these are compatible with the Peak Design Capture and Range Pouch

Multiple Grab Handles

The author holding one of the grab handles of the Peak Design Travel Backpack
Grab handles make reaching for and storing your Peak Design Travel Backpack convenient

When you have to quickly stow your travel bag away, things can get a little discombobulated. If this happens, The Peak Design Travel Backpack makes grabbing your bag easy. 

It has 5 grab handles in total, located on all four sides, and on the magnetic back panel. In addition to easy bag access, this feature allows you to carry your backpack duffel bag style, if you prefer. However, I think wearing it backpack-style is easiest.

Wide Open Access to the Main Compartment

View of packing cubes at the main compartment of Peak Design Travel Backpack
This state gives you maximum internal volume (expansion panels unzipped, dividing panel put away, and bag opened from front section)

Like a traditional carry-on suitcase or duffel bag, this backpack can open widely to the main compartment. This can be done in two ways. 

The first is by opening the flat, main back panel. This makes it function more like a traditional suitcase. The second option is to tuck away the dividing panel and open the bag from the front section. This gives you more depth and puts the bag in a sort-of duffel mode. 

Use as a Camera Bag 

View from the interior of the Peak Design Travel Backpack
Photographers—when you’re not using it as a travel backpack, you can use it as a camera bag!

If you’re into photography, the Peak Design Travel Backpack is great because it doubles as a camera bag. The main compartment is big enough to fit camera gear and works great with the Peak Design camera cube system. The camera cubes come in small and medium, and they fit perfectly into the main section, depending on what size cube you need.

👉 Pro Tip: The Peak Design camera cubes are meant to be mixed and matched with other Peak Design packing tools. This includes things like packing cubes and bags like the Peak Design tech pouch. These cubes fit together like a puzzle to help you maximize your storage. 

Expandability and Compression

Close up view of the side zippers of Peak Design Travel Backpack
Unzipping the side zippers allows for extra room in the front

The Peak Design Travel Backpack is internationally carry-on approved in its standard, 35L state. But if you need a little extra storage on the go, the side zippers open up to add 10L of volume, which makes the backpack 45L in total. 

If you need to compress the backpack to use it as more of an everyday bag, the round silver hardware can be internally snapped together. This brings the travel bag to 30L. 

👉 Pro Tip: Although you could technically use this backpack as an everyday bag if you wanted to, I wouldn’t recommend it. The only situation where it might work well is if you use it as a camera bag for a ton of gear. But for typical day-to-day travel, it’s too large and bulky.

Secure Zipper Pulls

Close up view of the zipper pulls of Peak Design Travel Backpack
When looped, they become secure zippers

The zipper to the main compartment of the travel backpack has a security loop feature. As you can see in the picture above, one of the zipper pulls has silver hardware that acts like a button. This allows you to unlatch it and loop it into the other zipper pull. This way, the zippers have to move together and no one can get in. Plus, you can still attach an additional lock.  

Weatherproof Exterior 

Close up view of the exterior of Peak Design Travel Backpack
The exterior is rugged and durable, but not too scratchy

The Peak Design Travel Backpack exterior is made with a 400D nylon canvas shell. This high-quality material makes the travel backpack weatherproof. So, if you get caught in a little rain like I did while traveling, your things will stay dry and safe inside. 

Overall, the bag is just super durable. It can withstand scratchy hostel drawers and lockers, being laid on the pavement, being squished under a plane seat—you name it. 

High-Quality Materials

Close up view of the Peak Design Travel Backpack
High-quality exterior and interior materials, along with sturdy zippers and hardware

This backpack is made of high-quality materials all around. From the durable and weatherproof 400D nylon canvas shell to some of the soft, but flexible inner lining, you can feel the quality of the bag. 

The grab handles, padded carry straps, zippers, and hardware are no different. Everything functions consistently well, so you don’t have to deal with stuck zippers, torn pockets, or anything like that. This travel backpack holds up.

Multiple Access Points

View of the side compartment of Peak Design Travel Backpack
The side compartment access points make it convenient to look for things in the main compartment

Another one of the innovative features this Peak Design Travel Backpack has are its multiple access points. On each side, the travel bag has zippers that open down and around (pictured above). 

This allows for easy access to the main compartment. If you’re worried about security though, you can zip these up and loop the zipper pulls onto two internal toggles. You can also access the laptop compartment from the top of the main compartment.

👉 Pro Tip: For hassle-free airport security, I recommend leaving one side compartment zipper accessible. And for peace of mind, secure the other side compartment with the internal zipper toggle. This way, if you have to remove anything like a toiletry bag with liquids, you can easily pull it out without having to open up the entire main compartment. 

A Laptop/iPad Sleeve

View of the laptop/iPad sleeve of the Peak Design Travel Backpack
The laptop/iPad sleeve is structured—great for keeping your technology safe

If you work remotely like me, having a secure laptop compartment is a must. Peak Design Travel Backpack has a nicely structured and padded sleeve that can fit laptops up to 11 inches wide and 16 inches long. It also has one pocket within the sleeve for an iPad. And because of how the travel bag opens, you can just unzip the top to easily access your device.

Integrated Loops for Adding Clips and Gear

Close up view of the integrated loops of the Peak Design Travel Backpack
The travel backpack loops are all over the exterior of the bag

The exterior of the travel backpack has 12 integrated loops (pictured above). These are located along the front of the pack and along the sides. These loops have a couple of uses. 

The first is to use them to hook bulky gear or items to the exterior of the pack, with the external carry straps that come with the backpack. The second is to use carabiner clips to attach things like water bottles, pouches, etc.  

👉 Pro Tip: These integrated loops are great for attaching things like travel neck pillows, so you can access them easily and quickly. 

Water Bottle Side Pockets 

The side pocket of the Peak Design Travel Backpack that contains a water bottle and an umbrella
A side pocket fits a water bottle and a small travel umbrella

The backpack has two expandable side pockets—one on each side. These are meant to fit items like water bottles and tripods, but of course, pack as you see fit. 

These pockets don’t have elastic at the top, but I can say from experience that items remain secure in these compartments. These side pockets also have hidden zippered compartments. Here, you can securely keep items like passports, so they’re hidden, but easily accessible if need be.

Easy to Access Small Front Pocket

A small front pocket of the Peak Design Travel Backpack
This small front pocket is perfect for items you frequently reach for

On the front of the backpack’s exterior is a small zippered pocket. This is lined with the same soft and smooth lining as some of the organization pockets. 

It’s located towards the top of the bag, so it’s easy to access. This pocket is ideal for items you need to access frequently like a passport, cell phone, sunglasses, and lip balm. Things aren’t likely to get squished or broken here, either. 

Hidden ID Tag

View of the hidden ID slot of the Peak Design Travel Backpack
The hidden ID pocket can easily tuck away a business card or card with identification information

On the right side of the back left panel, the Peak Design Travel Backpack has a hidden ID slot. This is a great feature to have just in case your bag ever gets lost or misplaced while traveling.

There’s a small tag here that indicates the ID card, which can help people like airport employees track you down if something does happen. The backpack comes with a fill-in-the-blank card to make this part extra easy.

Packing Cubes 

Different sizes of Peak Design packing cubes
From left to right: medium packing cube, small packing cube, shoe pouch (bottom)—all sold separately

A great addition to the Peak Design Travel Backpack are the Peak Design packing cubes. Fullstop: these are the best packing cubes I’ve ever used—and I’ve used packing pouches and cubes for years

The material of these is super smooth but stretchy, so you can fit A LOT in these cubes. Plus, they have mesh expansion panels which allow even more storage. These can also be mixed and matched to fit into your travel backpack.

👉 Pro Tip: If you want to purchase the packing cubes, I recommend purchasing a set. This includes a medium packing cube, a small packing cube, and one shoe pouch. By choosing a bundle, you will receive 10% off your purchase. 

Technical Specifications 

  • Weight: 45L
  • Dimensions: 56cm x 33cm x 24cm (give or take for the expansion feature)
  • Material: 100% recycled weatherproof 400D nylon canvas (double water repellent treated and double poly-coated) 
  • Color Options: Black, Sage
  • Warranty & Guarantee: Lifetime Guarantee, 30-day return policy  
  • Capacity: 30L (compressed), 35L (standard), 45L (expanded)

👉 Pro Tip: If you have a smaller frame and are shorter like me, know that this backpack is definitely doable. I’m 5’2 and petite. I used this one bag for six weeks while backpacking through Europe and was able to carry it pretty comfortably. 

Peak Design Travel Backpack Alternatives

Although I think the Peak Design Travel Backpack is a fantastic, well-designed travel bag, it may not be for everyone. For example, it may not be ideal if you’re traveling for a really prolonged period of time or are doing outdoor, hiking-type backpacking. Here are some alternatives for you to consider:

Osprey Porter 46 

Travel Lemming's #1 Backpack
Osprey Porter 46

The Osprey Porter is a simple but highly durable all-around backpack. Travel Lemming's founder Nate took it to 50+ countries over a decade, and it held up very well! If functionality and durability are most important to you, you can't go wrong with the Osprey Porter 46!

The Osprey Porter is a Travel Lemming tried-and-true favorite. Compared to the Peak Design backpack, this is a more budget-friendly option. It’s a great all-around travel backpack and a good option if you’re traveling for an extended period of time. 

The Osprey Porter backpack carries 46L, is carry-on compatible, and is super expandable. Some of its features include a laptop sleeve, compression straps, and an option to attach the Osprey Daylite daypack. Travel Lemming founder Nate shares more in his comprehensive Osprey Porter 46 Review

Tortuga Outbreaker Travel Backpack  

Best for Carry On Travel
Tortuga Outbreaker

Organizational fanatics will love the many thoughtful features and pockets of the Outbreaker. With 35L and 45L options, it's the perfect backpack for shorter trips and carry-on-only travel.

The Tortuga Outbreaker Travel Backpack is a similar option to the Peak Design backpack. It’s carry-on compliant, has well-designed organization features, and can hold up to 45L. It also happens to be on the more pricey side. 

This bag is a good option for those who prefer the design of a typical suitcase, just in a backpack. It opens wide and flat like a typical suitcase, with 16 pockets and compartments in total. Learn more by reading our Tortuga Outbreaker Review

The Backpacker by Salkan 

Best for Outdoors
The Backpacker by SALKAN

A roomier bag with lots of space, and very comfortable strap and harness system. A great backpack for travel or outdoor adventures. If you need to carry your backpack for long stretches, this is a great choice.

For hardcore backpackers and outdoor enthusiasts constantly on the move, a bag like The Backpacker by Salkan is the way to go. Unlike the Peak Design backpack, this bag works for outdoor and urban travel. 

It’s also a backpack you can use for extended travel since the Mainpack can hold up to 55L of storage. However, this bag isn’t quite carry-on compliant and is an investment that comes with a higher price tag. See our The Backpacker by Salkan Review for more information. 

Osprey Farpoint 55 Travel Backpack

Best Larger Bag
Osprey Farpoint 55 Travel Pack

If you need more space than Osprey's Porter gives, the Farpoint 55 is another durable and reliable alternative. It opens like a suitcase, but carries like a comfortable backpack.

If the Peak Design backpack 45L isn’t enough space for you, consider the Osprey Farpoint 55 Travel Backpack. Like the Osprey Porter 46, this backpack comes with a detachable daypack and has stowaway straps. But because it’s larger, it has more padding in the hip straps. 

If you’re looking for a travel backpack with tons of ample space, this Osprey backpack is perfect. This is also a great option for traveling for months on end.

FINAL VERDICT – Is the Peak Design Travel Backpack Worth It? 

Based on my experience testing this bag out in Europe, the Peak Design Travel Backpack is a durable, high-quality bag that’s a great option for the organized traveler. It’s comfortable, has ample organization, and has customizable features. 

These things make it a worthwhile investment. I’ve loved using this backpack and have even recommended it to friends and family. Although pricier, the thoughtful design and functionality really set this backpack apart.

FAQs about Peak Design Travel Backpack

Are Peak Design backpacks worth it?

Peak Design backpacks are definitely worth the investment. They may come at a higher price tag, but they’ll last a long time and save you hassle while you travel. 

Is the Peak Design Travel Backpack waterproof?

The Peak Design Travel Backpack is waterproof. It’s made with a treated, weatherproof 400D nylon canvas material. 

Is a 45L backpack enough for longer trips?

A 45L backpack is definitely enough for longer trips. Everyone will have different priorities when it comes to packing. However, I used my 45L Peak Design Travel Backpack for six weeks of travel and it provided most of the space I needed. 

Can I use the Peak Design Travel Backpack as a carry-on?

You can use the Peak Design Travel Backpack as an international carry-on. Do note that the size of this bag is technically carry-on approved in its standard state (35L), not its expanded state (45L). I will say, though, and you shouldn’t bank on this, but I had my backpack expanded for my entire trip and didn’t have any issues with carry-on. It varies from airline to airline.

Does the Peak Design Travel Backpack fit under the airplane seat?

The Peak Design Travel Backpack fits under airplane seats pretty easily in its standard (35L) state. Depending on the plane, you might be able to fit it under the seat in front of you in its expanded (45L) state, but it might be a gamble.

Is Peak Design a good brand?

Peak Design is a good brand, being a B Corp with a social mission. This means that aside from creating high-quality, successful travel products, they aim to make an impact along the way. Their mission includes prioritizing people, offsetting environmental impact, and trying to instill positive change. 

***

Quick Summary
Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L
4.7

A comfortable yet durable travel backpack with great structure and organization. With tons of customizable features and a hassle-free design, this Peak Design Travel Backpack makes a great all-in-one travel companion. It’s perfect for weekend travel, as well as longer backpacking trips.

Have you tried Peak Design Travel Backpack? If you have, let us know your thoughts! Having the right travel gear can make all the difference in how you’re able to travel. 

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Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L

Based on my tests on a recent trip to Europe, the 45L Peak Design Travel Backpack is a solid travel bag with a good balance of structure, organization, and open space. It’s extremely durable and thoughtfully designed, so you can travel smart and stress-free. While it lacks in its range of color options and can get a bit bulky when overstuffed, these are relatively small drawbacks. Overall I am very happy with the Peak Design Travel Backpack.

Product Brand: Peak Design

Editor's Rating:
4.7

Pros

  • Great organization
  • Super durable exterior
  • Soft and stretchy, yet durable interior material 
  • Lots of compartments 
  • Comfortable, adjustable, and padded shoulder straps
  • Multiple grab handles 
  • Stowaway features with magnetic flap 
  • Hidden pockets 
  • Multiple access points
  • Expandable panels 
  • iPad/laptop sleeve 
  • Useable for camera gear

Cons

  • Stock availability (backordered for certain locations at times)
  • Comes with a small learning curve
  • Few color and design options 
  • Can get a bit bulky if it’s packed to the max (too "turtle shell" like)

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