My daily backpack

I've had a few people ask me: what bag do you use for your daily grinder?

With the new Peak Design backpack coming out at a whopping (yet discounted) $220 for the 20L and and $250 for the 30L, I figured it's time to share.

I recently upgraded from my North Face Recon circa 2005 to something a bit more sleek, and designed for cameras.

First, what do I require for a daily bag?

I need a bag for the city (Montreal, represent). I need a backpack because, I’ve since learned, messenger bags aren’t my thing. For me they’re uncomfortable and I find them a hassle while biking. Which brings me to my next point, I need a bag that I can bike with. My commute is approximately 6-10 mi (10-15 km) daily.

I need a bag that’ll carry my stuff (duh!). M-F I carry:

  • Fujifilm XT1 with 16mm lens

  • 13 inch Macbook Air + charger

  • Medium sized journal

  • Two pocket notebooks

  • Glasses + case

  • Lunch + snacks

  • Water bottle

  • Pens, pencils, and miscellaneous items

  • Bike lock

  • Longsleeve


And I want it all to be somewhat safe.

If you’re looking for something similar, then this review may help you out.

What did I test?

Lowepro StreetLine BP 250

  • Great looking bag

  • Didn’t fit all my stuff

  • Felt a bit flimsy / unsafe

  • Removable divider was very limited

Peak Design Everyday Messenger

  • Shoulder strap uncomfortable

  • Strap designed to go around your waist to improve the biking experience was really meh

  • The color choices are not my style

  • Didn’t fit all my stuff

Lowepro ProTactic 350

  • Winner, winner.

I tested these bags out by watching YouTube videos, reading through reddit comments, and actually going to camera stores with all my stuff and seeing if everything would fit and feel nicely while wearing (shoutout to Camtec Photo for dealing me as I played with all their bag inventory).


The Lowepro ProTactic 35

Let me start with the cons:

  • It’s a bit heavy

  • If you get it dirty, it’s not easy to clean

Now onto the pros.

I’ve been using this bag daily for a few months now and it’s been great. I’ve brought it to Tofino, NYC, and Boston for trips (accompanied with a weekender for other essentials). It’s served well on flights, in cars, on buses, and while biking.

The laptop compartment is easy to access when passing through TSA checkpoints, or when you need to do some quick work in a cafe.

And, it’s a damn sexy bag.

The internal compartments, as with most Lowepro bags, are customizable. Though Peak’s Messenger does a better job with the inserts, this certainly accomplishes everything I need.

I split the bag into three main sections:

  1. Camera

  2. Journal/lunch+snacks

  3. Pocket notebooks/glasses/misc


Of course, not everything I carry is pictured in the photos, but trust me, I carry all of that stuff. What's more is it was the only bag that could fit all of my stuff in an organized, easily accessible manner, all while still looking good.

If you're looking for a daily bag and want something that's designed well without spending too much, I would certainly recommend the the Lowepro ProTactic 350.