Review: Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L

Review: Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L

As a travel publication, we churn through luggage pieces around here. When I saw this Peak Design backpack, it caught my attention with its sleek design, loads of features, and—most importantly—how it can be used for motorcycle traveling.

There are no gaudy logos, chrome zippers, buckles, or a million external pockets. The backpack has an almost aerodynamic look to it. I wore it on my shoulders on a test ride, but quickly concluded that it’s best to strap it on the seat or rack.

Peak Design markets to photographers (and this backpack makes a fantastic camera bag). I mainly use it to pack clothes for a week-long ride, along with a laptop and one camera. Accessibility to the inside is one key strength. You can open the large zippers from either side to access the large, main compartment, or you can pull up the back and fold it open. The front zipper reveals a compartment with multiple zippered pockets to store smaller items, which you can also pull aside to reach the main area.

One thing I really like with the smaller mesh pockets is that they actually have room to put stuff in them. They stretch a little and there’s enough fabric. Some backpacks give you these additional pockets, but all you can really put in there is a matchbook. This backpack has no fewer than four grab handles—top, left, right, and back. The back one serves mainly as a luggage pass-through for your roller bag. Speaking of airports, this 45L bag is carry-on size.

Review: Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L | RoadRUNNER Motorcycle Touring & Travel

The shoulder and waist straps tuck neatly into magnetic strap stowage ports, and you can even fold those over for more back support and airflow. On the sleek front surface are little loops for hanging stuff. Compression straps hiding in another magnetic flap can be pulled out to secure additional items. I stumbled upon this feature by accident when wiping off some dust. I love finding features. It’s almost like finding cash in a jacket that has been hanging in my closet for years.

If you’re a neat freak like me, you can invest in Peak Design’s optional packing cubes. This bag holds three units of them.

The bag is weather-proof but not waterproof, so the optional rainfly ($29.95) is a must for motorcycle travel. The many loops and grab handles make it super easy to mount, and the many access zippers take the guesswork out of where your camera might be hiding. The large side pockets store my water bottle or my tripod securely.

I wouldn’t recommend this backpack for long hikes. The bag itself is on the sturdy and rigid side—great for moto rides, bad for long carries. The bag alone weighs 4.5 pounds, which is too heavy to lug around all day. I’m 6 feet, 2 inches and this bag fits me well, but I wouldn’t want it any bigger.

For your eco concerns, the main fabrics on this bag are all made from recycled plastic, Peak Design is certified climate neutral, and they are a member of 1% For the Planet. This backpack has become my go-to choice for fly-and-ride trips, photo and video projects, and week-long motorcycle rides.

Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L
Colors: black, sage