In this post I wanted to follow up on my original review of Peak Design’s Everyday Sling back in September 2016 (see The Everyday Sling blog post). Back then I stated, “if you have a mirrorless system and want to travel light, THIS IS YOUR BAG! People who use mirrorless systems are usually trying to keep the load light.” I went on to say that if I had a mirrorless camera, “this would be my bag 24/7!” Well, I meant it, and after writing that post I actually ended up purchasing a Sony A7R mirrorless camera a month later and decided to give the Everyday Sling a shot as my every day bag. There were two reasons for doing this; first, I switched to a mirrorless to lighten the load due to ongoing back issues resulting from surgery in 2010. Second, the folks at Purple Orange Brand Communications and Peak Design had given me a courtesy Everyday Sling and I felt I needed to give it a shot. Plus, since I shot my mouth off about how great it was, I needed to do this! Let me say upfront that the switch was easy and I’m very happy.
When I received my Everyday Sling, I used it on days I wanted to travel light, usually taking my Canon 6D and another lens only to head out somewhere on my bike or walking. For the most part, the rest of the bag really didn’t have much in the pockets. Using the Sling now as my every day carry means that it’s obviously heavier because I now carry many of the items I used to carry in the Everyday Messenger. Heavier? Yes, but still very manageble and in no way is it uncomfortable. The bag is designed to expand out and away from your body as you add contents, making it still comfortable to carry. I also find myself usuing the adjustable strap more than I did with the Everyday Messenger. The Sling seems to feel better when I wear it high on my back, so when I need the camera I rotate the bag and lower it to get in. Because of the way this bag’s strap is designed it’s almost one smooth movement and takes no extra time. So what are the drawbacks? Well, if you tried this as your main bag and carried something bigger than a mirrorless, or carried 2 or 3 lenses, I don’t think it would fare well. Strapping a tripod to the bottom seems like it could be a it of a pain as well. Don’t get me wrong, this little bag will do it, I just don’t know how comfortable it would be weighing it down so much. Frankly, if you were carrying a regular size DSLR and a couple of lenses, the Everyday Messenger is the better choice anyway.
After four months of carrying the Everyday Sling, I’m comfortable recomending it to mirroress camera owners who are looking for a protective bag for their camera that is full of features. While I still love my Everyday Messenger Bag (or EDM), my former every day carry, that bag is now for when I’m going to travel and need to bring along extras. When I wrote about the Everyday Messenger in my post “Everyday Messenger, is the honeymoon over?” in May 2016 I truly believed I had found the perfect bag and never thought I’d switch cameras. For what I used to carry, a Canon 6D with a lens attached and two more in the bag, the Everyday Messenger was perfect. However, since switching to the Sony A7R, the Everyday Sling seemed a better fit, and this is true because of the lighter camera body and less lenses. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the EDM and it’s still the best bag I’ve ever owned, but it’s now my travel bag. At 54 years old I still learn something new almost every day and the lesson learned here is this; if someone asks if you’d like to try a product, you might want to take them up on it. When originally contacted about trying out a bag, I told them I was plenty happy with my Everyday Messenger, fortunately they still sent me a bag. I say this because had Purple Orange Brand Communications not contacted me I definitely would NOT have bought the Everyday Sling, I was completely content with the EDM. Again, a HUGE thank you to Purple Orange Brand Communictions and the wizards at Peak Design for giving me the opportunity to use the Everyday Sling!
Thanks to the great people at Purple Orange Brand Communications for sending a Peak Design Everyday Sling my way before it hit the street!! Upfront, nobody has asked, or tried to influence me, to endorse this product. No promises were made and I’m writing my personal opinions freely, plus I would never endorse a product I don’t use. That said, when originally asked if I’d be interested in one of the new Peak Design bags I actually said “no”… Sometimes I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer. I said this because Peak Design’s last bag, the Everyday Messenger (also called the EDM), was working incredibly well and I simply didn’t want another bag. However, when the opportunity presented itself to check out one of the new bags, I decided to give the Everyday Sling a try. Why do this if I loved my current bag so much? Well, I do love the EDM but having a smaller bag of the same style for just walking or biking near home with just the basics seemed worth trying. After carrying the Sling everywhere for a week and a half, I’m completely comfortable writing my opinions here because the Sling is remarkably similar to the EDM in just about every way. Before going on, if the Sling wasn’t a comfortable carry, everything I could write below would be meaningless garbage. So yes, on top of the features and build quality, thd Sling is extremely comfortable and most times forgot it was with me whether walking or on my bike. If interested, please see an earlier blog entries about my Peak Design Everyday Messenger experiences:
The Everyday Sling would arrive in mid-September and I was thrilled someone thought enough of me to offer this bag up. However, I didn’t think about it much, nor did I know the specifics regarding the Sling other than it was smaller than the EDM. Remember, I loved my current bag (and still do). What I did ponder was this; what if the Sling didn’t live up to the hype? Would I be willing to write a negative review about product I wanted to like from a company I truly LOVE?? I was comforted by the fact I didn’t know of one Peak Design product that was bad, why would the Sling be any different? When the Sling did arrive, to my surprise it seemed as if the beloved EDM just had a little brother! The build quality along with everything else I saw on the outside of the Sling immediately screamed Peak Design. It is literally like a mini-EDM where they cut out much of the extra storage space and came up with a versatile Sling bag. I intended the Sling to be for traveling light, a body with a lens attached and maybe another lens or two in the bag. However, while the Sling is smaller this is not to say the it isn’t without its features. While there is no perfect bag, Peak Design’s EDM was the first bag that I didn’t feel like I was just settling in some way. With the Sling, I again found what I need and feel!
Since this bag for day use, there’s plenty of space in expandable large side pocket for anything else you may need. The Sling is similar to the EDM in this way, it expands and contracts as you insert and remove gear. In this case, the side pocket expands and not the entire bag as with the EDM. However, this bag differs in two ways from the EDM. First, it is entered through a zippered closure on top instead of a flap style lid, this alone ensures your gear will stay dry and I almost wish the EDM had this feature. Second, the inserts used to make divided compartments go one step farther than those of the EDM. Whereas the fold-over tops of the EDM’s inserts create a flat surface area on top to lay items (above right), the Sling’s inserts have a split top
on the fold-over portion allowing you use them like the EDM’s, or as individual storage above each lens compartment by leaving one part folded down and one up (left). The cool thing is that if you like the inserts of the EDM, these function exactly the same. If you need them to function differently in the future, it’s built in! These might seem like little things, but in a compact bag like the Sling, these small features add up and make the Sling stand out.
The similarities with the EDM are evident in other ways. The water resistant materials, quality stitching, a clean design with no unwanted straps hanging, space for an iPad or similar device, covered zippers, and built in tripod stowage are all items I have now come to expect from Peak Design; and they delivered!
There is a pocket on the inside cover that provides easy access to items regularly needed. In fact, all pockets can be accessed without taking the Sling off and any raising or lowering of the bag is mindlessly simple. You’ll never fumble for gear or dump stuff in the street (yes, I’ve done that with a backpack). The shoulder strap is made to easily adjust when you want to get in the bag, so if you like carrying it high on your back it’s not a big deal. There is also a strap in the main compartment to attach your keys and even a reinforced area to hang a Peak Design Capture! Like I said, this is a compact and purposeful bag so all these numerous little features amount to a big deal!
There’s more, just like the EDM, the battery compartment uses red stitching on the pockets to place your empty batteries so you don’t confuse them with those charged. So who wouldn’t like the Sling? Well, honestly, it’s not for everyone and if you carry a ton of gear and expect this to be your primary bag, it’s not for you. Remember, it’s a Sling and not a backpack. While capable of carrying a lot of gear for its size, the EDM or one of the new Peak Design backpacks may be a better fit if you carry a lot of gear. So who would like this new Sling? Well, even if I wasn’t out shooting photos, this would be a great day bag to just have because of its versitility and ease of carry. I’ve been carrying a Canon 6D with a lens attached and one other lens for the most part, sometimes throwing an extra lens in, and the Sling has been comfortable. This would be a great setup for a street photographer wanting a bag as a daily carry that is out of the way when working. Now if you have a mirrorless system and want to travel light, THIS IS YOUR BAG! People who use mirrorless systems are usually trying to keep the load light. If I had the cash for a Sony A7rii (Hello Sony? If you’re feeling generous…) and some Sony glass to go along with it, this would be my bag 24/7! Before I had the EDM (and now a Sling), I was a backpack guy. This led to me carrying WAY too much gear, everywhere; backpacks have lots of room for lenses, filters, and everything else under the sun. Who carries a half empty backpack? Now that I’ve gone to messenger bags, I’ll never carry my camera gear in a backpack again; I carry what I need vice everything I own. My opinion regarding backpacks has changed drastically in the last year as I believe backpacks have their place in camping, hiking, etc.; I even understand why many photographers need them. However, straight up camera bags or messenger bags just work better for me. Just my two Abe Lincoln’s worth…
My love affair with Peak Design products began about 4+ years ago when I was tired of taking the wrist cuff off the camera so I could put it on a tripod. After a little searching online, I found a Peak Design product that made exactly what I wanted except it allowed the camera to be mounted to a backpack or belt! Since then I’ve used much of their gear because it’s built to last and works as advertised. It is so refreshing to see a company like Peak Design who stand behind their products and haven’t forgotten where they came from! The Sling is no different and a prime example of Peak Design’s dedication to making quality photography products. They never stop amazing me with their ingenious products and I actually get excited when they advertise a new product release! Lastly, two final thoughts about why I have loved Peak Designs products, this Sling fits in to both categories. First, once you use their gear you’ll wonder why you didn’t check them out earlier. I wasn’t even wanting another bag, now I’m hooked on the Sling. Second, all Peak Design products are built tough and whatever you buy, you won’t be replacing it anytime soon. So, if you’re on the fence about the Sling, don’t be as it’s built to last, will safely carry your gear, and very comfortable to carry. Thank you Peak Design and Purple Orange for this great opportunity!
These bags are for non-photographers and photographers alike! If you’re interested, I’ve written two posts related to my Peak Design camera bag. The latest, posted on May 30, 2016 was specifically about the Everyday Messenger entitled, Everyday Messenger: is the honeymoon over? However, first article called In the Bag, posted on April 25, 2016 was not specifically about the bag, but was related to what I keep in my Everyday Messenger. I also wrote about the Peak Design products I use everyday that make photography easier, see it at Peak Design.
I hope these posts will give you some insight in to these great products!
Last April I wrote about the daily contents of my Peak Design Everyday Messenger bag, also called the EDM (See In the bag). This week I would like to write about the EDM bag itself; while there are many reviews of this bag online I would like to share my experiences. When I first saw the promo for the EDM I said to myself, “nice, but not for me.” Like other Peak Design products, crowd funding through Kickstarter was the means of getting the bag early. Although not wasn’t interested in the bag, I wanted to help Peak Design because I’ve supported them in the past. They make quality photography gear and I was still willing to put money behind a new product even if it wasn’t for me! After months of reading early reviews, seeing promos, and the opinions of others, I decided to get the bag. At $220, the EDM was not a cheap venture considering I already had a perfectly fine camera bag. I finally decided to keep my other bag and if the EDM didn’t work out, I’d sell it. If Peak Design’s EDM didn’t live up to the hype, there was a fallback plan. Well, after seven months with my Peak Design EDM, I feel comfortable saying how this worked out.
First off, a little background, I’m an amateur photographer so my livelihood isn’t dependent upon selling photos. There are no clients, no deadlines, no business obligations, so photography is the coolest hobby as someone who is retired! In 2010 I had back surgery and finding the right bag took years, literally. I bought so many bags online in search of the “the one” that between shipping and selling, I’ll admit loosing few bucks. After three years, I finally settled on a well known brand, a backpack, and it’s a GREAT bag. This backpack had enough room for all my stuff and seemed to fit well on my back. I had to carry this bag all day before it started hurting. Obviously, the Peak Design EDM was much smaller and concessions would be necessary to seriously attempt this transition. How much gear would need to be ditched? After the number of bags I’ve been though, how could any messenger bag compare? Needless to say, there were concerns.
Many people will tell you that there is no perfect camera bag, and I believe this to be true. However, this current backpack was as close as I had come to perfection. While waiting for the EDM, I decided honestly look at my current bag situation and make changes before the EDM arrived. After reading a piece written by Ken Rockwell I knew changes were needed. I wrote in my previous blog, In the bag, in where Rockwell says, “trying to be prepared for everything makes you prepared for nothing” and when carrying less gear “you’ll be more relaxed and have better time, again leading to more fun and better pictures.” It clicked, so I went in to strip down mode 1.0 and ditched anything not used in recent memory and reevaluated EVERYTHING in the backpack. When my Peak Design EDM arrived, I was going to be ready.
Well it arrived and I still couldn’t fit my freakin’ gear in the EDM, before I had a knee jerk reaction and sold gear, I decided to strip down to essentials only. Which lenses did I use daily? I hadn’t used a flash in over a year, did it need to be in my daily carry? Which gear of this already stripped down load could I not leave the house without. Ok, strip down mode 2.0 coming up… In the end, after spending months setting up the EDM, it was 100% totally worth it! I now carry a lighter bag with actually need gear versus everything on the planet “just in case.” The bag can be configured inside to suit your needs and provides decent protection. Will it protect it like my backpack would? No, however, in my daily needs that backpack was overkill. I now carry my camera much more often with the EDM than before in that huge backpack full of goodies! I have no problem with the EDM while traveling, it fits under the front seat on an airplane, and is generally out of the way when not needed.
So who would likely benefit from the Peak Design EDM? If you shoot mostly from home, it’s perfect. If you like to carry a bunch of lenses and accessories, it’s probably not for you. It’s also probably not for you if you’re a hiker doing overnighters in tents where a backpack is a necessity. My personal experience is that the Peak Design Everyday Messenger forced me to downsize my gear, which was needed! I now carry essential items only and am shooting more because the EDM is with me daily and less time is spent rummaging through a backpack for something. As for that back surgery, the EDM isn’t quite as comfortable as the backpack but the trade off is that it’s much lighter. I’ve had no major issues carry it as I did with some backpacks. So last week I sold $1300 worth of lenses and accessories, plus the backpack in my “fallback plan” has a new home. Overall, the transition to the Peak Design Everyday Messenger has been positive. I discovered much about what I truly needed versus what was nice to have, and I’m happier while out shooting. Yes, there is NO perfect camera bag and no “one size fits all.” I would never tell anyone they needed to run out and buy this EDM now. However, I will say it worked for me and I’m very happy with it as I am with all my Peak Design products.