2024 Peak Design 30L Travel Backpack Review [Unbiased]

Orlaigh Magennis
Written By:
Orlaigh Magennis
Last Updated:
January 1, 2024
Here's my honest and in-depth review of the Peak Design Travel Backpack 30L, an all-in-one backpack with great features and a simple, modern design.
Peak Design 30L Travel Backpack Review

I’ve travelled a lot, both domestically and internationally, and have tried my fair share of travel backpacks.

If you’re also a travel and photography enthusiast, you may have heard of Peak Design and their ever-innovative bags.

Although known for their awesome camera bags, their Travel Backpack is no less amazing!

I’m excited to say that I’ve tested this bag out and (spoiler alert) absolutely loved it.

Today, I’ll talk about my honest review of the Peak Design Travel Backpack 30L.

This includes the pros and cons, as well as the main features I love about it.

A versatile expandable backpack for everyday use and travel.

Rating: 9/10

Let's go!

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Who exactly are PEAK DESIGN?

Peak Design’s origins date back to 2010 on Kickstarter and have made waves since then.

From everyday and travel bags to camera accessories and various organisers, Peak Design’s products are functional and innovative while still appearing beautiful.

They’re fully carbon neutral and donate 1% of their revenue to environmental nonprofits, which I think is always reflective of a company’s values!

Where can you buy the Peak Design 30L Travel Backpack?

The best place to buy the 30L Travel Backpack by Peak Design is through their website.

For US addresses, you can get free and fast shipping on orders above $99.

Meanwhile, shipping outside of the US is just as fast and at an affordable rate.

Their website is also a great place to look for discounts, sales, and coupons!

One benefit of buying Peak Design’s bags is its lifetime warranty, which includes manufacturing defects and breakages that cause part/all of the product to be non-functional.

peak design travel backpack 30l review

Quick overview: Technical Specifications

  • Price: $229.95
  • Weight: 1.44kg (3.17lbs)
  • Dimensions: 20.9" x 13.4" x 7" (expandable to 20.9" x 13.4" x 7.9")
  • Material: 100% recycled 400D nylon canvas external shell, 900D waterproof bottom liner, UltraZips with abrasion-resistant UHMPE thread, etc.
  • Color Options: Black, sage, midnight
  • Warranty & Guarantee:  Lifetime Warranty with conditions
  • Capacity: 27L (expandable to 33L)

Peak Design 30L Travel Backpack review

Before even testing this bag, I fell in love with its materials and style. It is simple and does not lose its shape; the rugged shape provides a premium feel that brings you comfort in knowing that your belongings are completely safe inside.

Note that Peak Design also has a gorgeous Everyday Backpack that’s geared more towards carrying a camera!

How well-made is the Peak Design Travel Backpack 30L?

So, let’s discuss the materials…

This Peak Design bag is made from weatherproof, 100% recycled 400D nylon canvas shell with DWR coating, rugged 900D waterproof bottom liner, and ultralight padded foam that surrounds the bag. 

We have got Zoom zippers engraved with the Peak Design logo instead of the usual YKK zippers.

What I love is how the bag doesn’t lose its shape when you zip it open. It curves with the bag instead, making it easy to look inside and organise your stuff.

There’s Hypalon throughout the bag for reinforced stress points. This ensures the durability of the bag.

How comfortable is the Peak Design Travel Backpack 30L?

Though there’s not much padding on the back, it’s still highly comfortable overall.

Peak Design Backpack Back Padding

I like the adjustable and padded shoulder straps, which feel solid and don’t really cut into your shoulders.

Plus, this bag comes equipped with axial strap attachments and a stowable sternum strap.

The sternum strap is aluminum and more high-end compared to the basic kind of buckle clips you get.

Peak Design Backpack Sternum Strap

Not to mention the 360-degree grab handles, so you can carry the bag from whichever angle and position that’s most comfortable.

What makes the 30L Peak Design bag a great travel backpack?

1. Great capacity and expandable

The bag itself is 30L but it can compress to 27 Litres.

You can also expand it out which would bring it to 33 L..

I love the fact that the expansion here isn’t overly done.

In terms of comparing to the Knack bags, they have a bigger expansion, which is great but there was no in-between mark like you have here.

Peak Design Backpack Expansion Zipper

You can fit up to 3 Peak Design packing cubes very comfortably inside.

2.  Clam opening 

I think a clam opening is key for this type of all-in-one travel backpack.

Packing is an absolute breeze, especially when you’re using it for travelling and need to be super organised.

I love that you can easily find what you need without rummaging through the other content and making a mess of everything.

3. Organisation pockets are JUST RIGHT

I’m not a fan of overly built-in organisation pockets. They can be great, but I also prefer the freedom of storing my belongings where I want instead of in some ridiculously specific compartments.

BUT I can appreciate pockets when I want to.

Peak Design Backpack Interior Pockets

This bag doesn't overwhelm you with that and allows you to organise the bag as you please while giving subtle directions in where you can place things. Especially if you want to use your own packing cubes.

Bonus point, Peak Design actually made the bag to fit camera cubes that you can get, essentially turning it into a camera bag! The very front pocket also has built in slots for your memory cards.

Peak Design Backpack Memory Card Pockets

The very front pocket on top of the bag has space for extra stuff you need quicker access to.

Peak Design Backpack Top Pocket

There’s a side pocket for ID, although I’m not a fan because someone could easily steal from there.

Peak Design Backpack ID pocket

Finally, here’s a drainage hole where your water bottle might be. It fits my 500ml water bottle well!

Peak Design Backpack water bottle

4. Padded laptop and tablet sleeves

The 15-inch laptop compartment has padded sleeves, which is something I appreciate in terms of keeping my laptop safe. It’s pinned down with a velcro strap. 

Peak Design Backpack laptop compartment

The bag is suspended from the bottom. So, should you drop your bag accidentally, your laptop and other belongings will be protected.

Inside the laptop compartment, there’s another pocket for your tablet or notepads.

5. Multiple grab handles

There is a hidden hip strap at the back, which makes it not only comfortable for wearing but also handy for placing under the seat in front of you or overhead on a flight.

There are plenty of handles to switch it up with whatever style or mode you wanna put it into.

For example, the back handle allows you to place it over a suitcase. On this note, the fact that the suitcase strap is horizontal makes it a bit of a hassle to get things out when the bag is on top of the suitcase, but this isn’t a big deal.

There are also loops on the exterior for you to hang things like your travel pillow or shoes. Talk about being designed for travel!

Peak Design Backpack loops

6. Simple and classy design

I always love a travel bag that’s not too flashy or touristy, as it lets you blend in with the locals.

Peak Design creates sleek functional practical bags that are undeniably reliable but also not in-your-face in terms of branding and design.

On that account, the 30L Travel Backpack comes in two other colours (sage and midnight) with the brown tag at the top.

I have the black color, which doesn’t has the brown tag. I know I was saying I don’t want it obvious, but I would’ve loved the same tag just to set it apart from other generic brands, albeit subtly.

Who should get the Travel Backpack 30L?

All in all, this backpack is pretty versatile and multi-purpose, so anyone could benefit from it.

Whether you’re an avid traveller, amateur photographer, or just someone who needs a reliable backpack for your everyday errands, this might be what you’re looking for.

In terms of pricing, it may not be the cheapest option, but I do think it’s a worthwhile investment as the build is strong and rugged.

If you’re like me and like to hit the gym, this is also a great bag where you can hang your barbell pad!

Peak Design Travel Backpack, 30L VS 45L

Should you get the 30L or 45L version?

Here’s how the 30L backpack compares to its larger counterpart:

  • Simplified access: a single rear zip vs side and front access on the 45L
  • Larger top pocket: internal stretch and zip pockets (45L has a smaller, undivided pocket)
  • No hip belt: 45L has a built-in hip belt, while the accessory is optional for the 30L version
  • Less camera-oriented: the 30L can fit PD Camera Cubes when expanded, but I’d recommend the 45L for heavier cameras
  • No removable internal divider
peak design travel backpack 30 litres

Cons of the Peak Design Travel Backpack 30L

My minor complaint is that the front material attracts hair and dust quite easily. My hair sometimes sticks to the bag!

The water bottle compartment could do with more room.

I feel like it could do with a bit more anti-theft features, considering it’s mainly intended for travel. Yes, you can loop your zippers and click it around, but I’ve seen better security design for a front pocket and side ID pocket.

While the attachment for a hip strap is cool, it would have been cool to include it with the purchase like with the 45L version!

Another main drawback for me is that the waterproof claim… is up for debate.

Whilst water flows off easily, nylon is water resistant but not fully waterproof, so this is something to keep in mind. 

Although, I’ve personally tested this and found that although the material soaks up a little bit of water, it doesn’t really affect the interior as most of the water runs off.

So, while your valuable will be protected as all the pockets are inside underneath this waterproof material, my thing is that nylon does hold moisture, so I’m not sure how that would  affect the front part of the bag over time…

Peak Design Backpack waterproof

Peak Design 30L Travel Backpack: Performance over time

Here are my impressions in bullet points after using it for the first time vs two weeks.

First use:

  • Very strong
  • Sibling to the well known 45L from Peak Design
  • I love the clamshell opening, making it adaptable and diverse 
  • Expands to 33 L and compresses to 27L
  • No padding on the back but comfort level is high

After 2 weeks:

  • Still feels strong
  • Makes for a great all-in-one bag designed for any adventure, from gym and work to travel and more
  • When packing, I don’t really use the mesh pockets in the clam shell opening as they bulk out the bag more than intended. It’s better to use packing cubes (check out Peak Design’s here!) or organise it yourself as it fits more
  • Shape and structure remain even when empty
  • The straps can be tucked away, which is nice when putting under the seat in front of you on a flight to avoid damage

6 Month Review:

  • Remains to be a great travel backpack for those wanting a strong reliable backpack
  • Only having one top loading pocket at the top can become limited for space and find myself wanting more space and organisation
  • condition remains amazing, made up with great reliable, durable materials
6 month performance review of the Peak Design 30L Travel backpack

Overall verdict: Are Peak Design bags worth buying?

If you need a quick answer to this question, you’re at the right part.

Should you buy the Peak Design Travel Backpack 30L?

peak design travel backpack 30 litres review

My answer is yes!

As a bonus point, this backpack is also sustainable: it’s fair trade certified and 100% carbon neutral.

What else does Peak Design sell?

Peak Design is also popular for their other products and bag accesories.

Everyday Messenger

This messenger-style bag is more than meets the eye! It’s designed with renowned photographer to organise your camera, drone, and other gear.

It can of course be used for everyday use, with sleeves for a 13-inch laptop, tablet, and plenty of internal pockets.

Everyday Toteback

A tote bag and backpack in one, this is the perfect on-the-go bag if you want something more stylish (I love the bone color).

It comes with weatherproof zip, dual access points, multiple pockets, and even FlexFold internal dividers for better organisation.

Everyday Sling

This is the smallest bag in Peak Design’s Everyday Line. With 3L up to 10L size options, you can still fit up to a pro DSLR and small laptop in this bag!

It’s also fit for hiking and biking, thanks to the weatherproof shell and quick-adjust straps.

Peak Design Travel Backpack 30L

That’s all for my in-depth review of the Peak Design 30L Travel Backpack.

Don't forget that you can get your bag here.

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Some images courtesy of Deposit Photos.
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