Peak Design continue to expand their product lineup, and the Everyday Sling was added alongside the previously reviewed Everyday Backpack, and the Tote, during a record-breaking Kickstarter campaign. The styling cues are all the same, but there’s a few differences in functionality that means it’s not quite as simple as saying this is a “mini Everyday Messenger”.
I’ll say right away that surprisingly to me, this is actually my favourite of the Everyday series! I know a lot of people love the Everyday Messenger and Backpack, and I did like them, but I also had my criticisms. In several cases I thought they sided with form over function, but I didn’t have such issues with the little Everyday Sling. Read on to find out what makes this one a real winner…
For those that don’t feel like reading all this, there’s a video review to compliment the content on this page.
Is a Sling Right For You?
Sling bags can be great carrying solutions as long as you don’t carry a very heavy load. With weight only placed onto one of your shoulders, it can make it uncomfortable if you pack a heavy bag and use it all day. For this reason, you don’t see sling-style camera bags with very large volumes, it’s simply a better idea to go with a backpack once you reach a certain weight. The Everyday Sling is definitely large enough in volume to bump up against that maximum comfortable sling loading. If you pack it to the gunnels with pro-grade gear, and then squeeze in a tablet and accessories, I think you’ll find it uncomfortable after a couple of hours of usage. This isn’t helped by the relatively thin shoulder strap on this bag – it definitely could have done with being twice the width in the a shoulder contact portion.
Of course the benefit of a sling is that you can quickly swing the bag to your front to grab your camera within just a few seconds, and for many people that’s a benefit worth paying the comfort price for. If you’re on the fence about this, I can also recommend that you take a look at the MindShift Gear Ultralight series, the largest of which is probably my most used camera bag. This is a backpack, but it also has side entry so you can operate it like a sling as well.
If you can fit a reasonably minimal kit (body + 2-3 lenses) into a sling then great, but if you feel like you’ll often want more, or want to carry a lot of non photographic gear, a lightweight backpack is a better choice.
Aside from fast access to a minimalist kit, the second reason that I sometimes reach for a sling bag is hot weather. A sling doesn’t sit against your back like a backpack does. You have some room to adjust it from side to side, and they typically have a small surface area too. I find them considerably cooler than a backpack to wear on a very hot day!
The final consideration in whether to use a sling or not, might depend on whether you are left-handed. Almost all slings, this one included, are designed for right-handed operation, so the weight rests on the left shoulder. Your reach around to the bag with your right hand, and grab your camera with your right. For some lefties, this isn’t an issue, but enough people have commented on previous sling reviews, that it does seem to bug some of you. If you’re concerned, try it first, or buy direct from Peak Design so that you have an easy option to return it if you aren’t happy.
Features and Usage
In terms of camera and lens capacity, I find a comfortable setup to be a single regular DSLR and three lenses. If you have small primes, or a mirrorless kit, you might stretch that to 5 lenses. As you can see from the photos, a 70-200 f/2.8, or a 100-400 will fit vertically in the bag, although it’s pushing the limit and it makes the lid closure a little tight if the rest of the bag is also packed full. Camera and lens positioning is controlled by the same origami style dividers that we’ve seen before, and they really do work exceedingly well for creating little platforms to hide small lenses, or support smaller cameras.
Aside from camera gear there’s a pocket that will fit a tablet, a front zippered pocket for larger accessories, and a small zippered pocket in the lid for batteries and a memory card wallet. These additional pockets are divided up nicely, and the front one is pleasingly gusseted for expandability with larger items. The interior pocket is soft enough that you can also use it for sunglasses.
It’s possible to carry a tripod on the bottom of the bag, but I can’t really say I recommend it. It’s hard to cinch the straps tight enough to stop it sliding out, and your tripod will get scratched on the floor pretty easily when you put the bag down. The bag isn’t built for a heavy load either, so it’s really not going to make for a great experience unless it’s a very brief walk. Nonetheless, I mention it because someone will surely ask if I don’t! If you desperately want a sling that really does offer a decent tripod carrying solution for landscape images, check the PhotoCross 13 that’s mentioned later in this article.
The exterior of the bag is made from extremely tough, water treated materials. Peak Design call it highly water resistant, although it will soak through eventually. Unfortunately there is no rain cover provided, nor is there one available from their store – the same story with the whole “Everyday” series. Due to the relatively standard shaping of the bag, you could buy a generic cover from an outdoor store if you planned to visit particularly wet places, such as South East Asia, where rain is a daily guarantee during some seasons.
Shoulder strap adjustment is performed in two parts. There’s a quick-release Slide buckle taken from their Slide camera straps, and this allows a quick lengthening when you want to rotate the bag for camera access. At the end of the strap you can also adjust the overall length in a more permanent fashion. Surprisingly this sling doesn’t have a waist belt at all, which can come in handy on a sling, to prevent the bag rotating when you bend over. In an urban environment it might not be a big deal, but if you really took this on a vigorous outdoor adventure that involved scrambling, I can’t recommend it. The lack of a belt also makes it a sub-par choice for cycling, you’d be better going with the Everyday Messenger which does have this feature.
The first bag that jumps out at me (probably because I just completed its review) is the PhotoCross 13 from MindShift Gear. The PhotoCross comes in a smaller size too, but the 13 is roughly comparable to the Everyday Sling in terms of camera and lens carrying capabilities. For pure outdoor photography purposes the PhotoCross sling has the Everyday Sling beat hands down. Thats’s not too surprising since making outdoor photo bags is all MindShift Gear do! It has a much more comfortable shoulder strap, a stabilizing waist belt to prevent bag rotation during more vigorous movements, a waterproof tarpaulin base and an included rain cover too. It’s even $20 cheaper than the Everyday Sling ($129 vs. $149). The PhotoCross definitely has a more “outdoorsy” design to it, so I would not necessarily call it smart. If you want a dark coloured, smart looking sling then check out the Think Tank Photo Turnstyle series, or the Slingshot Edge from Lowepro. Personally I would say the Everyday Sling is smarter than those bags, but if you need the subtlety of a black bag for weddings or corporate shooting than they do check that box.
The Everyday Sling occupies an interesting space in the camera bag market. It’s styled like an urban bag, but rugged enough to spend a good amount of time outdoors. From a functionality standpoint, I love it, and it’s by far my favourite of Peak Design’s “Everyday” series. The internal space is used well, and I far prefer the zippered closing over the magnetic latch that’s found on the Everyday Backpack and Everyday Messenger. If I was someone who spent my weekdays wandering around a city, with occasional outdoor photo missions on the weekend, this would be high on my list of potential carry solutions if I only had 2-3 lenses in my usual kit. If you really jam the bag full, and try and strap something to the bottom, you’re going to push past the comfort limit of the rather thin shoulder strap quite quickly though, so choose something else if you are fearful of over stuffing this bag.
The MindShift PhotoCross 13 is an excellent alternative that’s geared more to longer walks with a heavier load. If you spend your weekdays outdoors, with occasional urban weekend trips, that bag is a better option. Overall, Peak Design really did another fine job with this bag. Perhaps their best one yet, and the $149 price point seems very fair for a bag that is definitely built with premium materials and manufacturing standards.
WHERE TO BUY
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- Buy a Peak Design Everyday Sling direct from Peak Design
- Buy a Peak Design Everyday Sling from B&H Photo
- Buy a Peak Design Everyday Sling from Amazon