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Peak Design Everyday Messenger 13L V2 review: Refining something already great

One of the most popular messenger bags out there has been refreshed for a second version.

Peak Design Everyday Messenger 13L V2
(Image: © Windows Central)

Windows Central Recommended Award

The original Peak Design Everyday Messenger is one of the highest-rated bags for laptops, photography gear, and general-purpose use and has been for many years. Available in a couple of sizes, the smaller 13-liter (13L) version that fits 13-inch devices has now been reworked for a V2 model. Compared to the first, the second version has a few notable refinements, making it an attractive option whether you loved the first but find it's starting to show its age or you're completely new to the world of bags. I've been using it for about a month to see how it works and whether or not it's worth the relatively high price.

What I love about the Peak Design Everyday Messenger 13L V2

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The original Everyday Messenger (EDM) was many people's favorite bag for a long time, so Peak Design didn't really need to make any drastic changes. Instead, it focused on refinements. The V2 is now 24% lighter than the V1, weighing in at just 2.21 pounds (1.01kg) without the dividers installed. Even packed with a 13-inch laptop, a camera, and some small personal items, it's easy to carry the bag around with you for a full day.

CategorySpec
Capacity13L minimum
16L maximum
Max laptop size13 inches
ColorsAsh or Black
WeightFrom 2.21 pounds (1.01kg)

It's relatively compact, measuring 16 inches (41cm) across at its widest point and 6.7 inches (17cm) at its thickest point. You can fasten the bag to your back as tight or loose as you want thanks to the adjustable strap and not feel like the bag is swinging around behind you. The shoulder strap has thick padding for added crossbody or shoulder comfort. It is adjustable at three points (and can be completely removed at the metal fasteners with an Allen key) with a small pouch on either side to hide any extra strap that would otherwise be loose to fly around.

Source: Windows Central Not pictured: DSLR used to shoot the photo (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

The nylon canvas exterior (made from 100% recycled material) seems durable and not too prone to picking up dirt. The bag is easy to wipe down, and there are some evident weatherproofing thanks to a double PU coating. Water sprayed at the canvas doesn't readily soak in, but I wouldn't exactly want the bag out in a downpour. At least the bottom of the bag has a waterproof liner, which prevents any spills or puddles from soaking into the contents if you happen to set the bag down in the wrong spot.

The back of the bag includes a luggage handle pass-through slip for easy transportation through an airport. When not in use, there's a magnetic grab that keeps the pocket closed. Each side of the bag has a small zippered compartment that's quick to access. The right-side pocket includes an Anchor Link key tether on an elastic strap for keeping keys at the ready. It's especially useful for right-handed people.

Small rolled loops are stitched onto the outside bottom of the bag, with two in front and two at the back. This is part of an external carry strap system, completed by six more stitched loops on the underside of the main flap, and two included Cord Hook connectors. These connectors are adjustable and allow you to fasten something like a yoga mat, windbreaker, or sweater to the bag without sacrificing internal storage. It's a smart way to maximize carrying potential on a 13L bag, and when you're not using the system, it really doesn't add any unnecessary bulk. You can also use another loop on the main strap to connect the bag at a third point, offering more stability for biking and walking.

The patented MagLatch makes a return here, and it's as good as ever. Four metal clasps descend the front of the bag for different flap tightnesses, allowing for an extra 3L of storage space at its highest clasp. The beauty of the MagLatch is that it opens quickly and reliably with one hand, and is about as easy to fasten again without having to see what you're doing. As long as you've fastened it to the lowest clasp possible, it doesn't seem like there's much chance it will open on its own.

Even as a more general user, this bag is perfect for handling everything I need for a day of work.

The interior of the bag is lined with a lighter color (other than the Velcro part) that makes it easy to find your gear in a low-light situation. The FlexFold removable dividers rely on the Velcro walls of the bag to attach and detach. Included are two rigid dividers that can be folded into numerous orientations, creating plain pockets or shelves in just a few seconds. Photographers with multiple lenses and cameras are no doubt going to love the customization. And along the back of the interior is a split device pocket with room for a couple of 13-inch devices. There seems to be some rigid armor to protect against bumps, and this section does not extend to sit on the bottom of the bag, further protecting against bumps.

Even as a more general user, this bag is perfect for handling everything I need for a day of work. I can slip in a 13-inch ThinkPad, a 10-inch Surface Go with attached Type Cover, a camera for product shots, a Datacolor SpyderX Pro colorimeter (opens in new tab) for testing displays, and a Logitech MX Ergo (opens in new tab) wireless mouse. There's still room to toss in a Nintendo Switch, a few dongles, wallet, phone, and device chargers. And with the Cord Hook connectors, I can add a sweater or jacket if I plan on working after hours away from home.

What I dislike about the Peak Design Everyday Messenger 13L V2

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The Everyday Messenger V2 isn't easy to dislike. It's comfortable to wear, and I've enjoyed packing it up with the hardware I need to do my job. There are, however, some things to make a note of for any prospective buyers. These are more annoyances or counters to my preferences than full deal-breakers.

The bag is rather puffed up with a semi-rigid shell, and even after pulling out the dividers, it keeps most of its shape. This is not a messenger that deflates when empty, and anyone who has to deal often with cramped spaces — beneath airplane seats or next to you on a train — might find it a bit annoying. Of course, this design is part of what makes it so easy to pack in the first place, so it's hard to take away points. I can also foresee the bag loosening up a bit after more regular use.

Organization enthusiasts will probably love the customizable dividers but may lament the shallow zippered pockets. Along with one on each outer end, one resides on the inside of the flap, the other in the front wall of the bag. There are likewise a couple of elastic pockets on the inside ends. These are great for storing smaller gadgets and accessories, but for any pocket other than the exterior sides, you will need to open the bag fully. The V2 has more pockets than the first version, but it's still not quite as versatile as other bags.

For example, I've been using the Timbuk2 Spire (opens in new tab) for just less than a year, and the amount and size of pockets are much better for heavy organization of varied products. I've used it for traveling packed with electronics, a change or two of clothes, and some toiletries, and I found it much easier to keep those aspects separated. The EDM V2 is much better suited, as the name suggests, as a daily professional gear bag than something I'd rely on for a couple nights away.

Should you buy the Peak Design Everyday Messenger 13L V2?

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Packing the Peak Design Everyday Messenger V2 with all the gear I need to work with feels natural. This is what the bag is made for. While I don't have as much specialized gear as, say, a photographer, it still has room for all I need without me having to worry about returning home to finish a job. I know that the bag is going to withstand a bit of undesirable weather, it's comfortable to wear, and it's going to hold up well to daily use. The shallow zippered pockets and the puffiness that doesn't really deflate might turn some people away, but for the most part, the bag is a winner if you're not interested in packing for a night or two away.

Attention to detail is everything. Cord Hook connectors and the loops stitched on the bag allow you to attach bulkier items without much fuss. The MagLatch keeps the bag closed securely but allows it to be opened quickly and easily, and a luggage handle pass-through adds convenience for frequent travelers. They can't leave their tech behind. Stitching and zippers are heavy, and leather accents add some flair to the otherwise demure exterior.

All of these details don't come at a cheap price, though, and you can expect to pay about $220 (opens in new tab) for this exact bag. If you want something to handle your tech gear as you move between home and office on a daily basis — or a secondary bag to go along with your luggage — the Everyday Messenger V2 will do a great job. If you'd rather something to handle tech and a bit of overnight travel gear all in the same spot, there are some better options out there. If you mainly roll with a 15-inch laptop, be sure to check out the Everyday Messenger 15L V2 (opens in new tab).