Peak Design Release Two New Travel Duffels: Who Needs Them?

Peak Design Release Two New Travel Duffels: Who Needs Them?

Peak Design just released a big bundle of new gear. That included adding two new Travel Duffels to their range. Are these a niche product or something that many traveling photographers could use?

First Impressions

I do like good quality gear.  That word quality means being able to do the job it's designed to do. In turn, that means being robust, ergonomic, good-looking, and versatile. At first glance, Peak Design’s (PD's) new Travel Duffel bags seem to be all those things.

PD sent me a set of their new gear to put through the paces before its official release. Honestly, before they arrived, I had my doubts about them. I knew they would be well made; their gear always is, but I was uncertain whether they would be useful. They were not something I would immediately choose to spend my hard-earned cash on.

The 80L Duffel looks similar to the others in the range, just bigger.

I’m not a photographer who usually carries a lot of gear with me, rather taking just what I need. That’s usually one camera, one lens, and maybe a tripod.

However, recently I have had cause to travel more with my gear than before and have packed for a fortnight. For photographers, a duffel bag is a less common choice than the ubiquitous backpack. Indeed, I use the Peak Design 30L Travel Backpack to stow my camera gear in the cabin when flying. But when I head off in my car and plan more than one type of photo shoot, and maybe have video equipment with me too, is the Duffel a better solution?

Read on and you'll find out.

The Travel Duffel Sizes

There are times when I travel and am not flying. Most people will find they sometimes have more gear to transport than the backpack can take. Furthermore, accessing any rucksack isn’t always the easiest thing to do in confined spaces, such as in a train carriage or the back seat of a taxi. This is where the Peak Design Duffel bag range becomes far more useful than a backpack.

The 35L and 65L versions of these Duffel bags have been around for a while, and the new 50L and 80L models are a welcome expansion to that range.

This is the samllest, 35L version, of the Peak Design Travel Duffel. All the bags are available in black or sage.

While their existing 35L version already meets the maximum international carry-on size limits, the new 50L Duffel is within US flight carry-on size limits. The enormous 80L Duffel will be for check-in luggage only.

Peak Design has a useful way for its customers to gauge which bag is the right size for them. It's based on their Camera Cubes. The small Cube is one unit, the medium is two, and the large Cube is three units. Therefore, the 35L Travel Duffel holds three packing units, the new 50L Travel Duffel holds four units plus some extra space, the 65L takes four packing units with lots of extra space, and the new 80L Travel Duffel takes eight packing units.

The Peak Design Cubes are designed to store camera gear and fir within the Travel Duffels and Backpacks.

Design and Build

At first glance, these seem a simple design. However, that simplicity belies the interesting features one discovers on closer inspection.

The Duffel's exterior is made from a heavy-duty, PFAS-free, weatherproof, 100% recycled, 600D nylon canvas external shell. It's Durable Water Repellent (DWR) impregnated, making it hydrophobic, and is double poly-coated for extra water resistance. The bag also has a 900D waterproof bottom liner.

There are four external pockets, two on each side. The larger high-volume pockets are accessed from above and have a row of internal mesh pockets.

On one side only, inside the flap of that big pocket, an extra small pocket secured with Velcro and a webbing loop is for attaching your luggage tag.

The side pockets, the smaller outer one is hidden beneath the weatherproof flap that runs to the tight of the picture. The visible zipper is for the main side pocket. This also shows two of the attachement loops with the removable carrying strap hooked on at the top of the picture.

The smaller flat pocket sits on top of the large one and has a side opening. Each pocket is secured with single, strong, weatherproof zips.

Ten reinforced nylon webbing loops around the top of the bags give multiple options for attaching the two removable carrying handles and one shoulder strap.

The sides of the bag have two sewn-in reinforced rods that help keep the bag's structure and stop it from folding inwards when carried.

The large opening at the top of the bag is fastened with a heavy-duty, lockable double zip. Opening that reveals the spacious internal compartment. Like the inside of the external pockets, the interior is light gray, making it much easier to see what is inside. There are two internal zipped pockets, plus loads of space to fit Peak Design’s Camera Cubes or your loose gear.

Internal pocket.

Two opposite corners have toggles suitable for securing the Peak Design Cubes.

One small but neat feature I nearly missed was the small openings between the inner compartment and the large side pockets. It’s big enough to pass a power cable through.

The 80L Duffel looks similar to the others in the range, just bigger.


There's little doubt that the bags are strong enough to take a lot of gear. I loaded them up with my studio flashes and other gear and found them comfortable to carry. The reinforcement rods helped the bag keep its shape.

They are easy to use, and the multiple attachment points for fixing the handles allow flexibility. Furthermore, two integral low-profile grab handles at the bottom of the bag can be used for carrying or tying down the bag.

I found the straps attached securely and did not come free accidentally.

Carrying the Duffel in backpack configuration is not the most comfortable way; I certainly would not use it that way on an expedition. But for getting from a taxi to an airline check-in desk, it is fine. The bag is secure when carried that way as the zips sit against your body.

I put one under the shower and drenched the outside for five minutes. Inside, it stayed dry.

The double weather-proof zip fastener for the main compartment.

After playing with the bags, I decided to read the instructions. Only then, I discovered at either end of the bag were two magnets designed to lock together and thus compress the lid if the bag is not fully loaded. Although they worked if the bag was sitting on a flat surface, they were not held that firmly.

What I Liked and What Can Be Improved

What I Liked

  • The variety of PD Travel Duffel bags available has been greatly expanded with this release.
  • The entire range is versatile, with multitudinous ways of combining and assembling them.
  • They are all durable and the water resistance is effective.
  • Close inspection of the stitching reveals perfect sewing.
  • Environmentally positive and ethical company.
The 80L version as a backpack.

What Could Be Improved Next Time

  • The Travel Duffels could benefit from a removable solid base like you find in the lids of the Cubes. That would stiffen the structure if they were used without the Cubes.
  • Carrying the Travel Duffel like a backpack is not the most comfortable, although I am more likely to use the main strap as a sling and hold the bag across the front of my body.

The 50L version as a backpack.

In Conclusion

To answer my question in the title (who needs them?), photographers like me do. Only after using them did I discover how effective and functional they are. They are far better bags for carrying gear to a photo shoot in the back of my car, and the 80L version is a better alternative for me than a suitcase when flying.

My negative points are only small niggles. The Peak Design Travel Duffel is a fine collection of bags from a company whose name is synonymous with high-quality gear. Other brands of bags I have owned have never been as well-designed, well-made, or robust as these. Yes, it might cost more for their gear, but you know it will last. Like most things in photography and life, you get what you pay for.

he Travel Duffels are a fabulous choice when traveling with lots of gear, whether on an airplane, train, or car. As my wife pointed out, even if traveling without camera equipment, these will prove an excellent general traveling bag and I suspect she might raid my gear cupboard next time she heads somewhere without me.

You can discover the entire Peak Design Travel Duffel collection and their current prices by clicking here.

Look out for my review of more in the upcoming travel range from Peak Design.

Ivor Rackham's picture

A professional photographer, website developer, and writer, Ivor lives in the North East of England. His main work is training others in photography. He has a special interest in supporting people with their mental well-being. In 2023 he accepted becoming a brand ambassador for the OM System.

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My back/shoulders are in pain just looking at the pictures.

I would not want to transport cameras and lenses in a duffel design, but these bags look like they would work quite well for all of the clothing and miscellany I take with me on most photo trips.

That deep black color really stands out ..... wondering if they come in more subtle colors like olive drab or a medium brown.

They have special inserts for the duffle design.

Right, I understand that. But I would need to remove those inserts in order to use the space more efficently for my clothes and toiletries. As I said, I would not want to keep camera gear in a duffel-shaped bag, so those padded inserts are kinda useless if I am not going to be using the bag for cameras and lenses.

That 80L monstrosity needs attachable wheels.
The 50L should be fine to carry. Even my 65L is tolerable to carry.

Oddly enough, the 80L is only 3/4 of an inch longer and 3/4 of an inch wider than the 65L. So if you load it with the same amount/weight of stuff as you load into your 65L, then I would think that it would also be "tolerable to carry" as you say your 65L is.

65L dimensions: 29.9 x 13.4 x 12.6" ..... weight: 2.9 pounds

80L dimensions: 30.7 x 14.2 x 12.6" ..... weight: 3.1 pounds

I see that the 65 liter duffel is available in the sage green color.

This looks awesome, as it is a bit larger than the duffel I now use for my clothes, toiletries, and miscellany on extended road trips and firefighting duty.

I've never had a quality bag before, in fact I have never spent more than $20 on any bag or suitcase of any kind, usually getting them 2nd hand at thrift stores or taking hand-me-downs from friends. But this is tempting.


The bag I linked to is a relatively affordable $169 ..... but the same bag, with straps added so you can carry it as a backpack, is a whopping $219. $50 extra just for a couple shoulder straps? Are you freaking kidding me?