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Best backpaak or hard case suggestions

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#1 rmeinicke1


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Posted 04 September 2017 - 04:43 AM

Hi, just trying to decide what options are best , on one hand I need a tough case for boat trips , but a backpack might be better for travel . I was looking at the pelican 1555 air , but no idea for backpack
Cheers Ross

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#2 Stoo


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Posted 04 September 2017 - 06:00 AM

I went through this myself years ago, and ultimately decided on the Pelican 1510 vs a backpack (Lowe-Pro and others have many options. I was quite taken with fstopgear.com although they're pricey).


Several years later, I am happy with my decision... Here are my reasons why:


I use an Aquatica/D7000 system and dual Ike strobes etc. Add it all up and it's surprisingly heavy. (Upwards of 35 pounds). This would get damn heavy totting it around all day.


Due to the weight, it's entirely possible that some airline will insist I check it. With the Pelican, I know my stuff will be safe.


The Pelican meets carry-on requirements and I have never been challenged.


My only other comment would be that if you do opt for a Pelican, I seriously urge you to consider a roller case. With the case, my kit weighs 42 pounds.


The other thing to consider with a case vs backpack is that a small pack will qualify as a "personal" item. In addition to my 1510, I carry a small Lowepro pack with a sleeve that protects my 15" Macbook Pro, and has enough space and pockets for another camera body, dive computers, travel documents etc. It's quite small, but easily fits in under the plane seat.


I hope this helps!

#3 TimG


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Posted 04 September 2017 - 07:18 AM

I'm with Stoo. I've had a Pelican 1510 since about 1999 and it has never gone wrong. And, touch wood, has never been refused entry into an aircraft cabin - and, yes, its been in lots: Emirates, KLM, Thomson, Thomas Cook, Silk Air, Singapore, Garuda, Malaysia Airlines, Monarch, Lion Air, Air This-that-and- the-Other.


And, again, like Stoo, mine is horribly heavy when loaded. The one time I did use a backpack I was truly regretting it after a couple of days and moves. 


As Stoo says, if you are flying and you aren't allowed to bring the roller into the cabin, you can at least check it with a degree (small maybe) of confidence that the case, at least, will survive.


If you go the Pelican route, I'd suggest getting the divider set rather than using foam. The dividers are more expensive but they are seriously adaptable - which the foam isn't. In addition, I have found the lid organiser well worth having for all the little bits and bobs.

(PADI IDC Staff Instructor and former Dive Manager, KBR Lembeh Straits)
Nikon D800, Nikkors 105mm and 16-35mm, Sigma 15mmFE - Subal housing

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#4 Stoo


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Posted 05 September 2017 - 05:24 AM

Agree about the dividers rather than foam...

#5 casts_by_fly


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Posted 10 September 2017 - 02:10 PM

I am the other way to Tim and stoo and I suspect it is the camera choice. I carry a backpack and have never had any issues. I shoot olympus m4/3 and carry everything in a lowepro flipside 500aw. I'm able to fit the housing (camera and largest lens inside) with dome in place inside the top "T" portion of the pack with dual strobes down the center. The other four pockets hold chargers, batteries, broken down tray, arms, and clamps, other lens, above water flash, etc. I also throw in Apple chargers and cables, my wife's kindle, and other miscellaneous stuff we want to have while traveling. Everything I need for underwater photography on the trip is with me in the backpack except for the cable tether I clip in with and the small bag of tools/grease I carry in my checked bags. In the big front pocket I have my passport, iPad, and other travel incidentals. The bag itself isn't heavy (unlike a pelican) and looks just like a normal backpack when checking in. It isn't light to have on your back if you have to walk a long way, but it is a comfortable bag to carry.


#6 Djuna


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Posted 24 September 2017 - 01:49 PM

I'm a recent fan of the Pelican Air series with TrekPak dividers. The Air saves heaps of weight over the traditional Pelican case, and the TrekPak dividers -- thin and cut to custom size -- take up minimal space. It all adds up more room for me to bring everything but the kitchen sink :)


Expensive, but a long term investment. 

#7 thetrickster


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Posted 24 September 2017 - 11:55 PM

I went for a ThinkTankPhoto Airport Security v2 (I think there is now a v3) roller - takes everything and still fits in the luggage guides they sometime make you use. 


The bag is big, but the main thing for me, is the depth, it can take domes standing up, so you can get a lot more in.


However due to the recently security 'improvements' around the world at airports, I would recommend you stick with a Peli type case, so if it does end up in the hold, you know its gonna be safe. I know if I was buying today, I would get a hard case.

Regards, Richard



#8 Pajjpen


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Posted 25 September 2017 - 10:24 AM

I get weighed every single time I travel from my local airport, I use a think tank backpack, to be within the ridiculously strict 7kg limit I have my camera and biggest lens around my neck, all batteries (lots of them for video lights) and my video lights I. My pockets when checking in. It's a hassle but has worked since. I'd get a hard case but they are so heavy I couldn't get anything into it before I hit 7kg anyways. And even with a pelican case I wouldn't feel comfortable checking my precious gear in..

#9 deanie08


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Posted 09 November 2017 - 03:10 AM

I have both but the backpack seems really easy to handle and convenient for me. 

Newborn Photography is my focus and wants to explore more.

#10 stephenmorris


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Posted 17 November 2017 - 07:44 AM

Could any tell me if they make a semi hard case that can be both carried as well as rolling? I'm currently on my first big underwater photography trip and with all my gear it looks like trying to carry everything between my wife and myself is going to be to much. If anyone knows if a place in Bali I can purchase a case from even better otherwise I might try to use lazada. Thanks again for the help.

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