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Thinktank Airport Acceleration & Urban Disguise 6

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These carry-on ideas are great but what happens if you make it the counter and they require you check those soft-sided bags, are you okay with that? They will certainly provide a good amount of protection but I prefer that if I am required to check it, that it is a gate-check and not required at the time of checking the other bags. But if that worst-case scenario aoccurs, then its dumped in with the rest at the whim of the handlers. Are you prepared for this possibily occurance?

 

Currently, I have my Subal housing/handles, flat port, two strobes, arms/clamps, cords, macro lens, essentially everything needed for a macro shoot all contained in a storm 2500 (roller carry-on) with padded dividers. If that case absolutely needs to go into the belly of the plane or be gate-checked, I feel it just couldn't be protected any better. Its only the smaller puddle-jumper planes that this case most certainly wont fit into those tiny racks nor nowhere under the seat and requires gate-checking. But for 90% of the other flights I've experienced no problems and the smaller planes usually only make up one leg of the flights.

In my backpack, I carry the camera body (never attempted to travel with it in the housing), walk-around lens, regulator, two dive computers, and laptop along with misc overnight clothes, etc. My dome is in the backpack if I shoot wide and macro on the same trip and can be swamped into the storm case if needed. I only check one bag when traveling that contains clothes and bcd, fins, etc.

 

These soft-sided ideas are extremely compelling to me as far as weight, but my concern is running into the stickler agent (ie French Polynesia) who simply wont take "please and valuable" as an excuse and says your bag is going into the belly of the plane and hand it over? Is it just a gamble you take?

 

I'll accept that I am a complete freak because I feel that if I make it to the destination and cannot shoot pictures underwater, at least I have a land camera to capture the topside fun. And most importantly to me, I get to dive and capture underwater memories - if not on paper.

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Now that I don't enjoy the wonderful baggage allowances that flights originating in the US get, I've had to rethink how I pack my rig as well. For a recent trip to Fiji on Air New Zealand (7kg carry on limit w/ an additional "personal" item i.e. slimline laptop case/sleeve), I figured there was no way I'm getting on a plane in Auckland carrying a Pelican/Storm case as a carry on. Airport personnel weigh all suspiciously heavy looking bags before you go through security.

 

The Pelican 1550 stays at home now. In its place, I've got a LowePro Orion Trekker AW. In the bottom divider compartment go the 15mm FE, 18-55mm zoom, 1 strobe, AA and Canon battery chargers, topside shoe mount flash, 1 handle, 1 set of arms and clamsp, and a sync chord. In the top compartment, I load up the assembled Aquatica housing, extension port and marco port. Inside is the 20D and 50mm macro lens. Yes its over 7kg, but I do my best to make it look light. The Orion Trekker is still a big bag, but it doesn't look as big as the Computrekkers or a rolling carry on. It looks a little like a slightly oversized day pack.

 

I check the other arm, cable, handle, dome port, extra batteries, etc. This set up gets me a full macro set up should other bags go missing. I carry my laptop, portable HDs, cables, etc in a slimline laptop case so that doesn't count against the 7kg. Next time, I'll try to squeeze more into the laptop case (chords, chargers, etc.) without making it look too bulky. So far its worked, but I need to find even more ways to cut the load! :blush::)

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These soft-sided ideas are extremely compelling to me as far as weight, but my concern is running into the stickler agent (ie French Polynesia) who simply wont take "please and valuable" as an excuse and says your bag is going into the belly of the plane and hand it over?

 

That's what all of us dread. And the only sure solutions I know of are:

1. Have a jacket or photo vest with numerous and massive pockets (I'm a big fan of ScotteVest products) into which you can move much of your stuff;

2. Always carry a nylon fold-up bag. I ALWAYS make room in my carry-ons for a nylon bag that folds up into itself to the size of a fist, but can be opened to hold most of the most valuable/important stuff in my carry-ons. Something like this - doesn't need to be expensive or fancy, but I've had several instances where I was told I had to gate check a carry-on, and I just calmly stepped aside, opened the carryon, transferred all of the important stuff (laptop, cameras, etc.) into my nylon bag, and gate-checked the empty (or nearly empty) carry-on.

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What is wrong with checking housing and strobes in the hold baggage?

 

Miami, San Juan, TSA, AA baggage handlers.

 

Sometimes bags are innocently lost, too.

 

When Avid Golfer Magazine debuted, there was a free sleeve of golf balls deal for new subsciptions. They sent them out my mail. Around 75% never made it to their destination. Somewhere, postal workers never had to buy golf balls.

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A thirty-year commercial pilot who is also a long-time photographer once mentioned on a dpreview.com forum the measurements he felt were the maximum that would be acceptable for carry-on bag on most any commercial airplane, namely the small puddle jumpers. I can't find the thread off-hand, but I purchased the Tamrac Adventure 9 after reading that thread as it most closely approximated the measurements he gave, http://tamrac.com/frame_adv.htm. I believe this bag was about one-inch deeper than he suggested as a maximum depth.

 

A while back I concluded I can't carry on all my photography equipment in a carry-on, especially on the small puddle jumpers, so I prepare for the smallest puddle jumpers and pack my camera(s), all lenses, laptop, and some accessories in the bottom of the Adventure bag with some non-photography stuff in the top compartment. At most I've had to pull the laptop out of the back compartment to fit the bag in the smallest overheads I've encountered, including the ones we usually fly out on from the local airport. I carry couple of magazines or reading material in a small plastic bag like the one you get when buying a couple of magazines at a book stand. When required, I slide the laptop in this bag. Other than this removing of the laptop, Ive never had a problem fitting the bag in an overhead.

 

I haven't had a problem with weight yet, but removing the camera with the heaviest lens attached and strapping around my neck would be a next move which would subsequently get the bag at a very acceptable weight. I accept being required to check in a housing and strobes, but don't accept being required to hand over camera and lenses to the monkeys at the gate...

Edited by meister

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I use a small ThinkTank and hand carry the housing, sometimes with strobes and arms folded and attached. Works well.

 

What seems to puzzle me is where are all these high-powered certifying agencies and government tourism bureaus?

 

Airlines seem to not even blink at making concessions for golfers, but when it comes to accommodating divers, we're on our own. I guess airline CEOs don't dive. We are constantly solicitied by resorts, dive agencies and tourism authorities to come and vist and snorkel and dive at their exotic and normally expensive locales but I see no lobbying on our behalf so we can bring the toys we need to enjoy our holidays.

 

If they want the financial benefits, then the need to start getting down in the trenches and do some lobbying on our behalf.

 

This thread shows we sneak around like a bunch of smugglers trying to outsmart a private enterprise that we pay money to for their flight service.

 

PADI, Cayman tourism and all the similar cert agencies and all the tourism bureaus should be lobbying the airlines since they say they want us to visit so badly. And the airlines should be trying to work with Homeland secuity and all similar government agencies to come up with reasonable and functional weight and carry-on guidelines accepatble to those who do this sport.

 

We pay PADI for certifivcation, resorts for room, board and diving, airlines for tickets, etc. and we still bear the burden of enjoying this sport. Who are the customers? Where is the customer service? Its about time these businesses earned their inflated prices and did something for their clients.

 

The next PADI specialty should be Cloak and Dagger Travelling. That's what things have come to in the last 7 years.

 

This is a great thread but the plane will fly with a few divers carrying an extra 20K. Where's the beef from the corporate and government powerhouses that drive this sport?

 

Timbo

Edited by timrock
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Meister: Glad to see you mention the Adventure 9. I was also looking at that as a cheaper alternative to the Think Tank stuff. I just can't see spending $260+ for a piece of luggage. Although I'm sure I'll get what I paid for, it's just too much pain on top of everything else I'm trying to buy before the next trip in 2 months!

 

From the measurement it looks like the Adventure will hold the housing in the top compartment (sans tray and handles). Not sure what to do about the dome though. Still working this around in my head, obviously. :)

 

p.s. As I'll be flying American and American Eagle thru San Juan PR I'm obviously doing my best to avoid any checked camera gear per the ubiquitous Pelican threads. My scuba gear isn't anything special and is probably fine - been thru there 3 times already without loss. I find it amusing that American allows more weight for a carry-on (40#) while the AE flight checked baggage allowance is only 70 # for both bags. Ah well, as a big guy (6'2", 245#) I can't play the personal weight card either. :)

Edited by rtrski

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...The next PADI specialty should be Cloak and Dagger Travelling....

 

:):) Think they'd require two dives for that certification? :lol:

Edited by bmyates

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Hi all!

 

I use a Tamrac rolling bag http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/2210...g_Backpack.html in which I insert a lot of material and I always get into the planes with it. At the checking, I pull out the laptop.

The most important to know, the equipment for which I have no place in the bag, I put it in a photo vest with large pockets and there could be a lot of material! Camera body, a couple of lenses, even a port and more. Last time I've checked my vest weight, it weighted about 10 kgs/22 Lbs! Of course I looked a bit like coming from another planet with my vest, but it worked!

 

Michel

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What seems to puzzle me is where are all these high-powered certifying agencies and government tourism bureaus?

 

Airlines seem to not even blink at making concessions for golfers,

 

 

This thread shows we sneak around like a bunch of smugglers trying to outsmart a private enterprise that we pay money to for their flight service.

 

PADI, Cayman tourism and all the similar cert agencies and all the tourism bureaus should be lobbying the airlines since they say they want us to visit so badly

 

We pay PADI for certifivcation, resorts for room, board and diving, airlines for tickets, etc. and we still bear the burden of enjoying this sport. Who are the customers? Where is the customer service?

Timbo

Amen brother Tim, Finally some sanity in this whole silly mess. Instead of bitching about it and sneeking around why don't we do something? Who do you want to gang up on first? I like the tourism bureaus idea.

 

Until we've had a chance to make some changes Tim has given me an idea. How many housings can I get in my golf bag? I wonder if the baggage handlers in San Juan play golf.

 

Steve

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Amen brother Tim, Finally some sanity in this whole silly mess. Instead of bitching about it and sneeking around why don't we do something? Who do you want to gang up on first? I like the tourism bureaus idea.

 

Until we've had a chance to make some changes Tim has given me an idea. How many housings can I get in my golf bag? I wonder if the baggage handlers in San Juan play golf.

 

 

The real question is - will they care? Some places rely on divers more than other parts tourism, but many of them may not as much. People going to the beaches, people golfing, the all inclusives, lots of money there and divers sort of have the rep of being cheap except for their dive gear. If 10 people walk off a cruise ship and go into a store, probably alot more business there. Of course some areas are more dive-centric and certain places will seem to have more of the people with the cool toys, but I often find myself being the only one with any camera whatsoever on dive boats (other than my wife :) ).

 

(That being said, show them what divers bring in in hard dollars as part of the argument. I thought I had seen some figures at one point for various places, going to see if I have them somewhere. Dunno.)

 

Even taking into account the divers and what they bring to the economy, add to that we come from the group of people who carry around more stuff than most divers. In general I will see people without cameras or perfectly fine with small rigs that are not even on the radar of weight/size and are very happy. (Not that I can understand either of those things, small camera or no camera? I get the chills just thinking about it :) ) So it is a couple of barriers

 

Until we've had a chance to make some changes Tim has given me an idea. How many housings can I get in my golf bag? I wonder if the baggage handlers in San Juan play golf.

 

LOL. You have to come up with something that looks like clubs if they open it up. On the subterfuge level, a false top with "clubs" that are actually arms for strobes and the rest with the little covers thhey put on the clubs. Two birds with one stone.

 

All this leads me back to my dream, a digital Nikonos :lol:

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Um, to get back to talking about luggage instead of revolutions, the Lowepro Vertex 300 AW looks pretty comparable to the ThinkTank Airport Accel (although without a separate laptop carrier/sleeve, just a padded pocket) and is $200 via ebay retailers. Seems to get reasonable reviews and have appropriate dimensions as well (6.5" internal depth needed for an Ike housing). Anyone here have one of those and have any comments to make about it?

 

I really like the look of the Think Tank stuff with one exception - the straps and harness don't look very well padded, and I plan to be hiking in Dominica with the gear (hike the camera and housing up to a river with a swimthru to a waterfall in a cave and the like, if possible). The Lowepro harness looks more long-term comfortable, and the 'AW' ('all weather' supposedly) cover is light in color vs. black in the sun.

 

Eric, what were your thoughts on comfort with the TT bag?

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Surely the fine tune part of the operation would be dealing with suitable straps and such. and having them sorted well before you travel. My2C

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I really like the look of the Think Tank stuff with one exception - the straps and harness don't look very well padded, and I plan to be hiking in Dominica with the gear (hike the camera and housing up to a river with a swimthru to a waterfall in a cave and the like, if possible). The Lowepro harness looks more long-term comfortable, and the 'AW' ('all weather' supposedly) cover is light in color vs. black in the sun.

 

Eric, what were your thoughts on comfort with the TT bag?

 

My TT Airport Addiction has very comfortable backpack straps . . .

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Thanks, Mike. It is very hard to tell how comfortable and adjustable something like backpack straps are from just web pictures. I don't know if there's anywhere I'll get to go 'see' each bag before making a choice. May have to pull the restock fee penalty trick and just buy and try both. (And I wonder why my wife thinks I've gone totally nuts!!)

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I ended up going with the Lowepro Vertex 300 AW. Probably about the same size as the TT Airport Accel, but a bit cheaper (Lacks the separate removable laptop sleeve, but adds tripod attachments). From a bit of a packing test today looks like I can get everything in it but the 8" dome, tray/handle, and the laptop itself which just feels a bit too 'tight' in the pocket for comfort (afraid I'm flexing it). But all lenses, macro port, housing, 2 bodies, 2 DS50s, sync cords, assorted batteries and chargers, and even the flotation arms and clamp pieces all fit. With just a dome and tray in with the scuba gear (dome totally engulfed in a wetsuit, naturally!) I don't think I'll present too bad a theft risk, at least no more than scuba gear in general already does. Wife can take the laptop bag for her carryon, and we both still have our 'personal item'.

 

Could probably fit the laptop too if I were comfortable taking the back off the Ike housing and transporting that way to save a little depth. But seems too dangerous to the controls.

Edited by rtrski

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Does anyone know if you can fit a Ikelite 8" dome port vertically in a Thinktank International Roller?

 

thanks -

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Does anyone know if you can fit a Ikelite 8" dome port vertically in a Thinktank International Roller?

 

thanks -

Depends on how vertical you want and how much squeeze you are willing to put on the dome. The depth of the bag is just a bit short of the dome height, but if you can angle it a bit, no worries

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For what's worh, I'm able to fit my Subal D300 housing with GS finder, 8-inch FE-DP dome port, two camera bodies, four lenses, plus a bunch of misc. stuff in my Thinktank International.

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I just purchased a Think Tank Airport Intl bag, and it looks very well made.

I am able to fit into it the following:

Gates HC7HC9 Video Housing

Fathom WP25 Port

Gates Flat Port

Handles and GAS adapter.

Gates white Balance slate and arm and dovetail adapter.

Light n Motion Sunray 1000 light heads, and batter pods, and lock line arms

2 extra batteries.

Two sunray charger and cords.

A small Pelican 1010 case for a toolkit.

And theres room for spare o rings, etc.

Only thing not packed in this bag is the actual Sony video camera. That my wife carries in a small video bag.

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I'm looking for a solution to transport an Ikelite housing, D200, and 2 strobes, and so much the better if I can fit in a small Canon A70 housing and camera (fun for the kids). I'm tempted by the Storm iM2500. It seems it fits in the Size Wise templates at the US airports, where the Pelican 1510 does not, AND it is 11 pounds empty, which I think is a couple pounds lighter than the Pelican. The LowePro Vertex is 8.3 pounds, certainly better, and the difference is slightly greater if you go with the Storm foam, BUT the Lowe seems an inch too thick for the Size Wise, and if I HAD to check it at the ramp or elsewhere, I'd feel much better with the unbending Storm... I think my trips are, for the foreseeable future, going to be to places served by large planes, such as Bonaire via Continental, so unlike many of you, the 22 x 14 x 9 limit for carry-on is my only concern...

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This comes very late in the thread I know but I was recently sent both the Think Tank International Security bag and the Lowepro Dryzone 200 waterproof bag. I have reviews of both on the www.kenstone.net site which, if someone wants, they have my permission to reprint here. Both bags are exceptional and I love the TSA security locks on the Think Tank bag. The Lowepro is quite a bit smaller but can literally be submerged and all equipment would stay dry. I took both on a shoot in Alaska a couple of weeks ago and both did just fine.

Steve

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Hi Eric,

 

Fantastic detailed review of all the transport bags. Today i received the ThinkTank aceleration bag and it is perfect for my new Subal ND30. I based my choice of bag after reading your article. Again thanks to all who share their knowledge it really saves people a huge amount of money on equipment that might not live up to their expectations.

Many thanks.

 

Kind regards,

 

Log.

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Hi Eric,

 

Fantastic detailed review of all the transport bags. Today i received the ThinkTank aceleration bag and it is perfect for my new Subal ND30. I based my choice of bag after reading your article. Again thanks to all who share their knowledge it really saves people a huge amount of money on equipment that might not live up to their expectations.

Many thanks.

 

Kind regards,

 

Log.

 

Log, which strobes do you carry? I have the Ikie DS-160's and am wondering if they will fit?

 

Thanks

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