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lasbaegas

What type of luggage do you use for your camera/gear for overseas travel?

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Initially I ordered the Backlight 36L from ThinkTank, and the next day I realized maybe I made a mistake when I started considering the certain eventuality of having to run through an airport with a 20+ kilo bag strapped to my back (I really must stop online shopping at 2 in the morning). I called ThinkTank Photo and after speaking with Justin, one of their CS reps, we had a very helpful and informative discussion of which bag would work best for my needs and we came to the conclusion it would be the Airport International. He even applied a 15% discount without so much as batting an eye in order to bring my total cost closer to what the Backlight 36 would've cost me. I was really blown away by ThinkTank's service and willingness to go the extra mile.

Once I received the Airport International (within 36 hours, I might add: Wow!), I realized the retractable handle was preventing the bag from zipping closed around my nauticam camera and smallhd 502 housing. I called ThinkTank again, and they were incredibly understanding about what was essentially my own error in understanding the variable depth of the retractable handle housing in the bag, and they sent me the Airport Security bag within a day, along with a free shipping label to send back the International. I should mention they even expedited the shipping to me, next day, on their own dime.

I just received the bag this morning and the extra inch or so of depth really makes all the difference and everything i need to take on a flight comfortably fits into my camera bag, including all the batteries, chargers, cables, my laptop and various little accessories. I must admit, I may have been a little skeptical about spending so much on carry-on luggage, but this bag is very well padded, the exterior is sturdy and it is really well thought out. All bases are covered and I feel very comfortable knowing all my gear is in good hands. Furthermore, I can't say enough good things about how impressively I was handled by ThinkTank's customer service- these guys went the extra mile and then some- I really can't say enough good things about my experience with them. And I have no affiliation to the company and my relationship is strictly a new and very enthused customer. I will just cross my fingers and hope i can fit this bag into overhead compartments or stow under the airplane seat internationally. My first test will be to Kona, Hawaii in a week and a half. Wish me luck.

Edited by lasbaegas

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I use a Thinktank bag as well, and agree with all others who have commented on their build quality. It is top notch.

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Luggage? I use the lightest luggage I can find, to leave more weight for what I put in it.

 

Most of my camera gear can fit in my carry-on, but the rest ends up in a suitcase with dive gear packed around it. My housing and 9" dome port take up the bulk of my carry-on. (Thinktank roller). I can also stuff in both strobes, a focus light and some arms and clamps, but macro port, dome extension and other arms have to go in the suitcase. I put the camera in the dive housing, and I wear a Thinktank waist bag holding at least two lenses and sometimes 3. (One for non-diving use). And/or a Nauticam housing with a Sony RX100 II in it as my backup camera.

 

That dome port really screws up packing.

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I pack for both myself and wife.- 2 housings, 2 macro ports, 2 domes, 5 strobes, u/w lights, chargers and all the other misc crap.

Most all goes into smaller cardboard or plastic boxes and all into a 30 inch used hard shell suit case purchased on EBay.

It has two integral rollers (not wheels that are normally broken off), has an extra luggage strap around it and goes on as checked baggage.

Cameras and lens are hand carried in a small roll-on.

BTY: I've had carry on's weighed many times in the Philippines and in the US by PI Air and on many smaller, connecting commuter planes and many times all are dumped into the baggage hold.

Do not assume your carry on's will always go on the plane with you!!

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I've had to make that experience as well recently. In Hamburg, Germany they now appear to weigh hand luggage at all of the check-in counters regardless of airline. Getting my hand luggage to weigh 6kg will be an interesting challenge for my next flight...

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FWIW, when travelling, I've had some airlines tag my bag with an indication it's cleared for carry on.

 

Once, in Toronto (YYZ), I noticed that all passengers were having their carry on check for dimensions but having to fit in the frame Air Canada provided.

 

I would suggest that with more people trying to optimize carry on over paying for checked luggage, airlines will be ratcheting up carry on reviews.

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i used to carry all camera bodies and lens as carry on, then a hard case for housing, strobes, ports. Now so many airlines are limiting carry on to 7-8kgs, or 15-18 lbs. and I am in the process of figuring out how to alter my luggage situation. I am watching this to see what others are doing. Thanks!

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The thing is: I wouldn't even mind paying a little extra to get 3-5kg extra carry on allowance. I just don't want to check my stuff in. But that option doesn't seem to exist, yet. Only exception I've seen is business class getting two pieces of 7kg carry on, but that does not cost "a little" extra...

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Singapore 'Business' class is typically 4 to 5 x coach! :cry:

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Posted (edited)

Looks like the thread picked back up. I consider 3 elements in my bag choice: weight without gear, how discrete it is, and cost, since my wallet is thin, ha!

 

I use a ThinkTANK backpack as a personal item (rarely weighed since it doesn't look like a camera backpack), a lightweight roller with light camera insert inside (about 8-9kg and if I get hassled, I move something to my pocket until after check-in). Then I use a water-resistant padded case and topside bag inside my checked bag for other items. I've detailed out each bag and what goes in each here: Packing for Underwater Photographers.

 

Another secret for airlines with very strict regulations (e.g. South Pacific) is a photographer's vest, since that's just body weight.

 

That said, there's no right and wrong, but always great to read these threads to see what everyone is doing!

Edited by tubestance

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Looks like the thread picked back up. I consider 3 elements in my bag choice: weight without gear, how discrete it is, and cost, since my wallet is thin, ha!

 

I use a ThinkTANK backpack as a personal item (rarely weighed since it doesn't look like a camera backpack), a lightweight roller with light camera insert inside (about 8-9kg and if I get hassled, I move something to my pocket until after check-in). Then I use a water-resistant padded case and topside bag inside my checked bag for other items. I've detailed out each bag and what goes in each here: Packing for Underwater Photographers.

 

Another secret for airlines with very strict regulations (e.g. South Pacific) is a photographer's vest, since that's just body weight.

 

That said, there's no right and wrong, but always great to read these threads to see what everyone is doing!

 

 

The Photographer's Vest is very high on my list of options right now, considering that I'm flying out of an Airport which now seems to have a rule in place of weighing all hand luggage and I only have 6Kg...

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Posted (edited)

I have a Lowepro ProTactic 450 Rucksack plus a Lowepro 200 camera bag for housing, camera plus lenses domeports, accus, focuslight, compass, dive computer, notebook, hand-scale etc. as carry on lugagge (OMD-EM1II with a lot of lenses and two ports (Nauticam 140mm FE port and Nauticam 45 macro port)). My wife has similar lugagge for her EM5II and she takes the WA port (Zen DP-170). Extensions, arms, chargers and regulators must go into the normal lugagge...

 

I must say, however, that my filled rucksack weighs around 12 kg - so far no issues. I always wear a Foto-vest and in case of problems I would stuff equipment into the vest until the maximum hand lugagge limit for the rucksack is fullfilled...

 

Wolfgang

Edited by Architeuthis

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I have liked the Pelican 1510. I don't have the dividers, but I have some foam padding on the edges. I tend to stuff it full so nothing really moves around.

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I carry on my camera(s), lenses, and anything I absolutely have to have on the trip. Tripods, light modifiers, etc, can go in luggage. I have packed a lens in a pelican case in my checked baggage as well. The carry on is a ThinkTank backpack or roller.

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I'll second the thought that rollers get weighed more than backpacks. I've experienced that myself as far back as 2009 in New Zealand. I had a 31 pound backpack on my back, while my wife had her roller bag. They weighed hers and forced us back to check it. Looked in my direction and I just acted like it was OK, didn't need weighing.

 

I use a Thinktank Speed Racer waist bag AND either a Thinktank backpack (above water cameras) or a Thinktank roller (D850 inside Nauticam housing with 230mm dome port taking up the bulk of the space. Any of this luggage will fit under a seat in a pinch.

 

I put the housing in vertically, and I do have to remove the two ball mounts that stick up highest. (The ones I use with a rope handle for carrying). The real problem is the dome port. Once that goes in, everything else has to fit around it.

 

I can get the housing, camera, focus light, dual strobes, 230mm dome port (no extension), vacuum pump, two 5 inch arm segments, and all the batteries in the roller bag. I put three lenses in my waist bag, plus sometimes a RX100 II inside a nauticam housing as backup camera. That still leaves me the macro port, the 90mm dome port extension and all the arm clamps to go into a suitcase. I put 7 arm clamps into the 90mm extension to save space.

 

If not for the dome port, all would fit into the roller bag. If not for the rollers, all 'might' fit in - the wheels and handle take up a lot of space that is present on the backpack. But I've never tried to put all the dive camera gear into the backpack because I don't want to lift that on my back anymore.

 

That said, it would be an excellent idea to have a roller than had a backpack option so you could carry it in a pinch, if only to leave hands free to pull two other suitcases.

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Haven't read through this whole thread, but would suggest the Lowepro Whistler backpack (the bigger size). The shape of the bag is unique, quite 'deep' (how far it sticks off your back) especially using the outer pocket expansion. This means it can fit straight into most overhead bins, using the full vertical space in the bin instead of the horizontal space. I've fit it when people with smaller sized rollers have to take them back off the plane to be gate checked.

 

Also agree backpacks get weighed less. Just traveled to Indonesia and back, never got weighed once (it was about 40-50lbs). Even used the outer pocket (kind of a clothing pocket) for my 9.5" dome + clothes, always a challenge to pack. One extra bonus is that the camera compartment can be removed (had to do so once with a small plane). That box is also a size that fits nicely in most normal carry on roller bags, seen that done too.

 

Amazed to see pics of people packing their housings with the handles still attached - to me an utter waste of valuable space. Unless you can't detach the handles from some housings???

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I've got something similar an EM-1 MkII setup. Here's how I pack mine into a think Tank streetwalker hard drive backpack:

IMG_2948.jpg

 

Bottom row Nauitcam housing and tray and spare batteries in plastic clip cases

middle row: macro port 2x INON Z-240, Zen dome 170mm type II

Top row Zen 100mm fisheye dome, Pany 8mm, Oly 60mm, Oly 12-40, Pany 7-14,

 

13" laptop in laptop compartment below. This backpack meets carry on requirements and will fit under the seat in front even on commuter jets.

 

Cables in pouches on lid of pack, Strobe arms, clamps, torches and tools are packed in with my dive gear or general luggage. I have a personal item as well usually a small bag which has some toiletries and a zipped pouch with o-rings, spares, o-ring grease, vacuum pumps etc.

 

The Think tank bag is bulletproof, really well built, much more sturdy than Lowepro packs I've had.

How far up past the rim of the bag does your Nauticam tray stick out? I am contemplating this bag, and have the same set up:)

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Posted (edited)

After going the full route from small plastic cases to duffel bags and large shipping crate I have found the solution to my needs. An older, well used Rimowa large suit case. The Rimowa is a thin shell case, but with an aluminum track around all mating edges, top and bottom. This is critical as most large shell types have only a plastic zipper closing the two halfs. In addition, this case has only two recessed rollers as opposed to most cases having 4 corner spinner wheels easily knocked off. Additionally, I removed the internal telescoping handle mechanism for a full, flat bottom. Lastly, I riveted a heavy canvas strap around the case so as not to depend on the OEM clamps failing. All interior contents are packed in original cardboard boxes or small plastic containers, including the two housings. All told, it holds two complete W/D angle and macro systems, ports, lights, chargers, 5 strobes and all the rest of the junk you drag along. Packed weight is 63 lbs with some foam spacers and every thing is firm! Normally fly business and when on small commuter flights, I just eat the extra charge!

Edited by okuma

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You should get a ThinkTank roller bag, they're awesome! I use the ThinkTank Airport Accelerator v3.0. Small enough to carry on but large enough to fit a full size housing, ports and accessories

 

 

Sorry, found my own answer: No.

 

Interior depth of the bag is 5" and the D5 is just over 6"......

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