Think Tank Announces New Rolling Camera Bag Geared Towards Smaller Planes
If you’ve ever booked an out-of-town photography gig and needed to catch a flight to get there, you might have run into this problem: you get on the plane, lift up your roller bag to put it into the overhead bin, and it just doesn’t fit. You push, you squeeze, you try taking out the laptop, but nothing works. You hang your head in shame and walk back up to the front, and ask the flight attendant for help. As always, Think Tank Photo is here to help.
I’ve traveled a fair amount for my photo business, and I own (and love) Think Tank’s Airport International V2.0 roller bag. It’s served me well and has held whatever I’ve needed it to. If you only travel in and out of major airports, you’re less likely to run into this issue, but for those of us who live near smaller airports and often take connecting flights just to get to other major cities, it can be a real problem. Regional and commuter jets are smaller than your everyday 747, have less space seemingly everywhere, and oftentimes their gate attendants will ask, or even force, you to check your carry-on roller bags at the gate. So, I’m excited for Think Tank’s new solution to this problem: the Airport Advantage rolling camera bag.
With a very similar look (and probably feel) to the Airport International V3.0, the Airport Advantage bag has a new lightweight design and is specifically engineered to maximize its interior gear-holding space. The bag appears to be smaller than the Airport Roller Derby bag but has more available interior space at half the weight, which is nice. And I prefer having only two wheels instead of four.
The bag weighs in at 5.9lbs (2.7kg) if you use a minimal number of padded dividers, which is about 4lbs (1.8kg) lighter than the Airport International V3.0. That’s quite a difference when you’re worried about weight. And at about $150 cheaper, if you can afford to carry a little less gear, you can afford to get a little bit smaller of a bag that will make your travels go more smoothly.
The bag has most of the “standard” Think Tank rolling bag features: user-replaceable retractable handle and wheels, tripod mount on the side, strong YKK zippers, business card holder, and more. But it also boasts a pouch large enough to hold a 15″ laptop in a case that fits into the front of the bag, which allows you to remove it before stowing it in the bins, making the bag thinner. That allows for a quick bag size change if necessary. An included raincover is an added plus.
Here are the specs:
12” W x 18” H x 4.9–6.4” D (30.5 x 45.7 x 12.4–16.3 cm)
12.7” W x 19.5” H x 7.3” D (32.3 x 49.5 x 18.5 cm)
11.6” x 16.4” x 2.9” (29.5 x 41.6 x 7.4 cm)
5.9–6.2 lbs. (2.7–2.8 kg)*
*Lowest weight reflects all accessories removed while using only minimal dividers
What fits (according to them):
- 1 gripped DSLR with lens attached, 1 standard size DSLR with lens attached plus 3–4 additional lenses, and 15” laptop
- Or 2 gripped DSLRs with lenses detached plus 3–4 lenses
- Or 2 Mirrorless bodies with a crazy amount of lenses
- Max Lens: 200–400mm f/4 detached (hood reversed)
- Fits two camera bodies with lenses attached
Things to Consider
If you grab this bag, you might need to plan out your gear a little more carefully, because some things will just fit differently than previous rolling bags you’ve had. A lens might have to be packed lying down instead of standing up vertically, for example.
The bag has strong zippers, and they’re lockable, but unlike the Airport International or Airport Security series, the built-in lock on the side of the bag isn’t available.
Oftentimes, weight can be an even larger issue than size when packing gear bags. A benefit I see of this bag is that, just by the fact that it’s smaller, you’ll be less inclined to overpack it and have it be too heavy.
While a retail price of $249.75 may be more than a lot of camera bags, having a good rolling bag can be priceless, and this one is priced lower than some of Think Tank’s larger offerings. If it’s built with any smidgeon of Think Tank quality, it will last you a long time.
Although you may already have rolling camera bags of some kind, if you fly on smaller airplanes with any sort of frequency, it might be a good idea to investigate this bag. Anything you can do to cut down on size and weight could save you a lot of money with oversize baggage claims, and it might save your gear from damage (and an unhappy client) if a flight attendant makes you check your bag.
This is Think Tank’s only roller bag that is designed specifically to fit into the overhead bins on regional jets, and while it doesn’t have some of the travel security features of it’s bigger brothers (no TSA Zipper lock or built-in cable lock), I think those are manageable nuisances. For its bang-for-your-buck and gear-space-for-the-size qualities, I’d say it’s a great design. It may not be the right bag for you, but it could certainly help out a lot of people, so I’m all for it.