Let me begin by saying I’ve had the same camera travel bag for over 12 years. I like it, it met my needs or so I thought. After getting the Airport International v2.0 Rolling Camera Bag, I realized how much I’ve been missing.
This review points out my top 5 favorite features of the roller bag. If you are a product specs type person, you may want to read just the headlines and then visit Think Tank’s web site for their in-depth product spec list. If you like to be entertained and see how the roller bag was actually used, read the short review. You’ll be glad you did.
1. Small, light weight bag that holds more
My producer Nick showed up one day with the Think Tank Airport International v2.0 Rolling Camera Bag. I saw it as a smaller bag compared to mine. He smiled and unzipped the bag. I couldn’t believe the amount of gear he organized in the compartments. I was shocked. It was smaller and lighter weight than mine but held more gear. I had to have one.
2. Adjustable compartments with Two Camera Body indents plus unlimited design possibilities
When my bag arrived we did the traditional unboxing ceremony. Little things companies do with their products have always impressed me and I have to say Think Tank instantly made my list. They include a photo template on how the bag could be organized both for Nikon and Canon. I quickly created a configuration to meet my needs.
Depending on the shoot, my two “go to lenses” are my telephoto 70-200mm VR and my smaller 85mm. In the past, if I switched to the 85mm, I would have to switch back to my telephoto when packing up. The old bag didn’t have room for my telephoto lens unless it was mounted on my camera. The new Airport Bag solved this by including two compartments with indents for camera bodies.
So far, my favorite configuration holds a single camera with a telephoto lens on one side and the spare 85mm on the other. I can leave either lens on the body when packing up.
3. Overhead airplane compartment friendly
I took the Airport Camera Bag on an airplane trip to Maryland for my son’s college interview. Now, I’m a big guy, I have to walk very straight down the narrow isle to avoid bumping into people. My old wider bag has a tendency of clipping seats causing me to apologize as I walked what seemed like miles. The narrow Airport Bag glided down the isle behind me without clipping a single seat. When I had to lift my bag, I was pleasantly surprised. The bottom handle was placed to make it easier for me to pick the bag up and place it in overhead bin. This made stowing the bag with the wheels facing out toward the bin door. Airline attendants love when you do this and that means extra peanuts.
4. Smooth easy rolling with replaceable wheels
As we rushed through the airport, pulling the roller bag was smooth and easy. It felt like the bag had inline skates on. Throughout the trip, especially on the college campus, the bag was never a problem to pull. I never noticed how hard my old bad was to pull. I was use to it, thinking that’s the way all roller bags are. I even pulled the bag over a grassy area with ease. My only thought was what will happen when the wheels get caked on with dirt or chip. Nick told me not to worry, the wheels are replaceable without having to send it back to Think Tank.
5. TSA combination lock and rear security cable
The TSA locks are a great feature, however I doubt I will ever check my bag at the airport. In the rare event I have to on a single prop plane, I’m glad to know I have this extra feature. I used the combination lock and rear security cable a little differently. After we returned from our trip, I had a photo shoot on the beach. To avoid pulling my roller bag through the sand, I usually leave it near the boardwalk. Other than the obvious concern that someone may walk off with my camera gear, I found myself splitting my attention between the shoot and security of my bag. This shoot was different. I locked the main compartment zipper then secured the rear security cable to a post. It felt great being able to shoot without worrying about my bag.
Price did not make my list.
At just under $400, the Airport International V 2.0 Rolling Camera Bag is an investment. While I wouldn’t expect Think Tank to lower its price, thus risk lowering its quality, it’s still a medium size investment. Nick, being the reasonable one, took out one of his lens and compared it to one of mine. His looked brand new and mine, well it showed its age. He said this is what you get when you’re cheap. He was right, my old bag didn’t have the padding or individual compartments like the Airport Bag. My gear suffered from my frugalness.
This bag has so many little extra and hidden features. Check out Think Tank’s website for a complete list. When you get your bag, you’ll agree the Think Tank’s Airport International V 2.0 Rolling Camera Bag is the perfect roller for traveling.
Currently he is teaching workshops, writing for Photofocus and creating tutorials for various plug-in companies and for the Vanelli and Friends series.
You can find out more about Vanelli at www.VanelliandFriends.com
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