Bags like Think Tank with a 8kg carry-on limit?

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by RaymondC, Dec 1, 2017.

  1. This isn't that relevant to me bit curious. Since I don't carry that much gear. We hear about Think Tank and how they are very nicely regarded. From the look of it they do look very nicely designed and thought out. If the airline says 8kg is the carry on limit whilst one could pack stuff more efficiently into various camera bags they are still gonna be overweight right? That aside, are these type of bags more for commuting and transit and then once you are in your hotel you switch to a smaller bag as the day is needed? Apart from big lens users I don't imagine on a daily basis most would be needing 2 bodies aand 5 lenses and a laptop to boot right ....

  2. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    I fly with a Thinktank Suburban Disguise 30, it weighs 14 lbs / 6.4 KG with a full travel load, and fits under the seat easily, even on smaller commuters. I carry two FX Nikon bodies (D750 and DF), an 18-35, 24-120, 28-300, a fast 50, 3 batteries and chargers for each camera, a whole pile of bits and pieces (cords, filters, remotes,cleaning kit, etc). and a tablet or kindle - on occasion I will carry a manual, but have both loaded as PDFs on the devices. It has been my primary case for several years, and I have found it to be excellent. Downside is inspection in the airport, since everything is carefully positioned and fitted into the case - repacking is a trial. At destination, I leave a variety of accessories in the hotel or car, and it becomes a good working case. If I needed a larger soft case, I would stick to Think Tank. I have large hard cases which I use on occasion for auto travel when I need more lenses, but most often, even there it is usually the think Tank with a long lens in its own case.
  3. I don't use Thinktank and happily leave my netbook in the tent, if I am staying somewhere. - But what is wrong about 2 bodies and just 5 lenses? - I don't feel as if I was packing much gear with a pair of Leicas and 6 lenses. - I admittedly stick to compact ones like 90/f4, CV15mm and the old 135/f4 (yes, it is no telephoto design, but compare it to the goggled Elmarit!). ZM 21/2.8, Konica 35/2 (big, compared to Leica's) and a plain 50mm Summicron (heavily built) are nothing to seriously complain about either.
    Of course you can bring even more gear to leave something in your hotel... - I'm imagining a DSLR guy packing "the holy trinity" of basic f2.8 zooms, 35 & 85mm low light versions an additional 24-105+x for lazy days and a 40mm pancake for ultra lazy days... - I also heard MFT users claiming to finally be able to carry 3 bodies and enough lenses and tripod in their system. - Pick a compromise that works for you! - Crop DSLRs wise I was happy with 12-24, 18-55(kit) 50/1.4, 135/2.8 and 2 bodies.
    I haven't figured out how to work fast out of camera backpacks, so I am rather sinking my bags in a regular pack on the march.
    AFAIK some Airlines support professionals with a carry on weight limit waiver?
  4. A few years ago, I started to replace my LowePro bags and backpacks with ThinkTank ones, the Streetwalker backpack series and Retrospective shoulder bags in particular but also an Airport backpack, Urban Disguise and City Walker shoulder bags). Using the smallest Streetwalker, I could fit my basic travel gear (two bodies, 16-35, 24-105, 70-200 or 80-400) and stay below the 8kg limit you mention and be confident that the bag will fit under the seat or the overhead bin even in small planes. Stepping up to the Streetwalker Pro and especially the newer, taller V2.0 version could prove problematic in that regard; the main advantage to me would be that the above gear fits a bit better. The even larger Streetwalker Harddrive allows me to add more lenses or bring the 200-500; in both cases, the 8kg limit is very likely to be exceeded. If using the Streetwalker Harddrive or Airport Commuter, I'd be very tempted to bring along a smaller bag for everyday use. I have travelled with a variety of Retrospective shoulder bags and various amount of gear inside them; since they are shoulder bags I am very unlikely to exceed the 8kg limit (for my shoulder's sake). In fact, traveling once with a heavy shoulder bag was the main reason for me to start looking for backpacks - I actually purchased one on that very trip.
  5. I'm a big fan of the TT Urban Disguise series and own the 30, 35 and 40 versions. However, when I plan to transport a lot of gear, especially when birding is part of my planned itinerary, then I switch to my TT Airport Commuter for transport, and bring one of the UD bags for daily use.
  6. Camera bags are a very personal item, depending on your needs and preferred traveling style. I have a growing stack of those that I no longer use, or use infrequently.

    Camera bags are bulky, even smaller bags for "day" use. You can pack them with smaller articles of clothing to recover some space, but I find it difficult to justify carrying one in checked baggage. At present, I use a Thinktank Airport Essentials bag (the smallest backpack) for a Sony system with two bodies and seven lenses and flash. It weights just over 24 lbs. I could trim this to about 12 pounds, including the bag, if I limited myself to one body, three zoom lenses and a flash, or somewhere in between to meet an 8K limit (~20 lb). This bag fits under the seat or in even a commuter airline overhead.

    When I travel by automobile, I do carry a "day" bag, which holds two zooms and a small prime, but not a camera. It's a handy way to walk some distance with the flexibility of extra lenses. I can carry the Airport Essentials bag for some distance, but by choice, only in an airport.

    In the last 20 years, I have only been challenged once about carryon weight - in Prague - but they let me pass. In my experience, backpacks get less scrutiny than rollers.
  7. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    I cannot imagine being able to work out of a backpack. It would be like a large version of a Leica fitted case I have, or my Pelican hard case that has to be put down on a flat surface and opened to get at the gear. Good shoulder bags have their advantages if you like to work quickly, and deal with the unexpected. As mentioned earlier, largely a matter of taste, and I think shooting habits. Personally, I'd be about as likely to use a photo backpack, as I would be to wear trainers instead of boots.
  8. I cannot reconcile those two statements: if your bag has to be so carefully packed that everything "just fits", how can you then work out of if quickly? At least the flap of the Suburban Disguise opens away from the body (unlike most shoulder bags) and hence is out of the way. I have a Lowepro bag stashed away somewhere that I purchased years ago for just that reason.
  9. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    Because at destination, I leave a variety of accessories in the hotel or car, and it becomes a good working case. Ref # 7 -- Reading comp? Backpacks, I think not - things carried, but used, when? I happily used Nikon FB series bags for decades, best ever. Unfortunately they won't work past the F 2 camera body size..
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
  10. You guys sure do carry lots of gear. I'm looking for a recommendation. I would like to try the Think Tank "messenger" style bag or something similar.

    I will be carrying a D800 with 4 lenses (14-24, 70-200, 105 macro, and a 28-300) and other associated gear for 6 weeks in Burma, where it can be hot and wet. I don't want to carry anything hugely oversized but would like a little room to stuff in a few other items.

    Any recommendations?
  11. If I am taking only a body and a couple of lenses, I will just carry my gear in a shoulder bag, usually a Domke f-3X or F-803. For more gear, I use an older Lowepro Mini-Trekker backpack that is small enough to fit under every seat I have encountered. The shoulder bag gets either folded flat or stuffed with clothing and goes into my regular luggage, often with a smaller tripod as well.
  12. I use a ThinkTank Airport Essentials backpack almost exclusively when traveling by air or automobile. It holds practically everything I might need with the exception of a tripod, which goes in my checked bag. It's usually over the 8 Kg (20) mark, bet getting lighter would not be a huge problem. Besides, I have only been challenged when using a roller bag. The backpack is small enough that it doesn't attract attention at the gate, especially if it's on my back. It's a lot easier to have one bag to grab for a trip, than to have gear spread among smaller bags (or a glass cabinet).
  13. Herbert Keppler had an article on camera bags in Modern Photography January, 1985:

    But these are my favorites.

    The Nikon FB8 is perfect but heavy and only for Nikon F mount.
    The Tenba PD-17 holds a laptop computer, 2 bodies, and many lenses. (not to the same scale)
    It is not for the easily herniated.:(
    I have taken it as carry-on, but usually have something lighter for actual field work.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018
  14. What you carry and how you carry it depends on your goals and the particular situation. That's why I have half a dozen bags in storage, not counting on the ones thrown out or given away. In any case it's a very personal choice. The best anyone can do is relate their own experiences, and their reasons behind their choices.

    Andre Segovia (guitarist) was once asked, "Why do you play everything so fast?", He responded "Because I can." So ask again why I carry so much equipment ;)
  15. Exactly......

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