ThinkTank Camera bag review
ThinkTank Airport Security V2.0
The ThinkTank airport security camera bag is my go to regular assignment bag. I have been using this bag for general assignments for about 4 years now. The following user review covers features, wear and tear and durability over this 4-year period.
**NOTE; I would not use this bag for extreme assignments, ie; conflict or highly remote extreme environments. On those circumstances a hardened dust and waterproof case would be a better option. Yes more cumbersome but also a lot more durable. Having spent weeks covered in dust and being tossed around in a 4×4 trying to keep up with what’s going on. Yes, a hardened camera bag is the way to go here.
This bag is made of a durable material and all the fittings and sewing seem very good and show little signs of wear. The bag stands at around 61cm X 35cm (23inch X 14inches). I use it as carry on luggage both domestic (excl; places like domestic in Australia) and international.
To give you an idea of its carrying capacity I will list what I generally load it with, this of course would vary depending the assignment.
2 x camera body
2 x lens including 70-200
Two speedlites & 1 x remote trigger
1 x filter set, polarizer, ND and housing frame
2 x light stand speedlite mounts
1 x mini light stand
Cleaning kit &Small tool kit.
2 x large universal mounting clamps and assortment of smaller clamps
Spare batteries for all
Laptop and acc’s and the usual other assortment of items and paper work.
So you can see it takes quite a bit of gear. The inner compartments are fully adjustable and allow for setting up as you would desire.
compartments, pockets and locks
On the compartments and pockets. The Airport Security has heaps, from obvious to hidden way areas. There are compartments that would take a laptop and tiny areas hidden away for niks and naks.
Main lock for the bag is programmable and secure, it includes the regulation customs inspection key access. The lock has the welcome feature of a spring loaded release of the two main compartment zipper handles. The lock has never been an issue and works well.
There is also a second lock, located in the external upper zippered compartment at the front. This lock would be used to secure the bags to something if you had to leave it for a short time. (have to admit I have never used it, my gear follows me even to an airport toilet)
Most of the external main compartments have double zipper releases. All the zippers still work well and I have had no issues. There is also a large elastic compartment on the front side, easily useable for a laptop.
The bag has 2 carry handles, one on top and one on the side. These too are well made and comfortable for the weight this bag will hold. Sides also have heavy-duty straps and D-rings, always useful.
external front compartment
The front upper compartment that holds the extra lock is also ideal for business cards, cleaning kit, pens etc. The internal area is divided into multiple segments including 2 more zippered areas. There is also another D-ring and a toggle clasp.
On the opposite side from the handle you find 2 more compartments. The zippered pocket contains the parts needed for carrying a tripod on that side. This I do use and it works well if a little complicated to set-up. Below that is yet another elastic pocket.
The back of the bag has a riveted metal tag with serial number. Below the tag is a compartment that contains the shoulder strap option. Never used this and to be honest looking at the padding for the shoulder straps I wouldn’t want too. I get the impression this is a last option idea as the firmness of the bag and protection plates at the bottom would make this very uncomfortable.
The top of the bag has an ID area under the handle for a business card. Under the ID area there is “yes” another zipped compartment. This top area also has a zippered area that contains the extendable handle. The handle is still very firm and solid after 4 years. I use this all the time when traveling with this bag. One issue here is that it’s a bit short, I’m 6.1’ and walking with the bag using the extended handle does mean I have to shorten my step. Walking normally I hit my heel on the bag.
The wheels have stood up very well. I was a bit surprised when I took these images for the review at just how little they have worn.
The bag comes with it’s own raincoat. It is easy to put on and covers the front, top and part of the sides. Once stuffed back into it’s attached bag its takes up very little room.
padded front main flap
Inside the padded front main flap there are 4 zippered compartments with clear fronts. I always expect these clear areas to stiffen and crack. 4 years later they have become a little cloudy but they are still supple, will have to see how much longer they will survive.
All in all this bag has done a wonderful job. Sure they’re not the cheapest but for professional use I believe they are well worth the price.
After 4 years of using this bag I respect the quality of it’s construction. The wear is less than I would of expected. I do look after it, I clean and air dry the bag after each major trip, but even so I am impressed with how well it has held up.
I guess there is a newer model out by now. While I cannot speak for a new model, if it is anything like the quality and functionality of this bag I would recommend it to professional photographers and avid enthusiasts.
*All images are of my personal 4 year old Thinktank bag