Airport International LE Classic
Company:Â ThinkTank Photo
Price: $420 U.S.
When shopping for a camera bag, itâ€™s important to give some thought to how youâ€™ll use it. Just as you donâ€™t need a $5,000 Nikon DSLR to take good pictures of your nephewâ€™s birthday party, neither do you need a $400 rolling camera suitcase if youâ€™re just traveling short distances and not carrying a pile of gear.
When youâ€™re traveling to Africa, Europe, or the Far East and want to be prepared for every possible shooting situation, you really appreciate dedicated pro luggage like ThinkTank Photoâ€™s Airport International LE Classic. Itâ€™s as durable and functional as any rolling camera pack Iâ€™ve seen. It also happens to be attractive.
ThinkTank says this rolling camera bag will hold a 500mm f/4 lens unattached, additional smaller lenses, and up to two gripped DSLR camera bodies. It will easily accommodate multiple professional lenses, flashes, and other accessories. Thereâ€™s also a pouch and strap that enable you to connect a telescoping tripod to the side, and a separate zippered â€œofficeâ€ compartment for SD cards, pens, and miscellaneous objects.
There are a lot of competing bags that will carry loads of gear, but finding one built with the heft and refinements of Airport International LE Classic would be a challenge. This rolling pack comes with two locks: a TSA approved combination for the main compartment and a cable that enables you to lock the bag to any fixed object. I canâ€™t imagine ever doing this with a pack loaded with thousands of dollars of camera gear, but you never know when such a situation will occur. Another detail I liked is the inclusion of three handles: two thick padded ones on the top and side and one unpadded grip on the bottom.
I donâ€™t own enough camera equipment to fill the LE Classic, but I appreciated having the room for a variety of other stuff I like to haul around â€” a jacket, hat, eyeglass case, a book, magazines, binoculars, plus lunch or a snack sealed in a plastic container. The LE Classic (or Limited Edition Classic) will roll easily through a planeâ€™s narrow aisle and fit in most overhead compartments.
If there is any drawback to the pack itâ€™s the absence of a dedicated padded compartment for a tablet or laptop computer. There is a compartment on the front that will fit a laptop, but it is not padded and does not lock.
I rarely quote the marketing materials provided with these products because theyâ€™re usually meaningless, but I made an exception with ThinkTank because this description is accurate and thorough:
For superior water-resistance, all exterior fabric has a durable water-repellent (DWR) coating, plus the underside of the fabric has a polyurethane coating. It also has smooth, durable full-grain leather, 1680D ballistic nylon, YKKÂ® RC Fuse (abrasion-resistant) zippers, custom designed extra tall skid plates, replaceable in-line skate style wheels, antique nickel-plated metal hardware, SpanKodra front pocket, nylon webbing, and 3-ply bonded nylon thread.
ThinkTank Photo is not the only player in this world of rolling camera bags, but it has a well-earned reputation for quality construction and attention to detail. The Airport International LE Classic is enthusiastically recommended.
MyMac review rating is 9 out of 10.