Checking Camera Bags
AuthorTopic: Checking Camera Bags Read 475 Times
ParticipantPosts: 3Cameras, Lenses and Shooting Gearon: August 31, 2019 at 11:51 am
I’ve had very good success using a method very similar to yours.
To save my back, I switched to a Think Tank Airport Takeoff v.2.0 as my primary bag several years ago. It’s a smart design and rolls effortlessly. And I check that bag several times a year. It switches from rolling bag to backpack easily. And I hacked the bag by carrying the necessary hex key to remove the wheels and use the axels to attach it to a Kelty backpack waist belt, making carrying the whole bag much easier by moving the weight from my shoulders to my waist.
Like you, I use cable ties to secure the zippers in a fashion that discourages theft but is no problem for the TSA. But inside the bag I leave a laminated card on top of the gear, thanking the TSA for their efforts, asking that they secure the bag again with new cable ties (provided), and including my contact information for good measure. The bag has been inspected many times, and the TSA leave their standard notice card inside when they do. But several times, I’ve had handwritten thank you notes added to the standard notice card by TSA staff who appreciated being appreciated.
On board, I carry a Think Tank Photo Urban Approach 15. That small backpack accommodates everything that needs to go on board with me: batteries, SD cards, inflight pillow, noise cancelling earphones, the books I’m currently reading, snacks, and my 15-inch MacBook with it’s powerpack and cords. I pull the padded dividers out of the main compartment of the small backpack while flying, and put them back in if I am doing a serious hike and want to haul something lighter than my primary bag. I can change the configuration day-to-day depending on what I want in the backpack. While flying, the removed dividers go into an end pocket of the rolling duffel I use for clothing and everything except my tripods. The tripods travel together in a separate, checked case.
This arrangement lets me travel with three checked bags, and a back-friendly backpack while actually in flight. For me, it’s the rule rather than the exception. And it consistently works to safely get my gear where I’m going and to save my back in the process. An added bonus: the Urban Approach fits under every airline seat to date, keeping me out of the battle for overhead storage.
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KeymasterPosts: 203Re: Checking Camera BagsReply #1 on: September 1, 2019 at 4:13 am
Wayne, where do you keep your hex key (which I assume is what we over here would call and Allen key) when you fly? A zealous security guard at Manchester airport recently confiscated an Allen key from my cabin bag on the basis that it was a tool. The thing was about two inches long. As ever, there was no point in remonstrating.
ParticipantPosts: 3Re: Checking Camera BagsReply #2 on: September 2, 2019 at 7:19 pm
The Hex Key / Allen Wrench (both terms are used here) goes into the duffle, which is also checked. But you raise a great point about what’s permitted in the cabin. To cut off the cable ties when I arrive, believe it or not I use a pair of toenail clippers that have no pointed file, and whose jaws open wide enough to bite off the nylon cable ties. I’ve never had those questioned by the TSA here when they are in my on-board bag. And getting past the cable ties is the only challenge to getting into my bags on arrival.
ParticipantPosts: 268Re: Checking Camera BagsReply #3 on: September 5, 2019 at 11:25 am
Instead of cable ties which require cutting as you mention, I now use small TSA keyed cable locks at $12 each on B&H.
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