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26-January-2007 : So You Want To Pack It All On Your Back? Sometimes I Do!
There are many different bags for many different packing and work situations. Sometimes you need to haul it on your back, sometimes you need it all,sometimes you want to roll it. Is there a perfect bag? No there is not. I now rotate my camera equipment primarily between two backpacks and a rolling case. All are fully carry on compliant by U.S. and Canadian regulations, but one bag seems to be the jack of all trades for me…..it can be extremely heavy when loaded, and is an absolute work horse……………..this bag is the Think Tank Airport Addicted Backpack (http://www.thinktankphoto.com/ttp_product_ArprtAddctd.php)
In 2005 my Think Tank Airport Addicted logged hundreds of thousands of miles. I can’t put my finger on the exact number, but it is probably around 300,000 miles, with an average of five flights every 29 hours every other day due to my travel schedule in 2005. This bag logged another 100,000 miles in 2006. The Think Tank Airport Addicted was released while I was working as a magazine director of photography, in my position as a magazine Dir of Photo I commuted every other day between Providence, RI (PVD) or New Haven, CT (HVN) and somewhere in the west coast every other day. My average turn around time from my driveway back to my driveway was about 30 hours.
Despite the weight, my Airport Addicted became my travel companion almost every day. I could change the contents easily, I could pack clothing or my second 12″ Apple PowerBook in the “back pocket” which was designed for a laptop. I could use it as a desk. I could shove almost everything except the kitchen sink this bag.
For my “daily” editorial assignments my Airport Addicted (First Photo At Bottom Of Post) typically contained the following
2 – Canon 1D series bodies
2 – Canon 550ex Speedlights
2 – Canon 580ex Speedlights
1 – Medium Domke Pouch with my “editing/transmit kit”
1 – Canon 70-200f2.8L
1 – Canon 28-70f2.8L
1 – Canon 16-35f2.8L
1 – Canon 24f3.5L TS-E (Tilt-Shift)
1 – Canon 85f1.8 USM
1 – Canon 50f1.4 USM
1 – Canon 20f2.8 USM
1 – LensBaby
1 – Stofen Omni Dome
2 – Canon ST-E2 IR flash triggers
3 – Rolls of tape (mini roll of Gaffers, mini roll of duct tape, mini roll of electrical tape)
1 – Mini-Mag flashlight
1 – Think Tank Pixel Pocket Rocket (CF Card Wallet)
3 – Pocket Wizard Receivers
1 – Pocket Wizard Transmitter
4 – Spare 1D series batters
8 – Sets of “AA” batteries
…………………….as well as other random accessories.
My other set ups, such as as set up for sports and hard news (Middle Photo At Bottom Of Post) would hold 3 1D series bodies, six spare batteries, cell phone for deadline data transmitting as well as other variations. I must have used more than a dozen configurations of this bag, including 3 bodies, a 400f2.8, 70-200f2.8,16-35f2.8, accessories and even stuffing a Gitzo monopod inside this bag.
I have stuck the Think Tank Airport Addicted under many commuter planes, not that I like it, but it is required on small commuter aircraft, and my equipment has never been damaged. I do have a strip of white duct tape across the front with “FRAGILE” written in bright red Sharpie marker on the front, but I like to think this bag is just so well built that my equipment has been well taken care of. Of course I NEVER leave a laptop in this bag when it goes under and I NEVER check this to be sent through as baggage, but never-the-less, the bag is fantastic.
With a schedule that often shifts, needing to change flights in the middle of a schedule, this bag lets me travel and do my job no matter what. On more than one occasion my checked bag with my full lighting kit went to one city while I had to suddenly change my schedule and go somewhere else. Being able to pack a lot of small flashes , radio triggers for the flashes, as well as all the bodies and lenses I’d need I am able to deal with whatever is thrown at me.
Think Tank now makes a very similar rolling version of this bag, the Think Tank Airport Security ( http://www.thinktankphoto.com/ttp_product_ArprtScrty.php ) as well as the Airport International ( http://www.thinktankphoto.com/ttp_product_ArprtInl.php )which conforms to international airline regulations. The Airport International appears to be considerably smaller than the Airport Addicted, but for international travel I am sure it can’t be beat, and I will be buying one in the next few months.
One think I never planned on using the Airport Addicted as was a mobile office, but my bag often becomes my mobile office and desk (Bottom Photo At End Of Post). Being able to stick everything in one bag (although it held one laptop not two, my briefcase holds the send laptop) allows me to finish my job, get to the airport, check in, get to my gate and then start working. I do get some odd looks at times, but the height of the bag is perfect for me (I am 6ft 3in) when I am sitting down to start editing.
Nothing like getting on a 5:30am flight, landing in San Francisco (SFO) at noon, setting up , shooting, tearing down, catching a 5:30pm flight to Las Vegas (LAS), getting to my connection gate by 8:PM, editing and transmitting all the images, catching at 11:PM redeye flight and being back in my bed by 9:AM the next day. This bag makes the task much easier day in and day out.
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