Tuesday, August 7, 2012

REVIEW: Think Tank Photo Airport Security v2.0 (Updated)

 

This is an update from my July 2010 original article…

I’ve started to travel a bit lately, so I decided it was time to take a look at Think Tank Photo’s new Airport Security v2.0 bag as a great option for rolling my heavy gear around instead of lugging it on my back. However, I’ve gained more gear since the days of my Airport Acceleration bag, so I needed a bigger bag too! This bag seemed like it would be the perfect bag as I’d be able to carry it on the plane (critical), drag it around on the wheels when i wanted to, and when needed I could carry it as a backpack (crowds, busses, etc…). In short, it seemed as it would be the perfect solution.

Outside View

Here’s a view of the outside of the bag from several angles:


The handle retracts into a zip pocket (shown below)

You can lock the zippers on the side

Security tag and backpack strap view

Solid wheels and a sturdy legs to prevent tipping

The outside of the Airport Security v2.0 is very well designed. I can hold my 17” laptop easily inside the front pocket and thanks to the new legs it won’t tip over as my older bag did. I also loved the beefy handle which felt good and worked well, as well as the top and bottom handles which made it easy to lift and collect from the bag of a SUV. The straps stow away nicely and the security tag is a great feature I’d like to see on all bags as it has a unique serial number (think like a VIN number) so you can use that to identify a lost or or retrieve a stolen bag.

A peek inside

Here’s a look at how the Airport Security v2.0 can be configured inside to fit multiple bodies and lenses. As you see in both scenarios, it can handle a lot more practical configurations than the samples shown here:

Nikon Sample Configuration Canon Sample Configuration

I packed about 40 pounds of gear in it on my trip (not shown) and it was a breeze to roll around – even on the rough surfaces in backwoods Texas. Like all TTP bags, it comes with a ton of extra dividers and a rain cover, so what you see here is just possible scenarios – not the only scenarios.

Inside there are some very nice large pockets that really help to keep things organized and in place much better than the old bags did:

From a storage standpoint, the Airport Security v2.0 is a perfect bag. Even the outside pocket (not shown) was handy for me to keep my G11 in as well as my wallet, and the inside safety hook for my keys is always welcome when travelling!

Will this really fit in an Airplane?

When I demo’d the Airport Security v2.0 to members of my photography club I had a couple people look at me with a raised eyebrow of disbelief when I assured them that all Think Tank Photo bags are designed to go in overhead compartments in airplanes. While this is a very large bag, it easily fit with no forcing or prodding despite being level full. Naturally I keep my laptop with me on the plane, so had that been in the bag it would have been a small problem (but I could put it behind the bag). This is a long bag so it must be stored as shown, but as you can see there’s plenty of room for a purse, small bag, or heavy jacket to go in front of it. You can also see the side pouch where I kept my wallet and G11 on this trip:

The Airport Security v2.0 is an outstanding travel companion and honestly I never even used the backpack straps until  I wrote this review. The wheels were so good that I never found myself needing or wanting the straps.

It may even fit in your convertible too

A funny side note is that I had my Airport Security v2.0 in the tiny front trunk of a Porsche 911 C4s Cabriolet which is only 3.3 cubic feet (and not a nice rectangle), and it fit fine in that trunk as well – with room left for a day bag. I mention this for those photographers who might have small storage in their sports cars that they use for short trips and are wondering if it will fit.

Video Review

Here’s a short 4 minute video walkthrough of the features that the Airport Security v2.0 offers (view the HD version for the best results as YouTube destroyed the image quality on the downres):

Conclusion

Everyone who reads this blog knows I am biased about Think Tank Photo bags because I love them so much. However, there’s a good reason for it – they are extremely well built professional bags designed by pro photographers for pro photographers. They don’t just look sturdy like the competition, they really are sturdy bags.

The Airport Security v2.0 is made very well inside and out as a camera bag, and the wheels and fabric handles were phenomenal. However, I was extremely disappointed in the quality of the retractable handle which was functional and served me well, it was a little loose feeling for my taste (like bags you’d buy from JC Penny’s) and sometimes difficult to fish out from its closed position. I also felt like the backpack straps in this version were more of a checkbox feature rather than something you’d really use because this bag is just too heavy for the useless straps included. These gripes aside, I found that I never needed the straps because it’s such a good roller and the roller handle did its job and never seemed to get more loose so it appears to just be a loose design. 

In the end, I’d highly recommend the Airport Security v2.0 even if you don’t travel as it’s a good bag to roll your gear around in. I have a huge collection of TTP bags, and this roller system is so good that it’s become my favorite bag, and the others aren’t seeing much use these days. Of course, that seems to happen quite often with whatever my latest bag is so your mileage may vary.

FREE STUFF: Special Offer on ALL Think Tank Photo Bags

Click here for special offer details... or just click this link for the Airport Security v2.0 to order and you’ll be given a special offer before your order is submitted.

Other Think Tank Photo Bag Reviews

Considering other TTP bags? Then take a few moments to check out these other reviews found on this blog:

Disclaimer

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6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I bought this bag specifically to carry on airplanes (Iceland trip, very specifically) and it has been nothing but trouble getting onto planes with it. Because it's right at the limit (24x17x10) w.r.t. regulations, it looks bigger than every other carry-on and I get singled out by both passengers and attendants. This gets worse when it won't fit straight in per the article and must be put in sideways. Yes, a jacket will fit next to it, however, another carry-on won't. This bag essentially takes the space of two carry-on bags because of this. And the frustrating thing is they could've made it fit by making the bag only an inch shorter. It only just doesn't fit.

In hindsight I really, really wish I'd not gotten this bag. I use it primarly now as a default storage for my stuff and then transfer to another bag when I leave the house.

Ron Martinsen said...

Anonymous,

It does fit, but you have to put it handle first. It will look like it won't fit, but if you insert it the right way (and there's only one way) then the curvature of the overhead bins works in your favor.

Click here for an example of how to do it. Like you I used to toss it in sideways because I thought it was too big to insert straight in (because I put the hard feet side in first or had it upside down with the handle first). Out of desperation I figured out the trick and it's worked for me on all commercial flights I've been on. Boeing uses a standard size so it should be good for Boeing airplanes, and I'm told Airbus has the same size, but I haven't tried it on them yet.

Anonymous said...

I learned the "handle in first" trick long ago with regular carry-ons. Still didn't fit, at least on the Alaska flight I was on (737-800) or on the Icelandic Air flight (don't recall the plane).

Note that on recent 737s, the right-side overhead is not as deep as the left-side overhead. I tried them both. :)

Anonymous said...

Update to the above comment. I just returned from an Alaska 737-900 and the bag fit easily straight in. Evidently there's a batch of 737-800s out there with overhead compartments 2" or so narrower than others.

Fenix Fotography said...

I really liked the ThinkTank Airport out of the box--but the front feet wore out very quickly, which causes it to lean forward and the bottom from to drag on the ground, which caused it to rip.

ThinkTank customer service was no help at all. They felt that the feet wearing down was normal wear and tear and refused to help. They wouldn't even provide or sell me a set of replacement feet. I was very disapointed.

I just got the Pelican 1510. I don't like it quite as much--doesn't hold as much gear for sure. But I do feel like its a bit safer and I can count on it being unbreakable or replaceable.

Ron Martinsen said...

Hi Fenix,

Go to the about tab and contact me. ThinkTankPhoto makes some of the most reliable gear on the market and their customer support is well known for making things right. You must have got ahold of the wrong person, so let me act as your liaison to help get things sorted out.

Ron