Tuesday, April 17, 2012

REVIEW: Think Tank Photo Airport TakeOff Roller Bag

Think Tank Photo Airport TakeOff Roller Bag

The Airport TakeOff™ roller bag is one of four Airport Series Roller Bags from Think Tank Photo. I’ve already reviewed these bags (click links to see my review):

I’ve also reviewed the huge Think Tank Photo Logistics Manager, but this bag is a little different from what I’ve reviewed so far. For starters, the Airport TakeOff is the only bag with a front buckle pocket which has the advantage to securely storing a nice size laptop (My 17” MacBook Pro fit). It’s also got a nicely designed integrated backpack harness when you want to go from being on wheels to being more mobile (great for locations with rough ground, steps, etc…).

This bag has the typical great handles and build quality of its siblings. It’s also got loads of extras dividers, the tripod mount, and a combo tether. It easily held the following Canon gear during my demo video below:

It holds everything very well and has the dividers to do as many combinations as most would ever want.

Video Review


Play in HD

Conclusion

Since this bag can’t easily hold a 5D Mark III with a battery grip or a 1D Mark IV – both with lenses attached, I’d rather go with the Think Tank Photo Airport Security v2.0 for my needs. If you don’t have those requirements, then you’ll find this is a great bag that will serve you well.  You can also overcome the handle hump a bit by putting taller items along the outer edges (including your cameras), but I don’t care for that configuration.

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13 comments:

FreeNeverSaid said...

Ok, but Tenba ShootOut is better ;)

Unknown said...

When you have it on your back, could you feel the frame of the handle?

Ron Martinsen said...

FreeNeverSaid,

I disagree. For starters this is a roller bag and you are talking about a non-roller bag from Tenba. What's more, the build quality of Tenba is more consumer grade whereas Think Tank Photo bags are pro grade materials and zippers. Pricewise they are competitive, so I don't really see the point in saving very little to get a consumer grade bag that can let you down (my horror story of consumer grade zippers)

Ron Martinsen said...

Unknown,

A little - yes - it's definitely not as soft as the non-roller variants. My 2 cents on this subject is that if you will be mostly rolling the bag then go with the roller style. The backpack part is great for times when you are rolling your bag and you face a flight of stairs or something. You can then toss it on your back and carry it much easier than in your hands (useful when you have 50+ lbs of gear like me).

If you are looking for a mostly back pack usage then go for the non-roller bags as you won't enjoy having the backpack on your back all day long like I can easily and comfortably do with my Airport Acceleration bag.

Ron

Nic said...

I just picked up this bag, partly as a result of your review. I had similar issues with my speedlites while figuring out the partition arrangement, but found that two 580EXIIs stack neatly on their sides with a lower profile, and take up about as much space as they do when you put them end on. You should probably put at least one of them in the protective pouch to stop them knocking together though.

gnohz said...

Hi Ron,

Thanks for the comprehensive review :)
I have some questions if you don't mind, and I think you should be the best person to approach for TT stuff :)

1. I'm using a Streetwalker HD now and I estimate that my gear will weigh around 12kg including the weight of the Takeoff. The Takeoff looks great when rolling it in the airport or along flat roads.
However, when I reach a location and
have to do some shooting while walking the streets, I have to put it on my back for fear of leaving it unattended while I shoot, so the question is, is the
padding for your back adequate for a couple hours of shooting (especially waist area and where the rolling handle is)? I'm reluctant to bring another day bag as I want to cut down and bring a rolling-backpack bag seems to be the best solution.

2. Have you had any problems boarding planes when the carry on limit is 7kg? I have heard that you are less likely to be stopped for checks when you carry a backpack as opposed to using a rolling bag. Just wondering how this bag works for you when travelling.

3. Lastly, are the differences between the Security and Takeoff lie mainly in the extra security cable and the slightly more depth in the Security? Apart from these, and the better padded straps in the Takeoff, both seems to have the same size.


Thanks again in advance and for your help :)

Ron Martinsen said...

gnohz,

1. As you might expect, it's not as comfortable as a
Airport Accelerator
but I've had my Airport Security bag on my shoulders in dense crowds in Asia for hours at a time without any problems - and I have a bad back with a fused disk. These bags are brilliant for what you are wanting to do!

2. Ha, ha, ha. My bag is usually 20kg or heavier. Not once have I had an issue. I can't promise you won't, but in North America, Asia and Ireland I've not had any issues.

3. I prefer the extra depth of the Security, but it's a big bulky bag to have on your back so you are glad to get it back down on wheels when you get the chance. I survived for hours at a time though and it allowed me to have my bag with everything I needed when otherwise I couldn't. I also couldn't fit everything I needed for Asia in the Takeoff which is why I took the Security - I own both.

gnohz said...

Hi again Ron,
Thanks a lot for the information!

If the Security (with thinner straps) work for you, I'm sure the better-padded ones of the Takeoff will be good enough for me!

Being able to smuggle gear through with 20kg is unbelievable, but I believe it can be done with rolling the bag and not carrying it!

I'm quite encouraged after reading your review and comments. I will be getting one very soon for my North America trip, and I'll put the Takeoff to some good use.
Thanks again and all the best :)

Ron Martinsen said...

gnohz,

Keep this in mind too - Think Tank Photo stands behind their products with a no-nonsense return policy when you buy it from them directly. Simply put if you don't ever like your bag then contact them and they'll try to make things right.

Ron

gnohz said...

Thanks Ron. I got mine today and I must say I'm impressed with it! The straps are good enough, and the other features work fine. The handle (which many say is flimsy) looks sturdy enough. I look forward to abusing it for my upcoming trip and for work.

Thanks again for all your suggestions and review! :)

Ron Martinsen said...

gnohz,

Cool, I'm glad you like it as much as I do!

Thanks for reading the blog. Be sure to share links to your favorite articles on external sites to show appreciation for articles that have helped you out!

Best wishes,
Ron

JD said...

Hello Ron -

Thank you for the review. I was wondering if you also fit a laptop in the bag?
I'm looking for something to travel with and don't want to have another bag for computer bits!

Thanks -

JD

JD said...

Sorry - I meant with the Airport 4-sight bag not this one. Apologies! JD