ThinkTank Airport International V2 Camera Case

This summer we were taking a family vacation to the Caribbean. A cruise that I figured would be great for taking photos. The problem was not just getting the camera gear from California to Florida safe and secure, but storing in the stateroom safely. I normally have two camera bags, a Tamrac sling and a Tamrac backpack. Sometimes I just wear the backpack all day on a shoot, but mostly it’s for getting a larger quantity of gear to the hotel or general area and then I choose the gear for that day and put it into the sling for the photo walk. If needed, I also have a few lens tubes. For this trip I thought about carrying my gear on the plane in the backpack but it was not big enough because I wanted the family video camera, my wife’s G10 and all my lenses in one case.

With the idea of using the sling on excursions, I set out to find a good travel case.

There are many bags out there for this task: rollers, backpacks, rolling backpacks etc. I originally wanted the combo design of a roller that converts to a backpack, but after much research I settled on the ThinkTank Airport Internationalâ„¢ V2. This bag is a roller only.

The first thing about it is the size. Very nice for carry-on, and as the name implies it meets international and US carry-on requirements. It actually looks so small no one even asked to check it. There is a US Domestic version that is bigger but if we ever ended up traveling abroad I figured having the right case now would make it easier. Internally it is plenty large enough. They claim it can fit a 500mm lens and if I ever own one I will check.

The main reason I chose this case was the security features. The zippers are secured with a TSA combination lock. On the outside cover of the case is a stretch pocket for storing a laptop and a zippered compartment for pens and cards etc. Attached inside that compartment is a cable & combination lock. Useful for locking that laptop bag to the case. On the back of the case is another cable built into the case, and hidden behind a zippered pocket. This is for securing the entire case to a stationary object. That is what I used to lock the case inside the stateroom. It was a great feeling when I left the room feeling my case would not walk away. OK, nothing would have prevented the staff from cutting the case open, or using cable cutters, but any deterrent is better than none. Should the bag become lost or stolen there is an ID plate on every bag. You register that ID after purchase.

The inside of the case is well padded, as would be expected, and the quantity & sizes of the included dividers is almost perfect. I ended up with a few spare dividers with my layout. They state on the ThinkTank site that the bag holds:

“two pro-sized DSLR’s , two strobes, two pocket wizards, a 16-35 2.8, a 24-70 2.8, a 70-200 2.8, a 300 2.8, and much more”

I can’t testify to all that, but here is a shot of my case containing a Canon XTi with a 70-200 2.8 IS on the body (note that the bodies can be stored without the lens), a Canon D10 underwater camera (in a case), a 24-105 F4 IS, a 100 2.8 Macro, a 50 1.8, an 18-55, a 430EXII flash, a camcorder, a Joby Gorillapod SLR-Zoom, a Gary Phong Lightsphere, and all the batteries, chargers, cables and straps. Filters, remotes and cards etc are all in the 5 clear compartments inside the cover.

I always try to find faults in products. I actually enjoy it. In the case of this camera bag it is not easy. The attention to detail is great in this case. For example, because of the weight they have built-in handles in every position one could ever want, and they are large and comfortable. Very nice. The wheels are user replaceable. The dividers can be replaced with an optional, 2 inch shorter, “Low Divider Set” to allow storing a laptop inside the case. Oh yeah, it has a lifetime warranty too. The only fault I can think of is the price. While prices vary, as of this review it has a list of $329. That made me think about it long and hard. So why did I buy it anyway? Two reasons… The obvious build quality / security is one. The second is that my wife said it was OK. We really wanted the gear as safe as it could be on the trip. Thanks!

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