Product Review – Think Tank Airport Security V2

Written by:

By Steve Russell

On June 21, 2010, Tiffany posted an excellent article entitled Travelling With Your Camera Gear. Because of my circumstances at the time, the subject matter prompted me to post a comment to an article on Beyond Megapixels for the first time.

“…I have a week-long photography trip to northern New Mexico planned for October and will be flying to Albuquerque. The trip will require a change of planes in Dallas. I have always been leery of checking any photography equipment but what I want to take on the trip is more than will fit in the 350. I’m considering a Pelican 1510 which can be carried on the plane or the larger Pelican 1610 which would hold all the gear I plan to take but would also have to be checked. I am also considering getting the case with padded dividers instead of what they call “pluckable” foam…”

I have always been impressed and extremely pleased with the Pelican products I have owned. They are rock solid and waterproof, so when I was considering what kind of camera travel bag to purchase I went straight to Pelican. As usual, great equipment but I was concerned because I wasn’t sure the 1510 wouldn’t hold all my gear and the dimensions of the 1610 were larger than would be allowed to be carried aboard most aircraft. However, reading specfications online isn’t the same as actually seeing the product so off I went to my favorite camera store to see, touch and ponder which case to buy. While there, I was shown the Think Tank Airport Security V2.0 roller bag. It looked like it would hold all my gear and could be carried aboard all commercial aircraft. I left the store empty handed and went home to do some research into the Think Tank bag. Here are some of the things I considered and how the bag fared.

Reputation of Think Tank

To be honest, I wasn’t very familiar with Think Tank and their products. However, as you all know, the internet is a wonderful resource to find various opinions about a myriad of products. Every review I read about Think Tank products was very positive including comments about the bag I was considering. In fact, rarely did I come across a negative comment and for the most part I filed those in the “You can’t please all the people all the time” file.

Would it hold all my gear

To a degree, I had to make a leap of faith on this question. I wasn’t going to lug everything down to the camera store to see if it would all fit. However, by carefully reading the online reviews, I became confident that it would all fit. Once I purchased the bag and brought it home, not only did everything fit but I have room for more gear.

Think Tank inside

It comes with a very generous supply of dividers complete with velcro strips for quickly and easily reconfiguring the inside of the bag – I have eight dividers of different sizes left over. It has a number of zippered see-through pockets in the cover (lid) for storing extra batteries, filters, battery charger for the camera’s batteries, etc. Plus, it has a stretchy pocket on the front that is a perfect size to hold my 32 inch 4-in-1 collapsible reflector.

Think Tank top opened

Is it easy to handle

It is built like and looks like the standard, black carry-on bags that are ubiquitous in airports everywhere. I have almost 2 million miles on one carrier and almost a million on another so I have a lot of experience with carry-on luggage and this bag handles like all the others I have had for travel.

Think Tank front view

The handle extends to a generous 20 inches above the 23 inch long bag putting the wheels a comfortable distance behind you when you’re pulling it through airports or hotel lobbies. I find this length a very desirable feature because at 6’3”, many roller bags bang against the backs of my heels when I’m pulling them.

Think Tank handle extended

If you get tired of pulling the case behind you, it also has, in a zippered pocked on the back of the case, two back-pack style straps. I wouldn’t want to carry it on my back for a long distance, but it might work for navigating through a parking lot that’s covered with six inches of slushy snow.

What about security

It comes with a TSA approved lock built in. I don’t ever plan to check my camera gear, but if something happens that I absolutely have to, I can gain a small degree of comfort knowing it’s locked. Additionally, it comes with a combination lock equipped cable for securing it to a stationary object and has its own “raincoat” tucked away in one of the many zippered pockets.

Another bonus is that unlike Zero Halliburton or Pelican cases, it doesn’t scream, “I’m full of camera gear.”

Durability

I haven’t had the case long enough to draw a final conclusion on durability. Nevertheless, the construction seems to be of excellent quality and the quality of the materials used is top notch.

Price

As you can imagine, it isn’t inexpensive. However, at approximately $370, it’s still $200 cheaper than my Tumi carry-on bag of the same size.

Conclusion

The week long photography trip to New Mexico was cancelled so I haven’t flown with the bag. I did take a road trip and checked in and out of a hotel, kept the bag in the room at night, and drug it through the hotel lobby and to the car each morning and back to the room at night. It is also where I store all my equipment when I’m not using it.

Would I buy another one – absolutely. Would I recommend it to a friend – without hesitation. In short, I really believe that Think Tank has hit a home run with this bag.

Whatever I lack in ability, I make up in equipment. - Al Perry

Photo credits: (all) Steve Russell

*The Author did NOT receive any products or compensation in exchange for mentioning the Provider’s products and/or services on this website. The Author purchased this product for personal use with personal funds. We will only endorse products or services that we believe, based on our expertise, are worthy of such endorsement. This is not an advertisement.

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