Product Review – Think Tank Airport Acceleration V2.0 Camera Bag
Written by: steve
To paraphrase Will Rogers, I never met a Think Tank product I didn’t like.
In November of last year I wrote an article reviewing the Think Tank Airport Security V 2.0 roller bag that I had recently purchased. I thought the bag was awesome then and I still think it’s awesome. An absolutely wonderful piece of equipment. At the time I had not been able to travel with the bag but since then I’ve flown with it and taken road trips with it. It rolls easy, has an extra long pull handle so I’m not banging it with the heel of my shoes when I’m pulling it and it holds all my stuff. Another great thing about it is that it comes with enough dividers that you can stack some items, one on top of the other, to get even more gear in the bag.
In travelling with the bag I discovered two minor problems. The first is that it holds so much gear that it gets really heavy. Of course that’s my fault. The bag performs very well even with all the weight, but it can be a bear to lift into some of the smaller overhead bins of an airplane. The second and real issue is that it can be difficult to place in the overhead bin of smaller aircraft like an older MD-80. On one flight I almost had to check the bag which was not something I wanted to do with my photography equipment.
I also have a Tanrac Cyber Pack 6 backpack camera bag that I was never really crazy about. It’s a good bag but there were a number of things that didn’t fit my needs. As a result, I’d been considering getting a Think Tank backpack camera bag that would fit in the overhead of an MD-80, that would not hold so much that I was tempted to put everything in it which in turn would make it overly heavy, yet still have all the advantages of the Airport Security V2.0 bag. Imagine my excitement when Tiffany and I were contacted by Think Tank Photo and asked if we were interested in reviewing some of their products. I was sent the Think Tank ~ Airport Acceleration V 2.0 bag and I immediately started using it.
Because I received the product in exchange for writing a review I wanted to make sure I really put it through its paces and make sure I was basing my review solely on the performance of the product. I’ve had it for almost 6 months now and have given it a thorough work out. I’ve carried it on commercial flights, taken numerous road trips, trekked through the woods, and carried it on location shoots. All in all, it gets an A+ from me.
Here are some of the things I really like about the bag:
1. Quality of construction – Think Tank bags are rock solid and the Airport Acceleration is no exception. Made of very strong fabric, heavy duty zippers, high-end backpack quality straps and buckles, I’m convinced I’ll never need to replace it unless I lose it (touch wood). You can get a very good idea of the quality of construction just by holding it your hand.
2. Size – The outside dimensions of the backpack are 18.5” H x 13“ W x 7” D which means it’ll fit in the overhead storage compartment of most commercial aircraft. The internal dimensions are 17.75” H x 12.375“ W x 6.75” D which means there’s ample room for lots of equipment.
3. Capacity – I’ve carried two camera bodies with battery grips, a Canon 5D Mark II and a Canon 7D, a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, 24-105mm f/4 lens, 300mm f/4, 100mm f/2.8 macro, 580 EX II Speedlight, and a Sekonic L-358 light meter and there’s still room for more stuff. It also comes with a padded computer case that will hold a 15-inch laptop. The computer case slides in the outside pocket of the back pack. Without the case, the outside pocket will hold a 17-inch laptop.
The bag will also hold a 500mm f/4 lens as seen in the image above. I don’t have a 500mm lens, yet, so I haven’t tried to fit it and the other stuff I want to carry into the bag.
4. Shape – Most backpacks, including most photography backpacks have a rounded top. That’s fine, I don’t profess to be a backpack designer but I like to put my two camera bodies at the very top of the pack. Somebody at Think Tank, at one time or another, must have had the same thought. The Airport Acceleration is as wide at the top as it is at the bottom giving it a rectangular shape. Guess what? Both camera bodies fit side by side at the top.
5. Comfort – I have a lot of experience with backpacks. Boy Scouts as a kid. Twelve years in the Army. Backpacking in the Olympics, Cascades and Sierra mountains using both external frame and internal frame backpacks. This backpack is very comfortable. It’s easy to adjust the straps and easily rides high on my back.
6. Handle on top – At first this seems like a ho-hum addition to the bag. However, when you’re trying to move the bag around in tight spaces, or just carrying it for a short distance, it’s a lot more comfortable to carry with the built-in, padded handle on the top than it would be grabbing one of the shoulder straps.
Here are some things I don’t like about the bag.
Actually there is only one thing I don’t particularly care for in the construction of the bag. Note that in item 5 above, I have a lot of experience with backpacks and am very comfortable with the standard plastic slide release buckles commonly found on backpacks. For some reason, Think Tank opted to put a differently designed buckle on the flap that closes the outer pocket that is used to carry a laptop. To me, the buckle was a little awkward getting used to. It doesn’t bother me now, but at first, every time I wanted open the flap I’d squeeze the side of the buckle and nothing would happen. I have to admit that it gives the bag a sleeker look and because of the way it’s designed, it won’t get caught on other stuff and that may be what the Think Tank designers had in mind when they put that particular buckle on the bag.
To be truthful, I guess I have to admit that I’m being a little on the picky side complaining about the buckle design, but sometimes old habits die hard.
If you want to learn more about the bag and it’s features you can go the Think Tank website and click on the features tab.
If you’re thinking about buying a backpack style camera bag, I highly recommend you consider this bag. At first you may think it’s a little pricey, but the design and quality of the bag makes it a great bargain.
All Photos provided by Think Tank Photo
*The Author received complimentary products in exchange for reviewing the Provider’s products and/or services on this website. Such compensation received did not and will never influence the content, topics or posts made on this website. We will only endorse products or services that we believe, based on our expertise, are worthy of such endorsement.