Camera Bag Review: ThinkTANK Photo Airport International V2.0
ThinkTANK Airport International V2.0 Review
by Thomas Trimbach
The Airport International V2.0 camera bag from ThinkTANK Photo ($329.00 MSRP) does exactly what its name implies. It’s a travel bag for your cameras, lenses and just about anything else of value, and is designed for just about any travel situation—even if you don’t take an airplane.
From the Outside
The Airport International V2.0 has the look and solid feel of a bag that is able to withstand even the most demanding travel conditions. The V2.0 has straps and handles which encircle the whole bag, allowing you to lift it easily from any angle of attack. This feature is especially handy when pulling the V2.0 out of an airplane’s overhead compartment if you have filled the bag to capacity with equipment (as I’m known to do) since exiting an airplane is habitually a grab and go affair. In addition, once out of the car or in the Jetway, there is a telescopic handle that pulls out quickly to get you going by the V2.0’s three-inch, easy rolling removable and replaceable wheels in fast order.
There are two outside zipper compartments—one for storing memory sticks, card readers, etc., and another compartment that has a nifty insulated steel cable with a combination lock inside in case you want to secure your V2.0 (and your valuables) to just about anything. The steel cable itself is about four feet long and is anchored securely inside the zipper compartment. The V2.0 also comes with another lock that will securely lock the main zipper compartment.
From the Inside
One thing that I really appreciate about the V2.0, which some camera bags do not offer, is the ability to remove all of the padded dividers. Don’t get me wrong, the padded dividers (with Velcro anchors) will allow you to construct infinite variations of compartment design to protect your cameras and lenses. However, I really like the fact that if needed (which I recently took advantage of on a trip to China) one can remove all of the padded dividers and use the V2.0 like any other piece of carry-on luggage.
Conversely, when used for what it was designed for, the V2.0 offers the photographer just about any compartment design to protect cameras, lenses, assorted support cables, chargers and anything else needed for the pro photographer on the go. With the padded zipper top I even felt safe with my laptop tucked in with two cameras and a couple of lenses.
In addition, there are four transparent zipper pockets on the inside of the lid that offer a great place to store more small electronics, such as a cell phone, or even letters and postcards (if you still use them).
When taking the V2.0 on an airplane as carry-on you will quickly notice that it fits easily inside the upper compartment above your seat. You will find this true for all the larger airplanes that you might take going across country or beyond. However, you will find it difficult to put the V2.0 in the overhead compartment on most of the smaller commuter jets. To make sure that you will have no problems fitting the V2.0 inside one of these smaller overheads you will find it necessary (as I did on two occasions) to remove the wheels. This for the most part is no problem at all since the wheels are designed to come off and on. However, you will need to buy an Allen wrench first at your local hardware store since the V2.0 does not come with one supplied. Once you do remove the wheels (it will take you about five minutes to remove both wheels) the V2.0 does fit in these smaller overhead compartments (like a glove). However, just be careful when you do take the wheels off since the V2.0 has a tendency to tip over when you stand it upright.
Overall, I do love this bag. I’ve taken it on four trips thus far (one to China) and it has performed wonderfully. All of the various compartment designs have kept my cameras, lenses and computer safe and secure for over 24,000 miles of travel. My only “fix” would be to give the wheels a quick release option so you don’t have to bother with Allen wrenches. To see the full line of photo bags from ThinkTANK Photo, visit their web site at www.thinktankphoto.com.