I was in the market for a new bag to hold my suddenly increasing gear. If ever you’ve tried traveling by plane, you’ll know how difficult it is to lug your gear around in your backpack. It’s heavy enough to break your back. And checking them in isn’t always an option because it’ll surely bring your luggage to the weight limit.
Enter the airport-friendly bags for the modern photographer. There were several brands that I was choosing from: Pelican 1514, Lowepro ProRoller Mini, ThinkTank Airport Security and a cheap Nikon rolling backpack that I found in one of the stores, among others. All of these choices offered two things I was looking for:
- Easy to lug around; can’t get any easier than wheels
- I can bring at as carry-on luggage
- Price vs. quality and features
I was choosing between the cheapest of them all, the Nikon rolling case with backpack straps, or the more expensive ProRoller Mini. I ended up slightly more expensive but better bag than both of them. The Lowepro Rolling Computrekker AW has inline-skate wheels, backstraps for when you can’t roll it, a laptop pouch, CF card pockets, a rain cover, and lots of padded compartments. And it only cost me Y30K in Yodobashi.
Well, I just came back from a shoot in Kyoto, and had put the bag to the test. It rolled all the way from my house to the trains and on to the bus to Kyoto, all the way to each train platform I passed through. And when I was up in the slopes of Kurama and Fushimi Inari, I carried it backpack-mode.
On wheels, it rolled smooth as silk and saved me from future backpains. Though my shoulders ached till the next day, it was because it was a long trek through Kurama and Fushimi Inari. The contoured shoulder and back pads really helped as I am sure I’d have a much more tiring experience with my previous Lowepro Toploader 75. Then again, the Toploader wasn’t meant for travelling heavy at these kinds of distances.
Special thanks goes to RBM for persuading me to spring Y2,000 yen more for this rather than getting myself a ProRoller Mini. It’s a good bag in its own right, but it would have been a nightmare bringing it up the mountains!
In less than 2 months, I’ll be riding on a plane again. Feels good to know I won’t be sweating my pants off lugging overweight luggage this time around or having to wrap my lens and other gear around several layers of socks and towels.