Think Tank Photo Airport International 2.0 Review
All of us here at The Dojo are HUGE fans of products from Think Tank Photo. David and I both wear Modulus Speed Belts with different accessories. My old eBay-special backpack was really beginning to fall apart and has become quite heavy with gear. When you use a backpack and get to a point that you don’t trust the straps to stay on, it’s well past time for a new bag. After looking around at different options I had decided that I definitely wanted a roller-style and it had to be able to always be used as carry-on no matter where I go as I never check my camera gear as luggage. On the off-chance that I absolutely had to check the bag in, I wanted to make sure the contents are secure and safe as possible. With these requirements in hand, there was really only one option in my mind, the Think Tank Photo Airport International 2.0.
When you are on the run constantly, your camera bag is the home for all your equipment and having confidence that your equipment is safe and secure shouldn’t have to be something else for you to have to think about. A good camera bag should protect your equipment from the inevitable bumps and impacts but it also has to travel well and be able to help keep you organized so you aren’t scrambling around trying to find something. The very first line of Think Tank’s mission statement really gives you a clue what to expect:
“We are a group of designers and photographers focused on studying how photographers work, and developing innovative new carrying solutions to meet their needs.”
If you have ever used a cheap no-name brand bag and then got yourself a Think Tank bag, you would simply be amazed at the difference.
As I mentioned in the intro, the Airport International 2.0 roller is an ideal choice for someone that carries a good amount of equipment and has to travel. The Airport International 2.0 was designed to fit all international carry-on requirements to help ensure that you should never have to check your bag as luggage. While that doesn’t guarantee that a plane won’t be overloaded and they may force you to check your bags, at least it won’t be because the bag doesn’t meet their requirements. Hidden in the back is a hefty cable and padlock that can be used to secure the back to an immoveable object. In the front is a smaller cable that can be used to secure your tripod or other bags, and on the side is a unique lock that will secure the front zippers to make sure nobody can get access to your equipment.
Inside is plenty of soft padding and more dividers of different size than you could ever possibly use. It’s so nice to be able to completely customize a bag for how you want it to be instead of how some designed thought you should put things. On the smaller zippers are small string handles which have been improved over previous models with a molded handle instead of a knot that can come undone.
- INTERNATIONAL carry-on size
- TSA Security combination lock
- Front cable & lock secures laptops
- Back cable & lock secures to fixed object
- Security Plate with unique serial number
- Holds up to a 500mm lens
- Optional 15″ or 17″ laptop case
- Optional “low divider” set
- Interior organizer
- Replaceable wheels
- Front stretch pocket
- Front organizational pocket
- Business card holder
- Bottom handle
- Outside Diameter: 14″ wide x 8″ deep x 21″ tall
I swear, if I had to call Think Tank and order the bag with just the right amount of dividers and only with the exact tripod straps that I would use so that they could save money on shipping out all the extras it would still be worth it but having all those things means that everyone who buys a bag from Think Tank Photo can personalize it to their specific needs. For me, I keep one lens on one body all the time so I can get to it quickly and easily. I keep my other lenses handy and a second body tucked away in case I need it. Other people do not travel with lenses on their bodies or need to be able to have three or even four bodies. The diversity of the interior dividers that come with the Airport International 2.0 is simply staggering. On the outside, there are a handful of straps and even a small bag to allow you to accommodate anything from a monopod to a very large tripod.
Hauling the gear around with the Airport International 2.0 is simply a breeze thanks to the rollers (which are replaceable) that roll smoooooth and straight. In a crowed area, being able to secure your equipment and focus on your shoot is a piece of mind that only enough money to hire an assistant to sit on your bag and protect it can buy.
I have mentioned this before with reviews of the other Think Tank Photo products I use but it needs to be mentioned again, you will simply not believe the quality of the construction of these products. You look at RC-Fuse zipper which actually melts (fuses) the thread with the plastic coil to create an exceptionally durable zipper, or the thought that goes into adding just the right amount of structural support to keep the entire system stable without adding extra weight, or even just the overall construction and you know you do not have an El Cheapo bag you sniped off eBay for $20.
Let’s be honest though, this is NOT a $20 bag my any means, the cheapest price we could find was $328.95 at Samys Camera which is a whopping 5 CENTS off list price. The question you have to ask yourself is “do you need a $330 camera bag?”. The answer depends on you. If you are a professional photographer and are going to be using a camera bag on pretty much a daily basis, then yes, you absolutely need a bag like this. If you pull out your DSLR every other month to shoot the cat with its head stuck in your wife’s purse strap again, maybe not. If you are like me and shoot on a regular basis, often needing to leave your equipment out of site for a few minutes (weddings and receptions) then the safety and security of the Airport International 2.0 pays for itself in piece of mind the very first time you use it.