We’re heading out to Santa Rosa, just north of San Francisco to join the Think Tank Photo (TTP) team in their 10th anniversary celebrations and looking forward to catching up with all their team on their home turf.
Deciding upon public transport to get to the airport, the big question: what bag or bags to take?!
For me I decantered my lighting equipment and stripped the dividers out of my Airport Security roller, then filled this with clothes and personal gear for the hold. Thankfully the built in TSA zipper lock for the main compartment saved me scrabbling around in search of a padlock at home.
Now for hand luggage I’d normally take my Canon DSLR gear, laptop, tablet, chargers, and other gadgets and utilise the Airport International roller for all this. I like to give my body a rest from carrying gear whenever I can, and one bag also means I’m less likely to loose stuff enroute…
Flying with British Airways this roller fits perfectly in their carry-on bins, and even when heavily laden with big glass I’ve yet to exceed their 23kg carry-on limit with it. Also having the ability to put the laptop inside the roller (utilising the low dividers) gives peace of mind and ease of access for security checks.
However, as this trip is a short one I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to road test the new Urban Approach 15 (UA15) backpack and Urban Approach 10 shoulder bag… oh and take less stuff!
It’s not until I try out each bag that I really appreciate the little nuances that really make the TTP bags stand out from the crowd.
Gear wise I opted for my Fuji mirrorless system, Lee filters, iPad, Bose music system, chargers of course, and last minute thankfully remembered my plug adapters for the USA!
The UA15 backpack, with its tapered front, is incredibly deceptive in size and I was really surprised at just how much gear can be comfortably configured in this slim, smart, neat little bag.
The big bonus with this is the ability to slide it over the extendable handle of a roller, thanks to the addition of a fabric strip across the back of the bag, which doesn’t affect the comfort when wearing it. This made my walk to the train station and the change to the bus pretty smooth running.
Breaking with habit I also packed the Urban Approach 10 (UA10) for the small bits I was likely to want quick access to on the flight, and also for fitting the Fuji gear and iPad in when wandering around the town. Like the back back this is incredibly light and surprisingly capacious.
The UA10 combines the features of several shoulder bags in the Think Tank Photo range:
=> the lightness and strength of the CityWalkers with the ‘X’ clasp to secure the front flap and padded shoulder strap
=> the Retrospective Velcro fastening also on the front flap along with the silent feature for added security and quick access to the main compartment, grab handle allowing you to slide this over the roller handle, and expandable front pocket
=> the Urban Disguise Classic clutter free smart exterior with leather accent along the front flap, with rear pocket for small papers or accessories
=> the Mirrorless Mover expandable side pockets for a small water bottle and perfectly sized interior to fit 10″ tablet and mirrorless or micro 4/3rds gear
Now my fellow traveller and business partner, aka my Pa, opted for one bag as carry on and a small Stuff It pouch on the belt for necessities.
His choice bag was the Airport Accelerator – a rectangular backpack equivalent size to the Airport International roller and fits the BA luggage bin perfectly, yet fits so much more as there’s no extendable handle to cater for. Weighing in at 2.3 kg (check this) prior to packing and having dedicated pockets for both 15″ laptop and 10″ tablet, this provided the perfect solution for him to maximise his carry-on.
Pa finds this bag extremely comfortable to wear, and the easily adjustable straps make for best fit and easy to get on and remove without having to contort your arm. Oh and it’s cool and he likes it!
As well as these bags, the Travel Pouches both small and large make for great toiletry and clothes carriers, and the new CF/SD & Battery wallet keeps the small camera bits together.
So, prior to catching up with the TTP guys we’re heading to the the Schultz Museum and a pit stop at Willy Bird’s!
We caught up with multi-award-winning Guardian Sport Photographer Tom Jenkins over the summer and took a look at what gear he fits in his Airport Security:
Here’s what Tom says:
This is the typical kit I take to a football match. Layout is as follows anti-clockwise from top left:
1/ 24-70mm 2.8
2/ underneath hidden 70-200mm 2.8 on top SB900 flash and 1.4 converter.
3/ mini tripod head (for remote), 28mm 2.8 for remote
5/ D3s, D3, spare battery
6/ 500mm f4 with on top mini tripod legs and pocket wizards.
For a football match I would also take another D3 body plus 300mm f2.8 in a laptop bag with my mac. Waterproof gear goes in front pocket of Airport Security along with stool. Monopod down the side of the bag.
Tom is offering a Masterclass to Fixation customers, in London. He’ll be sharing his techniques and ideas, inspiration and creative drive, as well as suggesting essential tools for creating the perfect image of the greatest sporting moments.
ABOUT TOM:I started being a professional sports photographer in 1989. For the vast majority of the time since I have worked for The Guardian and The Observer newspapers. Of the many international events I have covered probably the 5 World Cups and 3 Olympics stand out as the highlights. As a lover of sport and photography it has to be the best job in the world! One of the best pieces of advice given to me right at the start of my career was to ‘get yourself down to Fixation. They will sort it out!’. Ever since I have relied on them to fix my gear (be it Nikon, Canon then Nikon again!) and find me new equipment. Quite possibly I couldn’t do my job without the back-up I get from everyone at Fixation.
The Masterclass will be on Tuesday the 4th of December from 6:30pm.
Tickets are strictly limited to 35 delegates for this very special evening.
Ticket price of £45 will entitle you to a signed copy of Tom’s new book “In the Moment” (cover price £30) as well as access to a whole raft of very special discounts on the kit that Tom uses on a day-to-day basis including:
ThinkTank Photo, Pocket Wizard, Aquatech, Lastolite, Manfrotto, and more… plus special offers on Nikon Pro gear and accessories!
Call Fixation on: 020 7582 3294 to reserve your place, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can purchase “In the Moment” from Fixation or from The Guardian
After meeting Greg Funnell to carry out a health check on his much travelled Think Tank Photo Airport Security V2 roller bag, he sent us this little behind the scenes video of a shoot he had in London with the Hollywood film director, Joe Wright. Check out just how much camera and Elinchrom lighting gear he has in one roller bag!
You can see more of Greg’s work here: www.gregfunnell.com
More info here on the: Airport Security v2 roller bag