Note: the photos above (and product overview video below) were taken from Think Tank Photo's Airport Advantage product page.
I recently picked up a new "bag" (Think Tank Photo Airport Advantage carry-on roller) for a trip to Southeast Asia. The itinerary included visits to famous Buddhist and Hindu temples, floating markets, national parks, an elephant conservatory, and of course some tropical beaches... all of this required several flights on small commuter jets every few days throughout Thailand and Cambodia. (Check out some of my photos here.)
After doing some research, I decided on the Airport Advantage over my shortlisted alternatives, namely other Think Tank rollers, a few backpacks, and hard cases from other brands such as the Pelican 1535AirWD.
Because I like lists, here's what I brought with me (all of which fit in the Airport Advantage):
- Camera: Nikon D810
- Lens: Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8E
- Lens: Nikkor 24mm f/1.8G
- Lens: Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G
- Lens: Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G
- Accessories: 2 batteries, D810 battery charger, 2 Pelican memory card cases, microfiber cloth, memory card reader, air blower
Action Camera Kit
- Camera: GoPro Hero 5
- Accessories: 2 batteries, GoPro battery charger, various mounts, floating handle, underwater housing
- Apple MacBook Air 11"
- Apple iPhone 6 Plus
- Apple iPhone 5S
- Chargers and plug adapters
I would recommend the Airport Advantage to anyone looking for a small carry-on solution when traveling with camera equipment. Be sure to check with your specific airline, as it's still really easy to load the Airport Advantage with enough equipment to exceed maximum weight requirements (which I did...). Thanks to the Airport Advantage's compact profile, I was able to board my flights with no issues. In the event that I did get asked to weigh the roller, I had planned on transferring the camera and 70-200mm lens to a small backpack in order to reduce the roller's overall weight.
I would not feel comfortable checking the Airport Advantage. While it's decently padded, I don't think it's meant to stand up against the rigors of checked baggage like a proper hard case would.
- Designed to meet most airline carry-on requirements, specifically smaller regional jets (I had no issues taking this on AirAsia and Emirates Airline which have some fairly strict carry-on luggage requirements)
- Lightweight (at least when compared to alternative roller luggage)
- Nicely padded and includes customizable dividers
- Unlike a hard case, the Airport Advantage appears small, light, and fairly inconspicuous
- This all helps to avoid the unwanted attention of airline employees checking for oversized luggage when boarding
- Only two wheels, instead of four
- Included sub-dividers are very thin
- Side handle pulls on exterior cloth when carried which feels like it could rip over time
- Unlike a hard case, I wouldn't feel comfortable checking the Airport Advantage
- Top and side walls of the roller could use some added stiffness (bottom seems to be ok)
Check out Think Tank Photo's Airport Advantage product page for more information on the roller, along with their (unintentionally?) amusing product overview video: