Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Sparky

Help with backpack for international travel

Recommended Posts

I need some advice:

i want to purchase a new backpack.  I’m considering the Lowepro 450awii Protactic.

My issue is that I’m really concerned about whether this will be small enough to take on as hand luggage on my next trip.

I’m aware that there are several comments online suggesting it might me too big.

Anyone  travelled with this bag on Air France and Kenya Airways ?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs
19 hours ago, Sparky said:

I need some advice:

i want to purchase a new backpack.  I’m considering the Lowepro 450awii Protactic.

My issue is that I’m really concerned about whether this will be small enough to take on as hand luggage on my next trip.

I’m aware that there are several comments online suggesting it might me too big.

Anyone  travelled with this bag on Air France and Kenya Airways ?

 

I have the 350aw and have traveled quite a bit internationally with it. It fits under the seat on every international flight I was on. On smaller domestic flights it just barely fit (really depends heavily on the aircraft).

With that being said, the 350 is not my favorite bag. It’s capacity seems to always just be short of space for that last thing you want to bring. It’s also not very ergonomic on long days or hikes (not sure if that matters to you). There is also no space for non camera stuff like a light pull over or anything!

Ive been looking into Atlas bags. They strike a nice balance between camera storage and general storage. They might be of interest to you if you are adventuring with your gear.

https://atlaspacks.com/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, Sparky said:

I need some advice:

i want to purchase a new backpack.  I’m considering the Lowepro 450awii Protactic.

My issue is that I’m really concerned about whether this will be small enough to take on as hand luggage on my next trip.

I’m aware that there are several comments online suggesting it might me too big.

Anyone  travelled with this bag on Air France and Kenya Airways ?

 

Samsonite have a very useful guide to airline hand luggage sizes.

https://www.samsonite.co.uk/hand-luggage-size-restrictions-dimensions/

According to that, with Air France it is 

55CM X 35CM X 25CM | 12 KG

The external dimensions of the bag are 

52CM x 36CM x 22CM

So you are 1cm over in one dimension but a couple under in the other dimensions so you should be fine.

The weight limit with Air France is a couple more KG than budget airlines but its still something to be aware of in case you get a particularly officious check in person. 

I routinely carry way more than that and the key is to try and not walk up to the desk looking like its breaking your back to carry it !

In my experience, it is wheeled cases that get most scrutiny at the boarding gate so backpacks are generally not given much of a second look unless its a big 100L traveller type one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, BTM_Pix said:

I routinely carry way more than that and the key is to try and not walk up to the desk looking like its breaking your back to carry it !

Yes.  Also, if you're worried about it, just take your 70-200 2.8 out of your bag and carry it separately so that even if someone asks to weight it then it'll be a lot lighter than normal.  I find it a strange situation that they can weigh your bag, but can't weigh you.  

I have had extra luggage weight anxiety and I purchased a sleeveless vest with a huge pocket in the front in case I wanted to reduce carry-on weight, and it has a nice hood too so can act like a scarf or hood if I was cold or wanted to sleep on the plane.  My carry-on is actually underweight normally, but it's nice to know that if I have problems I can take my bags away to "re-pack" and basically just pocket heavy things then get through check-in and unload my pockets again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you want to abandon all sartorial elegance in pursuit of greater camera carrying capacity then I recommend this Domke vest.

domke.thumb.jpg.cdfd2431a39f86100a53fa0c94d74b88.jpg

I used to use one for working events as it is has enough capacity to essentially be a wearable camera bag but used to routinely use it to travel on planes to the events when a few airlines started to get anal about weighing carry on and the standard Peli 1510 took up 30% of the allowance before you put anything in it !

As well as the outside pockets it has inside panels that close with velcro and you can store a ludicrous amount of gear in them. I used to carry a couple of D4s, 14-24mm f2.8, 24-70mm f2.8 and 70-200mm f2.8 in mine and the vest was still like 

comeatmebro.jpg.625bec4bf4fb98ce4993a1dee2608c3f.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, BTM_Pix said:

recommend this Domke vest

HI BTM! I really like this vest but I can't find it online or any Europe store. 

Amazon will be great because I'm not sure what size will fit me (I'm 75kg/178cm). 

For my work, this transparent pocket, is a must for credencial/pass card!! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally I would skip altogether the idea of a photo backpack for air travel. Really, you are not risking anything at all. Actually I don't like photo backpack much at all. I think their main use is to make you look professional to potential clients or customers. Just imagine the different ideas a client can have of you if he sees you carry your professional expensive cameras in a schoolboy backpack versus an expensive 300 euro photo backpack.

Just use a good, light and comfortable trekking backpack and stuff if with your clothes for protection. You save weight and space. For example mountaineering gloves act perfectly as a lens case. You can fold a camera inside a T-shirt. A book at the bottom of the backpack act as a hard protection absorbing most part of potential shocks. A photo backpack will waste space and weight just by itself, and if you walk a lot you will feel the difference. Also, photo backpacks are like wearing a sign saying "hey I carry very expensive things". A worn out trekking backpack way will give the impression you are carrying your dirty clothes inside. Potential thieves will see you way before you can see them, especially in a foreign country. A photo backpack will make them concentrate their attention on you.

I see you list Air France and Kenya Airways. I suppose you are going somewhere to Africa? If so, I don't know your travel plans, but if you want to travel locally with local transportation, keep in mind the buses will be quite full and cramped (people sitting in the corridor, 3 people sitting on 2 seats, you will almost never be the first in the line to board the bus/car so you will  have to "fight" your way to the best seats, etc). And you don't want to leave your expensive gear in the common trunk. Your best option is to keep your photo bag on your laps when you are on the seat. Act as other spaces are not available. If there are spaces, good, if there are not, you are prepared.

Keep in mind also the battery paranoia of this year. Lithium batteries are only for carry on baggage, not checked in. So, count on this added weght also.

 

Considering air travel and the increasing paranoia on weight limitations, there are so many strategies to go with a heavier hand bag. My record was 28 chilos as hand luggage, totally undetected. You can:

- have a friend/relative carry you to the airport. You leave your photo bag to your friend while you go to the checking desk with a decoy backpack on your back, small and light (just put something inside like some clothes and books to give it some mass). Then, after your check-in, you simply switch your decoy bag with your real bag (out of sight of the check-in desks...) and off you go

- reduce your gear and for me the first one to go would be the photo backpack itself

- carry a jacket folded on your arm and stuff the heavy things in the pockets (use the side facing your body). Even the sleaves of a jacket can act as a temporary case to hold stuff if you make a knot at the end.

- you have a heavy hand luggage but you act innocently at the checking desk like you are carrying a 2 chilos hand bag. Considering the time spent at the checkin is like a couple of minutes, you could also ask something irrilevant to the operator to draw his attention from your bags to your useless question

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
41 minutes ago, Grimor said:

HI BTM! I really like this vest but I can't find it online or any Europe store. 

Amazon will be great because I'm not sure what size will fit me (I'm 75kg/178cm). 

For my work, this transparent pocket, is a must for credencial/pass card!! 

Looks like they finally bowed to the fashion police and discontinued it !

I also have one of these more generic ones which is ostensibly designed for fishing (as were Billingham bags so its perfectly fine to use them for other things) that I got because of the mesh for working in the summer at cycling etc. 

It doesn't have the capacity of the Domke but can still carry a lot, looks slightly less ugly (but not by much) and it is way, way cheaper.

I used to use the big zippable compartment at the back for carrying my laptop and the looped clips are useful for attaching additional lens carriers or drinks bottles when trekking up mountains to shoot TdF etc.

71cGvCt4k4L._SL1200_.thumb.jpg.b46df6ab4c4ae152f53b6391212c108c.jpg

https://www.amazon.co.uk/KEFITEVD-Lightweight-Fishing-Photography-Waistcoat/dp/B07MW7QMPL

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have one of those vests and find it very handy - although mine is just a cheapo fishing vest or something, in a nice greenish brown colour. 

As for backpacks and air travel, I've been using this CamRade backpack for a while and think it's fantastic. Highly recommended. I think it comes in a few sizes, the biggest is borderline plane friendly. I think mine's the middle version, but can't really remember now.

image.png.df819871985656893c4f2166f4d75f82.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use a camping brand daypack style bag for air travel carry-on and a camera luggage insert like this:

s-l225.jpg

That bag also carries my laptop, one of my hard drives (one carry-on and one checked as backups), headphones, and all the other travel bits and pieces too, so is only for travel legs.

Then when I get to my destination I have a separate lightweight backpack (one of those corporate fitness promotional bags - yes I weighed every bag I owned) and just transfer the camera insert into that bag for day trips, leaving laptop and everything else in the hotel safe.

I also bought a vest like this for the huge pocket in case I need to shed weight at the airport:

s-l225.jpg

Then again, I shoot mirrorless with smaller lenses, and I'm not a pro photographer so take that into account too! :) 

Isn't there a point where you get a hard-case like a Pelican for your carry-on because you're carrying that much gear?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, kye said:

Isn't there a point where you get a hard-case like a Pelican for your carry-on because you're carrying that much gear?

The standard Peli that can just about fit size wise for most carry on allowances is the 1510 but its 6kg before you put anything in it so it can easily fall foul of the 10-15kg allowance.

If they then make you put it in the hold then you have a potential new problem because baggage handlers see them and almost see it as a challenge to see if they can break them.

There is also the conspicuous nature to them that says "expensive gear in here" which means you need to make sure you get to the baggage carousel first but also marks you out as a bit of a target for theft in a lot of countries.

All those factors ended up progressively making them more trouble than they were worth for me as time went on and I stopped using them on most trips.

They make decent temporary seats whilst sat in accreditation queues though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm using a Wandrd prvke as a backpack and airplanes allow it as hand carry. Depending on the number of camera equipment you need but I frequently use that bag on my plane travels because you can easily remove the camera pouch and laptop, then put it on a container for separate inspection.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, TurboRat said:

I'm using a Wandrd prvke as a backpack and airplanes allow it as hand carry. Depending on the number of camera equipment you need but I frequently use that bag on my plane travels because you can easily remove the camera pouch and laptop, then put it on a container for separate inspection.

Have you ever had to remove the camera pouch for inspection?

The reason that I ask is that I think the only time that I ever had to (that I can remember) is on a domestic flight in India and security made me take everything out individually and wouldn't even let me keep them in the camera insert.  So there were my lenses and camera bodies all rolling around crashing into each other in the trays as they started and stopped (and reversed) the x-ray conveyor belt.  Then there's me standing at the other side trying to put everything back into its places and keep watch over everything while the 20 people behind me are standing around me snatching their stuff and basically trying to push everyone else out of their way.

Luckily I was travelling with my wife because the security scanner was next to the line where the women queued to be searched, and the men had to be searched in a line about 6 queues up, so you basically had to just abandon your bag.  There was no talking to security either - I've seen more polite crowd control techniques from farmers loading livestock into trucks!

That was an experience I'll not quickly forget!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, kye said:

Have you ever had to remove the camera pouch for inspection?

The reason that I ask is that I think the only time that I ever had to (that I can remember) is on a domestic flight in India and security made me take everything out individually and wouldn't even let me keep them in the camera insert.  So there were my lenses and camera bodies all rolling around crashing into each other in the trays as they started and stopped (and reversed) the x-ray conveyor belt.  Then there's me standing at the other side trying to put everything back into its places and keep watch over everything while the 20 people behind me are standing around me snatching their stuff and basically trying to push everyone else out of their way.

Luckily I was travelling with my wife because the security scanner was next to the line where the women queued to be searched, and the men had to be searched in a line about 6 queues up, so you basically had to just abandon your bag.  There was no talking to security either - I've seen more polite crowd control techniques from farmers loading livestock into trucks!

That was an experience I'll not quickly forget!

Yes and yup it depends on the airport. I usually visit Australia, and when I leave Aus I have to remove the camera pouch and my laptop and put them on a separate tray for inspection. That's my experience with the Melbourne airport. Good thing my bag's camera pouch is easy to pull out and zipper up and put it on a tray with the laptop. But yeah it's such a hassle especially when you're past security and have to go back to remove your gadgets and wait for it again to go through the scanners

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, TurboRat said:

Yes and yup it depends on the airport. I usually visit Australia, and when I leave Aus I have to remove the camera pouch and my laptop and put them on a separate tray for inspection. That's my experience with the Melbourne airport. Good thing my bag's camera pouch is easy to pull out and zipper up and put it on a tray with the laptop. But yeah it's such a hassle especially when you're past security and have to go back to remove your gadgets and wait for it again to go through the scanners

I live in Australia and so am familiar with removing my laptop, but they don't get you to remove anything else from your bag.  

I've looked at the mess of cameras, iPad, batteries, chargers, and other devices and wondered how they can really interpret what it is, but they all seem to be happy with it.  I once went through a TSA check in the US on a domestic flight with the detachable hand controller for an electric wheelchair (the chair itself was stowed) and it seems that wires and switches without a power supply causes some questions to be asked lol :) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, kye said:

I live in Australia and so am familiar with removing my laptop, but they don't get you to remove anything else from your bag.  

In Europe usually you have to take out lenses and camera bodies. It has happened a lot to me lately.

@Sparky I did a similar search not very long ago.

I finally went for the Protactic because I had the impression that it would be fit for international travel. I have only traveled locally since then, and the local airlines are somehow loose on regulations, especially when you do "TV jobs" but I see it fit for most airlines. Chech beforehand with low cost ones, or take out the biggest lens before check in and put it back in after.

What I do not like in this bag is that it can easily be scratched (you have to face it down to open it), maybe the similar Tenba has better material.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Kisaha said:

What I do not like in this bag is that it can easily be scratched (you have to face it down to open it), maybe the similar Tenba has better material.

This is one thing I like about having a normal backpack that opens at the top - I can turn it around and wear it on my front and get into it without putting it down.  Great for touristing (which is what I do typically) so you can change lenses while waiting in line or shuffling in a queue or whatever, and it also means it doesn't get put on the ground and get dirty, scratched, etc.  Of course, if you had a set and weren't moving then that doesn't really apply and you'd want something you can lay down and access it on the long side rather than through one end.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...