Camera bag that fits gear and laptop ... and counts as airline "personal" item.

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by epp_b, Sep 23, 2010.

  1. epp_b
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    epp_b New Member

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    So, I can find plenty of bags that fit the first two requirements (fits camera gear and laptop), but I'm having a hard time figuring out whether the third requirement can be met, basically because I can't test it.

    I've been looking into a Lowepro Classified 250 AW (I've tested a 200 AW, which appears to be the same thing without the extra space for a laptop). I know that it will be able to all the camera gear with which I travel, plus a laptop cables and so on.

    What I can't figure out is whether it will fit as an under-the-seat "personal item" in an airplane. I currently use a laptop backpack and cram my camera bag inside of it. I've never had a problem carrying it on as a "personal item", but everything is crammed in far too tightly.

    Any suggestions?
  2. Rosshole
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    Rosshole New Member

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    My kata DR 466 is a great carry on and fits under the seat in front of me... If it works for you will depend on how much equipment you are putting in the bag. My body, 3 lenses and speedlight all fit (plus there is a another compartment up to for other things, kind of like a man purse lol)
  3. el_shorty
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    el_shorty New Member

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    I use the Tamrac Expedition 7x, which is a little bigger than the Lowepro Classified 250 AW, and I have never had any problems with any of the airlines I regularly use; Southwest, Delta, and American. It counts as a personal item and it doesn't necessarily have to fit under the seat, I everything in the overhead compartment.
  4. epp_b
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    epp_b New Member

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    Thanks for the responses. I should clarify a couple of things...

    1. I carry two bags: a suitcase and a personal bag. I prefer not to check either, so my suitcase goes in the overhead bin and my personal item goes under the ahead seat.

    2. I'm not interested in any backpacks. I prefer messenger-style or shoulder pack bags.
  5. Big Mike
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    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member

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    I've got a Lowepro Computrekker AW. It holds my gear, has a laptop sleeve and has been around the world with me as a carry-on. It's even got a separate area for miscellaneous stuff like a few clothes, lunch etc. Although, if I stuff it too full, it would easily be too big for the overhead bins or even under the seats. It's not the most ergonomic backpack, as it's sort of like a round lump on your back, rather than spreading the load out, like a NatureTrekker style bag does.
    Have a look at the Airporter Bags from ThinkTank.

    A bigger concern might be the weight. When loaded with camera gear and a laptop, it's probably way over the weight limit for a personal bag and probably even a carry-on, if they do differentiate. I've only once had someone tell me that it was officially too heavy, but she didn't make a fuss and just let me go.

    I think that many security personnel will give you some leeway about size & weight because they can see that it's camera/computer gear that you really wouldn't want to check. I don't know, but some airlines may actually have a policy for allowing you to carry sensitive equipment, especially if it has to do with your job.
  6. epp_b
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    epp_b New Member

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    Like I said, I fit all of my gear and laptop stuff in my current setup ... and it's not overweight.
  7. David Dvir
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    David Dvir New Member

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    The lowepro vertex 200 AW fits everything, and fits under the seat in front of me when traveling.
  8. el_shorty
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    el_shorty New Member

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    I should had explained myself better, I mentioned my bag for size comparison only, since my bag is bigger than the Lowepro you mentioned. I also carry two bags with me, a carry-on and my camera bag, I very rarely check in any bags, and I have never had a problem, but I put both bags in the overhead compartment.
  9. rCOSIO
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    rCOSIO New Member

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    I got a Tamrac Backpack ... Fits my 15"MBP, Gripped 7D with 70-200 on it, along with my 430ex, 17-35, and 27-70. Got some accessories in theire too .... has a sling side pocket for conveneince of pulling out camera if needed. Forgot model ... but check them out
  10. Scatterbrained
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    When I'm flying I take my Lowepro fastpack 350. It fits everything plus a 17" laptop. I've never had a problem either fitting it in the overhead or under the seat.
  11. Cheesyman
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    Cheesyman New Member

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    i got a lowepro pro runner 350aw, fits all my gear listed below + 15.4" laptop, great back pack and it mentions on lowepro's site it is compatible with carry on luggage for flying :)
  12. epp_b
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    epp_b New Member

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    Well, I bought a Classified 250 AW ... and I'll be returning it. It does fit everything I need to store, but the zippered-top paradigm just doesn't work for me.
  13. epp_b
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    epp_b New Member

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  14. Mathazzar
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    Mathazzar New Member

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    Hello!

    I'm actually in the midst of looking for a replacement bag myself and was looking at the one you ended up choosing as well. Could you offer any more thoughts on how you're finding it?

    I'm interested in things like gear capacity (is it going to fit a DSLR+battery grip+flash+extra lenses even with a laptop in there or do you have to be conservative about loading it?) And how is it comfort-wise when carrying it around all day?

    My laptop has its own sleeve/pouch so I'm not necessarily interested in having a dedicated laptop compartment so long as everything will fit. I'm thinking largely between this bag and their medium sized one:

    National Geographic NG 2475 Earth Explorer Medium NG 2475 B&H

    Would really appreciate your user feedback to help me make a decision. :)
  15. ironsidephoto
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    ironsidephoto New Member

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    Ugh. This reminds me of when I had to check my bag coming back from INDIA because it was too heavy. Lufthansa. Blargh. The fee to carry it on was the same as my deductible in case it got broken if I checked it, so I did and hoped for the best. Luckily, nothing was broken. (Naneu U220.)
  16. epp_b
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    epp_b New Member

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    You can see my detailed thoughts in the customer review I left for the bag that I bought:
    National Geographic W2160 Walkabout Medium Satchel NG W2160 B&H

    Note that the bag to which you linked is smaller. You might be interested in the bigger version of it: National Geographic NG 2477 Earth Explorer Large NG 2477 B&H
  17. Infidel
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    Infidel New Member

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    What counts as a personal item is often just up to the whims of the gate staff. The percentage of flights operating at max capacity is on the rise and now with checked bag fees, more people are pushing the limits of what they can carry on, thus cabin space is at a premium. I took a trip last week and both directions had my bag (20" upright roll-a-board) gate checked because the space was gone with 50 people still left to board. BTW, sitting near the front of the plane with only carry-on luggage is the best...last on, first off, no baggage claim to deal with.

    I understand the need to carry photo gear aboard (I do it too, albeit with a lighter load), but sooner or later the carry-on rules are bound to be more strictly enforced.
  18. epp_b
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    epp_b New Member

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    Both the NG bag that I bought as well as my previous bag (which was even larger than my NG bag) are within the acceptable size limits for personal items.
  19. Mathazzar
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    Mathazzar New Member

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    Just FYI, I ended up going with their medium-sized 'walkabout' series. Saw the greenish ones in the store and was completely underwhelmed by the quality and padding. The grey walkabout series from NG seems much better put together. Would also like to pick up a Retrospective 20 (what an incredibly gorgeous bag!), from ThinkTank, at some point for a lighter day bag vs. a travel bag.

    Thanks for the help! :)

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