On Trains, Planes, Or Automobiles, Airport International Keeps Your Camera Gear Safe [Review] | Cult of Mac

On Trains, Planes, Or Automobiles, Airport International Keeps Your Camera Gear Safe [Review]


Think Tank International
The Think Tank International is ready for stow in a carry-on compartment near you.

A mere 6 months ago, I moved my glut of photography gear into a new, portable home: the Think Tank AirPort International Rolling Camera Bag ($350). Since then, I’ve been able to tote my equipment around easily, in style, but most importantly, packed snugly in a vault of total security.

I immediately loved it.

But as with most reviews, time tells how a piece of gear will really work. And now, with six months of carting the Airport International to and fro, I’m ready to report how it has performed over the long haul.

The Good

I love this bag because, with my multiple flashes, cameras, and other photo accessories, the Airport International (AI) can stow it all. It feels great having one place where all your gear is stored, and with room to spare even still, I anticipate the AI will be able to handle my medium-sized lens collection for years to come.

The Airport International is also built like a tank, which is good, ’cause I like tanks. Over six months of regular use, the AI still performs like the day I got it; its robust commercial-grade zippers still operate without snag or slow-down. Its wheels still spin like a well-oiled skateboard. After 180 days of use, the bag looks broken in, for sure, but is no worse for wear.

Those who travel with their gear will also love that the AI fits into domestic and most all international carry-on compartments. How great is that? I don’t even like to leave any of my toiletries home when I travel; I sure don’t want to leave any camera gear behind. With the AI, your full collection of photography favorites get to come with you wherever you go, no extra packing or sorting required.

And since the AI is built for travel, it comes with an assortment useful security and mobility features built right in. My personal favorite of these being the telescoping handle that makes rolling your camera gear around a cinch. This is a nice feature even when you’re not traveling. The zippers to the main compartment are also easily secured via TSA-approved built-in locks. But Think Tank also added a built in cable lock so the AI can be secured to anything stationary. These are the kinds of security features you’ll appreciate when toting $7,000 in gear.

The Bad

I said this in my first review, and it’s something that’s remained a nuisance: Packing two DSLRs into the AI can be a very tight fit. My Nikon and Canon bodies took some finessing before they could live together in spacial harmony.

But now that I’m down to one camera body, I’ve noticed that I have a big DSLR-sized space sitting in the bag unused. That’s because the internal compartments that come with the AI include a wall that fits two DLSRs with lenses attached, but not one. To stow just one camera I’d have to detached the lens-shaped wall and intend built some camera-and-lens-shaped compartment out of flat walls. That’s not easy when everything is lined with velcro.

The Verdict

In my first review of the Think Tank Airport International, I gave it 4.5 stars, and after putting it through the paces these last six months, I think that rating is absolutely appropriate.

For its robust build quality, thoughtful set of useful features, and plethora of internal storage space, I can’t recommend the AI any more highly. It has become my main gear bag at home and on the road because, quite frankly, I have yet to test anything that is better.

[xrr rating=90%]

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