Think Tank Airport Advantage XT.

“How do you travel with your gear?” With all the online teaching I’ve done of late (7 classes in 10 days), the emails have flown in asking this great question. I do not have just one answer but many, each kinda depending on how I’m traveling, truck or air, and what’s I’m going off to photograph, critters, aviation or landscapes. There is of course some overlap but here’s crux of how I pack my gear.

Above is a great example, this is the Think Tank Airport Advantage XT and how I pack it currently (here’s how I packed the original Airport Advantage). What you see in the main compartment are:

Nikon D6 / 180-400VR
Nikon Z 6II
Nikkor Z70-200f2.8
Nikkor Z24-70f2.8
Nikkor Z14-30
Nikkor Z1.4x
Nikon FTZ
Nikon SB-5000 (under 180-400VR)

This you could say is my basic weekend kit when I head out for aviation and most landscape shoots. The lid will have filters, ProGrade CFExpress cards and WRR10.You’ll probably notice that he D6 is traveling attached to the 180-400VR. You’ve probably heard you should do that. What can I tell you, I’ve been traveling with bodies attached to my big glass is day one and not recommending it to you, just telling how I travel with my kit. It’s just how I roll and have never had a single issue. This case is a dream to travel with and fits in the overhead of any aircraft except the CRJs. This is just one of three bags I transport my gear with on projects.

Think Tank Airport Security v3.0

When I’m taking the vast majority of the gear locker, I reach for the amazing Think Tank Airport Security v3.0. What a case, what a roller, what protection! The first thing you might ask is, “Why isn’t the body attached in this case?” Great question cause at times, depending on what’s going, it is. Think Tank provides one “section” that is a cradle just for that arrangement. In the arrangement you see above, I’m into taking a bunch of gear and this arrangement permits me to carry more than pack it for quick action. What’s in the case is:

Nikon D6
Nikkor 180-400VR
Nikon Z 6II
Nikkor Z70-200f2.8
Nikkor 105f1.4
Nikkor Z24-70f2.8 Nikkor Z14-30
Nikkor Z1.4x
Nikon FTZ
Nikon TC-14eIII
Nikon Z1.4x
Nikon SB-5000

Think Tank / Mindshift MP-1v2

Then there comes carrying the bad boy Nikkor 800f5.6. I designed our MP series photoback just to carry this big piece of glass safely around the globe which it has done without a hitch. Think Tank took the bag to the ultimate with their MP-1v2 which you see above (now sadly discontinued). This bag even with the 800mm inside fits in the overhead of even a CRJ which is why there is not body attached. That extra 1/2 to include the D6 would put it bigger than is allowed for overhead storage. What I have been known to pack in the MP-P1 v2 (my back keeps telling me to take less) is:

Nikon D6
Nikkor 800f5.6 /1.25x
Nikon Z 6II
Nikkor Z70-200f2.8 or 300PF or 500PF
Nikkor Z24-70f2.8
Nikkor Z14-30
Nikkor Z1.4x
Nikon FTZ
Nikon TC-14eIII
Nikon Z1.4x
Nikon SB-5000

That kinda sums up the basics of how I move about the world with my kit that gets carried on to the plane (this gear never gets checked!). I have created a number of “packing” video on my YouTube Channel you might want to watch for more ideas. While they are a little dated, you can get the gist of the logic of my packing. And that’s real simple, ultimate protection of my gear with the quickest accesibility to it when working.

For what it’s worth, all that I mention above is to get the gear on site. Once on site, I get the gear out I need to work and the bag and the rest of the gear is left on site. I don’t have a bag on my back or beside me when I’m shooting.

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