Safari Photo Bag

Take a trip to most anywhere well off the beaten path, and the airlines can hit you with severe carry on weight limits. In my travels, 11 or 17 lbs have been the most frequent limits I’ve run into for flights into wilderness areas.

My sense is they’re actually more interested in the size – they want to be sure it fits in the limited overhead space. (If it’s a really, really small plane, I show the bag to the pilot just in case.) So, the trick is to pack the gear so the bag looks light.

Most photo bags are heavily padded and bulky. The ones that look small almost are too small. ThinkTank to the rescue. Their Urban Disguise series of should bags is perfect for this problem. I bought their Urban Disguise 35.

First, it doesn’t look like a photo bag for thieves to target. Fully loaded it looks like it weights maybe 9-10 lbs. Here’s what I pack in mine: Nikon D800 with 28-300mm mounted on the camera, 16-35mm, 50mm, SB900 flash, extra batteries, rechargers. And don’t forget the 13 inch laptop and recharger! There’s even room for a Bluetooth mouse. If it’s a once in a lifetime trip I can even shoehorn in a 70-200 f4 and 1.7x teleconverter. Loaded it weighs about 20 lbs, but looks less than 10 lbs. Since it is so small, it fits anywhere once on board.

No one has ever given it a second glance for weight limits. Remember, though, you have to carry it like it’s light!


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