Packing and protecting your photo gear can be one of the more stressful aspects of traveling. Bringing your complete camera system with all of your lenses and accessories is probably tempting, but you’ll want to balance the impulse to be fully prepared with the constraints of airline carry-on restrictions and surcharges, and consider the comfort of carrying minimal gear on day trips at your destination.
The right selection of camera bags and cases can help simplify the process of organizing, packing and porting your photo gear. These are some of our favorite solutions.
Convertible Hard Case
A hard-sided case provides the ultimate protection en route to your destination, but the extra weight and bulk makes it impractical for day trips once you arrive. SKB’s Flyer Series model 3i-2011-7BP has a unique solution to this: the customizable, padded interior is actually a removable backpack designed in partnership with Think Tank, accommodating two camera bodies and multiple lenses and accessories, plus a 15-inch laptop. The 3i-2011-7BP’s military-grade hard case is waterproof and dust-tight, and complies with airline carry-on size restrictions at 7x11x20 inches. Estimated Street Price: $329. Contact: SKB, skbcases.com.
Sleek Rolling Case
The clean, simple design of Tenba’s Roadie Universal can carry two camera bodies plus telephoto and zoom lenses and a laptop—without calling attention to your expensive gear inside. The discreet exterior is waterproof ballistic nylon, with padded hand-carrying handles on the side and top and a four-section handle that extends to a comfortable height when rolling. At the front is a padded pocket for your laptop with top access, allowing you to quickly remove it when passing through airport security. It’s also sized for carry-on at 8.5x14x20 inches. Estimated street price: $314. Contact: Tenba, tenba.com.
Elegant Day Pack
The Manfrotto Windsor Reporter has the handsome good looks of high-end designer luggage on the outside, with adjustable dividers to cradle your camera and lens selection for day trips on the inside. It can accommodate a camera with a 24-70mm zoom attached, plus additional lenses and accessories. There’s a sleeve pocket inside for a 13-inch laptop or tablet, a front pocket for smaller personal accessories, and a side pocket for a water bottle. On the front are two adjustable leather straps to carry your tripod. Estimated street price: $129. Contact: Manfrotto, manfrotto.us.
Sporty Lightweight Backpack
If you prefer the fit and feel of a backpack, the Tamrac Hoodoo 18 has room for everything you’ll need for a day’s adventure. Ideal for a compact DSLR or mirrorless camera, it has a padded compartment for your camera and lens, a large main compartment for a jacket and additional accessories, a 13-inch laptop sleeve and an organizer pocket for smaller personal items. The exterior is water-resistant waxed canvas to protect from unexpected showers and is available in blue, green and orange color options. Estimated street price: $80. Contact: Tamrac, tamrac.com.