If you’re a long time reader of mine then you know I am a huge fan of Think Tank Photo bags. I own and owned many of them, and am always excited to spend time with new bags they come out with.
When I heard about their Airport Commuter bag I know I had to try it. With my job at Photocrati and my freelance photography, I travel a lot whether by plane, train, car or walking.
Before I get into my experience with it, I want to share some of the specs of the Airport Commuter bag. Starting with the weight, because it’s not the lightest of backpacks out there… but it is lighter than the Shape Shifter.
Airport Commuter Specs
- International and domestic carry-on size compatible
- Cable lock & locking YKK zipper sliders
- iPad and Laptop zippered compartment
- Tripod/monopod mounting system
- Holds a pro-size DSLR, 4 – 6 standard zooms, iPad and 15” laptop.
- Fits a 400 f/2.8 attached to a camera body or a 500 f/4 unattached
- Exterior Dimensions: 12.5” W x 18.” H x 8.5” D (31.6 × 45.7 × 21.6cm)
- Interior Dimensions: 11.5” W x 16.3” H x 6.8” D (29.2 × 42.4 × 17.3cm)
- Laptop: 11” W x 16” H x 1.3” D (27 × 40 × 3.5cm)
- Weight: 3.5 – 4.2lbs (1.5-1.9kg)
- Like all Think Tank Photo products, it comes with their No Rhetoric Warranty Policy
Airport Commuter Review
I was fortunate that during my review time of the Airport Commuter that I had a chance to travel in all sorts of ways as mentioned above. I can honestly say that the backpack fits in all sorts of compartments including smaller jet planes. That is something I was very happy about, and also worried about before I tried it.
The Airport Commuter fits a heck of a lot of gear, and I vary what I keep in it depending on where I am going and photographing.
Sometimes I keep:
- Nikon D800 w/ Really Right Stuff L-Bracket
- Nikon 20mm
- Nikon 35mm
- Nikon 50mm
- Nikon 85mm
- Lee Filters Neutral Density kit
However, other times I will swap out my prime lenses for 2 zoom lenses.
Either way I am able to fit that much gear and a lot of other things inside, including my GPS, cable release, etc.
As a photographer with a bad back I tend to use over the shoulder (twisted behind me) or backpacks more than messenger style bags. I was a bit worried about the weight of the Airport Commuter bag with all of my gear in it and am happy to say that my back doesn’t really hurt while wearing this for a full day.
The handles on the top, bottom and side make it easy to lift and even hang on my tripod. I also enjoy that the bag can stand up on its own if I need it to.
For the first time ever I have two complaints about a Think Tank Photo bag and one is not their fault necessarily but likely could have been avoided.
The first issue I have is that the tripod is on the side of the bag. That makes carrying it extremely uncomfortable as you have to adjust the backpack straps to distribute the load to the other side. Or you just walk crooked. I much prefer tripods to be strapped under the backpack or on the front side of it, like with the Shape Shifter.
The other issue was that my Really Right Stuff tripod was too large for the side holder system and ripped through the bottom of the elastic pocket. My tripod won’t fall out of course because there are two straps holding it in and the top part of the elastic pocket is thicker and stronger than the rest. So although a tripod leg will poke through the hole at the bottom, I still feel safe that my tripod won’t fall off.
On the upside, I know from experience that if I want to send this back to Think Tank Photo under their warranty that they’d either fix the pocket or replace the bag. However as noted I am ok with the way it is.
I without a doubt recommend this backpack for anyone looking for this style. It’s strong (aside from the tripod pocket unless your tripod is not as heavy as mine), holds a heck of a lot, secure and can travel anywhere.
Check out the Airport Commuter backpack page on the Think Tank Photo website to read more about the bag.
Thanks for reading and happy shooting,