I picked up the Think Tank Airport Acceleration 2.0 recently to act as my main bag while traveling.
I’ve been looking for a new backpack for a few months to replace my current backpack, a Tamrac Adventure 9. The Tamrac is a good backpack and is perfect for a quick trip around town without a large lens. I used the Tamrac for about 1.5 years and it worked well with 1 camera body and two lenses: a Canon 24-105 and a Canon 100-400mm. The trouble with the Tamrac began when I picked up my Canon 400mm 5.6 L lens and the Canon 7D, the Tamrac became much too small for the new equipment.
So…I started looking for a new bag.
I started searching for something that would allow me to fit all my current gear into it today plus have room for my next lens (a Canon 500mm…saving for it now!).
The Search for the best backpack
My search found the Tenba Shootout Large, a Lowepro Pro Trekker 600 AW and a few different Think Tank Backpacks…which I finally whittled down to the Airport Acceleration 2.0 because it was carry-on legal and would carry a Canon 500mm.
I started researching these three bags more in-depth by reading what I could find on the web and asking around on the forums. All three bags received excellent reviews from the people that had them, but the Think Tank bag seemed to be better received by people.
The Tenba Shootout Large had one negative from just about everyone…it was LARGE. The name fits. It weighs 9.3 lbs empty and has external dimensions of 16.5″W x 20″H x 12.5″D. It’s a large bag. BTW – The Adorama listing for this bag shows it to be a lot smaller…but all other sites show the above dimensions. The reports on this bag are that its a great bag but big….it can carry just about anything you want to throw at it.
The Lowepro Pro Trekker 600 AW got nothing but rave reviews but a lot of folks mentioned the size was difficult for any travel on a plane. The external dimensions of the Trekker 600 AW is 18.1″W x 23.6″H x 15″D and a weight of 6.7 lbs. The Lowepro claims to fit a 600mm lens and I found a few folks who had used the bag for 500mm and 600mm lenses.
The Airport Acceleration 2.0 is quite a bit smaller than the other two bags. With exterior dimensions of 12.375″ W x 17.75″ H x 6.75″ D with an empty weight of 3lbs and a guarantee of being compliant with all airline carry-on rules today. In addition to holding a 500mm f/4 lens, this lens will also hold a laptop and has many pockets and for lots of extras (tripod, monopod, water bottle, etc).
After looking at the three bags and making a trip to a few local camera stores and saw the three bags, I decided to go with the Airport Acceleration 2.0. The Tenba and Lowepro were just too big for my needs.
An additional deciding factor for me was the quality of the Think Tank products that I already own (an Urban Disguise 40 and a belt & belt items). The quality of these items made me lean toward the Think Tank product from the outset and pushed me further toward the Airport Acceleration.
After looking at the bag, I’m happy I bought it. It’s not much bigger in overall size than my Tamrac Adventure 9 but has ~2.5 times more room for gear. I haven’t had a chance to throw my gear into it yet but it looks much bigger and roomier than the Tamrac.
The bag is well constructed and, as mentioned, roomy. The compartment for gear is extremely well constructed and seems very protective and provides a an easy way to reconstruct the interior to hold any number of camera bodies, lenses and other gear.
The weight of this bag is ideal…it weighs only 3 pounds, which is relatively small compared to the other bags I looked at. While light, it is still substantial enough to feel protective of whatever gear I might want to put into it.
The shoulder harness and belt on the bag are extremely comfortable have quite a bit of padding. One positive of the bag is the ability to tuck the straps and belt in to a compartment to save space when traveling. While the Tenba had this option, I don’t believe the Lowepro (unless I just missed it).
This bag will never be the long-range hiking bag that the Lowepro or Tenba might be, but the trade-offs in size and ability to get it onto any airplane makes it a winner in my book. In addition, I really don’t do a lot of long hiking trips…so this bag will do nicely for a day-trip as it’s got plenty of little nooks/crannies to hold a few supplies for a quick hike.
Here’s a few photos of the fully loaded bag with the following gear:
- Canon 7D with Canon 400mm 5.6 L attached
- Canon 5D with Canon 24-105 L attached
- Cotton Carrier
- Wimberley Sidekick
- Canon 1.4x Extender
- Colorspace UDMA Photo Storage and viewing device (between 5D and 7D)
- Cleaning Kit
- Battery Chargers for 7D and 5D
- Rain cover for bag
- Canon 7D Book
- Canon 7D Digital FIeld Guide
- Extra Batteries
- other odds & ends
Check back for a ‘field report’ of my use of the bag in the near future!
Check prices on the Airport Acceleration 2.0 at the following retailers: