ZEP GEAR REVIEW: THINK TANK AIRPORT TAKEOFF ROLLING BACKPACK - PART 2
One of the things that I did not get a chance to do before I reviewed the Think Tank Airport Takeoff was to actually USE the bag in a setting that didn't involve just having the bag be a storage facility. Luckily, for me, I took a trip to Naples, Florida shortly after purchasing the bag and, despite being on vacation, still felt it necessary to bring nearly every single piece of equipment that I own. I figured that the only way to get a true read on how well the Takeoff was going to work was to really put it to work, and I have to say that, without a doubt, the Takeoff held up its end of the bargain.
Carrying Its Weight
So the first thing that I wanted to make sure of, when using the ThinkTank as a carry-on, was how well it was going to get through an actual airport. I mean, "Airport" is in its name, so there has to be something working in its favor, right? The first thing you'll notice when dragging this bag behind you, is how well the wheels roll. If you were born any time in the last 30 years, you probably remember a little fad called "roller blading" (or may still be a fan). ThinkTank seems to have taken the smooth-rolling wheels right off of a pair of K2 Skates and slapped them on the bag. It has no issues tackling the roughest of terminal terrain, and takes on bumps and errant power cords like a champ.
The handle of the bag, while at first appearing to be a bit flimsy, seems to be designed more to be flexible and take on the twists and turns of airport ramps. The handle is divided into multiple sections, unlike most carry-on bags that are divided into two sections, which lends itself to the freer movement in the TakeOff. As stated before, I was a bit concerned that the handle was going to be the first thing to go on this bag, but it held up on my trip and I have faith that it will do the same on future romps.
Getting The Monkey On Your Back
One of the most exciting features (to me, at least) of the TakeOff was the backpack straps included in a small compartment on the underside of the bag. Please don't mistake my excitement, though; this is a rolling bag primarily. An occasion may arise, however, where you need to free up both hands for shooting, or handing over a boarding pass and your ID, or just for carrying more bags. On this trip, I had my actual luggage, and a golf bag, so it wasn't always convenient to have the TakeOff act as a rolling bag. Think Tank, it seems, has thought of everything with this bag, and included a set of backpack straps that are both functional AND comfortable to wear.
Let me say this again: The Think Tank backpack straps are comfortable. You're talking weights up to, potentially, 50 pounds (the standard weight allowed for carry-on items on most airlines) in this bag that when slumped up over your back. Weights that should feel like you're carrying around the family fridge. Instead, Think Tank has included enough padding and ergonomics to make it seem like you've got nothing on your back but a light jacket, and this pack is comfortable enough to wear around for the duration of your stay in the terminal.
I'm incredibly please with my purchase of the Think Tank Airport Takeoff. It compliments my existing ThinkTank Retro 20 quite well and, even when I'm not actually flying, will be my main bag of choice for some time to come. The Airport Takeoff is like putting the comfort and storage of an SUV into the rugged durability and functionality of a Turbo Diesel Pickup Truck. You can't go wrong if your needs require a lot of space to store camera equipment, by picking up this bag.
And how was the trip to Naples?