Between a camera backpack or roller bag, my first choice would be a Roller. It's an easy way to carry equipment without stressing out your back and shoulders. The problem is that these rollers are difficult to work with when navigating through very crowded events (like CES), so a backpack ends up being the better choice.
There are many events to attend this year, and so for those reasons we decided to look for Hybrid Camera Bags (see a list of bags considered here) that offer the best of both worlds, and that's how we ended up with the Tamrac 5797 Evolution Speed Roller Backpack.
At just under $380 dollars, it's one of the more expensive bags on our list, but we needing something durable. When traveling for several days, dealing with something as simple as a broken zipper could be all the difference. From reviewing several other products, the Tamrac 5797 Evolution Speed Roller Backpack was the best one we felt was built to last, provided the convenience of a roller, while offering the best comfort as a backpack.
There is plenty of room for a few camera bodies, several lenses, audio equipment, misc accessories, and a full sized Macbook Pro Laptop. The Tamrac 5797 Evolution Speed Roller Backpack is still sized to carry on a plane so you don't have to check your gear when you fly.
Tamrac 5797 Evolution Speed Roller Backpack - via B&H
I am a wedding videographer and used this bag for one season but both straps have now broken. I wasn't impressed at all with the durability of this product!
@Ocean - The Takeoff is a great bag, you won't be disappointed. If you plan to work the wheels really hard, Think Tank offers replacement parts to keep your bag running longer. The Takeoff will protect your gear very well, it's pretty solid.
Now back to the Tamrac. Let me just say this is not my only bag. I have more than a dozen different types of bags, some are very robust. I chose this one for very specific reasons - traveling & events.
There aren't too many dividers in the Tamrac since it's split into two compartments. Easy to assemble.
I carry my laptop in a thin regular backpack with little protection, and i've upgraded my Macbook at least 3 times. Never had a problem with laptop damage. This Tamrac is very well padded, and I don't plan on carrying anything too heavy.
For events I work with two GH3s and (2) 12-35mm F/2.8 lenses. Very lightweight stuff. The rest is just wireless mic packs and small LED lights.
When traveling on airlines, it's important to be able to remove your laptop during security checks. This bag makes it easy.
The small pockets are for my USB battery to charge my phone, headphones, and other small quick items where I don't need to dig into the main compartments. It's also sized perfectly for Carry On standards.
This is my personal preference, but if you don't plan to use it for airline travel, you can get any bag you want. When i'm not traveling I own several other heavy roller cases. You should try each bag before deciding.
Hi Emm, I saw that you had Think Tank Takeoff on your list as well, which I was thinking of purchasing before seeing this blogpost. Since you mentioned the Takeoff is a choice of many, any particular reason that you picked this over the Takeoff? (apart from having pockets outside of the bag)
Do you know how strong the wheels on these kind of roller backpack are? Some people told me it's not safe for the gears after all. What's your opinion?
For most of my works, I have to walk around the city a lot and some pedestrian are not so smooth like indoor shopping malls. Do you think these bags can fully protect the lenses, especially the IS lenses?
Do you find it hard to reassemble the dividers, given it has two separate compartments?
Does the fact that the laptop is sandwiched between your back and the cameras bother you?
I know these are quite a lot of questions, so thanks in advance for reading. 🙂
I've truthfully never had a need to go straight from airport to event. I usually tough out events with a big pack like the Tamrac Expedition 7x or Cinebags CB25. Both can be carried on and have great suspension systems. It's a strain on the back but I couldn't imagine navigating packed events like Comic-Con or E3 with anything wheeled. Even a big pack is a challenge which is why I've been slimming down with a smaller pack and belt pouches. In those cases, I usually just walk into events with camera and monopod in hand and draw lenses, batteries and wireless gear from drop pouches. Low priority stuff is left in the pack.
@Rob S - The size is small as it needs to be a Carry On for airlines. I have used a few and did my research before ending up with this pack. I find it the best for my needs.
Most airlines require carry-on items to have an external linear measurement that is equal to or less than 45.0" (114.3 cm). The external dimensions of this case add up to 44.0"(111.8 cm). Not much room left before it no longer meets carry on size. It is as big as you can get. Do you have a suggestion for a hybrid roller backpack?
I like Tamrac and think they make nice bags. I have a couple that I completely trust. Well designed. But this one doesn't seem that big when compared to their regular larger packs and the price is a little high. Plus, it looks like they sacrificed a bit on the suspension side to make it easier to roll. No waistbelt which is important with a really heavy load. Straps look lightweight but not that well padded.