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|| News Item: Posted 2008-02-27

In The Bag: This is How I Roll
By David Honl

Photo by David Honl

Photo by David Honl

Honl uses this system to carry his true essentials almost everywhere he goes: ThinkTank Airport International roller case; Pelican 1510 Roller Case; and Mountainsmith Day Lumbar Pack.
From what I understand, the invention of the wheel probably happened many thousands of years ago somewhere in Mesopotamia, and judging by how hard it's become for me to get out of bed and walk to the coffee pot these days, I figure it was probably thought up by a guy over 40 that needed to make his ever-aging daily life just a little bit easier.

It wasn't until many thousands of years later with the invention of flying machines and sprawling airportropolii that wheels were added to travel trunks and bags, taking the "lug" out of luggage.

Like the wheel, I, like many photographers I know have evolved too. For me at least, the days walking around lop-sided by a camera bag with an unpadded strap digging into one shoulder are mostly over. My travel and work style has become considerably leaner of late, and since most of my shooting now consists of small Stobist-style portrait shoots on location I use this system to carry my true essentials almost everywhere I go:

#1-ThinkTank Airport International roller case ($329): As a carry-on for my essential camera bodies, lenses, speedlights, PocketWizards, batteries, flash meter, cell phone, iPods, etc.

#2-Pelican 1510 Roller Case with padded dividers and lid organizer ($200): As checked luggage for my lighting equipment; 3 compact lightstands, small softbox, snoots/gobos/gels, small travel tripod, hot shoe adapters, cords, chargers, etc.

#3-Mountainsmith Day Lumbar Pack ($80): Goes everywhere with me and when it's not carrying an extra pair of clothing and all my travel documents, I stick a Domke insert inside and carry a camera body, a couple of lenses, and a speedlight for everyday shooting. I can even slip in my 12" PowerBook.

Now, here are a couple of incidentals that I absolutely will not leave the house with if I'm getting on a plane. For longer hauls, these will give you the bag-within-a-bag versatility I like, on wheels:

Photo by David Honl

Photo by David Honl

The bag-within-a-bag versatility Honl likes, on wheels: A 48" black canvas duffel bag; Oversize Cargo/Storage Bag; and Townsteel Compact Hand Truck.
• A 48" black canvas duffel bag (around $15) from an army surplus store. I've carried a few Turkish rugs in this bag alongside my stands and tripods, with plenty of room to spare. Mine zips from end-to-end for easy access. Long enough for most didgeridoos too.

• Oversize Cargo/Storage Bag made by Everest ($20). Super lightweight, and carries at least 2 or 3 smaller pieces like my Pelican 1510 and a larger backpack or two. Even if I don't need this for an outgoing flight, I fold it up and carry it in the chance I need to carry something on the return trip, like a Middle Eastern copper tea tray, or a big stuffed toy camel for my niece.

• Townsteel Compact Hand Truck ($85). Don't even think about buying one of those flimsy folding luggage carts from the airport shops. This one has big wheels and a wide wheelbase, which are absolutely necessary to get over curbs and prevent an embarrassingly clumsy tip over in the middle of the street. Weighs a whopping 10 pounds, but has saved the discs in my back more than a handful of times, and carries nearly 200 pounds. The airlines have never failed to let me either check this or let me carry it onboard.

(David Honl is an American photographer based in Istanbul Turkey. His photography and links to the gear in this article gear can be found on his website at

Related Links:
Honl's member page

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