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|| SportsShooter.com: News Item: Posted 2008-12-21
Travel Smart: Suck Or Shine
Doug Murdoch compares Backpacks with Rollers.
By Doug Murdoch, Think Tank Photo
I wanted to make some additional comments to Richard Favinger's post on the message board: Backpack or Roller?
Photo by D. Ross Cameron
Lewis the cat thought that perhaps he could fool his caretakers into taking him along on a spring training shoot in Phoenix, Ariz. by pretending to be a piece of camera equipment.
I thought this SUCK or SHINE list might be useful:
Rollers SUCK when:
• You hit long stretches of gravel, grass, or sand and have to carry them.
• Have to walk up a long flight of stairs.
• You fly on small planes like CRJ's.
• There is no place to store the roller when shooting.
• You go to check in for your flight and they say it is too heavy.
• There is no room in the overhead of the plane.
• They don't fit under the seat in front of you.
• Navigating large crowds of people.
• When your cat likes to sleep inside (see photo).
Rollers SHINE when:
• You are transporting lots of heavy gear.
• You want to give your back a break.
• You are primarily going to be walking or working on pavement.
• Traveling on mid-size or larger planes.
• You have some place to put in when you are actively shooting.
• You need your gear well organized for quick access.
• A roller can carry a HUGE amount of gear.
• It is possible to have all your gear in one piece of luggage, as opposed to two.
• If you have to carry another piece of luggage like a briefcase, it can go on top of the roller.
Backpacks SUCK when:
• They're so heavy you develop back problems.
• There is no place to put it on the ground.
• You have to put it on the ground first to access your gear.
• If the backpack is too big, you can actually hit people with it in crowded areas.
• Photo backpacks normally don't fit as well as outdoor-specific backpacks like Gregory, Marmot, etc.
• If you also carry a briefcase, carrying both can be a challenge.
Backpacks SHINE when:
• You are working on mixed ground, such as grass, sand, or gravel.
• Traveling on small planes like CRJ's.
• Wearing a backpack is faster going up stairs, escalators, navigating crowds, and in general trying to get to point A to B as fast as possible.
• In general, your total bag weight will be less than a roller, which helps when traveling on airlines that weigh carry-on bags.
• If you have to keep the backpack on while shooting, and are moving from place to place.
• Someone else is willing to carry it for you.
From my perspective, it is not a question of a Roller OR a Backpack. Most photographers need both. You just need to choose which one is the best for the type of event you are going to.
(Doug Murdoch is the president and a designer at Think Tank Photo. You can also read his blog at http://www.dougmurdoch.com. His column "Travel Smart" discusses information and concerns for the traveling photographer.)
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