What is the best bag for traveling with a MacBookPro and DSLR camera/lens?
April 22, 2007 6:44 PM   Subscribe

What type of all-in-one bag would you use to fly (economy across the country) with Nikon D-80 + MacBook Pro 15" (or equivalent equipment) that is comfortable, easy to store for flight, and functional?

I'm trying to find a bag (preferably messenger/over the shoulder type) to use for air travel. I need to be able to cary my D80 and 18-200 VR Lens as well as a MacBook Pro 15" and associated accessories. I've been directed to Crumpler...has anyone used these? Thank you.
posted by tarthur to Travel & Transportation (13 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
If you want to protect a camera and a laptop, you will need to rig up some protection for them in a messanger bag. I suggest a deticated camera/laptop backpack, such as the Tamrac 759 (no recommendation, just an example).
posted by SirStan at 6:50 PM on April 22, 2007

Or get a dedicated laptop messenger bag (I have one and like it), but I doubt it is any good for carrying bulky photo equipment. I'd probably use a backpack model instead.
posted by maremare at 7:30 PM on April 22, 2007

I really like my Nike backpack, but I found this one that looks pretty cool. You might like it...
posted by bkeene12 at 7:30 PM on April 22, 2007

I have a Pelican 1552 soft bag for the 1550 hard case. I've carried it on flights with a laptop, its power brick, SLR with three lenses (incl. a long tele), extra battery pack, second camera, extra batteries, their charger, pads of paper, pens, etc. It worked great for me, but it also comes in smaller size (see the 1522 or the 1501) if you don't feel like working out your shoulders.

The panels in the camera compartment are user-positionable, and after positioning mine haven't budged ever. You ought to be able to keep anything securely snug. The 1552 has an extra zippered panel under the carrying handle so you can grab your camera without risking losing anything else. Clever. On the whole it's been a lot more satisfying and sturdy-feeling than any of the Tamrac and similar bags I investigated before it. The shock cord on mine wore out dead quick, but that's been the only memorable disappointment.

If I felt strongly enough, I could replace it. Measure the height of your camera before ordering: I first bought the 1522 and had to return it because my SLR was too tall to fit with a lens attached.
posted by ardgedee at 7:49 PM on April 22, 2007

Unfortunate paragraph break. If I felt strongly enough about the shock cord, I could replace it. The rest of the bag I intend to keep for quite a while yet.
posted by ardgedee at 7:50 PM on April 22, 2007

Best answer: What's the time frame for needing it?

If you need it off-the-shelf, I've been admiring the Naneu Pro military ops bags for a while, but have no experience with them. You can find them here

If you can wait two-four weeks, find company that will build to spec. I had a bag made by some crazy guy in southern CA nearly 10 years ago, and I'm still using it on a regular basis. It cost only marginally more than an off-the-shelf bag, but met my needs exactly. A company like Re:Load, Spire or similar should be able to set you up, and it probably won't be that much more expensive than a good off-the-shelf. Bring pictures / drawings / notes on what you want. Plus, it will be in your favorite colors, have nice detailing, and you'll have the undeniable travel cred of custom-made luggage.
posted by printdevil at 8:02 PM on April 22, 2007

Canon's Gadget Bag 10EG fits my D80 and a few lenses with no problem. My 15" MacBook Pro fits in there too (there's a padded compartment for it), but it's a tight fit.
posted by Venadium at 9:00 PM on April 22, 2007

Crap, I just linked to the wrong bag. I don't have the 10EG, I have the slightly bigger 100DG. Sorry about that.
posted by Venadium at 9:04 PM on April 22, 2007

bak2pak bags are very nice laptop bags with a convertible strap system. What is not so obvious from the website is that the interior is enormous for a laptop bag. It will easily fit a SLR body and a few lenses though they will need some protection of their own as the interior compartment isn't walled into sections.
posted by chairface at 9:13 PM on April 22, 2007

Best answer: I travel with a laptop and a DSLR camera. I throw everything into a large Chrome courier bag. The laptop goes in a sleeve, my extra lense goes in a lens case, and that's it. I bring it as carryon.

Pack the bag using your clothes as padding around the camera, use the sleeve for the laptop, and you'll be all set.
posted by zippy at 11:56 PM on April 22, 2007

I use a Kata torso-pack for my D80. I love it for hiking, but it isn't big enough to fit even my 12" G4 Powerbook. However, I'm very impressed with Kata's bags in general -- my undergrad school's film program used mostly kata bags for our gear -- and I know they make a variety of laptop + camera bags. I can't offer specific recommendations because I've not used any of them, but if the bags I have used are an indication, they're good.

What Zippy said should also work alright, but isn't the most convenient thing ever: pack some clothing around your camera for padding, use a sleeve for your laptop. I used to carry my camera and laptop this way in an Earthpak backpack when driving and walking, but I see no reason why it wouldn't work for carryon travel too. Just be cautious when loading/unloading your camera!
posted by Alterscape at 4:41 AM on April 23, 2007

Crumpler Whickey and Cox. no discussion.
posted by weaponsgradecarp at 6:21 AM on April 23, 2007

I have a large Crumpler 'The Daily', which supposedly fits a 15" laptop and has a removable pouch for your camera gear (I can fit a D50, OM-10 and Olympus Trip 35 into mine, along with three lenses, blower, accessories, wallet, keys, iPod... it can hold a lot of stuff is what I'm saying). You really wouldn't think it could hold all that to look at it. There are also two smaller and two larger sizes.

Best yet, if you take the pouch out, it is a really good size standard messenger bag. Lifetime guarantee too.
posted by ganseki at 11:57 AM on April 24, 2007

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