Published on January 7th, 2015 | by Greg0
Think Tank Airport International LE: A Lovely Accent
Ten years is certainly worth celebrating. After a decade in business, one of our favorite brands of photography bags has created a limited edition anniversary roller that takes a classic and updates it a bit. Since we haven’t checked out the original model, it was the perfect occasion to enjoy the well-regarded suitcase with classy new leather accents. And the holiday season has been the ideal testbed for a piece of luggage aimed at serious photographers, as we moved into CES 2015 when we can fill it with new gear.
The Think Tank Airport International LE Classic is modeled on the Airport International (and the updated V2), a rolling camera suitcase with room for “up to a 500mm f/4 lens, unattached, additional smaller lenses and up to 2 gripped DSLR camera bodies” plus flashes and accessories- in other words, absolutely everything you could possibly need to take with you. Designed to fit in the overhead bin and meet airlines carry-on requirements, it has a TSA-compliant combo lock on the zipper but also includes a very cool security chain on the rear for those times when you might need to walk away for a moment.
We’ve previously reviewed a variety of Think Tank gear, and they make a pretty wide range of bags. The Airport line is aptly-named, and we loved the smaller Navigator. Some features are similar, like the tripod cup and accessory straps on the side, so you can easily carry your monopod or tripod, and the very solid, replaceable wheels. Think Tank’s warranties are legendary, and if your wheels wear out, they’ll send you a replacement kit for free. Thoughtful handle placement, including one at the bottom, help when lifting into storage. Other pockets, like one for business cards and a front stretch pouch, are nice touches too.
The outside of the bag is water-repellant coated, and made from 1680D ballistic nylon- at least the parts that aren’t leather. The real leather details on the panels, zipper pulls, and handles are what sets this limited edition version apart but they are fairly subtle (though nice-looking, to be sure). Dividers are plentiful and very flexible, with tons of options for your configuration. The bag isn’t light- without gear loaded, it’s about ten pounds- and it’s not cheap either. Nor is it a hard-sided shell that offers superior protection against drops or falls or accidents. But it has the best inside of a lid that we’ve ever seen, with handy zippered pockets for various necessities, plus one of the best retractable primary handles that we’ve used (with multiple sections that expand smoothly, retract easily, and feel good in the hand). Available soon for around $450, the Think Tank Airport International Classic LE is one of the more expensive roller camera bags that we’ve seen, but feels fairly priced, with excellent craftsmanship, aimed at those who carry an arsenal of gear and want it well-protected.