Whenever I write an article that says the day of the giant camera outfit - and equally giant camera bag - is dead, someone writes in to complain and tell me that they have 5 DSLR bodies, 16 lenses, 8 flashes, and a lucky key ring…and they want them all to go into a bag that will fit into the overhead locker on the next Virgin flight.
I welcome feedback like this from my readers, and advise them to change airlines. The RAAF runs C-130 Hercules flights to lots of places and they should be able to get that camera bag in the back door of the aircraft on a pallet. They may elect to unload it with a low-altitude pass and a parachute, but that is the chance you have to take. They have better snacks than a lot of commercial flights*.
Having prepared you, let me introduce a better idea - the Think Tank Turnstyle 5 sling bag. Never mind the pun in the name - I’ve done worse here and you’ve read it. The interesting thing about this sling bag is that it really does turn into two other things.
To start off: the basic bag has a narrow teardrop she designed to sling over the back from the left shoulder - it is narrow enough to sit between the shoulder blades and not get in the way. It is smooth and slick so you can move in a crowd without buffeting them.
There are three basic openings - a document flap on the front, an equipment bay in the middle, and a padded iPad slot in the back - this one takes the mini iPads.
The zips are professional-quality, as is the rest of the construction. There is an overall rainproof cover that you can pluck out of an end pocket to completely protect the contents.
The equipment bay is ideally suited to a mirror-less camera and lenses or perhaps a small mirror-less flash.
Now, as for the two other ways of utilising this…imagine that you are going to be somewhere that requires you to protect the contents of the bag - perhaps moving up a rock face or through a dangerous railway station. You just reverse the sling so that it depends from your right shoulder with the case in front. You can still reach inside to extract cameras or lenses but no-one else can dip into it.
If you want to free your shoulders from any burden, there is an ancillary waist belt attachment in the same pouch that contains the rainproof cover. Instant bum or belly bag.
This one you can realistically sling into the overhead locker of the local Boeing without a second thought. The seasoned traveller will bless the combination for convenience and protection, and the raw tourist will eventually find out that the old hand was right. They'll just need a few trips struggling through airports hauling a wheelie case to discover the truth…
* Plus the in-flight entertainment sometimes includes getting operate the door gun…coming into Adelaide.