New Gear Post: Manfrotto Roller Bag 50

Finally, after many months, lots of sore shoulders and stiff backs, and criticism from my wife, I took the decision to get a new roller camera bag for travelling and having used it now, I thought I would do a quick write-up on my thoughts.

Travelling with your camera bag becomes second nature, and most of the time that's fine... just put it in the car and off you go, but when you are travelling further via airplane etc, then having a backpack style bag can literally become a (serious) pain!

I've travelled a lot over the last few years, with my camera gear, and while still intending on taking the minimum amount of stuff very often the bag ends up being pretty heavy. It might feel fine on your back in your lounge at home when you heft it a couple of times, but after 3 hours lugging it around an airport, picking it up and down, opening & closing, and probably not using both shoulder straps because you might be putting it down again in the next 2 minutes, it will start to get really heavy! Trust me, I know.

So, roller bags then - with wheels.. pulling instead of lifting and wearing.. sounded good to me! I looked at several different brands and sizes for my needs. Always being mindful that it had to be Airline Compliant in size etc for storing in overhead luggage spaces. The other issue is weight.. while regular roller bags might be pretty light (a couple of kg's) Camera roller bags generally have a lot more padding and design built into them to protect your expensive stuff inside, and so are a bit heavier to start with, thus making them heavier when filled up too. With varying weight limits on different airlines for hand luggage this is a consideration you can't ignore. Some limits are 10-12 kg's and some can be as low as 8kg's, so when your bag already weighs 4kgs empty, you need to consider the weight of your camera gear, laptops, paperwork etc carefully still - Or you risk being forced to entrust your expensive electronics to the delicate hands of the luggage-handlers (No thanks!).

manfrotto-roller-bag-50

I ended up picking the Manfrotto Professional Roller Bag 50 as my new carry solution. It has a bigger brother too, the Roller Bag 70, but I deemed that was overly big, and would likely just lead me to more trouble in the weight area. As it is the '50' still carries an impressive amount of equipment, easily the same as my largest backpack style bag, but a lot more comfortably. As per Manfrottos website: 'professional travel trolley bag designed to hold 2 pro-sized DSLRs, 2 x 70-200 F/2.8 lenses, 4-5 extra lenses, 2 flashes, a 17” laptop, tablet, tripod and much more'.  It also has a rain cover supplied, which means you can keep safe it from the dust and rain should the weather be nasty. (Check out the link above for full specs and pictures).

Having used this bag on a trip recently now, I can say that it was great; My shoulders and back were thanking me the entire trip - 2 flights to destination including approx. 6hrs wait time between flights in airport, then return the same - and after arriving at destination I felt considerably better and less tired than on previous trips. The construction is very solid, and the bag rolls along very smoothly behind you, no wobbling or bouncing, with a good adjustable length handle to control it. Access is fast and easy, with convenient side pockets for documents, keys etc, and the laptop pouch inside lets you just slide your computer in and out easily, but keeps it well protected. I try not to take my laptop with me abroad most of the time if I can manage with phone and tablet for email and documents etc, but this last time I had to have it with me. This always adds a chunk of weight to any bag, so thinking ahead to next time and perhaps not having the laptop will mean the bag will be around 1.5kgs lighter straight away.

So, overall I'm really enjoying having the Manfrotto Roller Bag 50 and I haven't come across any problems so far. Obviously if I'm going walking or hiking etc. I'll still take one of my backpacks, but I'm still finding the roller bag very convenient to take with me in the car to jobs, and just work out of it on location as well.

N.

(P.S. I'm not affiliated with Manfrotto in any way, and receive no payment etc for my review or opinions).