Choosing Cases and Carts
Most of you will end up using two small lights with stands and mods and a modest bag of camera gear. Not that there's anything wrong with that. You can do a ton of cool stuff with two speedlights. I have gone far past that level of gear in the past, and often to my regret.
If that's you, grab the shoulder-slung camera bag of your choice. Then augment it with this:
The LumoPro Padded Lighting Case is cheap ($30), lightweight, protective and perfect for a two-speedlight lighting kit. It'll carry two compact stands, speedlights, mods and various doo-dads perfectly.
Note, it might feel a little big if you are using a one-light kit. After all, a one-light, all-compact kit could probably fit in a chess bag. But the various additional "necessaries" all take up space. Or if you want to bring along a full-sized stand, or a larger light mod like a 60" Softlighter, you'll appreciate the extra room.
For traveling with cameras, for protection and convenience I'd take a serious look at ThinkTank bags.
Basically, you can't go wrong with ThinkTank. They are fantastic: well-researched, well-designed and well-built (and frequently updated by the thinking photographers who design them.) I have several, absolutely love them and I recommend them without reservation. You can get anything from an SD card wallet to a rolling coffin.
For a camera/laptop backpack (not a roller) I'd suggest looking the Airport Essentials case, which is pictured just above. It's my desert island gear carrier. As a Fuji shooter, it doubles as a carry all and go-to travel bag for me. By far, it's my most-used travel case.
If you are a DSLR shooter, you might want to step up to something a little bigger/deeper. But I actually like that the Essentials case forces me to winnow down my gear a bit when traveling.
Still, it holds a good amount of stuff, very securely. It's also the perfect size to curl up with on a plane in coach. Just put it on your lap, wrap your arms around it and rest your head atop it on that Toys-R-Us pillow they give you. That's the best way I know to sleep on a plane.
If you need more capacity (or wheels) step up to any of ThinkTank's bigger rollers without hesitation. They are all solid choices. And again, as far as capacity they go pretty much from "mirrorless cameras" to "I need to move a body."
I hesitate to even bring this up. But one day you may find yourself looking at a pile of bags and light stand slings and rollers and you may start thinking, "I need a cart to do all of this in one trip."
Let me first say that I do not envy you. And second, also say that I have been there myself. Not full-blown McNally-ladened, but too much to carry in one trip. By a long shot.
When that day comes, you'll start thinking about a folding cart. And rather than endure all of the mistakes (and wasted money) that I did, I am going to suggest you go straight to a Rock-n-Roller MultiCart.
Why MultiCart? Solid build, folding, expand to a big size if needed, can be a dolly, can hold a board to double as a digital tech's desk on set—you name it. They rock. And roll.
They make several sizes, but I recommend either the R-8 (smaller) or the R-12 (bigger).
If you have not yet heard of them, that is because they were originally designed and marketed for the music industry. (Those guys hump a lot of gear around, too.) But increasingly, they have been adopted by backache-plagued photographers everywhere.
They are highly functional, versatile and built like tanks. Either of these will likely be the last cart you ever buy.
As a bonus, you will likely (and hopefully) use them more around the house than you even do for work. At least I hope so. Because it kinda sucks to travel with that much gear in tow every day.
But if you are gonna, this is your cart.
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