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.
If you need to go beyond that, I'd take a serious look at ThinkTank bags for your fragile gear and whatever size sling bag you need for the stands/long mods.
ThinkTanks are fantastic: well-built and well-designed (and frequently updated by the thinking photographers who design them.) I absolutely love mine and I recommend them without reservation.
For a camera/laptop backpack (not a roller) I'd say go with the Airport Essentials case. 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. Capacity-wise, they go pretty much from "mirrorless cameras" to "I need to move a body."
Or rather, cart. Because there is one, standout choice.
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 guy 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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