View Full Version : Looking for a FAA approved carry-on photo/laptop backpack
02-13-2008, 01:56 PM
I'm traveling with a bunch of small cameras (mf pinhole, holga, 35mm w/50, maybe the rolleicord) but I also need it to carry a laptop.
I've read that the Tamrac 5256 Cyberpack 6 is FAA approved.
I'm looking for advice, experiences, reviews.
Thanks and Be Well
02-13-2008, 02:11 PM
Victor, on every flight in recent years, both domestic and out of the country, the security people have always ask that laptops be removed from their case for inspection... So the case does not matter much. I have flown with camera kit in a Lowepro minitrekker and have been pulled out of line for inspection about 50% of the flights. Of course it could just be the way I look......
02-13-2008, 03:01 PM
It could be that hat, Bill. Black hats are a dead give away.
02-13-2008, 03:32 PM
I think "FAA Approved" is more a marketing gimmick than anything else.
You simply need to find a bag that will "fit" in the overhead compartment. I've seen some awfully large bags get crammed up in there - so I don't think you'll have a problem with just about any camera bag including the very largest Lowepro backpack.*
Bill is absoutely correct about needing to have your laptop out. So you want a pack where you can easily get out your laptop - as you have to pass it through the x-ray machine out of the case. There is nothing to me more irritating about the security line than to be stuck behind some guy who doesn't know this and then starts fumbling around trying to get his laptop out. Invariably he also the guy who then tries to pass through the magneto device wearing some humongous gold medallion around his neck as well as a belt around his waist with buckle larger than the hubcap on a 1958 Cadillac!
* These comments refer to "regular sized" planes such as a Boeing or Airbus - if you're flying on a regional airline using a Bombardier or Embraer the "overheads" are much smaller and you'll probably have to check the bag with the flight attendant.
02-13-2008, 03:40 PM
I don't believe that the FAA approves carryon luggage.
The individual airlines may have regulations governing the size of carryon articles, and there may be information on their respective web sites that could provide some guidance. But even that may not be absolute.
I know from actual experience that its not always possible to carry on so-called "carryon" luggage. The fact is that the actual space available depends on the design of the aircraft - the underseat and overhead space on "pond hoppers" is miniscule, and it is often necessary to gate-check carry-on bags because the just won't fit on the plane. And those small planes aren't just for "commuter service" any more - today it's not uncommon to find yourself stuffed into those cramped seats for flights that are two hours or more in length.
02-13-2008, 04:08 PM
Vic, you might try the Fastpack series from Lowepro (Fastpack 250 and 350).
I'm not sure about allowed carry-on luggage size, but the site provides the exact bag sizes, though...
02-13-2008, 04:18 PM
I did not know there were FAA approved bags either. In any case, I use a CompuTrekker AW. This bag is well padded, has a waist belt and plenty of room for the gear I carry when I travel. Usually two 35mm bodies (one digital and one film), plus 3 primes, a zoom lens, filters, memory cards, charger, film and a 15-in laptop. According to some of Lowepro's marketing this bag qualifies as carry-on luggage, but as others have mentioned the airlines are the ones that decide whether you have to check the bag or not. So far, I've flown with three different airlines and I haven't had to check the bag.
02-13-2008, 05:10 PM
"... There is nothing to me more irritating about the security line than to be stuck behind some guy who doesn't know this and then starts fumbling around trying to get his laptop out. Invariably he also the guy who then tries to pass through the magneto device wearing some humongous gold medallion around his neck as well as a belt around his waist with buckle larger than the hubcap on a 1958 Cadillac! Aaaarrrgghhh!!!"
So that was YOU bitching behind me at JFK a few weeks back. Maybe next time you should heed the words on my belt buckle and:
"Don't mess with Texas-this means you, Yankee.
And if you don't like it, then just git !!!"
Thanks for your help George. I always enjoy your posts.
02-13-2008, 05:12 PM
Thanks everyone. Lufthansa is my airline and they're giving me 55cm x 40cm x 20(!)cm as the max. My lunch is bigger than that.
I have and use the Cyber 6 for my large format kit of an Ebony non-folder, 3 lenses, light meter, Polaroid holder, 4 film holders, loupe and all the misc gadgets like filters, cable release, etc...plus, of course, my laptop.
I love it and it works great...but just one caveat; if you really stuff it full you may have to really work to get it into the overhead. When it's on it's back (and full), the height of the pack can sometimes just barely make it in there. Otherwise, a great and easy to use pack!
02-14-2008, 01:47 AM
There is definitely no "FAA approval" of luggage -- only locks that go on luggage. You can carry your cameras and laptop on in a grass sack if you want, as long as they get x-rayed and the laptop is inspected. Just get something that is well-padded, strong, and fits the size restrictions and you're good to go.
And Lufthansa is one of the best, so you should have no problems with them. :)
02-14-2008, 10:54 AM
I with Michael that there is no "FAA approval" for luggage, perhaps they mean that it's "airline regulation size" for hand luggage. For what it's worth I tend to use a LowePro Nature AW back pack to carry my kit with me but I "flatten" a Nova 5 AW and put it in my suitcase so that when I get to my destination I have a smaller shoulder bag to use if I don't want to carry all my kit all the time. I haven't had any problems with bringing the Nature AW backpack as a carry on and I think Lowepro now make combination Camera/Laptop bags.
02-14-2008, 01:10 PM
The Lowepro CompuTrekker might work for you. There is a computer slot in the back, and it easily fits even restrictive airline size limits. I carry a large format kit in mine usually, while also adding one 35mm body, or a small medium format body.
Gordon Moat Photography (http://www.gordonmoat.com)
02-14-2008, 04:52 PM
Think Tank (http://www.thinktankphoto.com/ttp_product_ArprtUltrlght.php) makes some bags and packs that might be of interest -- I just bought a midsized one of their "Urban Disguise" bags for traveling light (and not having it yell "CAMERA!" at passers by).