Camera bags come in all shapes and sizes so anyone who claims there is no right bag for them on the market is clearly lacking the proper information. That's what we want to give you with this article series, the right information, and this time we're going to analyze a less typical choice: roller bags.
If you've even remotely considered the possibility of purchasing a roller bag for your gear, one of two things is most likely to be the case. Either you have so much gear that no other type of bag has room for, or you're so lazy that even the idea of lifting your own equipment gets you sweating.
Regardless of case, before you go shopping for a roller you should be properly informed.
So, why do you need a bag with wheels? Photographers who use this kind of bag generally shoot with large lenses, think 300mm or 400mm primes. Instead of carrying a special case or bag for such a long lens, pros like sports shooters value the ability to have it all in one place.
It's the enormous load capacity that sells these things and to keep it real, you really don't need one unless you have at least two bodies and 6 large lenses.
Protection wise, the materials used are top quality most of the times. Models like the Think Tank Airport Roller have water repellent materials on the exterior and abrasion resistant zippers.
What else should you look for in a roller? You have to be aware that this kind of bag was designed to get the gear from point A to B rather than to be carried through a jungle. The major argument in its favor is the fact that it has wheels and that's what you need to look at.
The wheels have to be top quality and they have to be balanced perfectly so that the weight is equally distributed and easier to carry. They also have to run smooth and offer stability.
I don't know if there are any roller bags that haven't got a laptop compartment, but if you find one, don't buy it. If you're going to buy something this large you should at least make sure it can house all your equipment.
A rain cover is also something to look for because if rain does catch you somewhere out in the open, it won't be fun to grab it and run to safety.
As a conclusion, here are the goods and bads of roller bags.
- The largest load capacity available
-easy to transport heavy weight
-excellent for plane travels
- reduced mobility
-very low speed of operation
-requires flat surfaces for wheels
If you do need a roller bag, just make sure you try it out before actually buying it. Good luck!