It’s been 11 years since I bought the Think Tank Airport Security V2 cart as my main bag for weddings. It did its job and I’m still happy with the bag. In this article, I want to review the bag based on my findings since the first time I purchased the Think Tank cart in 2011.
Like many photographers, I have a backpack to carry my camera gear. A good backpack allows you to take a lot of gear with you in a relatively comfortable way. It also protects your equipment, which is just as important.
While backpacks are awesome, I don’t find these bags very practical at weddings. Theoretically, it’s possible to use one on such a day, but removing a backpack to achieve another goal or strobe is way too time-consuming. You have to take it off your back, put it in a safe place, open the backpack, change the glasses, close the backpack and put it back on.
If you are only in one place, you can leave it on the ground in a safe place. But for this you can use any camera bag, and that’s why I preferred a shoulder bag for weddings. Just put down the shoulder bag and pick it up easily. I chose a LowePro Stealth Reporter D550 because it had a zipper that allowed access to it without needing to fully open it.
Pelican or Think Tank
I have used the LowePro Stealth Reporter with great satisfaction for many years. There was a downside, however. It got heavy on the shoulder during a 14 hour wedding day. So I decided to look for an alternative. Wouldn’t it be great if the bag had wheels? The obvious solution was a cart.
There were two options for me: a Pelican case or a Think Tank cart. It was a difficult decision because both are excellent. But I liked the Think Tank more for a number of reasons. First, the wheels are quieter and smoother, the retractable handle was more to my liking, it offered the option of attaching a tripod, and it had a steel cable attached to the frame with a TSA lock. On top of that, I already owned a Think Tank Streetwalker backpack, and liked the construction. So I opted for the Think Tank Airport Security V2 cart.
That I have
The Think Tank Airport Security V2 was one of the biggest carts available. As I said, the steel cable that is attached to the frame was a big selling point, as I had to leave my bag alone at the wedding venue. In this way, I could not only lock the bag itself, but also attach it to heating pipes, poles and other fixed elements. This would minimize the risk of theft.
The bag has plenty of space, enough for my gear, with room for growth. A large neoprene pouch on the front provides room for a reflector and allows me to store a bunch of light modifiers. It can also hold a laptop, if desired. There is even a second steel cable with a lock available for this purpose.
There are pockets on the front, on one side and inside. And there is a system for attaching a tripod to the bag, which is a great advantage. But what surprised me a lot was the possibility of transforming the Airport Security V2 into a backpack. There are hidden shoulder straps in the back pocket, just in case you need to transport the cart over terrain that doesn’t support wheels.
I have used these suspenders a few times. And I have to say that although the bag can be quite heavy when fully loaded, it works well, but only for emergencies, in case the wheels don’t work. I encountered such a situation at a few weddings and once during a themed photo shoot in a forest. But I prefer to use the bag as it should be: as a cart.
What did I take inside?
The photography gear I own has changed in the 11 years since I purchased the bag. What I carry inside the cart has also changed. At first, I placed every item I had in the bag, which was a lot: two cameras, eight lenses, strobes and batteries. Often, I only took the necessary equipment with me to weddings, leaving things at home that I didn’t expect to use.
From the moment I used Profoto flashes, the Think Tank Airport Security V2 became dedicated to these flashes and modifiers. I could also put a camera and a few lenses in the bag, but I preferred a shoulder bag as an extra bag. I bought a Think Tank Urban Disguise for this, which I could slide onto the carrying handle. This way I could have an extra lens and flash in the shoulder bag and the Profoto flashes in the trolley. The cart’s tripod mount was used for a few light stands.
It went like clockwork. I had all the equipment I needed for an entire day of wedding photography. The Profoto flashes worked great when I had little ambient light to work with as well as for the occasional evening shots with the bride and groom.
My 11 years experience with the trolley
The Think Tank Airport Security V2 has never let me down during these 11 years of heavy use. It surprised me when I realized how long I had been using it. The bag is in pristine condition, and the exterior material is still wear-free, with the exception of the bottom bumper plate, which has suffered a significant amount of scratching, but that’s what this plate is for. It protects the bag every time I have to pull it against the curb, thresholds or doorsteps.
I replaced the wheels because one was damaged. This was due to my own fault. But I ordered a new set of wheels from Think Tank and replaced the damaged one with no problems. It runs as quietly as before. The only time the wheels won’t work is in loose ground, a pebble beach, or something similar. In this case there are always the shoulder straps available, hidden in the back compartment. If you prefer not to use the shoulder straps, the bag has well padded handles on all four sides.
The only wear that can be found is with the neoprene pouch on the front. I always pack this compartment to the max with flash umbrellas and other light modifiers. It has lost some of its elasticity, although it can still hold whatever I put inside with no problem. Also, the transparent pockets on the inside have become a bit faded and dull. But it’s natural for such materials, I think.
What I like about Think Tank Airport Security V2
I love almost everything about this cart. But if I had to name a few elements that distinguish the trolley, it is the wheels and the steel cable that is attached to the frame. But there is more. You can use it as a backpack in emergency situations, it holds a ton of gear, and the material of the bag still looks brand new after 11 years.
What I don’t like about the Think Tank Airport Security V2
However, not everything is perfect with the Think Tank Airport Security V2. There are just a few things I don’t like about this particular cart. One of those things is the reduced stretch of the front neoprene pouch. But again, that’s probably normal wear and tear.
The front zip pocket is a little too narrow and tight. The business card pocket has no velcro to keep it closed. But what I don’t like the most is the position of the side pocket. When a tripod or light stand is attached, this pocket cannot be used, which is a shame.
Believe it or not, these are the only downsides I’ve found after 11 years of use. For me, this cart is almost perfect. As said, he never let me down.
The best photography bag I’ve bought
I know that’s a bold thing to say, but for me, this is the best photography bag I’ve bought. It’s for a specific purpose only, of course. You wouldn’t want to take it with you on a hike. But for weddings and corporate assignments, it’s a trusty companion, and it’s allowed me to transport my photography gear safely and comfortably.
I finally decided to buy a second cart, the Think Tank Airport Navigator, which replaces my shoulder bag at weddings. The great thing about this cart is the ability to use it as a shoulder bag as well, and it can be connected to the Airport Security V2 without issue. The Airport Navigator is a completely different kind of cart, and it’s a great addition.
The Think Tank Airport Security V2 got an update some time ago. The V3 version has some improvements that could make it an even better cart. The steel cable lock is more easily accessible and the lockable front pocket can hold a 17 inch laptop and a tablet. I believe there are other changes as well. I would love to upgrade my bag to V3 but see no reason to replace my current bag as it is still perfect for me. I hope it will last another 11 years.
If you’re looking for a high-performance camera bag that can hold a lot of gear, the Think Tank Airport Security will get the job done for many years to come.