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Pelican 1510 or decent backpack for carry on with 600mm II
  
 
dgdg
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p.1 #1 · Pelican 1510 or decent backpack for carry on with 600mm II


I've found only a little on people's experiences and opinions regarding big glass carry on for flying in the usa and canada.

I have an f-stop loka with icu that worked well for my 400 do and other gear, never loaded it to it looked bit. The 600mm ii will fit in it without bulging, but would have to take less gear on board. With a bigger more expensive lens, I am trying to decide if I should break down and get the pelican 1510 carry on case.

appreciate your experiences and opinions!



Jun 11, 2013 at 01:59 PM
pmiller228
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p.1 #2 · Pelican 1510 or decent backpack for carry on with 600mm II


I love my 1510. It's heavy but the closest thing I've found to worry free traveling.


Jun 11, 2013 at 02:12 PM
dgdg
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p.1 #3 · Pelican 1510 or decent backpack for carry on with 600mm II


Seems like a nice case, wonder based on weight/size/appearance how often one winds up having to gate check it as opposed to having a backpack like thinktank/fstop which is light and potentially less intimidating to gate crew.


Jun 11, 2013 at 05:42 PM
Sharona
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p.1 #4 · Pelican 1510 or decent backpack for carry on with 600mm II


dgdg wrote:
Seems like a nice case, wonder based on weight/size/appearance how often one winds up having to gate check it as opposed to having a backpack like thinktank/fstop which is light and potentially less intimidating to gate crew.



I wonder the same thing. I've always carried my gear in a backpack and I guess because I am an average height female I've never been asked to weigh my pack. Check into the Gura Gear Bataflae line. The 32 version may work for your lens with room for other gear. I love my 26L version. Good luck!

Edit - the 32L takes up to an 800 mm lens, and that is only on one side! I do not work for Gura Gear, but it's a lightweight pack that is made very well and I love the design.



Jun 11, 2013 at 05:52 PM
pmiller228
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p.1 #5 · Pelican 1510 or decent backpack for carry on with 600mm II


I've only flown once domestically with mine but no one said anything about gate checking. This was southwest airlines. I'll find out more at the end of the month flying delta to Canada. They seem to be luggage Nazis. At least if it did get gate checked the plane would have to crash to ruin anything


Jun 11, 2013 at 06:00 PM
Roland W
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p.1 #6 · Pelican 1510 or decent backpack for carry on with 600mm II


If you follow the official rules, it is very unlikely you would be required to gate check, unless they were totally out of room. One rule that is rarely enforced for US flights is what ever weight limit the individual airline has for carry on. You should check the official rules for each airline you will be on, and try to follow them. One airline I fly on has a limit of 40 pounds, and my camera carry on is often over that weight, so I kind of worry at times, but never have had an issue. If you use a hard case like the 1510, it is kind of heavy, and it would make it harder to stay under weight compared to a good soft sided roller bag, or your bag you have now.


Jun 12, 2013 at 04:46 AM
Lars Johnsson
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p.1 #7 · Pelican 1510 or decent backpack for carry on with 600mm II


I own both and most of the time I prefer my backpack over my Pelican 1514 (1510). I don't have the 600 II but it must be a very tight fit to get that lens with it's big hood in the Pelican. Have you checked that?


Jun 12, 2013 at 05:09 AM
rscheffler
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p.1 #8 · Pelican 1510 or decent backpack for carry on with 600mm II


I travel with the 600 IS v.1 in a Pelican 1510. Canon's specs list it and the 600 II as being the same diameter. Lars is right, that with the hood, it's a tight fit and the front cover adds too much additional diameter to close the lid comfortably (though it requires a fair amount of pressure to close, it will close without damaging the lens or hood without the cover). Therefore with this lens and the 400/2.8, I don't travel with the front cover. Obviously this doesn't bother me, but seems to be a concern for others. The IS v.1 lenses have a 'flat' front protective element, but I believe the IS v.2 lenses have dropped this to save weight.

For US domestic travel, I've never had a problem with the 1510 being considered overweight. Most airlines currently allow 40-45lbs. I usually pack it with a 400/2.8 IS, body, short Giottos monopod that fits inside, and accessories, in conjunction with a ~20L backpack with bodies, lenses, laptop, etc. You could run into problems when boarding flights in Canada, due to the 10kg/22lb per item limit set by Air Canada. According to the Transport Canada website, each airline is responsible for setting their own limit, but the impression up here seems to be that 10kg is 'official' but you probably won't have a problem if it's a US carrier.

Where you will have problems with the 1510 AND larger backpacks is on smaller 'commuter' planes. Some have very limited overhead storage and the 1510 is considered by flight crews as too long for under seat storage because it will partially block the floor area of your row. For example, if you're sitting at the aisle seat, it could impede a quick escape by someone sitting at the window. If the under-seat configuration allows, you can rotate the case 90 degrees, but then you'll encroach your neighbor's legroom, which could also be a problem (it would be if I was your neighbor ). Therefore, many gate agents and crew will request it be 'gate checked.' But, often times, it will actually fit the overheads, because it conforms to the current standards, just that it will be a tight fit on many commuter planes. It really depends on the specific make and model of the planes you will be traveling on. For example, the Bombardier Dash-8 turboprops: it won't fit on the Q200 or Q400 (IIRC), but will fit the overheads of the Q400NextGen. Either you have to ask the crew which version they're flying when they arrive at the gate, or if you can see the plane from the gate, check the nose area where the model ID will be advertised. My experience at least with United/Continental was that they were updating much of their fleet to NextGen models. If it's one of the smaller jets, and it's a 1+2 seating configuration, there won't be enough overhead space. Some of the CRJ or ERJ 2+2 seating models are OK, but it's an extremely tight fit. The new Embraer 170/190 models that are becoming popular are an easy fit. Southwest's and most modern 737s are OK. IIRC, the smaller Airbuses are OK, but the bins might not be deep enough to put the case wheels straight in the way crews prefer (could also be a problem with some older 737s).

IMO, one of the most significant determinants of whether you'll be able to carry the case on, or not, is when you board. The later you board, the lower your chances will be for finding an empty bin because everyone now tries to avoid checked baggage fees and brings as much as possible onboard with them. But it's the same problem with large backpacks that are too big to fit under the seat. Therefore, become familiar with your chosen carrier's boarding procedures and make your online seating selection accordingly, because boarding, for standard economy passengers, is typically determined by seat location (though some are now also throwing whether or not you do online check-in and how far in advance you did the check-in, into the mix). You can get an idea about boarding procedures as well as aircraft seating configurations here: http://www.seatguru.com/

Given these variables combined with the potential for late boarding (such as a tight connecting flight - you should try for a seat at the front of the cabin in your previous flight so you can get out faster, assuming you didn't gate check) and a choice of a case or a backpack, I would go with the case and a smaller bag (for your cameras and laptop) because if you have to gate check the larger item, the Pelican case will better protect the equipment from baggage handler abuses... And it really seems to depend on each airport's handlers. While they all seem to have a bad reputation, I've definitely found some places are more careful than others (like watching my Pelican fall off the top of a pile of suitcases, which would have been a disaster if it was a soft case).

Another thing to keep in mind is aircrews are tired of the daily routine of people trying to cram as much junk onboard as possible, and their automatic reaction when seeing a large, heavy-looking roller will be to ask you to gate-check it. Instead of becoming standoffish, I would suggest calmly explaining you're carrying precision optical equipment worth over $10K and would like to try stowing it in the cabin first. If it doesn't work, then you'll gate check it. As a last resort, which I have done, is take the lens out of the case and let them check the case while you keep the lens between your feet under the seat.

The 1510 is great if you're traveling in urban areas with lots of paved streets and good sidewalks. But anything with loose stone, gravel, dirt, snow, and the wheels don't provide enough clearance. It's a good case for working out of a car, but if you're out in the field away from paved surfaces, you'll probably still want some sort of bag to work from for most of your gear.

I have some photos showing my Pelican 1510 configurations, including the 600 IS v.1 on my blog: http://www.ronscheffler.com/techtalk/?page_id=41

Lastly, given the choice of flying or driving 5-8 hours, I will invariably drive since total travel time (such as arriving early to the airport, etc.) can end up being similar. But the main reason is completely avoiding the hassles associated with modern air travel. Obviously this isn't always an option.

Hope this helps!



Jun 12, 2013 at 06:20 PM
dgdg
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p.1 #9 · Pelican 1510 or decent backpack for carry on with 600mm II


Wow. Thanks for everyone's comments. I read this more than once and decide. I plan on using the aquatech hood for airline travel and a replacement foot, so it should fit in the 1510 or xlarge icu



Jun 13, 2013 at 12:32 AM
visions1
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p.1 #10 · Pelican 1510 or decent backpack for carry on with 600mm II


I had a Kata Backpack with the metal reinforcer in it, was forced to plane side check since it wouldn't fit in the overhead compartment because of being loaded in zone 4, everyone else had used up the overhead space. Pleaded with the flight attendants about the contents and it didn't matter. I got to California and my final destination, opened up the backpack and my lens was broken off the camera, uggh! It was a fiasco, especially going to Yosemite with no wide angle lens. I then bought the Pelican 1510, and haven't turned back. For piece of mind don't hesitate unless you are on a strict weight limit with carry on.


Jun 13, 2013 at 12:50 AM
 

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dgdg
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p.1 #11 · Pelican 1510 or decent backpack for carry on with 600mm II


ok, I think I'll have the pelican with my hiking fanny pack. I'll put just the essentials in the carry on, other less sensitive/expensive gear in check in.


Jun 13, 2013 at 04:48 PM
rscheffler
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p.1 #12 · Pelican 1510 or decent backpack for carry on with 600mm II


That brings up a good point... Don't travel with the camera mounted to a lens if the bag is out of your control. Even then, you never know. A friend had his 1D and 400/2.8 jam together from leaving the combo attached while driving around with it in his trunk. Apparently Canon had to disassemble the camera in order to separate them.

Some airlines (at least US Air) allow you to buy priority boarding. I think it ranges between $15-30 depending on the flight. Yes, it's yet another cash grab, but could be useful. I've definitely used it a couple times after checking how full the flight was when doing online check-in (you check this by trying to change your seat assignment). Only catch is you have to do it as part of online check-in. I don't believe you can do it at the gate.



Jun 13, 2013 at 05:10 PM
aborr
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p.1 #13 · Pelican 1510 or decent backpack for carry on with 600mm II


Most US airlines are OK for flights within the US and for between the US and Canada.

But, Air Canada can be a problem, especially when they're using CRJ regional jets (e.g on San Francisco to Calgary or Vancouver). They have a 10 kg (22 lb) weight limit for each piece of carryon luggage, though I've never had my luggage weighed. They also sometimes request/force gate checks for carryons that seem to them to be iffy for the small CRJ overhead bins, so I think that the Pelican may be a problem on some flights. It's definitely going to be overweight, and they might force a gate check even though it meets their published size standards.

Some United flights are also on CRJ's. United doesn't have a weight limit, but they also routinely ask you to gate check larger carryons on any United Express flight that's near full. (It's a judgement call the gate agent makes, and it's no fun arguing with an airline employee a few minutes before boarding.)

When carrying a lot of gear, I usually split it between two smaller (soft side) bags, one of which is full carryon size, and the other is small enough to meet the size requirements for a "personal item". My bags never look "overstuffed" and I've never been asked to gate check a medium sized backpack or shoulder bag.

Al



Jun 15, 2013 at 07:38 AM
rscheffler
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p.1 #14 · Pelican 1510 or decent backpack for carry on with 600mm II


I think the key point is you don't want anything thicker than 9" to ensure it fits overheads that conform to the 'normal' carry-on standards, as well as being able to fit under the seat. But with a 600mm, it gets tricky. One of the temptations of photo backpacks and the soft sided rollers is to use the exterior pockets and potentially over-fill them to the point where the bag will be too thick.

Al, your points about Air Canada are equally valid for pretty much any non-US carrier. They mostly have much stricter carry-on limits, both in weight and quantity. Therefore, one suggestion I typically make if flying to an international destination, is if possible, fly on a US carrier. In-flight service might not be as good as some other carriers, but it might be a necessary compromise to ensure you can get your gear onboard without hassle. Obviously this depends a lot on destination, but should be fine for many European and Asian countries without connections to codeshare airlines.

My experience is gate agents will always err on the side of wanting you to gate check. Just go along with it and either remove the tag while on the jetway or if you're confident the roller/bag will fit, tell the flight attendant when you reach the door that you've successfully stowed the case on that give plane in the past, and if it for some reason it won't fit (bins can vary based on model variant), you'll gate check. Usually this works OK if you're in an early boarding group.



Jun 17, 2013 at 10:52 PM
Colin Chisholm
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p.1 #15 · Pelican 1510 or decent backpack for carry on with 600mm II


Re rscheffler's longer original post: that post is so spot on it's spooky! Heed all his advice (her? advice).

I always thought this was key:
rscheffler wrote:
because if you have to gate check the larger item, the Pelican case will better protect the equipment from baggage handler abuses

The post by visions1 proves the point!!

FINALLY - HAS ANYONE DONE THE FOLLOWING:
Has anyone carried locks to lock their 1510 before it goes to the gate check people (if it has to be gate checked)?
I'm not talking TSA locks, but "real" locks!
I think that would be legal because it has been through all the checks already, right?
(Even if not technically kosher, probably no one would notice?)
I've not yet been forced to gate check my 1510 (only used it a few times), but I was thining I should carry two real locks for next time ... just in case!



Jun 17, 2013 at 11:24 PM
leftcoastlefty
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p.1 #16 · Pelican 1510 or decent backpack for carry on with 600mm II


I totally understand why people don't want to check their expensive gears, however getting something checked at the gate is much lower risk, I think. It just goes from the boarding door, down the ramp, and into the cargo hold. And it is probably handled by exactly one person who has a vested interest in ensuring it gets where it needs to go.

Most people, I surmise, would think nothing of giving their car to a valet parking lot attendant. Why? Because the valet parking lot attendant is highly motivated not to damage your car. And if he does damage it, insurance (either yours or the valet's) will cover it. I view checking a bag at the gate as exactly the same as valet parking, except that you don't have to tip the guy.

Has anyone, anywhere, ever lost something that was checked at the gate?



Jun 19, 2013 at 06:44 PM
mike reid
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p.1 #17 · Pelican 1510 or decent backpack for carry on with 600mm II


I agree totally that you want to board the plane earlier than later....and small commuter planes often have little room overhead. I bring real locks for my 1510 for that reason. I also bring a large cable bicycle lock in case I need to turn it into an in room safe.


Jun 21, 2013 at 05:03 PM
dgdg
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p.1 #18 · Pelican 1510 or decent backpack for carry on with 600mm II


I'm thinking I can just put the 600mm II under the seat in front bare, and my body with short zoom in my small fanny pack that I use. Saves lugging around the pelican. Maybe if I had more gear to carryon, it would make sense... still deciding.


Jun 22, 2013 at 12:33 AM
akclimber
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p.1 #19 · Pelican 1510 or decent backpack for carry on with 600mm II


dgdg wrote:
I'm thinking I can just put the 600mm II under the seat in front bare, and my body with short zoom in my small fanny pack that I use. Saves lugging around the pelican. Maybe if I had more gear to carryon, it would make sense... still deciding.


I don't know in what type of planes you'll be traveling but in small to medium commuter planes I'm not so sure the 600 will fit under a seat. And regardless, you'll always have to make sure you're not in a bulkhead row so you have a seat in front of you.

I travel a bunch in all kinds of planes and I always have my 500 f/4 in my Pelican 1510 (along with a ton of other stuff - it's kinda amazing how much gear it'll hold). As others have pointed out, I love knowing my spendy gear is well protected, even if I have to gate check it. And since the 1510 has wheels it's really not hard to travel with.

Regarding locks, I don't normally use them but I do use small carabiners or zip ties to ensure it doesn't somehow accidentally open.

Cheers!



Jun 22, 2013 at 01:34 AM
marcy45
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p.1 #20 · Pelican 1510 or decent backpack for carry on with 600mm II


The 1510 is great - I used it to take my 500 and several other lenses to Tanzania - did not have any trouble on the Delta Flight to NYC but the KLM flight to Amsterdam and Tanzania would not allow it as carry on because it exceeded their 26 lb total carry on weight restrictions - so they checked it through to Tanzania at the gate and it made with no problem - I was holding my breath - not because it was not tough enough but just did not want it to get lost - on the way back checked thru to NYC and it was fine - took it on Delta as a carryon with no problem -


Jun 25, 2013 at 02:31 AM





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