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View Full Version : Think Tank Acceleration Mini-Review



Frank Petronio
9-Dec-2007, 14:13
So I got one of those new Think Tank backpacks and I'm very pleased at the value.

www.thinktankphoto.com/ttp_product_ArprtAccel.php

It's the Airport Acceleration, the smallest of their three airline carry-on backpacks, promised to fit on even small regional aircraft. The main compartment is 17.75” H x 12.375“ W x 6.75” D.

It's $199. You can get free shipping from NatureScapes and mine came in three days, so I will try to send them more business, it's a nice online operation.

http://www.naturescapes.net/store/product.php?productid=227

I was also considering the LowePro Computrekker series and some standard backpacking backpacks, which were slightly less expensive options. But I'm glad I opted for the Think Tank. It's much higher quality than the other camera backpacks I've tried, it really stands out as a value even though $200 is high for a small backpack, they give you more than the other guys and it is so well made.

My only complaint is that you get too much extra stuff -- it really is configured for the DSLR shooter -- and it comes with a pile of dividers (enough to be overkill even if I had a dslr system), a tripod carrying rig (I don't think these work that great with anybody's backpack...) (but it would carry a monopod very nicely), extra straps, a removable padded waistbelt, a rain cover, a laptop case... probably half the price is tied up in the "extras" that have their benefits. I wouldn't mind buying it ala carte though, it would be a nice $120 backpack without all the gadgets.

Having said that, the gadgets are nicer than Lowe's or others. The laptop case is especially super nice, and quite a bargain. If I backpacked for serious dayhikes then the waist belt, tripod carrier, and rain cover would be invaluable. And if I had a rack of dslr gear I'd use the padded dividers - unlike others, they are infinitely stickable and nicely sewn. So all the extras gets bagged and stored for future use....

What it will hold? I have an ecclectic kit but so you know:

A 4x5 Linhof Technica (no grip of viewfinder) with lens inside

Eight Grafmatics

Box of 4x5 film

Polaroid 545

Box (foil) of 20 Polaroids

Nikon D80 w 50 and 35 lenses and charger

gadgets, meter, loupe, batteries etc. in the lid pocket

I get more in by just dumping it all in, wrapping certain items with lightly padded lenswraps or small neoprene bags.

In the laptop area, using the provided 15 inch laptop case, I can fit a 15 inch MacBook Pro and AC adapter and USB and DVI cables.

Room for a thin novel and notebook, a mini portfolio, sparse toiletries and travel necessities...

If I carry the laptop in my smaller shoulder bag, then I could get a nice 11x14 portfolio into the stretch laptop compartment. So for the marketing trips I've been doing it's ideal to use along with a compact messenger bag/laptop case.

It's a heavy fully loaded, but the shoulder pads are well designed and the back is the newer sweat proof kind of super mesh. It feels balanced and rides nice. I'm mainly an airport and car guy so it's fine, I'm not doing 10 mile nature hikes. I'd love a roller backpack but I think you compromise on weight and size once you add that hardware, but Think Tank makes some nice rollers too.

The details are great, like beefy but not overly large grab handles on the length and width. A Passport/ticket pocket. A stretch side pocket for junk. Nice heavy zippers. Nice stitching with nothing to catch in the zippers like the Lowes I've owned.

The beauty of this backpack is:

1. It is at least an inch deeper than the other photo backpacks in this size range. For 4x5 it means you can stand things up and get more in.

2. It is padded but not overly so...

3. It is really well made.

4. It's squared off and blocky so there is more room for my stuff, which tends to have right angles...

5. It's discrete and professional looking.

So that's it. Most of you probably will want the larger sizes since I bet you carry more stuff. But I have no reason to doubt the other versions are as nice.

OK, I have no affiliation with Think Tank. I just wanted to give kudos to a good, well-designed product from a small company.

OK check back in a few months after I travel and I'll tell you what is wrong, but so far it is a mile ahead of anything else I've tried.

Henry Ambrose
9-Dec-2007, 17:04
Looks nice but the price seems to be $279 when I look at the sites you linked to!!!

Brian K
9-Dec-2007, 17:41
I own both the Airport Acceleration and the larger Airport Addicted, I have been very happy with both of them. Frank makes some excellent points about the case. I do find the Acceleration a little small for my complete Linhof travel kit, I wish they made a back pack a little larger, but not as large as the Addicted.

Frank Petronio
9-Dec-2007, 17:54
I'm really sorry it's the AIRPORT ANTIDOTE (smaller $199) that I got and am talking about.

The AIRPORT ACCELERATION is larger and $279.

The big one is the AIRPORT ADDICTED at $379.

Matus Kalisky
10-Dec-2007, 01:31
Hello Frank,

how do you find the suspension ?

Frank Petronio
10-Dec-2007, 05:15
I took the waist belt off, I don't carry as a real backpack all that much. But compared to the Lowe it seems at least as good, the waist belt is superior although bulkier.

Matus Kalisky
29-Jan-2008, 02:48
Hello Frank,

a few monts are over and I am curious about your opinion on your AIRPORT ANTIFOTE ? I consider it (or its bigger brother) for city-photography.