5 of the best roller bags
For the ultimate in protection and portability, a roller case just can’t be beaten. Here’s the best on the market...
Want the ultimate in portability and protection? You need a ‘pull along’!
Roller bags are often the last item of photographic equipment that most snappers buy. And it isn’t because these bags aren’t extremely useful – they are – so it’s more likely to be down to a combination of price and that they are mainly used by advanced enthusiasts and pro photographers.
Often called ‘pull alongs’, these bags typically have wheels on the bottom and a pull-up-push-down handle at the top – a little like the suitcase you take on your summer holidays.
What to look for
When picking a roller bag, there are several important elements to consider. For a start, look at the amount of kit you’ll be able to fit in it, and consider how much protection it will provide in guarding against bumps, knocks and the elements. Is it waterproof, dustproof, padded in all the right places, easy to pull along and get at your gear?
Lastly, if price is an issue, search about for a bag that does all what you want and is the best value for money. Our top five choice of bags all offer something special, so let’s find out more about them...
National Geographic On Board Roller £160
Made by Manfrotto, but part of the National Geographic range, this large Africa roller suitcase is built to carry both camera gear and personal items such as clothes and possessions. A removable padded insert holds and protects a DSLR camera with media accessories, while the large main compartment holds clothes and travel gear. There is a handy oversized central handle and the bag exterior is made from high-quality, durable materials.
An extended warranty of up to five years is available, which helps offer peace of mind for this purchase. This roller is suited to those photographers who want an even split of storage between their camera equipment and their personal belongings.
Weight 3880g Carry-on compatible? Yes Carry handle Single, central Warranty Five years External dimensions (WXHXD) 39x57x27cm www.manfrotto.co.uk
Vanguard Xcenior 41T Trolley £179
The Vanguard Xcenior is a versatile roller case that combines great build quality with compact dimensions. Meeting international carry-on regulations, this is the perfect roller for whisking through the departure lounge and loading into the overhead compartment with ease as you head off on a jet-setting photography trip.
Capable of holding at least two DSLR or CSC bodies, up to five extra lenses, two tripods and a 12in laptop, the Vanguard boasts a zipped mesh fly to stop kit rolling forward and tumbling out when the bag is opened. Oversized wheels help with movement and a dual-stem handle provides great support to pull the bag along with. A zipped front pouch holds extra gear and the bag comes with a combination lock included.
Weight 3950g Carry-on compatible? Yes Carry handle Dual, central Warranty Five years External dimensions (WXHXD) 49x43x29cm www.vanguardworld.co.uk
Pelican 1510 Protector Carry-on Case £169
Pelican cases are some of the strongest and most robust cases on the market. Along with professional photographers, they are also used by scientists and doctors out in the field because they can easily take the bangs and knocks of hard-core outdoor use. Watertight, crushproof and dustproof, the build quality is backed up with a lifetime warranty.
The Pelican 1510 meets international carryon regulations and has holes for a padlock to be attached to further protect the roller when you are travelling far from home. Photographers have the option of buying a fitted divider set, but this does cost more money. For ultimate protection, the Pelican 1510 can simply not be beaten by any rivals.
Weight 5400g (without foam) Carry-on compatible? Yes Carry handle Single, central Warranty Limited lifetime External dimensions (WXHXD) 35x56x23cm www.pelican.com
Manfrotto Reloader-55 Roller £300
If you need a roller bag that helps you transport a large amount of equipment, this Manfrotto pull along could be the perfect solution. It can hold three DSLRS, plus a raft of extra lenses and accessories. What’s more, the foam dividers can be rearranged to hold a pro-spec DSLR fitted with a long 400mm prime telephoto lens or the Canon C100 light stands.
Meeting international carry-on regulations, this roller boasts bags of style, a combination lock and a four-stage handle so it can be set to different heights as required. Wheels can easily be replaced if they get damaged, and the two exterior storage panels on the front of the Pro Light Reloader-55 can hold a 17in laptop and 10-in tablet respectively.
Weight 4900g Carry-on compatible? Yes Carry handle Dual, central Warranty Five years External dimensions (WXHXD) 35x55x23cm www.manfrotto.co.uk
Thinktankphoto Airport Takeoff £289
Can’t decide between a roller bag or a standard photo rucksack? Well, with the Thinktankphoto Airport Takeoff, you can have the best of both worlds because it includes integrated shoulder straps that can be zipped away when you want to use the bag as a pure roller. This feature is incredibly useful, especially if you are travelling far with your bag and have to climb up steps and so on. The Takeoff holds two pro-spec DSLRS or three smaller mirrorless bodies, plus up to six extra lenses or other accessories.
Foam dividers can be rearranged to hold a 400mm telephoto lens and there’s a handy large front pocket that can swallow a 17in laptop. A seam-sealed rain cover provides extra protection from the elements.
Weight 3900-47000g Carry-on compatible? Yes Carry handle Single, central Warranty Five years External dimensions (WXHXD) 36x53x22cm www.thinktankphoto.com