Five Roller Bags for the Multimedia Photographer

Ibarionex Perello Phoblographer Kata

Multimedia has changed how I shoot. It’s also changed how I market and promote my work and myself. It’s resulted in changes to my workflow including the downloading, cataloging and editing of gigabytes and terabytes of digital still and movie files.

However, one of the most practical changes has been how to carry the additional equipment I need to produce multimedia. Along with the cameras and lenses, I now have to include space for a laptop, microphones, audio recorders, XLR cables, focusing rigs, LCD monitors, AC adapters, extra batteries and more. Suddenly that spacious photo backpack that was adequate for my still work was no longer viable.

A Little Background

Simply getting a bigger bag wasn’t going to be the solution. The existing bag was heavy enough and taking its toll on my back and shoulders. Now, throw in additional equipment and I know I’d likely have to add the cost of regular trips to the chiropractor.

So, it became clear that a roller bag would offer the best choice. Not only could it provide the greater capacity that I needed for all my equipment, but that presence of a telescoping handle and rugged wheels would make moving around equipment that much easier. And since, I’ve been increasingly traveling both internationally and domestically, I needed to find an efficient way of transporting my gear without having to ship it or have it end up as check in luggage.


For the last two years, I’ve been lugging around two bags. The photo backpack accommodated the photo gear and a large shoulder bag stored my laptop and audio equipment. That was no longer working. I needed one bag to rule them all.

So, here is a list of some of the best bags I found for multimedia photographers to use to transport their equipment. Though I know the “perfect” bag is a very subjective thing, I think that at least one of these bags may be able to fit your needs when you have to transport your gear outside of the studio.

Having owned numerous camera bags over the last several decades, I strongly recommend taking your gear to your local camera store and actually trying the bags out. There is nothing that replaces the process of actually fitting your gear into a new bag to determine whether it will really be the best choice for you.

Though many of these bags will meet most domestic and international carry-on requirements, I strongly recommend that you check with your airlines before traveling, especially when traveling internationally. Such information can help ensure that your gear stay with you throughout your travels.

ThinkTank Photo Airport International

Ibarionex Perello Phoblographer Think Tank Photo

The ThinkTank Photo Airport International V2.0 has been a popular bag among sports photographers and photojournalists, which is no surprise considering that the company was started by just those types of photographers. So, there is a lot of real-world experience put into their designs.

Weighing 11.5 pounds (depending on accessories used), the bag provides an interior dimension of 13” W x 18.5”H x 6.5″ x 7.5”D providing ample space for multiple bodies, lenses and other gear. Though ThinkTank offers larger capacity bags, this choice is more ideal for traveling abroad and contending with tighter restrictions for carry-ons.

The appeal of that bag is beyond mere capacity but its various features for security which includes a rear-security cable to chain the bag to an immovable object. When used in conjunction with of the main compartment combination lock, it makes it more of a challenge for thieves to make away with the bag or its contents when it’s not in your immediate possession.

It generous number of compartments provides space for those smaller items which can take up a lot of space in your bag, including the various power cables, and battery chargers.

It’s water-resistant design and user-replaceable wheels make it a bag that can handle rugged and extensive use, which makes it a very appealing bag for the photographer on the move.

Tamrac Evolution Speed Roller Back Model 5797

Ibarionex Perello Phoblographer Tamrac

The Tamrac Evolution Speed Roller Back Model 5797 comes from a manufacturer who regularly listens and responds to the photographers that use their gear and it can be seen in their latest roller bag.

This model provides the versatility of being used as either a backpack or a roller bag. Weighing less than 8 pounds, it features two large compartments. The top compartment provides an interior dimension of 12”W x 5 /1.2”D x 9 ¼”H and the top compartment offers 12”W x 6”D x 9”H. This provides a convenient way of separating photo and audio gear.

The top and bottom compartments include Windowpane-Mesh accessory pockets as well as several foam-padded compartments for those small accessories that become critical for a shoot.

As well as including the ability to attach a tripod to it, it also features several exterior pockets for quick access to documents such as maps, airline tickets and other small accessories.

It is these smaller compartments that are often missing in other bags. So, their inclusion makes it more of pleasure to organize those small, but critical items.

Lowepro Pro Roller Lite 250 AW

Ibarionex Perello Phoblographer LoweproThe Lowepro Pro Roller Lite 250 comes from a popular brand among photographers for their ability to deliver stylish and practical bags. The roller bag is inconspicuous as a bag for photo gear, but its interior reveals its stylish design stripes. Though it only weighs 10 pounds, it offers an interior capacity of 12.2”W x 6.26”D x 19.49”H.

Though it’s often promoted as a bag that can accommodate a lot of photo gear including large telephoto lenses and multiple bodies, this is an ideal bag for the multimedia photographer as well. The ample compartments in the main interior provide the space needed for not just cameras and lenses, but also items including a shotgun microphone, digital audio recorder, focusing rigs, cables and power adapters.

As well as being able to accommodate a 15” laptop computer, the bag also includes additional space for small accessories and personal items.

Tenba Roadie II Hybrid

Ibarionex Perello Phoblographer TenbaThe Tenba Roadie II Hybrid is another bag that can be used both as a roller bag and a backpack, an obvious advantage when you are called to haul gear off the beaten track. Weighing just 10.5 pounds, the bag offers an inner capacity of 12”W x 17”H x 5.75-7”D and can accommodate up to a 17-inch MacBook Pro.

The flexibility of its interior partitions allows you to store large lenses with a lens hood attached making it ideal for storing odd shaped items such as focusing rigs components, shotgun microphones and other accessories. Its ample selection of exterior and interior pockets make it easy to organize smaller, but nevertheless important accessories critical for any shoot.

The combination of its heavy-duty ball bearing wheel assemblage and well-padded shoulder straps makes for ease and comfort when transporting gear.

Kata Pro-Light FlyBy-75

The Kata Pro-Light FlyBy -75 is a roller bag that one can appreciate for not only its practicality, but also its stylish flourishes, which include a bright yellow interior.Ibarionex Perello Phoblographer Kata

Weighing just 7.78 pounds, it offers an interior dimension of 16.45”H x 13.78”L x 7.4”W and a compartment for a 15.4-inch laptop. Despite its relatively smaller size, the flexibility of its interior can accommodate an extensive multimedia kit and it comes in a look that’s distinctive, but one that doesn’t call attention to the expensive contents within.

The patented Aeriform Foam, which provides the bag with generous protection against shock and vibration, but without the weight of other bags of its type. The shaving of those additional pounds makes for added convenience when you have to grab the bag and make a sprint to the terminal to catch your flight.

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