Can we really have enough camera bags? In this article, I will show you a DIY hack to easily convert a small travel bag with wheels into a camera roller bag. Basically, you get two bags for the price of one.
The one main drawback to being a photographer is the amount of gear you have and what type of bag to store your equipment in. This is especially true whether you are a professional, semi-professional or hobbyist photographer. There is no getting around it, once you invest in any type of camera with interchangeable lens, the add-on extras are similar to lego…you just keep building!
And herein comes the next must-have for any photographer, the camera bag.
So much choice
With such a plethora of camera bags on the market, it can become a bit of a quandary to know which bag to choose. For me, the one that proves the most comfortable in hauling around gets my vote. Although that said, I do love to see what company is launching the next must-have-camera-bag.
Peak Design’s marketing campaign video for their Everyday Backpack was just brilliant. I had to physically sit on my hands to stop myself pressing the buy button. Oh, I was so tempted!
Assess your needs
My main focus when going to a location shoot is to try and limit the amount of gear I bring. At the same time, I can’t afford the risk of not having that one extra bit of kit that may be crucial to a shot. As I do a lot of location shooting, there have been many occasions where I had to improvise and change the direction of the shoot. This was only possible as I had the extra camera gear with me in my bag. It is about good planning and being professional.
I also find it’s the non-camera gear that is really useful to have with you on a shoot. Even an elastic band comes in handy.
Look at options in non-camera stores
I was at my local shopping center recently and browsing at travel luggage bags. I was on the lookout for one of those carry-on size bags with wheels. Whoever thought of putting wheels on a travel case is a genius.
My thinking was two-fold. I needed a small travel bag for trips away, plus I could use the same bag as a camera roller bag. I have always loved the idea of dual functionality with one product, especially when it’s not marketed as such. Plus, storage space in a house can be a premium, so the idea of doubling up on my bags to save space seemed an obvious solution.
The average camera roller case is expensive. One can range from €250 – €500 ($ 265USD – $ 530USD) here in Ireland (Europe). If you are a hobbyist photographer, this price tag may seem pretty high and way above your budget range.
DIY camera roller bag
The simple idea of turning a travel bag into a DIY camera roller bag is just brilliant. What I really liked most about this hack is there is no DIY or customization to be done to the actual bag and it looks great.
I first saw the concept of turning a luggage bag into a DIY camera roller bag on Fstoppers a few years back. So, I’m in no way claiming this as my idea. However, it is so simple and easy that it is worth sharing the idea again in case you missed it.
This bag which caught my eye was ridiculously cheap at €39, approximately $ 41 USD. It is extremely lightweight and the size was perfect. H54.5 x W34 x D20cm (21.4 x 13.8 x 7.8”). Plus, this size of the bag meets the strict dimension requirements of European budget airlines.
Customize or DIY the bag
I was able to source this padded camera divider with an egg crate foam from B&W International. Even with the Sterling conversion to euros plus shipping. It cost me €50 ($ 53 USD) and in my opinion, was well worth it.
The dimensions of this padded camera divider were perfect for my travel bag: H43 x W30 D12.5cm (with the egg foam 15cm). (16.9” x 11.8” x 4.9”). Do a search on Amazon for padded dividers by B&W or Pelican to find more size options to fit your bag snugly.
I was impressed with the overall quality and robustness of the material. The dividers are all easily removable and can be configured to your own setup.
The whole camera bag insert fits snugly into the travel bag with ease.
Try it out
I brought my new roller camera bag to a local event recently and it worked a dream. More importantly, my shoulders were not screaming at me the next day, as those little wheels did all the work.
Now, I can’t wait to go away on a trip and use my new travel bag with wheels. I’ll keep you posted!
Have you already done this DIY camera bag hack? Would you consider doing it? If so, please leave your comments in the section below.