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Old June 24th, 2011, 06:32 AM   #1
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Golf travel cases for airline travel?

I'm doing more and more one or two night overseas assignments (mainly Europe, travelling from the UK). Over the next few months it looks like this is going to step up and I will be going further afield (US, Middle East) but typically for no more than a couple of nights.

The oversized hard shell suitcase I have used until recently has finally given up the ghost and I am looking for a replacement. I have been taking the tripod in a separate case.

Obviously I carry the camera(s) on board but i was wondering whether anyone has any experience of using something like a rugged golf travel case to carry the tripod and other kit together (mics, boom, power, reflector, light stand, LEDs etc etc). I really hate it when I'm shooting, say, an interview in an office and I have to open up the case and rummage through 'tired' underwear to find the wireless mic, all in front of the client, the interviewee and the closet underwear thief.

Any thoughts about the golf travel case idea? Or any alternatives? I want to end up taking three pieces of baggage, one of which will be carried on board and the other two will be checked. I suspect if I try and reduce this to one checked bag I will nuke the baggage allowances.

All advice welcomed.
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Old June 24th, 2011, 10:21 AM   #2
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Re: Golf travel cases for airline travel?

I have in fact done that a fair share of times. I wrap everything seperately in bubble wrap, tripod, nic stands, light stands whatever else I can throw in there and it arrived safely. HOWEVER!!!!!!! I have not done that since 9/11 due to the fact that the airline personnel seem to feel that golf club bags and their contents make for nice christmas presents. So since then when I need gear in another place and I'm flying I ship generally FedX but that's here in the USA. I don't know about other countries but as far as protecting the gear inside, a golf travel case is hard to beat. Hell, I've even used one for my golf clubs a few times. Nothing broken nothing stolen. Thank goodness. Left handed clubs aren't always easy to find.

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Old June 24th, 2011, 10:42 AM   #3
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Re: Golf travel cases for airline travel?

Yeah, I've thought about FedEx. Do you use special cases? I must say it would be nice to be able to take a few of the other goodies out with me but I'm not sure the client will stomach the expense!

I think I will take a look inside my nearest sports goods store and see what they have on offer. There are a few decent looking rugged travel cases for golf kit on Amazon as well. Now that the luggage people have the power to open up any and every case without giving us the comfort of putting good solid locks on I guess it's a risk putting anything other than t-shirts and jeans in their hands (no offence intended to the good men and women who provide a valuable transportation service with such care and pride. . . .)

Thanks for the advice Don.
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Old June 24th, 2011, 01:27 PM   #4
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Re: Golf travel cases for airline travel?

the last time I shipped FedX I had my gear in their respective bags or cases, placed those in boxes with packing peanuts (filled pretty full and tight) sealed 'em up, labeled them, took them to the depot and away they went. The client(s) actually had accounts so they just charged their account for the round trip ticket, and all arrived safely at the hotel where it was held in the "safe room" until I got there later that day. Reverse process for the return trip except it went to my home. I got home about 2 hours before the gear go there. Maybe things just worked out for me maybe I was lucky but I've done this a few times and it's always worked for me. (keeping fingers crossed)
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Old June 24th, 2011, 10:33 PM   #5
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Re: Golf travel cases for airline travel?

I used an SKB golf bag to transport a pretty large 2 stage tripod w/head. Six light stands, two overhead boom poles, and some miscelaneous grip gear on a flight over this past week

There are upsides and downsides to the process.

On the upside, golf bags are common travel items, so nobody is surprised when you check them in.
They accommodate very long items - and that's video gear friendly.

On the downside, a golf bag full of grip - even lightweight grip - often goes overweight. My field kit this week was the golf case, a large soft side Porta Brace camera bag, a large traditional roller bag, a DSLR carryon and two roller suitcases. The main equipment soft-side and the tripod golf case each topped 60 lbs. A nice skycap gave me a pass on the outbound leg - but the trip back got stung with the expected $100 worth of overweight charges.

The less the case weighs - the lighter duty it will be - so you may need to reinforced failure points like the handle, hinges, and clamps. In addition, I wrapped the bag with top and bottom ratchet straps. The stands inside were wrapped in lightweight bath towels to prevent stand chipping and rattling.

The other thing is less tangible. A golf case is a great travel device when it's the ONLY overweight item you have. But I find a long thin case to be significantly harder to travel with than a lower profile wheeled bag. Dragging a wheeled golf case AND a wheeled suitcase is an exercise in frustration. I think it's the geometry of hauling a short wheeled thing AND a long wheeled thing simultaneoulsy. No matter what else is happening, that long bag is going to put a lot more downward pressure on one arm than the other, and unbalanced load hauling is a good way to end up with very sore muscles.

If you have help in your arrival city and can confine yourself to short hauls and curb side loading - it's fine. But if you have to do the rental vehicle shuffle, it's a real hassle to trail a big monster golf club case across the rental car lot.

For what it's worth.
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Old June 29th, 2011, 02:01 PM   #6
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Re: Golf travel cases for airline travel?

I've travelled with a golf case for my tripod and a few light stands, lights, gells, and boom pole. It works great and it easy to pull around. I put foam on the inside for padding and a few extra pieces of gaffers tape on the latches so they don't pop open. A few years ago an early golf case was damaged by an airline and they replaced it without too much hassle. The gear inside was safe. I took it to Europe once and the authorities on both sides thought it was golf equipment and didn't give me a second look. On the way back into Chicago, the customs guy looked at it, smiled, and then made a comment about a business trip that was really a golf junket. I said no and he just smiled all the more. The biggest issue is keeping the contents under 50 pounds since it can hold more. I try to bring all I can and stay under 50 pounds a bag. When I open it after a trip it usually has the TSA notice of inspection inside. My carry-on camera bag with batteries and extras seems as heavy and is more cumbersome to travel with than the golf bag.

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