Table of Contents
|Who is this for
|How I use this
|Whats to like
|Whats to hate
|Where to buy
Finding the right bag for your precious DSLR(s) is never an easy decision. There are so many different choices such as size, capacity, carry style, brand etc. Even if you’re brand loyal, there are different specs to similar bags not to mention color. If you need help deciding on bags, check out the reviews we have on other styles of bags HERE.
This idea came about because I had hurt my bag and needed to carry a large number of gear to a shoot so I was not keen on having to carry on my shoulders a buncha gear. Since I have a a few backpacks already, and the Computrekker I used for this DIY project is the oldest, I figured this would be good. Check out the extra images on my Flickr set to visualize what I’m trying to describe.
As I mentioned the bag I used for this DIY project is the Lowepro Computrekker AW and this meant for people having a similar bag and needs to be able to wheel and carry their gear BUT don’t want to be spending upwards of $300 on a bag.
The laptop compartment for this bag is padded and between your back and the gear making it the perfect option for backpacking your gear with the trolley in place. Other trolley backpacks don’t offer as much padding between your back and the gear although admittedly I haven’t tried all the backpack trolley bags every made. There’s also a buckle to keep the compartment from opening up, check the photo to see what I mean.
You’ll need a trolley of sorts, I first used one of those cheap, metal, foldup luggage trolleys but since have “upgraded”.
Where to buy (also alternate versions)
First off, I had to make an incision on the bottom of the laptop compartment wide enough to fit the trolley handle. Make sure your incision is as close to the middle of the bag as possible. This is because you will want to melt (with a lighter) the material to prevent the threading from coming loose, if it will at all. Then I gaffer taped the melted seams. 1Better safe than sorry. Then insert the trolley handle through the newly created opening and voila!
The waist strap of the bag, I used to secure the bag to the trolley by wrapping it under the plastic “shelf” part of the trolley using the hole in the “shelf”.
To keep the shoulder straps from dragging and flopping around, I connect them together using the chest straps then secure the chest strap to the laptop compartment buckle.
When not carrying a tripod, I use velcro straps to secure the bags bungy tripod straps to the bag.
With this DIY you only lose the laptop compartment functionality but only if your laptop tablet is very big and won’t fit into the front pocket.
The trolley that I upgraded to is plastic and lighter. It has a “built in” elastic cords and the bottom is a whole piece of plastic (only one hole )so that you won’t get much rebound dirt and water onto your bag. The handle is telescopic so you can retract the handle right into the bag so you won’t have somthing awkardly sticking up behind your head.
I fit this setup with handle retracted easily into an overhead bin on a flight to Australia! LOVE IT! If I recall correctly, it was a Quantas flight and the plane was smaller than a 747.
The bag has a lot of straps and if you don’t find a way to corral them, they will drag and or get stuck at the wheels. Yup happened to me. So now my straps to the shouler harness are all busted up. No biggie but something to keep in mind.
The bag sits partially on the fender of the wheel so it does not sit evenly on the shelf making it difficult for the trolley handle and bag to stay upright. It keeps tilting over. It doesn’t fall over tho. If it bothers you too much, you’ll just need to put something under the bag. I have a hard case (Lowepro Dashpoint AVC-1 I had to cut out the divider) I use to store my Rode Mic in under there when I need to shoot vids. Other times, my tripod secured to the bags tripod system is enough to prevent the leaning over of the handle. If I don’t use either of those, I have a Helinox fold up chair I can slip under the bag.
The bag can still be opened fully while attached to the trolley and if you lay it flat, you’ll dirty the shoulder straps and then yourself if you have to carry it later. If you don’t you’re gear may fall out. To prevent that you’ll need extra dividers across the top of each open gear space. Or else just be more careful.
I really like this DIY Trolley bag, by far my favorite as I get to repurpose a bag saving me hundreds of dollars! The way I carry my gear now (Think Tank Photo modular pouches) coincides perfectly. I don’t have to worry about individual items falling out when the bag is opened. So i don’t need to use extra dividers taking up valuable space.
So if you can get this bag cheap, second hand then it’s worth it, at full price maybe not so much but still cheaper than the regular trolley bags. I have a links down below in the “ALTERNATIVE” section if you want to check out the regular trolley bags.