View Full Version : DIY rolling camera bag

05-01-2009, 11:13pm
I want the largest rolling camera bag that I can get onto an aircraft as carry-on luggage. I don't want a back pack; I just want it big and rollie.

The Lowepro Pro Roller 1 (http://products.lowepro.com/product/Pro-Roller-1,1997,28.htm) looks ideal, but it's AUD $419 in the shops right now. Sheesh!

So I've decided to make my own. I'll buy a rolling overnight bag - you know, the things that business types like to trundle around - and outfit it with padding. How hard can it be?

If I'm talking crazy, stop me now. Anyone else tried it?

05-01-2009, 11:24pm
Oh, and another thing: instead of Domke Inserts (http://photovideo.com.au/-c-329_332.html), which cost several arms and legs, I'm going to try getting what I need at Clarke Rubber.

Lifehacker did it (http://howto.wired.com/wiki/Make_a_Stealth_Camera_Bag).

06-01-2009, 7:07am
I am doing this for my trip to Tassie tomorrow. I bought a rolling compuetr bag at Woolies for $29.99, and have cardboard etc here. I am either going to buy foam or pull it from my big aluminium camea case and then buy some more foam for that later. Will post some photos.

06-01-2009, 8:02am
...Will post some photos.

Yes please.

06-01-2009, 8:20am
Sounds like a great idea - keep us updated on how you go. :th3:

06-01-2009, 8:23am
Hey Guys,
Be aware, I believe, that there is a weight limit of 7 KG on carry-on baggage. (thats for sardine section, I don't know what the posh section limit is). :o

Get the heaviest camra body & lens combo you can and wear it separately on your sholder strap, it will not be included in the weight limit. :p

I hope the above helps. :)

16-01-2009, 12:18am
I was just thinking a scrapbook tote (you can get the rolling ones with the extendable handle) might also work, they usually have lots of pokets in them too for all the little nic-naks you have. Though I'm not sure on weight limits? I know my scrapbook bag weighs a ton!

16-01-2009, 8:25am
Hey Guys,
Be aware, I believe, that there is a weight limit of 7 KG on carry-on baggage. (thats for sardine section, I don't know what the posh section limit is). :o .....

I ain't POSH! :action3: ... so it looks like I'm banned for life from flying on airplanes then :rolleyes:

16-01-2009, 8:51am
I am back from Tassie. I have taken photos and will upload them as soon as I edit. Yes, there is a (official) 7kg limit, but Virgin for one don't police it. Mine weighed more than 7kg and I had my small bag as well (for purse, ID, ticket etc) and no one said Boo. And I saw folk with bigger rolling cases than mine, but probably not as heavy.

I went to Clark Rubber and the block of foam was only $20 ad I have enough to make another insert if I want.

The case was a real success and the wheels worked well, as I have a bad back it is going to get a lot of use. I can fit the 20D & 30D, 2-3 lenses, the downloader thingy (60Gb HD which downloads straight from card), my Mac laptop, my portable 250Gb HD, chargers for all the above, my 3 spare batteries, all my card, 2 tripos mounts plates. I did not take my tripod this time as I borrowed my sisters, but I plan to get a small but sturdy one for travel.

16-01-2009, 9:16am
I made a larger rolling bag from a cheap rolling "suitcase". I wanted something to carry in the boot of the car which could be rolled (or carried) and which would hold most of my gear. Obviously it is not suitable for your needs; nor for hiking - even over short distances. I completely removed the concertina section between the lid and body.
The partitions are made of thin MDF (medium density fribre-board) covered on each side with material from a carry-mat. The inside of the case and lid were also covered in carry-mat foam. (A carry-mat can be bought from camping sites and is designed for hikers to sleep on. It is 4 or 5 mm thick and made of material similar to a wet-suit.)
The partitions and inside are covered in a light-weight felt using craft glue.
The bag is held shut by two wide velcro strips and can be carried by either the end or side handle. The rear hinge is a wide strip of webbing glued on with craft glue. It is heavy especially as it contains ALL the gear in my gear list and more.
The round object velcroed to the inside of the lid is a set of collapible reflectors - when the bag is shut they help hold loose objects like the yellow plastic clamps in their "pigeon-hole".
The white section on the left is the users manuals for 50D, 580EX, 430EX, & STE-2. Alongside them are some filters.
The white box at the right rear is a plastic box containing many spare batteries.

Maybe some of my ideas could be adapted to your needs.

16-01-2009, 10:49am
Thats a good job Graham, the fibreboard was good idea for the partitions....never thought of using that....I'll just file that away somewhere in the archives of my brain, next to the spot where beer registers as tasty. :rolleyes:

20-01-2009, 6:21am
Ok. Here is mine. It carries 20D & 30D bodies, my Sigma 24-70 & 28-300 (or substitues if they fit), extra batteries, cards and my 2 tripod plates, my Data Bank card reader/downloader, chragers for all those, some business cards, pens, USB dives etc.

I did take pics as I made it but I can't find them!

20-01-2009, 7:30am
I've got mine going too. My approach was a little different in that I made partitions out of closed-cell foam. It'll be fine for my purposes, but I'm sure there would be ways of improving it. I'll post some photos when I can.

27-09-2009, 9:25pm
I use to wrap hard cardboard in bubblewrap with a outer layer of cloth. Then some cheap velcro adhesives for the same effect as those Domke inserts. Much cheaper, and you can convert pretty much any normal messenger bag into a camera bag!

27-09-2009, 10:19pm
If you already have a backpack why not just put it into a roller?
I am looking forward to some more posts on this subject as I am thinking of doing the same thing.

28-09-2009, 2:52pm
I've done the same with an old Attache case to keep things protected and together. But my main backpack simply sits on a foldup shopping trolley thingy I bought from the bargain store for $20.00. You can also buy smaller chromed trolleys that fold up to less than 1 foot square for about the same price...dam good idea.

28-09-2009, 3:03pm
And I found the Pelican reusable silica gel cartridges (you cook 'em in the oven to revitalise) here (http://www.caseshop.com.au/online/online.cgi?exact_match=yes&product=Pelican_Cases&cart_id=6193348.35285) - you have to go through all the screens to the end (7 of them) before you find it though.

I was very shocked that one I used in a hard case like a Pelican went bright pink (meaning it was saturated) in about 2 weeks! So it is worthwhile having them in there. I have 2 now.

29-09-2009, 7:46am
I love the idea of this... I want to do one of these for myself... I'd like to imitate the lowepro case on the inside... Something for me to do in the future... but the only thing is... i'd want a regular backpack style bag for when i was at the location...

13-03-2010, 11:17pm
Anyone done any new versions of this? I'm considering doing this... as my gear keeps expanding... but i don't want a full size bag for all the time... i want a "big" roller to get gear to a location and then select my gear and put it into a smaller bag for on location... esp when travelling...

04-08-2010, 3:22pm
Like the bags youve built there. Good idea with the rollers. Wouldnt want to get suitcases mixed up at the airport though! :eek: While on the travelling topic.. my dad went to brazil recently and i was scared someone might try top him for his gear (id heard a few stories.. and pictured him on the street with his big zoom lens..). So with my perserverance he ended up making a.. well i suppose 'undercover' camera bag. It looked like a crappy old backpack on the outside, you wouldnt have stolen it if you had the chance. But on the inside he had made it like your bags to hold his camera body/lenses. He came back from Brazil unharmed with his camera equipemnt and only had his wallet & some stuff pick pocketed from his pants while there :)

04-08-2010, 3:28pm
i have a cheap-ass soft ebay roller that does the job. the inserts are flimsy tho so i need to replace them.

hey, are you related to mongo?

07-08-2010, 10:48am
not sure if you mean me? If so no.. dont know any mongo's!

18-04-2011, 1:58pm
Thanks for the information, very useful.

21-04-2011, 4:06pm
oh I thought I was so clever coming up with this cheapo idea, and here you clever clogs are years ahead of me! thanks for the pics, would love to hear from anyone else. My plan was to get a cheap roller and go to Clarks Rubber, but making moveable partitions is also tempting.

14-11-2011, 6:41pm
I have checkout all the threads on making a personalised camera bag. Some gerat ideas !! I'll keep you updated on my new project on converting a rollabag into a camera bag to transport my gear when we tarvell the outback.:confused013