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April 14, 2009


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Gerhard Engelbrecht

Hey Seb

Have You considered a photo vest or similar body mounted gear transport system. Stuff the D3, a lens and some accessories in there. Weigh the bag and just before you walk through the gate replace the items into your bag. Just a thought.

Seb Rogers

Hi Gerhard,

Yep, a vest is a possibility. Thanks to Chris Ratcliff too for pointing me towards this blog, with loads of helpful hints on flying with cameras:

The gist of it is know the rules, keep your bag size down, act like it's featherweight and have a back-up plan (like a vest) in the event that the bag is weighed.

Incidentally, I've just weighed my lightest bag (Fstop Lotus) with nothing but my laptop (not even the padded camera unit) inside it. It weighs 4kg - just 2kg short of the official limit. Which just shows how patently ridiculous the official weight limit is...


Hi Seb,

Most airlines allow you to bring a laptop bag in addition to your normal carry-on bag. I always travel with a 25 liter daypack stuffed with books, ipod, camera, etc., and a shoulder bag with laptop and other gadgets. The two bags together weigh at least 10 kg I think. Nobody ever asked to weigh them though.

Good luck! :-)

Seb Rogers

Hey Niels,

Yes, that's true. Unfortunately it doesn't appear to be the case with Virgin, who've got my business on this occasion. I've read and re-read the small print, and the upshot is laptops have to fit in the main bag.

Funnily enough, I flew with Virgin earlier in the year, with the same Fstop Lotus I just weighed. I'm sure it was over the weight limit, even though I just had my laptop, D40X and 3 small lenses and a bunch of holiday-related stuff in there...


You say "particularly in the UK", but BA have the most generous carry-on weight allowances I've seen - 23kg.

Seb Rogers

BA is the exception that proves the rule... :)

The only problems I've ever had relating to bag size / weight / contents have been flying out of the UK. According to regular traveller Steven Frischling (, you're more likely to encounter problems with overweight carry-ons outside the US. Certainly my experience of both internal and international flights boarding in the US is that carry-on size and weight restrictions seem much more relaxed (read: more practical for business travellers) than they are in Europe.

During the memorable summer of 2006, when airports unilaterally imposed their own carry-on size restrictions, I had to check my camera gear into the hold from Bristol to Geneva, but was able to (legally) carry on on the return flight (via the same carrier). Go figure.

But perhaps I should've written 'Europe' instead of 'UK'...

Chris Ratcliff

I've never understood how the weight limits can be so low... Sometimes though, it's worth thinking a bit outside the box. A lot depends though on what you need at the far end! This is quite impressive -

Something like this could be good too...

Seb Rogers

Why are the weight limits so low? I dunno. Overhead locker safety? (yeah, right). So that people pack more in their checked bags and are more likely to pay excess fees?

Both those solutions look good at first, but neither addresses the (basically insurmountable) weight issue, and many of Steve Frischling's ideas rely on carrying a couple of cameras with lenses attached on neckstraps. In my case (flying Virgin out of LHR), that ain't gonna fly - pun intended. I'm allowed, in addition to my one featherweight bag, a 'small camera and/or pair of binoculars'. I really don't fancy arguing that the D3 is any way 'small'...



Hi seb
Good luck with that.
First you should consider buying the books in the duty free zone.
Second you could go to the airport with a relative weight the bag and then fill it with the gear you need before going through the safety gates.
As a frequent EU flyer (between UK and France) I have never been in trouble with hold luggage.
Good luck with that.

You can alway ship your gear maybe;


Hi Seb, good topic.
My strategy until now was the same as yours, acting like it's featherweight.
I never had Problems with Lufthansa, other Star Alliance members, Air France etc.
Just at Ryanair I was forced to check in (and pay extra) hand luggage once because it was too heavy... They only allow 10 kilos and it must be exactly one piece , not a bag plus laptop , e.g....



Hey Seb,
I flew BA from LHR recently with a backpack weighing about 11kg. In advance of the flight I looked for what the carry-on weight limit might be, but couldn't find anything.
The only person likely to query the weight of your carry-on luggage is a body patrolling around the outside of the check-in counters looking to help with out-sided luggage. Avoid them and you'll be ok.
Would be interesting to know what airline has the 6kg restriction.
Good luck with your trip...

Seb Rogers

@ Thomas - I'm not surprised Ryanair made you pay... they practically charge you for breathing. I won't fly with them on principle...

@ Derek - I think BA's supposed to be relatively flexible on hand luggage. The 6kg / strict one bag only limit is with Virgin. I put up with it, on balance, because in other respects their service is excellent. It doubles, I think, if you fly Upper Class. But I don't know any snappers who can afford that.


Its always a relief to dodge the bullet by carrying the backpack on one shoulder at the counter or holding it up with one hand as nochalantly as possible. But its easy to imagine, though, the one time it does'nt work for whatever reason. I always sweat about that!

Would a small peli case for one body and heavier lenses zipped into something like the north-face duffel bags and padded with clothes do the job? It would look like a regular bag at least. I guess you always want to have the kit essential to do an OK job on your back.

Does your insurance cover loss/damage during hold transportation?

Cheers for bringing this up! Its nice to get some ideas for this tricky problem.

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