I've never been one to be overdramatic about a camera bag. However, when I first saw the Pelican PCS 182 camera case, I was impressed. It looked efficient and functional. But will it hold the test?
The bag went on two domestic and one international trip - successfully making the journey as a camera and luggage bag. The main body of the bag is a removable camera case or divider tray. The dimensions are: 21''H x 14''W x 9-1/2'' D, ample room for your DSLR plus room for you lenses, flashes, etc. In my case, it housed my Canon AE-1, Canon AL-1, 50mm SRL, a 250 macro, 15 film canisters and a Vivitar Flash unit. It also has room for about a week's worth of clothes. It contains a removal daypack which handles your laptop, padfolio and other such items too. The daypack can also be used as a carryon.
The main bag features side handles for carrying, as well as a locking retractable handles that make it easy to roll and transport. The bag's guts are all removable. The inner lining can convert from a camera bag to an all-purpose luggage bag at 20"H x 12-1/2" W x 7"D. The movable inner dividers adjusts to your equipment's dimensions, up to 18-1/2" H x 13"W x 5-1/4"D.
When the daypack is removed, it fits easily in a plane's overhead compartment. If you need to go hands free, no problem. The bag hides a zipper compartment that holds the backpack straps with waist best support, adjustable to suit your body type. This feature came in handy for me when the family and I took a journey overseas.
This was the first time my two children were traveling by plane. They each had their own rolling bag. Generally, 3-year-old's get tired of carrying (or rolling) their stuff though. And, lucky for me, mine decided they were no longer walking and wanted to sit in the middle of the airport. Fortunately, I was able to convert the Pelican D'Exec Rolling to the backpack. This allowed me to carry my camera, a child and pull my 3-year-old's bag.
The removable bag easily detaches from the main bag by a quick move of the zipper. It can hold your laptop up to 14-1/2"h x 11-1/2"W x 2"D, as well as your power supply, papers and folders. It has individual compartments for you pens and pencils, a separate exterior compartment for additional storage and an interior zipper compartment to keep your personal items separate from the main body of the bag.
The first time I used this, I may have been overzealous with the contents. I was traveling and had a 1,500 page hardcover, wallet, phone, gum, snacks, my laptop, pad folio and pens. After awhile, my back hurt. Once I consolidated the backpack to accommodate for realistic traveling, the backpack served its purpose, pain free and hands free. My favorite part of using it though, is when I sit at a gate waiting for the boarding portion of the plane. With the backpack attached to the main body, I receive crazy looks from other passengers. I can tell they hope I'm not sitting next them. They have visions of me cramming the entire backpack into the overhead compartment. But after I take the bag apart, people give me double takes and release sighs of relief. This is very entertaining.
The bag's successful journey
The Pelican D'Exec Series Rolling-Backpack Camera case easily made it through airport security without any incidents. The durability is there as well. It was checked and carried-on planes with out receiving any body damage. The Pelican easily navigates with the inline skate wheels with sealed roller bearings and corner protectors. It's a comfortable transformation from rolling bag to backpack when you need to go hands free. Overall, I would say this bag definitely is worth the price at about $380.