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Camera supports on airlines

Started Nov 6, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Camera supports on airlines
Nov 6, 2012

With all the TSA security and airline dimension restrictions today, how do you deal with carrying a camera support for landscape photography when you fly?

I have a gorillapod which I have safely stuffed in a carry-on roller bag with my clothes and hiking gear (cameras & laptop are in a Tamrac backpack), but a gorillapod isn't the best support for general-purpose landscape work.

I have considered carrying my monopod, which collapses to about 20" and could fit diagonally into my carry-on roller bag. However, I could see the TSA or an airline classifying this as a "club" and telling me to mail it home from the security checkpoint. Besides, a monopod is better than nothing, but it's not a tripod.

I have a full-size aluminum tripod that will not fit into a carry-on bag when collapsed (and might also be called a club by TSA). I've considered strapping this to my camera backpack, but then the backpack wouldn't fit under the seat. The airlines I've flown recently have been pretty picky these days about only one item overhead and two items total - separating the tripod would create a "third" item that would go overhead. I received a travel case for this tripod as a gift, and have begrudgingly used the case to give the tripod to the baggage handlers at the airport on several occasions. So far it has not been lost but it forces me to check bags, which adds cost and waiting for baggage claim to each flight.

Is it time to just buck up and buy one of the newer carbon fiber tripods that collapse from 6' high in the field to the size of a pencil for packing? What do you do?

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