Tamrac 5592 Big Wheels SpeedRoller 2X
$400 / £300 www.tamrac.com
The Tamrac 5592 Big Wheels SpeedRoller 2X is a photography equipment buffet on wheels. The bag's primary attributes are its industrial strength telescoping handle, oversized wheels fortified with ball bearings, and a ton of real estate for camera equipment. The SpeedRoller 2X is luggage compartment compatible and even carries a laptop over 17-inches in size.
I've reviewed more than a few bags within recent months, and the Tamrac SpeedRoller 2X is the most expensive model I've tested to date, at a street price of $400. Is this particular model a classic case of 'you get what you pay for', or does the SpeedRoller hit a few speedbumps along the way? Let's give it a whirl.
- Carries two DSLRs with lenses attached
- Oversized, ball-bearing wheels
- Carries laptops up to 17.3 in.
- Industrial strength telescoping handle
- QuickClip Tripod attachment system
- Ballistic nylon outer shell, plastic-armored walls and foam padded main compartment
- 5-year limited warranty
- 14W x 9D x 22H in. (36 x 23 x 56cm)
- 12 lbs. (5.4Kg)
The million dollar question you're probably asking right off the bat is whether or not the Tamrac SpeedRoller can withstand the inevitable airport security shakedown, so let's get this out of the way first. Yes it can. At 14W x 9D x 22H in. (36 x 23 x 56 cm), the bag satisfies the current maximum dimensions approved for overhead storage. For professionals carrying a lot of expensive gear, this is likely to be a big deal. Checking a bag filled with $10,000 worth of equipment into the hold of an airplane is something you only do if you have to.
The other attributes that make the Tamrac SpeedRoller 2X an ideal airport warrior are its giant four-inch wheels and 20-inch telescoping handle. The wheels are made of a hard rubber compound and feature metal ball bearings for a smooth and quiet ride. The large diameter wheels and buttery bearings performed admirably upon a variety of terrain, including grass hills and gravel. I've done some 'offroading' with the SpeedRoller 2X on a selection of rocky Maine landscapes during several real estate shoots, and it coped admirably. The bag even handled a thick blueberry field without any hiccups, which many New Englanders would consider a definitive test.
|A large, telescoping and locking aluminum handle make travelling with the SpeedRoller nice and easy.||Oversized wheels with ball bearings offer a smooth, quiet ride.|
The locking, telescoping aluminum handle provided plenty of length for a comfortable tow, though I'm not the tallest pine in the forest at 5' 8". So, I called upon a few of my taller friends to roll the bag around. They tell me that while the handle was well-built and sturdy, the sharper, more upright angle made the bag a bit less stable when pulled over challenging terrain. Perhaps Tamrac could have made the handle longer, in the 24-26 inch range and introduced three different locking height adjustments for different size photographers. I stress though that this is really only an issue for very tall people, in the 6' 3" and up category. Dikembe Mutombo would carry it like a handbag.
As for durability, I was impressed with the SpeedRoller 2X's structural integrity. The entire outer shell is ballistic nylon with ribbed rubberized piping around all corners on the top side. Three hard plastic runners line the underbelly of the bag, preventing the nylon shell from ever touching the ground. Both leather wrapped handles are foam padded and exceedingly comfortable. They are also reinforced with cross-stitching and did not flinch when I yanked on them with all my might. The main zippers are oversized (seeing a trend here?) and also highly durable.
Inside the bag, Tamrac lined the entire interior with soft fabric and reinforced all of it with plush foam. The bottom of the interior compartment features a large foam pad to support all the weight from gravity's constraints, and the top of the interior has a smaller foam pad, both of which can be un-velcroed, allowing the entire bottom tray to be removed for cleaning. The padded bottom tray also sits suspended about an inch from the outside wall of the bag, so there's a wall of air in addition to the foam to protect the underside. Two adjustable straps suspend the top flap in the upright position so it doesn't come crashing to the ground and equipment is accessed easily. The top flap is lined entirely with foam, as well as the outermost compartment that holds a laptop. As a result, my 17-inch MacBook was sandwiched between two slabs of foam. Overall, as you might be able to tell, I was highly pleased with the construction of the Tamrac SpeedRoller 2X.
|Two full size DSLRs and 7 lenses can fit inside the SpeedRoller 2X.||Small tripods are questionable, but large tripods will topple the bag over when stood upright.|
Organization was another strong quality of the bag. The entire main compartment of the bag is stocked with 13 thick foam-padded strappings of all shapes and sizes. Therefore, the main compartment is fully customizable. I was able to fit a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with battery grip and 24-105mm lens attached, two flashes, wireless lav mics, a portrait lens, three battery chargers, travel hard drive, photo filters and card readers. A large telephoto lens up to 16 inches can fit in the main compartment while stuffing a lens-free body in one of the side compartments, and 4-5 other lenses can still fit inside.
The top flap is fitted with with Tamrac's Windowpane-Mesh pockets, which are essentially transparent zippered sleeves that showcase small items like memory cards and batteries. A large zippered sleeve lives behind the transparent pockets, ideal for documents and maps.
|The strapping system is pretty serious, as well as the foam padding.||Here's the hard plastic reinforced underside.|
Two large hockey puck-like protrusions reside parallel to the rolling wheels. These are for standing the bag upright. When I had the SpeedRoller 2X packed to the brim with all of my equipment, the bag was able to stand upright without any instability issues. However, when I attached a larger tripod to the QuickClip Tripod attachment system, the bag toppled forward like a felled tree. Smaller tripods fared okay, but my pro-grade tripods acted like a boat anchor. I was a bit disappointed by this, and had to refrain from setting the bag upright on the ground unattended.
The Tamrac 5592 Big Wheels SpeedRoller 2X is something of a mouthful, but it is a testament to quality construction and architectural ingenuity. The bag is rugged, comfortable to travel with (for normal to small- sized people at any rate), and provides seemingly endless organizational possibilities. The best part about the SpeedRoller 2X is that it's airport-friendly, and will prove to be a trusty travel companion. I did run into an issue with mounting a large tripod to the outside of the bag, and I think that's something Tamrac should explore when designing the follow up model. But overall, the bag is a bonefide winner in my book.
What we like: Rugged, quality construction, expansive storage capacity, malleable internal components, carry-on approved
What we don't like: Prone to toppling over with a large tripod attached, might be too short for tall people to tow comfortably
Mike Perlman is a freelance photographer and writer, based in Bar Harbor, Maine. After a spell reviewing camcorders at Camcorderinfo.com, Mike moved to infoSync World as the Senior Photography Editor, before taking up a role at TechnoBuffalo.com as the head of the Photography department. These days, Mike runs his own photography business and contributes to dpreview between shoots.
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