Best way to transport your photo equipment including a 600mm/f4 lens

When traveling by airplane, the size of the case and the weight of the photo gear is usually a big problem. Currently, luggage size on international flights is limited to an overall length of 157 cm (length + width + depth) and weight is limited to 23kg. Carry-on is limited to 115 cm (56 + 36 + 23 cm) and weight to 5-12kg, depending on the airline.

Peli Storn Case iM2875
The peli case iM2875 is big enough to accommodate the Nikkor 600mm/f4 VR and the Nikkor 300m/f2.8 VR, both lenses with a body mounted and in case of the 300mm also with the hood extended. It’s high enough to also fit a 70-200mm/f2.8 in its case upright (back left corner). There is ample space left for additional equipment (note the ASUS Zenbook in the back).

The Peli Storm Case iM2875 is the largest case you are allowed to bring on an airplane without extra charge. It’s exceptionally sturdy, waterproof and also features wheels and a telescoping handle to pull it. Furthermore it comes with six press and pull latches and two padlockable hasps to secure the lid. Its total length is exactly 156.7 cm (exterior dimensions  L x W x D: 63.2 x 60.2 x 33.3 cm). Unfortunately, it’s also very heavy. The empty case without padding alone weights 9.5kg. The optionally available padded dividers add an additional 3.25 kg, which would leave you with only 10.45 kg to spare for your gear.

To reduce the weight for flying, I just bought some foam rubber and adhesive velcro and replaced the padding with my own. This brought the weight down from 2.1 kg to 0.85 kg with the configuration shown in the photo above.

The case is big enough to fit in a Nikon 600mm/4 VR II and a 300mm/f2.8 VR II even with a body mounted. In case of the 300mm you can also keep the hood extended.

When flying, I don’t put my expensive lenses in the case, but put them in the carry-on bag wrapped in neoprene lens coats. Upon arrival, I move them back into the trunk.

Lens coats for Nikkor 600mm and 30mm
Nikkor 600mm and 300mm protected with lens coat

This whole setup works very well. I used the peli case for a whole month while taking photos in the rain forest of Guyana without any problems.

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