OM System 150-400mm f/4.5 Lens and Think Tank Airport Advantage
Olympus / OM System,  Photo Gear,  Travel

Is the Think Tank Airport Advantage the Best Way to Travel with the OM System 150-400mm f/4.5 Lens

The OM System 150-400mm f/4.5 Lens is a terrific bird and wildlife photography lens.  It has the sharpness of the Olympus 300mm f/4 lens with a huge focal length range of 150 – 500mm (300 – 1000mm full frame equivalent).

The problem is that it is a large lens for the Micro Four Thirds system which makes it more difficult for travel.  The Olympus 300mm f/4 lens is small, light and easier to travel with, fitting in smaller carry on bags and backpacks. 

OM System 150-400mm f/4.5 and Olympus 300mm f/4 Size and Weight Comparison

LensSizeWeight
OM System 150-400 f/4.54.6 x 12.4″ / 115.8 x 314.3 mm4.14 lb / 1.88 kg
Olympus 300mm f/43.64 x 8.94″ / 92.5 x 227 mm3.25 lb / 1.475 g

Flying with the OM System 150-400mm Lens

I was traveling with OM System 150-400mm lens in a Pelican Vault V525 case.  This worked well to protect the 150-400mm lens, but the Pelican Vault is a large heavy case.  This won’t work for smaller jets and many overseas domestic flights that have size and weight restrictions for carry on bags.

I have 2 overseas trips planned this year that have size and weight restrictions for carry on bags.  The most stringent restrictions are for the domestic flights in Brazil with a carry on size limitation of 21.65 x 13.7795 x 9.84 inches (55 x 35 x 25cm).  There is also a weight restriction for Carry On bags of 10kg / 22.05 lbs) including the weight of the bag. 

With these restrictions, The Pelican Vault wouldn’t cut it.  The case is slightly over the size restrictions and by itself weighs 11.5 lb / 5.2 kg.  The case combined just with the the OM-1 and 150-400mm would weigh 7.68kg / 16.94 pounds.  The Pelican Vault also doesn’t have storage for a laptop or tablet. 

So, I started looking for another travel bag for the OM System 150-400mm lens.  I wanted the bag to be a roller, so I didn’t have to carry the weight on my back while walking through multiple airports and also during the trip.  Another consideration is finding a bag that will fit the 5.25” diameter of the lens hood.

I created a spreadsheet with the candidate roller bags on the market.  Here is a snapshot of the spreadsheet.

Roller Bag Comparison for OM System 150-400mm Lens
Roller Bag Comparison for OM System 150-400mm Lens

The Think Tank Photo Airport Advantage was the lightest bag that I found.  It was also small enough to meet the carry on restrictions for foreign domestic flights and fit in the overhead bins for many smaller planes.

But, would the OM System 150-400mm lens fit in the bag?  Will I still have enough room for my other gear?  Will I be under the weight restrictions for the foreign flights?

Does the OM System 150-400mm f/4.5 lens fit in the Think Tank Airport Advantage?

The Airport Advantage is plenty long and wide to store the 150-400mm f/4.5 lens.  I wasn’t sure about the depth fitting the 5.25” diameter lens hood.  Think Tank has the depth listed as 4.9 – 6.4” in their specifications.  I contacted Think Tank Support and the Airport Advantage has a deeper section (6.4”) that is 6” long at the bottom of the bag, which is perfect for fitting the Lens Hood section of the 150-400mm lens.

However, this deeper section can be a little awkward when packing other gear besides the 150-400mm lens.  I put an extra backpack divider on the bottom of this section to even out the bag.  If you need extra backpack dividers / padding, I found them on Temu for a reasonable price.

Think Tank Airport Advantage Loaded with OM System Gear
Think Tank Airport Advantage Loaded with OM System Gear

Is There Enough Room in the Think Tank Airport Advantage to Fit my Other OM System Gear?

Despite the small size of the bag, the airport advantage can hold a lot of gear even with the OM System 150-400mm lens.  Here is the list of gear I have packed in the above photograph:

  • OM System OM-1 with battery and SD cards
  • Olympus E-M1 Mark III with battery and SD cards
  • OM-D E-M10 Mark III (infrared Converted) with Olympus 14-42EZ f/3.5-5.6 lens with battery and SD card
  • Metal Lens Hood for Olympus 14-42 EZ
  • OM System 150-400mm f/4.5 lens
  • OM System 40-150mm f/4 lens
  • OM System 12-100mm f/4 lens
  • OM System 8-25mm f/4 lens
  • Olympus 1.4x Teleconverter
  • Extra Batteries for OM-1, E-M1 Mark III, and E-M10 Mark III
  • 16 SD cards in 2 cases
  • 2 – SanDisk 4TB SSD Drives with cases and cables
  • 14” MacBook Pro
  • Apple AirTag
  • As you can see, this bag holds a lot of gear.  But, will my ideal list of gear for my overseas trips weigh in under the weight limits for the domestic flights?

Will I be Under the Carry On Weight Limits for the Foreign Domestic Flights?

The above list of gear comes in just over the weight limit for the Brazilian domestic flights of 10 kg / 22.05 lbs.  The bag and the above gear weighed in at 10.5 kg / 23.1 lbs.

I will be carrying a small personal bag to fit under the seat so I have options to move items like extra batteries, SD cards, back up drive, etc.  I can also cut back on the number of lenses or the infrared camera, if necessary.  So, I have reasonable options to reduce the weight to be in compliance with the weight limit.

Conclusion

I’m happy with the purchase of the Think Tank Photo Airport Advantage, and I think it’s a perfect travel roller bag  for the OM System 150-400mm f/4.5 Lens.  I also like that it has a laptop section that can fit up to a 15” laptop so I don’t have to worry about storing the laptop in my personal item.  It also holds a bunch of Micro Four Thirds Gear.

The bag is a little pricey at $320 USD, but to me it is worth the price as it meets my needs international travel with the OM System 150-400mm lens.

Written by Martin Belan

Related Blog Posts
Exploring the OM System 150-400mm f/4.5: A Hands-On Field Experience
Which OM System / Olympus 40-150mm Lens Should You Buy?
OM System 150-400mm Unboxing and First Impressions

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