Think Tank FPV Airport Helipak Travel Review

By Whiffles on Dec 01, 2017

6  1,640  0

The ThinkTank FPV Airport Helipak is the premier travel bag for FPV enthusiasts. I've taken this bag across the country and around the world, and I really can't imagine a better pack for the job. It's huge. It's the size of a carry-on luggage, and it's designed specifically for FPV. It offers customizable compartments that can store a handful of quads, a transmitter or two, a couple sets of goggles, batteries, tools, props and a laptop. If you're feeling lazy you can even pack a couple quads without removing the props. You'll never find yourself saying, "I wish my bag was bigger."

Build Quality

Inside

This is a nice bag. It offers enough padding to securely carry all your FPV gear. The exterior padding is quite thick and rigid. I feel safe packing my goggles and transmitter without any additional protection. The dividers are just as firm and supportive, but pointy tools tend to snag the soft fabric. The exterior material feels durable and is smooth to the touch. The zippers are large and function great. The handle and straps are very well supported, so even fully loaded they won't break.

After a several weeks of use it's held up quite well and still looks new, but I did notice a loose thread near the handle. Also, I wish the top was as padded and rigid as the rest of the bag, particularly for laptop storage. It's quite floppy, so an additional padded laptop sleeve is recommended.

Travel

Travel is where this pack shines. It qualifies as a carry-on, but not a personal item as it won't fit under any seats. It's the perfect size for the overhead bins and keeps your quads well protected and discreetly hidden from passengers (except when TSA asks you to remove everything electronic). You can even add some personal items like toiletries and spare clothing. In fact you'll need to boast quite an extensive FPV collection to come close to filling this pack.

Overhead

Taking this through airport security is hit or miss. There are some occasions where you won't be asked to remove anything, but other times you may need to remove everything. This happened to me departing JFK on an international flight. Just be sure to exclude scissors or any sharp tools. Your batteries should be storage charged, but I've never been asked about their charge state. TSA generally seems more concerned about the electronics and tools than anything else.

Traveling via bus can be a tad more challenging. This bag simply won't fit in the overhead bins. If the bus isn't full the best place to keep it is right beside you.

Desert

The biggest complaint I have traveling with this bag is the weight. It puts a lot of strain on your back, so don't overfill it or don't plan any long walks. The waist and chest straps work great and I highly recommend strapping it up tight to reduce strain. It wouldn't be a bad idea to buy a portable luggage cart if you need to walk a distance with a fully loaded pack.

So why not use luggage? The real differentiators here are the dividers and padding. You'll be hard pressed to find a bag with this compartmental flexibility. Another thing to note is the zipper location. Most luggage unzip into two equal halves whereas the Helipak uses a thin lid which gives the contents maximum depth. If you want to shop for a similar product, search for "camera luggage". You'll see that the prices aren't far off from this.

Fill it up!

Contents

This bag has enough space for two pilots. You can pack passenger headsets and even a spare transmitter. I can add a jacket, some spare clothing and still have enough room for all my FPV gear. Here's everything I've managed to fit into this bag at once:

  • 3-4 Quads
  • 2 Transmitters
  • 2 Goggles
  • iSDT Charger
  • Laptop
  • Batteries
  • 2-3 Action Cams
  • Tools
  • Soldering iron

Pros

  • Lots of space
  • Excellent build quality
  • Padded dividers
  • Internal quad storage
  • Stands up without tipping over

Cons

  • High Price
  • Can be cumbersome and heavy
  • Floppy top with limited laptop protection

Conclusion

Yes, this is an expensive bag. Yes, you can get away with something cheaper. It really comes down to your commitment to FPV and your travel frequency. This is great as an around-the-town bag and offers the added bonus of convenient domestic and international travel. Compared to a smaller FPV bag at a $50-$75 savings, this is certainly the better value. When you consider everything you've invested in the hobby, a good bag is a worthy investment.

Disclaimer: This backpack was provided courtesy of Thinktankphoto.com in exchange for a fair and unbiased review. This article utilizes affiliate links and purchasing any product mentioned here will help support RotorBuilds.com

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