Designing Camera Bags with Ted Meister

Today I’m talking with a representative from a photo gear manufacturer. This isn’t the only interview I’ll be doing from a gear producer. With these interviews, it’s my goal to give you listeners a bit of an “insider” look into the company and to hopefully better understand what makes them tick.
So today, I’m talking with Ted Meister, Marketing Director for ThinkTank Photo. Ted, Welcome to the show.Ted, Tell us a bit about ThinkTank Photo, the basic history of the company. Who are the major players and how it all got started?
And what is the main philosophy that drives the company?


I’ve got some questions I’d like to ask about some specific products, but also about the design process of making quality gear photographers want. I Some of these are mine, and some come from my listeners. I may have also expanded on what listeners asked as well.Also, I’m not looking to have you spill any trade secrets, I want to respect that for sure!

1. What challenges do you consider when designing a camera bag. How do you research what customers want? Do you have a mechanism for direct customer feedback?

2. With the myriad of cameras/systems/types of photographers how does a manufacturer prioritize bag designs to satisfy those variables

3. Is there anything a buyer should know about shopping for bags that they usually don’t think about? Maybe something that could be viewed as a design flaw but in reality it’s just a misunderstanding of a certain design challenge.

4. This is a good one: “Why don’t they make girly camera bags?”This person literally wants bright colors, different patterns, even pink! The desire to have a bag that doesn’t scream “photo gear” is desired by many, including this listener. I know I’d love a bag that doesn’t scream photo gear.

5. There were more items along this line. A brand of bags was specifically mentioned, Kavu bags. There was also a mention regarding sizing, straps etc. something more female focused.

6. From the ThinkTank Lineup, give me a recommendation for the following scenariosa. Travel photographer shooting Fujifilm cameras. Two bodies, 5 lenses.b. Landscape photographer shooting a digital Medium Format system.c. Travel photographer shooting a standard Nikon or Canon kit. One Pro body, one smaller body and 4 lenses.d. To fit a smaller kit, Fuji or Sony or Olympus crop-sensor, two lenses. And room for a few daily essentials.

7. You just released the Elite 45L. Walk me through this bag. In one sense I’m absolutely drooling. In another, it’s a lot of bag, maybe more than I need.

8. You also released an ICU. Do you plan to do more of these in the future which will allow photographers to use your gear protection in the bag of their choice?

9. Do plans exist for expanding the line with other non-bag solutions? That you can talk about anyway?

Links to gear mentioned in this episode:

All Rolling Cases:

Airport Advantage:

Airport Advantage Plus:

BackLight 26L:

Urban Aproach 15:

Vision series shoulder bags:

Retrospective 30:

Photocross 13:

Photocross 15:

FirstLight 40L:

BackLight 36L:

BackLight Elite 45L:

Rotation System:

Shape Shifter Series:

StreetWalker Series:

Mirrorless Mover Series:

Turnstyle Sling Bags:

StashMaster 13:

SKB Hardcases: