I have been doing a lot of traveling lately for the sites and personal reasons, so quality carry-on baggage for my equipment has become a priority. I like to use this kind of equipment for a while before I give an opinion about it, but I was recently sent the ORCA Carry-On Wheeled Suitcase from B&H to see if it could fill my needs and quickly decided that it was worth sharing.
The ORCA is very well made and thought out in many respects. The sides are rigid, but nicely padded. There are plenty of places to quickly grab the bag from comfortably. Even the zippers have little ropes attached to them with rubberized plastic to keep them open, making them easy to grab and readily available to open the bag so that you can take your laptop out for security. All of the grab points are very functional.
The additional pockets on the front are nice for small items and the one at the top of the bag can be opened on the inside and outside, which gives the top pocket a little extra room for chargers. The bag’s extendable handle is easy to access and opens/closes easily. The handle is rigid and long enough for a 6’5″ adult like me to use comfortably.
I generally do not like rolling luggage, but my full kit is getting heavy and the large wheels on this bag add a lot of stability that other bags do not have. My other rolling bag has a tendency to twist all over the place when going off a drop if I have something on top and the weight shifts, but the ORCA handles this kind of movement well.
So, I covered the good, and there’s a lot to like compared to similar bags that I have used, but this isn’t a great bag for me. This bag has a ton of room inside, and it dwarfs every lens I currently own, so none of them fit snugly. Generally speaking, my best option is to cannibalize my camera bag and split the 9 compartments in half or close to half, which would be great if it were easy for me to get everything just right in my street bag again. I wish this bag came with 9 additional small inserts for people that shoot a lot of primes and pancakes like I do. Sure I could use lens bags or other solutions, but I like having a nice padded compartment that holds each lens firmly in place. ORCA uses some nice materials for protecting the equipment inside the bag, but smaller gear might move around too much if not packed well. I photographed how some of my gear fit in the bag in the default configuration for you to see, but the mishmash of dividers I used in the end looked like a mess.
The 17-inch laptop compartment is also very good, but a little on the big side in my opinion; and if you’re using an Apple computer, they don’t have 17-inch laptops anymore so it could allow for too much movement inside the bag. They probably should have included an additional sleeve for 15 and 13-inch laptops since the laptop padding sits right on top of the lenses and kind of keeps them in place.
The ORCA Carry-On Wheeled Suitcase is probably best for someone that uses a lot of big zoom lenses and DSLR bodies and I would love to see it sold in additional configurations. Maybe even reduce the lens/body storage size and include room for a removable camera bag. This bag has tons of room and it’s a great platform to work off of if you don’t mind buying additional inserts and using trial and error for the perfect fit.