Review: Thinktank FPV Session & Airport Helipak Backpacks

Thinktank is a company that designs and manufactures backpacks and camera carrying cases. They have recently introduced a new line of products designed for drones. We will take a look at two of their products made specifically for FPV pilots.

The FPV Session, FPV Airport Helipak backpacks and accessories were provided for this review by a Thinktank. This article is written by Artur Banach.

Check out other FPV backpacks for quadcopters we reviewed in the past.

FPV Session

In the 2 backpacks we reviewed in this post, the FPV Session is the smaller and less expensive solution. The backpack alone weights 1.2kg and has dimensions of approx. 300x170x500mm.

There are two pockets on each side of the backpack along with straps for attaching things like tripod or water bottle. There are strap attachments on the flap that allow 2 or even 3 mini quads attached to it. There is also a set of straps on the bottom of the backpack that can be utilized.

  

The backpack comes with example picture of how FPV gear can be arranged inside.

Inside, there are removable dividers with a velcro. The compartment layout is completely customizable. The top divider is the biggest piece and has a few mesh pockets on it. Dividers are aligned on a slight angle when looking from the side.

  

Backpack cover flap contains few pockets: two inside (one zipped) and two outside. Rain cover is included as well to give a better rain protection when needed. It is stored on the top external pocket.

This backpack can fit small tablet but there is no dedicated laptop compartment inside. I use 13″ MacBook for field tuning and I fitted it inside by putting it on the top of the dividers. Not recommended if there is a lot of stuff already inside because that can cause a bit of a pressure on the laptop.

My personal arrangement

Here is a list of gear I fitted inside the FPV Session

  

  • Taranis radio transmitter (X9D)
  • FatShark Dominator V2 FPV Goggles
  • GoPro 4 Black + two spare batteries
  • Small bag full of props (around 15 sets)
  • 12 x 4S 1300mah LiPo batteries (stored in Lipo safe bags)
  • 2 x 2S 1300mah LiPo transmitter batteries
  • Tools, screwdrivers, pliers, duct tape
  • 3 mini quads hanging on the flaps outside

This is my the gear I normally take with me to a FPV session and I still had loads of space left for extra batteries, tools, even snacks. :)

Good things about the FPV Session

  • Small, compact size
  • Great build quality
  • Comfortable fit on the back when carrying, even when fully loaded with gear
  • Rain cover included
  • All internal dividers are adjustable/removable
  • Plenty internal attachments
  • Useful pockets in the flap
  • Straps for attaching mini quads to the flap

Bad things about the FPV Session

  • Price. Pretty expensive for a backpack
  • No dedicated laptop compartment
  • Carrying handle on the top is a bit small

FPV Airport Helipak Backpack

FPV Airport Helipak is the bigger and heavier of the two backpacks reviewed here. It weights 2kg and has dimensions of approx. 350x250x500mm. It has more of a suitcase shape, with a big, comfortable handle at the top which looks quite like the Multistar backpack. It is designed to fit in a hand luggage compartment on the plane. Its dimensions do comply with Lufthansa and EasyJet hand luggage regulations for instance (those are the only ones I checked).

 

Similar to the FPV Session, the Airport Helipak comes with example picture how FPV gear can be arranged inside. There are meshed side pockets and straps for attaching tripod. There are straps on the flap for attaching mini quads on the outside.

Helipak’s form factor helps to keep things organised inside. Internal dividers can be rearranged and there are plenty of attachments for tools. There is a dedicated space for storing mini quads inside.

  

In the flap there are two meshed, zipped pockets from inside and from the outside there is a laptop compartment that can fit 15″ laptop and some other accessories.

Helipak feels very solid although it doesn’t have hard walls. It fits very well on the back when carrying it, but it can be a bit bulky, especially if there are quads and tripod attached to it on the outside.

My personal arrangement

Here is a list of gear I fitted inside the FPV Airport Helipak

  • Taranis radio transmitter (X9D)
  • FatShark Dominator V2 FPV Goggles
  • GoPro 4 Black + two spare batteries
  • Small bag full of props (around 30 pairs)
  • 16 x 4S 1300mah LiPo batteries (stored inLipo safe bags)
  • 2 x 2S 1300mah LiPo transmitter batteries
  • Tools, screwdrivers, pliers, duct tape
  • 2 x 5″ mini quads with props already installed
  • 2 more mini quads are hanging on the outside

Depending on the size, it is possible to fit 5″ quad with props on or even 4-5 quads without props when stored on the side. I managed to put 6″ Alien inside but it wouldn’t fit with the props on.

There are so many ways how to arrange your gear inside the backpack. I was playing with it and even managed to fit two transmitters, more batteries, and even the TinyWhoop box with 20 lipos in it. I Had to move the bag of propellers to the external laptop pocket to make that happened but it was perfectly doable.

Good things about FPV Airport Helipak

  • Plenty of space
  • Great build quality
  • Feels comfortable even when carrying lots of gear
  • Rain cover included
  • All internal dividers can be rearranged to suit your requirement
  • Plenty internal attachments
  • Useful pockets in the flap
  • Straps for attaching mini quads to the flap
  • Complies with airlines regulations regarding the cabin luggage dimensions
  • Comfortable handle

Bad things about FPV Session

  • Price – It’s more expensive than the FPV Session backpack
  • It can be bulky and less discrete as the FPV Session – its obvious it’s a backpack for specialist “gear”
  • Laptop compartment is located in the flap, which makes it vulnerable to physical damage. It would have been safer if it was inside

Accessories

There is a range of accessories that can be used with those backpacks but they need to be purchased separately.

FPV Radio transmitter cover

The TX cover simply wraps around the radio for protection during transportation. It’s not designed for every TX out there. It fits my Taranis X9D perfectly, but I struggled to put Taranis QX7 in it because switches are on slightly different position. Sticks are fully hidden inside the case making radio transportation hassle free.

FPV battery holder

This is a small case that allows you to store 4 lipo batteries. It’s one of those handy little thing that help keep everything organised.

FPV action cam pouch

Thsi little pouch is big enough for storing two GoPro cameras, spare batteries and memory cards. I was looking for such accessory for ages. It’s really very convenient.

Which one to choose?

The 2 backpacks are designed for different purposes, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t take the Helipak out in the park, or take the FPV Session on the plane.

I think it depends on how much stuff you normally take with you, and there is no need to go bigger than you need. It’s all down to personal preferences, maybe you feel the Helipak is more fashionable :)

IMHO, the Helipak offers more space and higher degree of organization. FPV Session, on the other hand is very compact and more discrete, ideal for quick FPV sessions.

Another big difference is that quads can be carried inside the Helipak, while with the Session, they can only be carried on the outside. Both backpacks have great build quality and should definitely make storing and carrying our precious FPV gear more convenient and secure.

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