Best Telescope Bag: Rhinoceros Bags
The best telescope bags are made from high quality materials. They have been designed with the purpose of protecting your precious equipment and keeping it safe during your trip.
These bags are not only good looking but they also provide excellent protection against scratches and other damage caused by rough handling. You will definitely want to keep these bags in good condition so that they do not lose their shape over time.
There are many different types of telescope bags available. Some of them are made from leather while others are made out of canvas or even plastic.
All of these bags come in various sizes and shapes which makes choosing one difficult at times. One thing that you need to remember when shopping for a telescope bag is that the size does matter! If you plan on taking your scope with you everywhere then you might want something bigger than what is listed here.
These bags are made from animal hide. Rhino hides are very tough and durable.
They look really cool too! There are several different kinds of rhinoceros hides available including elephant, hippo, buffalo, zebra and even elk. The downside to using rhinoceros hides though is that they take a long time to tan. It takes anywhere between 3 months up until 6 months before the hide becomes completely supple again. This makes them a very rare and expensive material to use on telescope bags.
As you might expect these bags are very good at protecting your equipment. They are also relatively waterproof and easy to clean.
The downside is that they are not as durable as other types of bags available.
These are probably the most common types of bags that you will find when searching for a new telescope bag. They are easy to make, durable and cheap.
The material is also easy to find which makes it great for anyone that is on a tight budget. The downside to these bags however is they do not provide as much protection against the elements as other types of bags do.
These bags are a step up from canvas bags in terms of quality. They are made from the skin of animals and often times look really cool.
You can get them in all different shapes and sizes so they will work for just about anyone. The leather bags provide more protection against the elements than their canvas counterparts.
These are the cheapest bags available. They do provide some protection against the weather but not as much as the other types listed above.
Since they are made from plastic they are also not as rigid which means they do not offer as much protection against impact. These bags are definitely not as durable and will start to fall apart after a few uses. The upside is that they are really cheap so if you do not plan on using the bag very often then this might be a good option for you.
How to Choose the Best Telescope Bag
Before you go out and buy the first bag that you see, you should take the time to think about what is important to you. Think about what you want to carry around with you and what kinds of conditions you will be using it in.
This will help you to choose a bag that is durable enough to hold all of your stuff while also being convenient for your particular needs.
One of the most important things that you need to think about is the size of the bag.
Do you need something small and cramped or would you prefer something bigger?
Think about what you plan on carrying around with you.
Do you want to carry a small telescope or do you need enough room for other items as well?
If storage is your main concern you might want to go with a duffel bag or something similar so that you have plenty of room for other items. If you are using the bag to transport your telescope and that’s it then you can probably get away with a smaller telescope bag.
The material that the bag is made out of can have a big effect on how long it lasts and how comfortable it is to use on a daily basis. For example if you are going to be hiking with the bag on your back you probably want a bag that is lightweight but also durable.
If the bag weighs a lot but doesn’t protect your equipment very well then what’s the point of using it in the first place?
Think about what conditions you will be using the bag in and choose one that will hold up in a variety of situations.
Protection from the Elements
Another thing that you need to think about is protection.
What does protection mean for you? Do you go out in the rain a lot or are you more likely to be using your telescope during the day?
Think about how and when you plan on using your telescope and then make sure that the bag you get matches up with that. If you are going to be using your telescope in the middle of the day then you need a bag that keeps your equipment from getting too hot or too cold.
Zipper or No Zipper?
This is really more of a personal preference but there are benefits and drawbacks to both kinds of bags. If you get a bag that has a zipper then it is easier to access the contents inside. The problem with this is if the zipper breaks then you can’t get into your bag at all. This could be a big problem if you are far away from home and everything inside is vital for your survival. The other kind of bag doesn’t have a zipper and is closed using either a drawstring or fold over button. These kinds of bags are harder to get into but it is nearly impossible for them to get completely open accidentally.
The SkyQuest is a classic 4-wheeled design from Celestron. It has backpack straps for carrying like a back pack.
The advantage of this is you have your hands free. There is also a pull-up handle for grabbing and going up stairs, etc. I like this feature when using city transit or walking through airports where luggage is not permitted on the escalators. The handle also comes in handy for lifting the case into and out of the car.
The inside of the case is lined with a black foam similar to the kind you find in rifle cases. The scope fits into a recess cut into the foam.
The recess is sized for the scope and the optical tube is protected from being knocked around by the rest of the contents of the case. The lens cells are attached to each other so they do not get separated. This works well but can be a little inconvenient if you need to remove just one for cleaning.
The black foam is just thick enough to protect the scope but not so thick that it makes the case any heavier than necessary. The foam is cut out underneath the scope rings so that they do not get damaged if you need to set the case on its end.
The side of the case has four latches that are easy to work with gloves or numb fingers and will pop the lid open if it gets accidentally dropped. Inside the top of the lid is a four by four inch soft foam pad that can be removed and washed if it gets dirty.
The case has backpack straps on the bottom for conversion into a back pack. I have never done this but it would make carrying the telescope a bit easier than carrying it by the handle.
The outside of the case is covered with heavy duty black vinyl and has protective metal corners. The metal corners are only on the bottom of the case but it would be better if they were on all 4 sides.
The vinyl covering makes the case look a little like an old suitcase and it does not have the slick nylon look that most suitcases have. While this is not really a big deal, it does look a little less classy than some other cases.
The case also comes with a shoulder strap which I find makes carrying the telescope more comfortable than carrying it by the handle. Using the shoulder strap prevents me from using the backpack straps (which are sewn onto the bottom of the case) but this is not a problem for me.
The SkyQuest weighs about 26 pounds and has these external dimensions: 25.5 inches wide, 19 inches high, and 10.5 inches deep (without the tripod attached).
These measurements allow it to fit in the overhead storage or underneath the seat of an airplane if you ride in the cargo hold.
The OTA (optical tube assembly) with the diagonal and eyepieces attached fits in the bottom of the case. It is about 8 inches deep, which allows a little room at the top to fit things on top of it.
The height of the OTA is about 7 inches which also leaves a little room at the top.
The height of the case itself (minus the tripod legs) is just less than 10 inches. This allows the case to fit in the foot space under a seat in an airplane.
The width of the case is about 2 inches greater than the OTA and diagonal which just leaves enough room to close the latches.
Internal foam can be cut out to make room for your accessories. Each cut is one inch so you will have multiple pieces left over if you need to make precise cuts.
The inside of the case on the bottom has two crossed strips of heavy duty hook and loop fastener. You can cut this away and place it on your OTA so that you can place accessories in the bottom of the case without them sliding around.
The inside cover has a list of the contents of the case and their approximate locations marked with dots. The contents list is not as extensive as those for my gun cases but it is better than nothing.
The space above the OTA can hold a couple of eyepieces and an additional diagonal. I store an 8×50 right angle viewer in the space above my OTA.
You could also carry filters, batteries, solar filters, and other small but important accessories here.
The space below the OTA is limited to things you might need during an observation such as a flashlight, lens caps, and your finder.
Overall I like this case a lot. It is well made and should provide years of service.
The only thing I would change is to add metal corners to it but this would increase the price.
I bought my case (in black) from OPT for $100 shipped. You can also get a SkyQuest (with a meade tube) from them as well for around $400.
You can check here for cases available on amazon.
You can check here for cases available on ebay.
So, how do you transport your scopes?
Sources & references used in this article:
Tap and liquid dispenser for a bag-in-box by L Nielsen, E Dige – US Patent 8,225,958, 2012 – Google Patents
Bag closure means by CP Davis – US Patent 3,670,876, 1972 – Google Patents
Bag, satchel, and similar receptacle. by MJH Cunningham – US Patent 1,060,824, 1913 – Google Patents
CCD observations of blue compact galaxies-A mixed bag of morphological types by D Kunth, S Maurogordato… – Astronomy and …, 1988 – adsabs.harvard.edu