While some photographers prefer to simply carry a tripod, others enjoy using tripod bags, which can protect a tripod from suffering scratches, losing mounting plates and other hazards of travel. Tripod cases run the gamut from basic duffles to padded shoulder strap bags.
Gitzo GC series
The Gitzo GC series ($69-$129, depending on size, 2010 prices), is a padded tripod case that comes with an adjustable shoulder strap to facilitate easy carrying. The exterior is made with heavy-grade nylon padded with foam on the inside. The heavy-duty zipper is double ended, and the case comes with a business card slot at the middle to help with identification when traveling. Most of the GC bags are big enough to carry the tripod with the head mounded on the end.
The Manfrotto MBAG80PN ($87, 2010 price) is a 31-inch-long thermoform padded tripod bag with a tapered design that widens at one end to make it easy to slide the tripod into the bag with the head on it. The bag comes with an adjustable shoulder strap and has carry handles at each end and the middle, and the inner pockets can be used to carry spare mounting plates and pan bars. The full-length zipper is a beefy design.
For those looking for the supreme amount of protection, the Nalpak TP-1139WHL ($369, 2010 price), is the ultimate. The hard shell case is molded plastic with a molded handle, while the interior, which can accommodate tripods up to 44 inches long, is well padded to securely hold and protect the tripod from rattling around. The case is large enough to hold tripods with 100 mm heads mounted on them. A steel lock secures the case, and wheels at the base make it easy to move the case between locations or travel with it.