Sitka Mountain Gear
Checked bag issues flying into SA?
Contributors to this thread:
Jasper 16-Mar-15
kota-man 16-Mar-15
Bill VanderLaan 16-Mar-15
Chief 419 16-Mar-15
jstephens61 16-Mar-15
AZ~Rich 16-Mar-15
Bill VanderLaan 16-Mar-15
Buffalo1 16-Mar-15
Buffalo1 17-Mar-15
mixed bag 18-Mar-15
Barty1970 24-Mar-15
TradbowBob 24-Mar-15
Bud Meadows 02-Apr-15
foxwillkill 02-Apr-15
troymclellan 04-Apr-15
troymclellan 04-Apr-15
BIGHORN 08-Apr-15
StickFlicker 08-Apr-15
Drop tine 08-Apr-15
safari 18-May-15
HANS1 20-May-15
From: Jasper
I had planned on using my Boundary Waters duffel as my checked bag flying into Joburg next month. Since then I've read about items being stolen and recommendations of using a lockable hard suit case. Thoughts? Also, do you carry all valuable items in carry on, i.e. binoculars, camera, etc. I'm carrying a trail camera with me as well. Thanks!

From: kota-man
I've made 4 trips across the pond and have been very fortunate. Aside from a crushed bow from the baggage monkeys, I've never had an issue with theft.

I pack all my valuable items in my carry on with the exception of my binos, which have a space cut out in my gun case. Reason being, the only one with access to my gun case is ME. I put TSA locks on my soft sided suitcase and though it has always been opened and checked, I've never lost anything.

I put all my valuables in a backpack and carried it on. That way, if it was stolen, lost or shipped to New Guinea, I would have it on hand.

From: Chief 419
One of the guys that I hunted with had his bag opened and camera stolen at the airport in Johannesburg. All of the pictures that he took were in the camera, so he left SA with only memories. I'd put anything of value in your carry-on.

I've always put TSA locks on my suitcase and have never had a problem. I put my cameras (still & video), binos, range finder, gopro...etc in my carry on. In 4 trips I've never had anything taken from a bag. I usually use a rolling duffle as well.

From: jstephens61
X2 on the TSA locks. I put all my stuff in my SKB double bow case and cloths in a soft duffle. They opened the SKB in Chicago, but everything was fine. No inspection or problems on the way home.

From: AZ~Rich
X3 on the above advice. All Valuables that fit in your carry-on (i.e, backpack) should go on your person. Lock your bowcase and duffle if possible with TSA locks. I also like using the double SKB with clothes packed around bow. I put a stiff arrow case in my wheeled duffle, but also have 6 or so complete arrows in the SKB in case one is lost.

Problem with TSA locks is that you are still running the risk of the TSA stealing your stuff. They can have my old underwear if they want it, but I am not giving them the chance to take my binoculars, camera, etc.

From: Buffalo1
TSA Locks on all check in items- bow cases & luggage.

Binos, rangefinders, & all camera & chips in carry-on backpack. I also put a TSA lock on backpack for safe measures.

From: Buffalo1
I also put all of my Rx meds in backpack in case my luggage gets lost, I can live to see the day when I might see it again.

Good point about the meds...

From: mixed bag
Always always carry on my expensive optics,cameras,meds.I have the badlands bowcase that looks like regular luggage,and packed a lot of clothes around my bow when I fly.Never had a problem yet,and I don't lock that bag.I don't think they ever realize theres a bow in it.

From: Barty1970
Agree 110% with the 'carry all your tech/optics/meds/documents with you'; I use a Cabela's duffel which holds my bow case, so it can take extra clothes if needed [which is rare as camp staff will wash laundry every day] and doesnt look like a bow case.

From: TradbowBob
Above all, I would recommend that you do NOT have camo luggage. You are asking for trouble if you do.


From: Bud Meadows
If you have a nice upscale checked suitcase with zippers on it, you might as well hang a sign that says... "Im a rich white American, please steal my stuff". Go to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army thrift store. Find the ugliest, mangiest looking Samsonite hard sided suitcase you can find. If the keys are missing, no problem, you can negotiate a better price. I paid $8.00 for mine. Next, go to Home Depot and buy a set of hasps- I paid $1.89 for a set of two. Take the suitcase home and drill holes to install the hasps on each side of the top portion of the suitcase, about 4-6" from each end. Secure the hasps to the inside using the appropriate sized nuts and bolts. Crazy Glue the bolts so they don't vibrate loose. I ripped out both the liner and the divider to make more room. Lastly, buy FOUR TSA locks. Use two on the suitcase, and carry on the other two in case you need them later. This has worked for me every time I've flown through Jo Berg.

From: foxwillkill
I put all valuables in SKB. Binos, camera, etc. Bow and everything elses fit in the large 2 gun case.

From: troymclellan
X 2 on the SKB double case with no issues. I also use duct tape on the case and write 'Archery Equipment' saves hassles with people assuming it's a rifle and you soon know if the case has been opened and can then ask someone to open it and check the contents haven't been messed with. The only time I had dramas was going from Australia to hunt in the US. Case looked like it had been dropped, kicked and run over. Stuff hanging out hinges busted bloody mess.

From: troymclellan
BTW the mangled case wasn't an SKB

I put my bow and all my clothing as cushioning material around it with TSA locks. All other items like camera, range finder, binocs, release, meds and other items I would not want to lose stay with me in my carry on.

They do consider a bow a weapon and they take down the numbers off of it. My son put his in his duffle with a lock on it and it was great to get it into the country but they asked him if he had a weapon I his luggage and he said, no. But, they wanted to see it the same as a rifle and told us in no uncertain terms that they considered archery equipment as a weapon.

From: StickFlicker
I have had an SKB case mangled on a trip to RSA. Also, I would never leave any kind of camera or optics in a checked bag. Not only because of theft, but I think that they are often excluded from airline liability if they are damaged in checked luggage.

From: Drop tine
I have never been, but have read that the luggage handlers in SA are famous for using pens and such to pick open the zippers and sticking a hand in to grab whatever is handy. I have looked at various tamper proof suitcases that are suppose to be impossible to break into (I googled them and found a few on Amazon). Safest thing in my mind is to just carry any valuables on the plane.

From: safari
Color me stupid, but I have traveled all over the world with a USAF issue duffle bag with a TSA lock on the top and never had an issue anywhere including RSA.

From: HANS1
Not an answer to your question but on my one trip there the best advice I can give is bing half the clothes and twice the money.

  • Sitka Gear