Do you have any recommendations for a padded tripod bag that can fit my gitzo 3530 and Markins head? The bag that Gitzo makes for its series 3 tripods is pretty expensive--about $150. There must be a good alternative available. I plan to use the bag when I am backpacking or hiking.
I found a Giottos bag that works perfectly for my Gitzo 1325/BH-55 (previously I had an M20 on the tripod and it too fit). The bag is nicely padded and has an interior pocket (where I store my cable release). What I like most is that my tripod (with Nikonian leg wraps) fits very snugly. It doesn't move around in the bag at all. The one thing I don't like is that the bag's handles are placed halfway along the length, which means the bag naturally wants to tip slightly toward the heavier (ballhead) end. I just re-position my grip along the handle to compensate. Build quality is very good... and it's $120 less than the (too big) Gitzo bag. FYI the 1325 is 1.5" longer collapsed than the 3530, so bag length is not an issue for you.
I've been looking at the ThinkTank "Bazooka" Tripod Case as a serious possibility for carrying and keeping safe my tripod. The $65 price for the "Big Bazooka" and the info stating that it has a 30.5" interior size would seem to be a good fit as well as having a shoulder strap.