My experience tells me that you will indeed have trouble if you're taking a bunch of gear and treating it as luggage.
If you're bringing that gear as carry-ons, you may not be able to carry on a tripod. They're allowed, but I've still had enough difficulty with them that I actually FedEx the larger ones to my destination first, as mine are too long to check without paying a hefty fee. A smaller tripod is fine in your luggage.
If you're checking the gear, make sure they get hand-inspected at check-in, and lock them with a TSA lock. They can still open that lock, but at least it's something.
But here's the worst part: If your gear is stolen or damaged during the trip, no US airline will reimburse you for it, so make sure everything is insured. They're only liable for a few hundred dollars, even if you had the Crown Jewels in your luggage. They occasionally pay more if they get some bad press, but I wouldn't count on that.
If this is a paid trip, you might be better off renting gear at your destination, depending on how much gear you need. If there's any way possible to do it, pack all the gear as carry-ons, and then check your Duracells, adapters, cabling and clothes.
Alkaline batteries (Duracells and the like) are allowed under all circumstances. Some airlines limit you to two lithium batteries in carry-on, and most will not allow them at all in checked luggage.
I always try to keep everything expensive with me at all costs, which cuts down on my gear volume quite a bit.