Hard case recommendation

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by anewman143, Jul 22, 2014.

  1. anewman143 macrumors regular

    anewman143

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
    #1
    Hey all - I've got a Tamrac backpack to hold all my gear (and then some) and LOVE it...but I fly frequently and often the pack doesn't fit in the overhead or under my seat...so the airlines want to gate check it...

    But with thousands of $$ invested, I don't want my backpack (however well padded) being thrown down a ramp.

    So - I need a good hard travel case to use for photographic equipment - 1 body with multiple lens, gadgets...

    Any particular recommendations/experiences? I see the Pelican brand at B&H, but no real life experience with them...and not clear if designed for camera equipment or just a general hard case...

    Opinions??

    Thanks!
     
  2. needfx macrumors 68040

    needfx

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Location:
    macrumors apparently
    #2
    how about splitting your gear in 2 bags?

    I'd never send my gear out my sight
     
  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #3
    Some questions like this one are easy Pelican is the brand.

    Have had video gear fall into white water river, had to fish it out. We where not even worried about it. Just swam the boxes to shore and set up the tripod and did the shoot. I've had my gear tossed in an open stake bed truck under a mountain of tool boxes, scuba tanks and what not then unload as if it were a dump truck unto pavement.

    The boxes are not only tough bt had a no-questions lifetime warranty even if you buy the case used and have no receipt. Whoever owns the case can always swap it for a new case if damaged. I have damaged a few, one we used as a moving dolly over a mile of cobble stone road and the wheels broke. I told Pelican that we filled the case with 100+ pounds of lead dive weights and hauled it down stairs and over rough road. They gave me a new one explaining they changed the design so it will not happen again. The other time I bough an already broken case from a guy who force a latch with a pry bar. They fixed the damage free. YES I told them the truth they the damage was the result of some idiot's abuse. (but I did not tell the idiot he could get the thing fixed for free.)

    If you are going to use this fro camera gear the best way to go is to buy it "bare" with no interior fittings, not foam, not dividers, no padding. Just a bare plastic box. Then you place you Lowe-Pro or whatever brand backpack inside the case. The case is used for shipping and you leave it at the hotel room or in the rental car trunk.

    One bit of advice. SPRAY PAINT the box with a LARGE and UNIQUE design. Thieves know that Pelican boxes contain expensive gear and all black cases look alike. They do NOT take cases that can be identified for 200 years distance by there day-glow zig zag stripes. Of just cover it one all sides with bumper stickers. One guy I saw used a "biohazard" sticker on his and label it a "Sewage Samples" to deter theft.

    They also make cases with "cube foam" that you modify by hand to form fit your camera gear. This offers even better protection but then only fits one set of gear. I like to be able to place anything in the case. Get one with WHEELS that fits the backpack.

    The down side of these is the weight. If you are limited to (say) 50 pounds per bag and the box is 20 pounds empty then you can only cary 30 pounds of stuff. The non-wheel cases are lighter but harder to move a 50 pound case with no wheels.

    The Pelican cases are made in California near where I live. So warranty service is easy for me. Others would need to mail the case and pay shipping. But either way it is a 100% no-questions lifetime warranty.

    Everyone who works in the industry uses these same cases and has them shipped around using either airlines or FedEx. They CAN be damaged if a fork lift operator makes an error or it one falls off a truck at highway speed.

    ----------

    That absolutely does not work. It is hard to argue with a bus drive in Korea if you don't speak korean when he says "ALL luggage" must be stored in the bin under the bus, no exceptions." or when porters handle your gear. what if they don't allow you to cary one TWO bags, few airlines do. And what if you have lots of gear? There is no way one Earth I found even fit my underwater video gear under a seat. Buy insurance and don't worry about it.

    Typically the smaller the vehicle the worse the problem, small vans, all the luggage goes in back or even in a pickup truck that follows or a propeller aircraft has very struck weight and balance requirements.
     
  4. Cheese&Apple macrumors 68000

    Cheese&Apple

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2012
    Location:
    Toronto
    #4
    This makes the most sense to me and is the reason I travel with my wife. :D
     
  5. anewman143 thread starter macrumors regular

    anewman143

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
    #5
    BRILLIANT idea of buying the case without the interior padding and just using my already well padded backpack to store the gear!

    And thank you VERY much for the suggestion of painting it...was thinking of going for the tan or olive drab over the black for the sake of variety...but could still do some cool camo painting to make it my own!
     
  6. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #6
    Suggestion: Carry far less stuff.

    The wife and I each travel with a Tenba Large Messenger bag with:
    15" rMBP
    Oly E-M1
    Oly 60mm macro
    Oly 12-40mm
    Oly 40-150mm
    Panny 100-300
    power supplies, batteries, chargers, memory cards, and various cables
    a P&S camera

    These bags fit in any standard jet overhead bin and under most seats. The tripods and ballheads are in the checked luggage.
     
  7. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #7
    Everyone has different needs and likes but you might want to check on sites such as ThinkTank that makes gear for travel. Candidly, I would never have my gear out of reach when flying. The two hard case names that come to mind are Pelican and Anvil. I don't know if the latter makes smaller non-custom cases but worth a try. The latter used to make cases for sound gear for musicians as well as for other purposes.
     
  8. Cheese&Apple macrumors 68000

    Cheese&Apple

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2012
    Location:
    Toronto
    #8
    Btw, I have a Pelican case and it's great. I don't fly with it but do use it for general storage and carrying gear around in the car. I can put it in the trunk without worrying about what goes on top.

    If you do get one and plan to use it for anything other than protecting a bag for flight, don't get the pick & pluck foam insert. Go with the padded dividers. Every time I've changed a bit of gear I've had to rearrange the dividers and that's not easy to do with the foam.

    Also, Pelican cases provide a weather tight seal that keeps water out and seals moisture in. I never leave it closed tight if my gear is damp from a day out in the rain.
     
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #9
    "Under most seats" will not cut it. It needs to fit in the carry-on size limit check box that is near the gate. But even if it passes, the flight crew can always ask you to gate check the bag. You can argue "but it fits under the seat." and maybe that works. But you can't predict.

    Most vacation shooters really would be best off with a smaller camera and loosing the long lenses. But if the purpose is to shoot wildlife you might need multiple cases.
     
  10. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #10

    Attached Files:

  11. mofunk macrumors 68000

    mofunk

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    Location:
    Americas
    #11
    See what the pros are using. Like needfx said, never leave it out of my sight especially when you see famous musicians having their stuff damaged on flights.


    Check Think Tank too


    http://www.thinktankphoto.com
     
  12. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #12
    I've had Pelican cases and have no complaints.

    But recently I switched to Porta-Brace hard cases. OP, in case you don't know, Porta-Brace is a respected name in cases/bags/covers.

    They have several sizes in their hard case line. I have a 2400, a 2600, and a 2700, and have been pleased with all of them.

    http://www.portabrace.com/products/hard-cases/hard-carrying-cases
     
  13. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #13
    My cousin, a pro photographer and director of car commercials, has Pelican cases.
     
  14. Melizard macrumors 6502

    Melizard

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2011
    Location:
    Canada/Germany
    #14
    Some airlines will let you carry on overweight bags if they have expensive photography gear because they don't want the liability of checking it. They might even allow extra carry on bags if just the size is an issue and you can divide your gear into 2 bags. Always worth asking! Pelican cases are great, but they are huge targets for theft at airports.
     
  15. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #15
    Why would they by liable for expensive contents. They only pay out something like $50 for lost luggage unless you buy insurance.

    The OP said he has had legal cary on bags "gate checked". I've had the same thing. It's common. The problem is that you can't know in advance and the airline can change their mind at any point even after you are boarded.

    You are right about theft. The trick is NOT to have generic looking black. Mark them up so you can spot yours from 100 yards away. Bright painted strips. Old bumper stickers, whatever. Make the graphics BIG and easy to see at a large distance.

    Given a choose the thief will take a bag that does not stand out

    But really, the best option is less gear. They NEVER gate check a messenger bag.
     

Share This Page