View Full Version : Pelican Cases have a worthy competitor


Charles Papert
November 19th, 2003, 09:53 AM
I've been using Pelican cases for my gear for many years; you can customize the foam (although it usually breaks apart after a couple of years, but you can get replacement foam) and the cases are solid and waterproof. I've shipped my gear around the country enough times to feel confident in them. The downside is the ribs on the bottom which make it hard to pull them on and off of carts like Magliners, and they larger cases can have up to six latches to undo vs two on a typical flight case setup (which most of my gear is housed in). The latches have always been a liability; the phrase "knucklebuster" was invented to describe the peculiar pain of opening a Pelican case, especially in the cold! They even offer a tool to help jack open the latches, but to my thinking...mebbe you guys should be redesigning the latches, what do you say?

Well, last year they did redesign the latches, and offer a free upgrade program if you bring your Pelican in to one of their distributors (for the L.A. area, it's in Torrance). I took in my two Pelicans and they actually replaced the whole case since mine had seen better days--that lifetime warranty is pretty great. But I was a bit disappointed to find that the new latches, while a bit easier to open, still require more force than I feel should be necessary for a case that may be opened and closed multiple times during a shoot day.

A couple of years ago I saw a new product by Hardigg Industries (based near my old stomping grounds in So. Deerfield, MA) called the Storm Case. The cases are made to nearly the same dimensions as the more popular Pelicans and have all of the same features with slight improvements here and there, such as a rubberized handle that feels better in the hand. And their latches, oh the latches! Each has a push button in the middle; when pushed, the latch swings open without a lick of resistance. You can definitely open a Storm case faster and with less force than a Pelican. And they offer the same lifetime warranty, and they have the pick and pluck foam etc.

Bottom line (and of course here's the usual disclaimer; I don't work for Hardigg etc), I recently bought six Storm Cases and reconfigured my Steadicam gear into them, decomissioning the Pelicans into my less-used DV setup. For anyone considering a Pelican, I strongly recommend checking out the "new kid on the block", Storm Cases. Both are available at cases4less.com. The Storms are very slightly more expensive, due to Pelican's existing market presence no doubt, but well worth it. Every camera assistant I have worked with in the last month or two have commented on how much the like the Storms better.

Marc Young
November 19th, 2003, 03:25 PM
Do the Storms have velcro padded dividers? I see this as a big advantage for pelican. Take a typical sized case like 22 x 17 x 8, interior measurements. Pelican model 1600 has this option, but the Storm iM2700 is limited to solid foam or cube foam. Even though the cost difference is minor ($25), if you make a mistake in cutting the Storm's foam, a new piece will set you back $60. I guarantee that the first time anyone cuts foam to fit his camera, he will either make the opening too big or too small, and it will also look like a mess (definitely not custom). Unless you own a hot foam knife. Now according to Pelican's web site, they will custom cut foam for you on their cad machine, if you send them a template. Hardigg does not seem to have this service. I'm open to suggestions, but the choice is not always that easy.

Ken Tanaka
November 19th, 2003, 03:39 PM
You'll find an extensive selection of Storm and Pelikan cases at Cases4Less (http://www.cases4less.com/list_case_storm.html). I've purchased several Pelikans there, bu now Charles has piqued my interest about the Storm cases.

Charles Papert
November 19th, 2003, 07:58 PM
Storm isn't making dividers, but you can use the Pelican ones which can be ordered separately. Likewise the foam is pretty interchangeable (the bottom layer is a bit different, because the base of the cases have different setups with wheels etc.)

Hardigg does offer custom foam work, I was referred to a local distributor. Unless you need very simple linear depth cut-outs that don't have layered dimension, it would be tough to get what you need through a template unless you have fairly sophisticated drawing skills. For instance, a cut-out for an XL1 would be contour to the handgrip, etc.

These are excellent points, though Marc.

Ray Saavedra
November 21st, 2003, 10:45 AM
Have never used Pelican. But been using Storm ever since they first came out. Works great for me.

RS

Christopher Hughes
November 22nd, 2003, 02:03 PM
I visited Storm website: http://www.stormcase.com/product_info/indexcomp.html

and it has a comparison with "other" cases, ie hinting at Pelican. Well most of them are not true now. I have just got a new pelican and it has
1) Latches opne being dropped?...Pelicans have "double throw" latch, which would never come open from being dropped. Each latch has threshhold of 400Ibs and theres like 6 on my case (1650)
2) Automatic valve, no lost screws or anything.
3) Adhesive labels? well the new cases have slot for name label in plastic, and can be updated to engraved plastic or even metal bit can be cut to fit.
4) Single layer of foam?? Well mine has 2 and next size up has 3.

So I guess Storms are going on about other "Pelican copies" that are around, I've seen some in the UK, and The Pelicans of yester year....so it looks like Pelicans advancing to continue the fight.

Charles Papert
November 22nd, 2003, 02:27 PM
True enough Cristopher. Pelican has stepped up because it has serious competition after all these years. With my older Pelicans, I have seen my valves fall off. Never seen the latches open by themselves, even the earlier single action, and I wasn't sure what they are referring to with the single layer of foam.

I think there is much to say about either product. Given that both the Pelicans and the Storm cases are very sturdy and likely to satisfy the basic needs of a hard case i.e. protecting their innards, it comes down to the user interface, which primarily consists of ease and comfort of carrying and opening/closing. A side by side comparison of the two brands (what is it like to carry with a full load? How easy is it to use the wheels and handle on the larger cases? How much effort does it take to work the latches?) is the real key. Many of my colleagues are perfectly satisfied with the latch action on the Pelicans. I couldn't be happier with the Storms. Sure, their marketing involves a bit of hyperbole--but then, who's doesn't??!

Mike Butler
November 25th, 2003, 02:55 PM
I just started using a Pelican for my G4 PowerBook laptop, and the latches are AWESOME, imho.

Christopher Go
December 3rd, 2004, 04:37 PM
Thought I'd resurrect this thread since I'm looking for a second hard case. I already have a Pelican 1650, which works out great, but I need another case a bit deeper in dimension so I was looking at the Pelican 1620 with padded dividers.

However, the 1620 is more expensive for some reason, and for shipping here to Hawaii, I'm looking at almost $400 (depending on shipping options)

I remember how much Charles recommended Storm and saw that Storm is finally offering padded dividers! However, I can't find any photos online of the padded divider version.

Anyone buy a Storm case with padded dividers recently? How does it compare with the Pelican? Is there a top tray to the iM2750 Storm case the way there is with the Pelican 1620?