Pelican Case Alternatives to Carry Your Gear Safely and Conveniently
Whether you are a professional musician or an amateur drum enthusiast, the chances are high that you’ll face the problem of safely carrying your gear around sooner or later. Settings differ from global tours to relatively short trips. Whichever scenario you take, it will likely seem that an iconic Pelican case is indispensable. Much loved for their ease of use and outstanding heavy-duty performance and durability, most of the brand’s cases come with a serious shortcoming: the price tag is likely to feel overwhelming.
This article explores seven excellent Pelican case alternatives to save your money and protect your gear on the next tour. Luckily, It turns out that a cheaper alternative to Pelican cases can be highly reliable and convenient, as illustrated by Nanuk 935 — a ridiculously good-looking durable, shock-proof wheeled hard case to keep your stuff really safe. Stick around for this and more money-saving Pelican-type cases reviewed in every detail.
Top 7 Alternatives to Pelican Cases
This section contains first-hand reviews of Peli-like cases for your drumming paraphernalia. Some of the products featured here boast outstanding durability, while others have the advantage of being versatile Peli-type cases but should be used with caution if you expect extreme conditions. Just be sure to pick one that best fits your purpose.
1. Nanuk 935: Top Pick Pelican Alternative
- The Nanuk 935 case with wheels is approved by the FAA as the maximum carry-on size - Interior Dimensions L20.5" x W11 . 3" x H 7.5" | Exterior Dimensions L22.0" x W14.0" x H9.0" | Includes 2 layer cubed foam insert with base pad and lid foam
- Waterproof (IP67 rated), dustproof, shockproof | Automatic purge valve equalizes pressure on the inside of the case when travelling
While not nearly as famous as Pelican, Nanuk has a history of over 20 years making reliable hard cases of injection-molded plastic. It offers notable good-looking products that won’t ruin your image when you appear in your next destination, partly due to a variety of vibrant color options.
The 935 case measures 22 x 9 x 14 inches on the exterior, offering as much as 20.5 x 11.3 x 7.5 inches inner space at just 11.6 lbs. The interior is generously layered with pre-cut foam on the base as well as along the lid. The design enables nearly infinite flexibility when it comes to positioning items of various shapes in a secure manner.
One special feature of Nanuk cases is the PowerClaw latch. This is a three-step mechanism molded-in extra tough nylon that ensures considerable compressive force while closing the case quite effortlessly. The material of the case itself is NK-7 resin, which is known for its durability. Overall, the item boasts IP67 waterproofness while also resisting shock and dust. Just like Peli cases, it uses an automatic pressure equivalence valve for ease of opening.
- The Nanuk 935 case with wheels
All in all, Nanuk 935 is likely the best alternative to a Pelican case for a touring drummer as it offers a distinct, sleek style and immense versatility while keeping the risk of damaging your possessions to a minimum.
- Durable design;
- Portable and lightweight;
- IP67 waterproofness;
- Stylish exterior.
- Not the most money-saving option.
2. Condition 1 XL: Peli Like Runner-Up
- LARGE PORTABLE STORAGE CASE - 25” Large hard shell carrying case with patented latches and rubberized handles for a comfortable grip. This lockable case allows you to add your own locks for maximum security.
- WATERPROOF AND DUST PROOF CASE - Features an automatic air pressure release valve which makes the case airline friendly. IP67 Dust and waterproof with a rubber gasket for an airtight seal.
A division of Royal Case Company, a thirty-plus-year-old manufacturer of hard cases with a focus on waterproofing, Condition 1 offers a wide variety of sizes and configurations. I’ve picked their XL option measuring 24.5 x 19.46 x 8.41 inches for my review to make sure you can pack all your favorite instruments and accessories with a safe spacing between the items.
The model has a water protection rating of P67 — clearly enough to eliminate inclement weather as a potential threat to your most prized possessions. It also has a pressure equalization GORE-TEX valve to facilitate opening and make it suitable for air travel according to the Transportation Security Administration.
Made of lightweight, shock-absorbent CN-1 resin, the case weighs as little as around 13 pounds. The overall build quality is great, with molded handles and patented latches. A rubber grip is included over the handle to make it comfortable to carry. Inside, there is DIY-friendly cubed foam.
The only feature that Condition 1 XL clearly misses is a pair of wheels for even greater portability.
- Lightweight yet roomy;
- Tough and durable;
- Waterproof at IP67;
- Customizable interior.
- Lacks wheels.
3. Seahorse 920: Premium Pick among Pelican Competitors
- Heavy Duty & Waterproof - This case is made from a high quality and high density polypropylene, so it can take a beating. Impact resistant, crushproof, dustproof and IP67 waterproof. The o-ring seal and pressure equalization latches ensure that no water or dust enter the case when closed and latched.
- Perfect for Any Use - This case is perfect for use with scuba gear, tools, portable gaming rigs, sound equipment, travel, battery packs, air cylinders.
Made by another brand that has been in the market for over two decades making watertight protective cases of all kinds, Seahorse 920 is part of an extensive range of products developed and manufactured in the US and proudly covered by a lifelong warranty.
The case measures 24.3 x 16.0 x 10.10 inches on the outside, with an interior of 22.12 x 13.54 x 8.50 inches. It is moderately lightweight at 14.3 lbs with all the pre-scored foam inlays included and rests on a pair of wheels. The model comes in five colors, including an irresistible vibrant blue and a yolk-like yellow for a really juicy look.
Just like Pelican cases, Seahorse 920 is dust- and shockproof and boasts a waterproofness rating of IP67. The foam inlays that come with it are ample enough to absorb the impact when crushed or dropped. Besides, they are made of cubed foam for easy customization
On the downside, the plastic in this Seahorse model is somewhat less tough than that of its Pelican counterparts, so I wouldn’t recommend it for extra heavy-duty service.
- Looks good;
- Reasonably lightweight;
- Good impact protection;
- Smoothly rolls on wheels;
- Not too expensive.
- Not perfectly wear-resistant.
4. Monoprice Pelican Like Cases: Great Value
- UV RESISTANT CONSTRUCTION: The case is constructed of impact and ultraviolet resistant polypropylene and has a fully customizable foam interior for superior shock protection
- EQUALIZE THE PRESSURE: A pressure relief valve allows you to slowly and safely equalize the pressure inside and out
Made by a California-based brand that mostly sells electronics and outdoor equipment, these cases offer great protection against water, impact on crushing or dropping, and dust.
The model is rated to offer IP67 waterproofness and is built of durable ultraviolet-resistant polypropylene. It is a reasonably large case measuring 21.93 x 13.70 x 9.76 inches with an interior of 20.51 x 10.94 x 7.48 that falls on the heavy side of our list with a weight of 16.8 lbs. Fortunately, it has wheels to facilitate its transportation, and the carry handle on its side as well as the extendable one comes with a soft rubber grip.
- Monoprice Weatherproof Hard Case
Besides, its interior is laid with foam inserts that have nearly endless potential for customization due to their pre-cubed design that enables you to pick and pluck the shapes you need to accommodate your stuff.
- Customizable interior foam inlays;
- Effective shock protection;
- Protects against ultraviolet;
- Highly resistant to water;
- Easy to move around due to wheels.
- Not the roomiest interior;
- Heavier than ideal.
5. Ibex Cases 2500: Simple yet Robust Cases Similar to Pelican
- The injection molded polypropylene IBEX Cases are dustproof, watertight, and temperature resistant from -20°C to 80°C (-4°F to 176°F). Pressure Release Valves are also present on all cases to protect pressure sensitive instruments.
- 2 Wave foams, 4 pre-cut cube foams are included with the case to provde a fully removable and customizable interior for your electronics, equipment, tools, cameras, drones, GoPros, and other contents.
Ibex Cases is a relatively young company that uses robust molded polypropylene shapes to protect sensitive equipment against temperature fluctuations, pressure drops, and water. The 2500 model is a larger option, measuring 22 x 14 x 11.4 inches on the outside and 20.1 x 11.4 x 9.4 inches on the inside, with a weight of just 13.2 lbs, mounted on a pair of small, easily maneuverable wheels and complete with an extendable ergonomic handle for maximum portability.
Inside, there is a selection of foam inlays including pre-cut layers for shock protection. Apart from this, the item withstands temperatures from -4°F to 176°F and is resistant to water as well as dust. An air pressure valve is built in to prevent pressure drops from affecting your valuables.
- Well-built and durable;
- Portable, lightweight, and ergonomic;
- Great temperature protection;
- Easy-to-use foam padding.
- Could be cheaper.
6. MeiJia Hard Case: A Pelican Case Alternative for Shoppers on a Budget
- Retractable Pull Handle Design: With our retractable handle design, it can be adjusted to pull. Also can be packed in the car, home with high capacity. Perfectly use of trave and ourdoor.
- Portable Smooth Rolling Polyurethane Wheels:Portable Rolling Wheels provides smooth mobility.Ensure a quiet and effortless trip over a multitude of terrains and conditions.
This MeiJia case utilizes the classic wheeled design with a retractable handle for optimum portability at 21.89 x 13.81 x 9.06 inches on the outside with an interior of 19.75 x 11 x 7.6 inches. The injection-molded plastic case is as lightweight as just under 14 lbs.
Probably the greatest weakness of this highly affordable case is the polyurethane wheels that are prone to occasional jamming and might bend on impact. It’s quite durable otherwise and offers great protection against water and shock. There’s a crated lid inlay of foam as well as a pre-cut foam insert for shape customization and extra protection. Just like the best Pelican case models, the case comes with a built-in pressure valve.
- Very inexpensive;
- Fully customizable soft interior;
- Portable wheeled design;
- Watertight and shockproof.
- Wheel issues reported.
7. HUL Case: A Cheaper Alternative to Large Hard Cases Like Pelican
- Hard-shelled protective case for test instruments, SLR cameras, compact cameras and GoPro cameras and accessories.
- Your equipment can fit into the high density foam for total protection against impact, vibration or shock.
This case is a truly budget-friendly option perfect for someone willing to save money while enjoying the key benefits of a Pelican case. It is somewhat smaller than the rest of the list with an exterior of 18.1 x 13.3 x 7.5 inches and has 16.5 x 11.0 x 6.0 inches inside. Probably the greatest advantage of this model is its weight of just around 7 lbs, making it one of the most lightweight solutions in the Peli style category.
The case is watertight and features a pressure-equalizing valve for added protection. Finally, the protective foam comes in several layers that are pre-cubed but unfortunately misaligned, meaning it might be difficult to achieve a really clean-looking interior layout if you are using all the layers. They do a good job of absorbing impact, though.
- Won’t hurt your budget;
- Comes with a pressure-equalizing valve;
- Extremely lightweight;
- Ensures decent protection against water and shock;
- The foam inlays are hard to align.
- No soft handle grip.
A Buyer’s Guide to Pelican Style Cases
Here are my recommendations as a drummer as to what makes up a good hard case for your treasured accessories and how to make sure you aren’t overinvesting. In this section, I’m also explaining the Peli hype.
How to Choose the Best Case?
If you are a drummer who likes to bring their favorite tools to whatever new destination they want to explore, security inevitably becomes your number one priority. After all, you don’t want to see your precious equipment smashed by accident. Opening the case just to find out it’s soaking wet because it’s been raining can also become a traumatizing experience.
One possible solution is to invest in a bag that will keep your treasures safe from the elements while also cushioning them with a tight-fitting protective insert. This is exactly what Pelican cases are known for. Yet, it doesn’t have to be one of the famous brand’s models. Just make sure the case you’re considering has the following features:
A protection rating of IP67 seems to be the standard when it comes to highly dependable hard cases for sensitive possessions. The code refers to ingress protection, i.e. the item’s ability to withstand exposure to solids such as sand or dust (see the former number) and liquids (the latter number). The 7 here means that the case won’t let in water when submerged to up to 3.3 feet for as long as 30 minutes. The scenario is of course unlikely, but it’s good to have a margin of safety.
Again, if you have a case that’s rated to be IP67, the 6 in the code means absolute impermeability to dust. As a musician, you are most probably aware of the tiny solid particles’ destructive potential, so this one goes without saying.
Baggage gets dropped a lot. Sometimes people step on it, too, giving you a heart attack every time you imagine what is probably happening to your instruments right now. A hard case that has a shock-proof frame eliminates the problem.
It’s hard to find a case that will perfectly fit any set of tools because there’s a great variety of shapes and sizes when it comes to drumming accessories. Pick-and-pluck pre-cut foam inlays enable you to make custom slots inside your case. This means your possessions won’t roam about the interior. Instead, they’ll be snug and safe, surrounded by cushioning foam.
Decent Craftsmanship and Durability
Cheaper cases usually have a lot of vulnerabilities. These include fastenings and handles as well as a material that will thin out gradually, especially around lock attachment spots. Look for straightforward designs that utilize strong materials.
If you are likely to walk long distances with your baggage, wheels are a must. An ergonomic handle with a soft grip will also increase your comfort greatly, so don’t neglect this aspect.
Those traveling by air will benefit from a model that complies with the requirements for hand luggage. These differ between air companies, but as a rule, the linear size of your case (the total of its width, length, and depth) should not exceed 45 inches.
Why is Pelican the Standard?
The story of Pelican as a hard case manufacturer began with first-aid kits for drivers that prioritized durability and protection against dust and water. The invention evolved into a wide range of heavy-duty cases and other baggage varieties.
One of the reasons why the company’s name is associated with the highest quality is that Pelican uses a combination of an open-cell core and solid walls in its injection-molded plastic cases to ensure maximum durability on impact. The hinges and handles are also made to last. Add constant pressure equalization for added protection and easily customizable Pick N Pluck™ foam, and you’ll see why so many people are willing to invest in a Pelican case despite the hefty price tag.
Peli Case FAQ
Here is a collection of questions that people often ask when commenting on Pelican case reviews and which can be of relevance to drummers, all answered really briefly.
Who makes cases like Pelican?
There’s a great number of manufacturers who offer hard cases of molded plastic with foam inserts in them. If you look closer, though, you’ll find out that not every foam insert comes pre-scored like it is in Peli cases, making it quick and easy to accommodate any shape that you might want to carry in your case. Some good cubed foam products are made by Nanuk, Seahorse, HUL, and more. The companies also use pressure equalization technology for waterproofing similar to those employed by Pelican in order to ensure total protection against the elements.
What stores sell Pelican cases?
Pelican sells its products online and via official dealers. Shoppers in Europe are likely to wonder if and how Peli is different from Pelican because they often get to see the former’s logo. It turns out, that Peli is simply a brand of Pelican that targets European markets. If you live in North America, you’ll probably find Pelican’s deal locator useful as it enables you to find brick-and-mortar stores that sell the company’s products based on your location.
Are Pelican cases waterproof?
They are. The polymer O-ring along with a tongue-and-groove mechanism used in Pelican cases keep water away, while the built-in patented valve for pressure equalization prevents trouble due to pressure difference when opening the case.
How tough are Pelican cases?
The brand offers a wide variety of cases depending on your purpose, all ensuring different degrees of protection. One thing they all have in common is a combination of open-cell core and solid plastic walls for enhanced durability, complete with stainless steel hinges, all contributing to shock resistance and overall durability. Finally, Pelican case reviews often mention that the ample foam inlays are there to keep your stuff safe even under rough conditions.
Keep Your Drummers’ Treasures Safe Wherever You Go
If you don’t feel like investing in a classic, full-sized Pelican hard case for your next trip, there are many alternatives that offer an adequate level of security without being too expensive. Why not try Nanuk 935? The pretty foam-layered case is perfectly shocking-, dust-, and waterproof and easily portable with a pair of smooth-rolling wheels, and it is far from unaffordable. Other options exist as well depending on your priorities.
What’s the most important thing about a hard case that you could take on your tour? Tell us in the comments section down below!