When you’re traveling with valuable video or photo equipment, the case you choose is crucial. The Pelican AIR line is up to 40% lighter than standard cases, but still features classic Pelican protection.
They’re made with a proprietary HPX resin that’s lighter than the Polypropylene used in the Protector and Storm cases. And they use a honeycombed structure that reduces structural plastic but actually makes them stronger than solid polymer cases.
Often up to 40% lighter than Pelican’s Protector series cases, these travel cases are designed to get your gear where it needs to go. They’re water, dust and crushproof with an automatic purge valve that balances air pressure. And they’re made of a super-light proprietary HPX polymer that is strong and durable.
The Air cases also have press and pull latches that are easy to open and close compared to the Protector’s double-throw latches. They’re molded from honeycomb structural elements that reduce the amount of structural plastic and cut case weight, but are still stronger than solid polymer.
Most of the Air and Protector case models are built with wheels and a retractable extension trolley handle that make it easy to move your case around. They also feature Pick N PluckTM foam, prescored into smaller cubes that you can pluck away to create a protective cocoon for your gear. Some models have a padlock hole to add security.
Pelican cases are built with adventure travelers, mountaineers and explorers in mind. Their website is filled with stories about Tsunamis, shifting pack ice and airplane crashes that survived because the gear inside was in a Pelican case.
The new AIR series is up to 40% lighter than other polymer Pelican cases with the same rugged durability. This is done by shaved off some excess weight from the handles and making the walls thinner while still providing enough strength in critical areas like corners.
I tested out the 1535 AIR which is the largest wheeled airline carry-on sized case that is carried on most domestic flights and fits in overhead bins as well. This model comes with the TrekPak divider system which allows you to customize the interior of the case for your equipment needs (camera, drone, tablet or other). You can also add a range of bolt-on accessories such as document holders, skid runners or casters.
As airlines clamp down on the weight and size of luggage, cases that allow you to carry-on your equipment are more important than ever. Pelican’s Air series is up to 40% lighter than a Protector, Storm or Vault case and still just as durable.
The interior of the cases is lined with a perforated foam that’s pre-scored into small cubes. These can be plucked out to customize space for equipment of varying shapes and sizes. Pelican also offers a super cool online tool that lets you upload photos of your gear to make custom foam cutouts for an even more customized fit.
Like many hard cases, the case has some flex that helps soften impacts on the contents by buffering the blows. Two wheels and a retractable trolley handle are attached to the base of the case for easy rolling. A simple flap latch retains the handle in a closed or extended position. It can also be tucked away out of the way.
Pelican engineers designed the new Air cases to be lighter than their Protector and Storm counterparts, but without sacrificing strength. They used a proprietary polymer formula and structural design to reduce weight. The honeycomb structural elements molded into the case are lighter and stronger than solid polymer material, and they’re engineered to be hollow where possible, again cutting down on weight.
All cases are crush resistant, watertight and have automatic purge valves to maintain internal pressure during submersion. They’re drop tested to withstand impact and submersion, and all are covered by a lifetime guarantee.
Some users might worry that lightening the case means less protection, but Pelican claims the cases are just as strong as their bulkier counterparts. They’re also still watertight, airtight and shockproof. Some of the Pelican Air cases can be purchased in an empty configuration, which is useful for photographers that prefer to pack a camera bag inside of a hard case. The empty cases are also available with either Pick N Pluck foam, padded dividers or the TrekPak infinitly variable divider kit.