If you are in the market for a hard protective case to carry essential pieces of your drum kit, such as your cymbals, someone has probably recommended that you look at a Pelican case.
A Pelican case is actually a specific brand of heavy-duty protective case that has dominated the market and therefore is used as a byword for hard protective cases with foam filling to create snug spaces for your kit, and which includes a variety of other special features. There are scores of different brands of cases out there, though, and they come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. You can get small cases that work as carry-on luggage or large cases big enough to hold your bass drum!
In this article, we will look at some of the best Pelican cases on the market, and those of their competitors. For the sake of comparison, we are going to look exclusively at hand luggage size options, but if you find a brand with the features and price range that you like, they will likely have other size options available too.
5 Best Pelican Cases And Alternatives For 2023
Pelican 1450 Case With Foam
- Pelican brand hard case
- Interior dimensions 14.62 x 10.18” x 6”
- Pick and Pluck foam
Their standard carry-on case is just a bit under the TSA limit, so there will be no arguments with security. It has external dimensions of 16.44” x 13” x 6.82”, and is available in six different colors.
The case is made from “indestructible” hard material that is IP67 rated for waterproofness and dust protection thanks to its groove slip and polymer o-ring design. The case has an automatic equalization valve so that it is always safe to open. Use the pick and pluck foam to customize the interior for your valuable goods.
This is a carry case, so there is a solid handle but no wheels or pull handle.
Looking for a different size? The smallest Pelican case is the AL1010-0904, which has internal measurements of just 9.93” x 10” x 12.7”. Their largest case is the BL15135-1321FT, which measures 151.10” x 33.10” x 34.82” internally, and there are plenty of options in between. See all the available Pelican case sizes here.
Nanuk 935 Waterproof Carry-On Hard Case
- Internal dimensions 20.5” x 11.3” x 7.5”
- Smooth rolling polyurethane wheels
- Powerclaw triple action latches
This carry-on case is the exact maximum size to meet TSA requirements, with external measurements of 22” x 14” x 9”. It is available in eight color options.
This case has an indestructible shell that is waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof and closes with two Powerclaw triple-action latches. There is an automatic purge valve to equalize pressure when traveling.
This is designed as carry-on luggage, so it also features smooth rolling polyurethane wheels and a retractable pull handle. Inside there are layered foam inserts to keep your valuables safe and snug.
Nanuk cases come in a wide variety of sizes. The smallest is the Nanuk 903, which has internal measurements of 7.4” x 49” x 3.1”. If you are looking for something larger, the Nanuk 962 measures 28” x 16.5” x 9.3”. Find listings for their full range of sizes here.
Seahorse 920 Protective Wheeled Case
- High-density polypropylene hard case
- Internal dimensions 22.1” x 13.5” x 8.5”
- Pick and pluck foam
This case is a little on the large size for carry-on luggage, with external measurements of 24” x 16” x 10.1”, but you will probably get away with it. You have four color options to choose from.
The case is made from high-density polypropylene on the outside and uses pick and pluck pre-scored foam to create your ideal storage solution.
Seahorse cases again come in a wide variety of sizes for different needs. Micro cases measure from as small as 5” x 2.9” x 1.3”. The biggest of the large cases is the SE1235 which measures 28.2” x 17.5” x 10.7” internally. Find all Seahorse case sizes here.
Eylar Standard 16″ Hard Waterproof Camera Case
- Padlock adaptable hasps
- Internal dimensions 14.62” x 10.18” x 6”
- Pressure equalization valve
This case is a good size for carry-on luggage, measuring 16” x 13” x 6.87” externally, but it has no wheels or pull handle, just a sturdy carry handle. Choose from six different colors.
The indestructible outside is waterproof and dustproof with two padlock adaptable hasps. Inside you will find pick and pluck foam, and your goods are also protected by a pressure equalization valve.
You are spoiled for choice when it comes to size with Eylar. One of its smallest cases is the 8.12” extra small, which has inner measurements of just 7.25” x 4.75” x 3.06”. Among Eylar’s largest cases is the XL 38” 160 Liter case that has an internal measurement of 33.22” x 18.34” x 16.61”. See the full Eylar catalog here.
MEIJIA Portable Waterproof Protective Case
- Smooth polyurethane wheels
- Customizable fit foam
- Internal dimensions 21.43” x 16.5” x 7.87”
This is one of the larger options marketed as carry-on, with external dimensions of 24.25” x 19.43” x 7.87”. It is made from indestructible material that is waterproof and dustproof with the standard pressure valve feature.
It comes with customizable fit foam, smooth polyurethane wheels, and a retractable pull-up handle for easy travel.
You can find all the Meijia size options listed in the Amazon store.
Pelican Case Buying Guide
If you are looking for a Pelican case or similar alternative, below are the main things to consider when making your choice.
Naturally, you will want something that is the right size for whatever it is that you want to transport and store. You will probably want to go with the smallest available option for what you have, though, bear in mind, with the foam inserts you can store more than one item in a case. Don’t forget essential pieces of kit that go alongside your main drum set, like your bass drum pedal.
When looking at minimum dimensions, you will want something with internal dimensions that are at least two to three inches bigger than what you are storing in terms of height, weight, and depth. This allows you to have enough foam within the case to hold your items safely in place.
The marketing for cases will make all sorts of promises about the protection they offer, but the key is to look for something that is IP67 rated. IP67 is international protection marking against dry and wet objects.
The first number is a rating from 1-6 for dry objects. A 6 means that you have protection against objects greater than 1mm in diameter, such as wire or small tools, and complete protection against dust over an extended period of time.
The second is a rating from 1-9 against water. A 7 means that you are protected for a short period of immersion in water, usually up to about half an hour, to depths of one meter.
You will notice that all cases also feature an equalization valve. This maintains the pressure inside the case equal to the air pressure outside the case by letting air flow without letting dust or water enter. This is important if you want to be able to safely open the case while in transit, for example inside the airplane.
Pick And Pluck Foam / Fit Foam
This refers to the foam inside the case. This is a special foam designed to hold your items squarely in place. It is also pre-scored, so you can easily pluck out cubes to create spaces the right size for your objects. It is worth noting that once a space has been made, it can’t be changed.
Protecting Your Kit
Once you have put together a drum kit with the pieces you love in a configuration that works for you, it can be devastating if an element gets damaged. Protective cases, such as Pelican cases, are a great solution for both storing and transporting your drums; however, considering how many cases you need to hold a full drum kit, the cost can add up.
Not sure what to read next? Read our reviews of the very best drum brands.
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