Thursday, 21 November 2013

Pelican 1300 Case (Peli) review: A tough one !

Since we are going to use Pelican cases to cary around electrical metering equipment for work, I might as well just test the Peli 1300 flight case.
As you will see hereunder Pelican cases are (very) tough and well designed.
To make sure, I purchased a second hand case as it will already show signs of use and could point weaknesses.
Too bad they're so expensive in Europe (not that they're cheap in the US).

Decrypting the specifications

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Guides inside the case compensating
slightly larger dimensions at the top.

Interior Dimensions

9.17" x 7.00" x 6.12" (23.3 x 17.8 x 15.5 cm)
A first look at the case shows the case is not perfectly square (the bottom is a little narrower that the lid (just a little) and I therefore had to check if the dimensions from the specifications are correct... and they are ! You would be able to fit a block of these exact dimensions. And to make sure it does not move (top part of the case is a little larger), the Pelican engineer even added guides sicking out of the inside walls to compensate the slightly larger width at the top.


O-ring seal

Watertight, crushproof, and dust proof


I did not personally check the case is watertight but I can believe it. The lid is equipped with a O-ring seal which seems to be of really good quality. They're IP67.
Just by looking at the case you can feel it will not easily crush. I stood on it (85kg) and it did not even bend under my weight.
Finally, if it's watertight, it is also dustproof ...

Easy open double throw latches

Easy open Double Throw latches

It is true, they're easy to open, I don't see what the double throw thing adds but it definitely is easy to open.
Edit: they apparently give more leverage

Open cell core with solid wall design - strong, light weight

The open cell core with solid wall design simply means the case is made of plastic with bubbles inside making it lighter... than the same case made of plain plastic.
Empty (no foam) it weights 1.4Kg which is a lot for a plastic case of these dimensions. I guess sturdiness comes with weight and Pelican case made the bes they could with this open cell core thing.

O-ring seal

An O-ring seal making it watertight and dust proof... not much new to say here (see above).
Pressure equalisation valve

Automatic Pressure Equalisation Valve

Not tested. It looks to me more like a brand differentiation trick than an actual feature but this is only my humble opinion.
There is also a red label next to it guaranteeing the case is genuine. Why not...
Strong hinges made of
plastic and stainless steel

Stainless steel hardware

Most of the case is made of that strong plastic (Polypropylene, more info here) and parts that had to be metallic are made of stainless steel. 
Stainless steel is an expensive metal but necessary for rough environments (e.g. sea).

Pick N Pluck™ with convoluted lid foam

That is... if you purchased it padded with foam. I did not. I heard they're easy to cut to fit any item you would want to fit inside.

Lifetime Guarantee of Excellence

What do they guarantee for life?
Breakage and watertightness: if the seal is in good shape they will apparently replace the case but not its contents or the foam. That is... if you do not abuse/modify/neglect... the case.
I have however never heard of anybody complaining about the warranty. The full text can be found here.
Edit: it even seems that modified cases are sometimes replaced if the modification in did not cause the breakage (use Google for more stories).

Other undocumented but interesting features

Comfortable handle but ... no holes to attach straps of any kind

A good handle is important. These case can sometimes carry heavy gear and there is nothing worse than a case whose handle is hurting your hand.
I however regret that there are no holes to attach straps or other fixations to mount them on bikes/bicycles.
Padlock holes

Padlock holes

There are holes on both sides to add a padlock to secure your case. These are for tiny padlocks for suitcase and were never intended to make your case impregnable. In other words, don't expect to use your Pelican case as a safe.
Large linings on the back hold the case
straight when set upon its hinges

Large linings on the back

Nice finish: the linings on the back were designed to hold the case straight if set upon its hinges. I would not have settled for less as it can be expected from high end cases but it is still nice to have. 
Polypropylene sign

Polypropylene

In one word: plastic
But not just a plastic, polypropylene is one of the most rugged and unusually resistant to chemical solvents, bases and acids.
It is recyclable (bot not frequently recycled by authorities) and can be glued with two-part epoxy or hot glue which is useful if you need to permanently attach equipment inside (or outside).

Date of manufacture

Finally. not really useful to most of us,  you can read the date your case was manufactured inside on the bottom of your case.
Manufacture date on the bottom (inside)