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Pelican Case Competitors: What Should You Buy?

Photographic gears and electronic equipment start at a very costly price tag, but there’s no choice but to avail them especially if you are a professional who needs to invest to make your craft superb. As these gears are meant to be used in a variety of settings depending on the location of your clients, you should expect to travel about with them.

The issue is, items like cameras and lenses are very delicate, and no one wants to risk destroying them while you’re traveling on the road. You can come across rough terrains, severe weather, or a negligent baggage handler, all of which puts your equipment at great risk for damage.

So, what’s the answer? A Pelican case. Sturdy enough to protect your belongings from the bumps, cracks, and rain that you’ll encounter. However, this poses another problem in terms of price and accessibility.

Not everyone can put out extra bucks for it after spending all the money on electronic gear, and it would be a huge help in the pocket if there is an alternative for it. Good news to you, as we’ve compiled a list of cases that are more affordable nonetheless equivalent to the Pelican!

pelican case alternative

Pelican Case: The Standard of Hard Cases

Each hard case manufacturer has its own specialty, but every hard case user who experienced the Pelican brand has vouched for its credibility as the best. Users range from ordinary people, photographers, musicians, to gun owners and military personnel.

Big-time professionals who engage in sensitive jobs trust this manufacturer. But what’s so special about the Pelican case?

First of all, it is made possible for the Pelican to be of top-quality as the gear used for production is of the highest quality, and well, expensive. The hard protective case of Pelican will safeguard your gear even for fall damage.

If you are afraid that the pressure change may affect the inside, it has a relief valve used to limit the pressure. As a cherry on top, this case is impermeable as it is sealed watertight and airtight.

With that, you can see that there is no comparison to the Pelican cases’ toughness and durability that creates a standard for other cases available in the market. Still, it may not be enough for some people though, as the hefty price tag may be a turn-off for possible customers who are canvassing for a budget-friendly hard case.

Five Pelican Hard Case Alternative

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS 
Amazon Basics Hard Camera Case
  • Has a pre-cut square foam interior and a rubberized fold-down handle attached for easier carrying
  • It is equipped with a pressure equalization valve, which creates an airtight and watertight seal.
  • It can be utilized for any gears you can fit in with its available sizes: small, medium, and large.
HUL Large Waterproof Military Style Hard Case
  • When on the road, it must be able to withstand vibrations and shocks.
  • For storage and handling, this is the best option.
  • Its foam may be customized to make spaces for your stuff.
Ibex 2500 Hard Protective Case
  • It has dual padlock hasps that provide a dedicated location for locks to secure your stuff.
  • It includes a pressure release valve designed to protect pressure-sensitive gears.
  • Dustproof, watertight, and temperature resistant, thanks to injection-molded polypropylene material.
Nanuk 935 Waterproof Hard Case
  • Ideal companion if you need assurance that your gear will not be misplaced.
  • Waterproof (IP67 rated), dustproof, and shockproof
  • With a 2-stage retractable pull handle and quick release button, as well as smooth rolling polyurethane wheels, this product is built for mobility.
Seahorse 920 Protective Hard Case
  • Dustproof, Airtight & Watertight Protection
  • For easy rolling, it has wide track wheels and a built-in telescoping tote handle.
  • Crush Resistant and Rustproof

1. Amazon Basics Hard Camera Case

As suggested by its name, the Basics Hard Camera Case is designed for cameras. It’s still a large hard case though, denoting that it can be utilized for any gears you can fit in with its available sizes: small, medium, and large.

From the brand name itself, Amazon Basics, you would expect this to be of satisfactory quality. Advertised as a medium hard-shelled protective case, you can transport SLRs, GoPros, compact cameras, and other accessories.

It also has the pre-cut square foam in its interior and a rubberized fold-down handle attached for an easier carrying experience. If you are hesitant with its quality, you are assured by an Amazon Basics 1-Year Warranty.

Although packed with qualities that you expect of a hard case, it also has some downside to it. Firstly, the center part of the case tends to depress when you apply pressure to it. It’s made of a lower quality material after all.

The double-hinged latches may also be a pain for you, as you have to exert effort to open and close. It can be looser though as you keep on using the product.

It should be clear before you buy this that it is not as strong as the Pelican. It is a choice if you want to save money but get a reasonable case at least. Your equipment wouldn’t break at all, but do not expect the quality of an expensive Pelican hard case.

Pros

  • Has a pre-cut square foam interior and a rubberized fold-down handle attached for easier carrying
  • It is equipped with a pressure equalization valve, which creates an airtight and watertight seal.
  • It can be utilized for any gears you can fit in with its available sizes: small, medium, and large.

Cons

  • When you apply pressure to the center of the case, it tends to depress.

2. HUL Large Waterproof Military Style Hard Case

This hard-shelled case can carry equipment as big as a GoPro or an SLR camera. For people who don’t need the best hard case, then this is a perfect choice. HUL’s Large Waterproof Military Style Hard Case is best used for storage and handling since it is not as rugged as the Pelican for aggressive circumstances.

HUL cases are fit for vibration and shocks when on the road, as it has a pressure equalization valve. Like other cases reviewed in this list, its foam is also customizable so you can create spots for your gear. The pick and pluck foam are even comparable to the Pelican 1500 case.

Do take note of the differences of this case with the Pelican: The inside is more hollowed which bothers some of its users.

It also has a different clamping mechanism, making it less dependable to be tight-sealed. It is still safe to use for the transportation of gears though. Somewhat, HUL is half a good as Pelican but the best hard case in terms of its price.

It’s of decent quality, but don’t expect too much from it as it’s not really the best to take on rough rides. Realistically speaking with its low-priced tag, it’s not on par with a Pelican hard case.

Pros

  • When on the road, it must be able to withstand vibrations and shocks.
  • For storage and handling, this is the best option.
  • Its foam may be customized to make spaces for your stuff.

Cons

  • Some consumers are bothered by the fact that the inside is more hollowed.

3. Ibex 2500 Hard Protective Case

The Ibex 2500 Hard Protective Case is on par with the Pelican in terms of being rugged. You might doubt it as the outer case is thinner and made of plastic, but it achieves its purpose to protect the equipment for most situations you put it through.

What makes the outer case strong enough to be rugged, watertight, dustproof, and temperature resistant is its injection-molded polypropylene material. It is also equipped with a pressure release valve, offered in all Ibex cases, designed to protect pressure-sensitive gears.

There are wave foams and pre-cut cube foams included in your purchase, all removable and customizable for convenience. A dual padlock also secures your things to place.

The only problem with the Ibex is its extension handles. Since the material is made of plastic, it tends to look very cheap. It makes up for the unpleasant look of plastic though with its protection that surely wouldn’t fail you or the equipment you own that is stored inside the case.

Pros

  • It has dual padlock hasps that provide a dedicated location for locks to secure your stuff.
  • It includes a pressure release valve designed to protect pressure-sensitive gears.
  • Dustproof, watertight, and temperature resistant, thanks to injection-molded polypropylene material.

Cons

  • Because the extension handle is made of plastic, it has a cheap appearance.

4. Nanuk 935 Waterproof Hard Case

Nanuks may be the most underrated Pelican alternative choice in this list, but it doesn’t make it less of a hard case! In fact, you should check out the Nanuk 935 Waterproof Hard Case as it seriously has the potential to replace the Pelican cases.

Many took notice of the handles and wheels of the Nanuk 935 as it lets you carry the case in the easiest way possible. First of all, the retractable handles are just impressive as it extends out in two directions (from the top and the side) with just a press of a button.

Wheels wouldn’t be missing in a hard case, but these ones are laid flat standing up and go in the right direction when pulled. The retractable handles and the wheels work great as a pair, which made the Nanuk very desirable as a piece of carry-on luggage when you’re traveling.

It’s the perfect companion if you need the peace of mind that your gears wouldn’t get lost as it has a hole for your padlock to fit. The powerclaw latching system doesn’t fall short too as it clamps tight, and to add to the security, there are integrated slide locks with the latch.

Like any other notable hard case featured on this list, it is waterproof and impenetrable by factors such as dust, wind, and air.

These cases are even more pleasing as it is the most customizable of these all. You can go unique and personalize it with your style, as it comes in six different colors which are unusual for hard case manufacturers.

The only downside you could think of with the Nanuk hard cases is that it isn’t as big of a case as the rest, as it is technically designed to be a carry-on case for traveling. If you want to have space for your bigger equipment, it may not be the best pick.

Pros

  • Ideal companion if you need assurance that your gear will not be misplaced.
  • Waterproof (IP67 rated), dustproof, and shockproof
  • With a 2-stage retractable pull handle and quick release button, as well as smooth rolling polyurethane wheels, this product is built for mobility.

Cons

  • It is not as large as the others because it is intended to be a carry-on for travel.

5. Seahorse 920 Protective Hard Case

Out of all the Pelican Hard Cases in the list, this might be the best and strongest contender for the Pelican itself. The Seahorse 920 Protective Hard Case is as good as its competitor, although offered at a lower price. Its most notable features are the wide track wheels, retractable handles, and a safety seal to completely lock your equipment away from water, dust, or any external factors that can potentially damage it.

First of all, the Seahorse 920 has a wide variety of case sizes to choose from depending on the size of the load that you bring. It ranges from micro, small, medium, to large, and you can even have an especially pre-made design.

All these hard cases are designed for the professionals working in the field, so you can expect them to totally be protective of your gear. It shouldn’t also be left out how the Seahorse 920 is very rugged and can take some beating.

To heighten the protection and versatility, 920 hard cases have plenty of foam layers. It can house almost any sort of camera, lens, and accessories you could think of. If you want, you can also DIY the foam to suit your needs and to fit your items nicely and snugly.

Besides its obvious protection to your electronics, it also holds a fight for its overall quality. It is sealed by a double latch and turn-lock system to ensure that it wouldn’t open at unexpected times. To top it all off, the wheels are smooth gliding and hold up better than you think it may do for its price, overall making the carrying job less hassle.

However, keep in mind that this Pelican alternative can still have a few lapses. Since it is sold at a cheaper price compared to the other, it may not be as sturdy but it still gets the job done!

Pros

  • Dustproof, Airtight & Watertight Protection
  • For easy rolling, it has wide track wheels and a built-in telescoping tote handle.
  • Crush Resistant and Rustproof

Cons

  • It might not as sturdy compared to others in this review, but it gets the job done.

The Ultimate Alternative for the Pelican Hard Case

To sum it all up, the winner of the title “best alternative for Pelican Hard Case” is no other than the Seahorse 920 Protective Hard Case. It’s simply just the best, and you can even regard it as a competitor for the Pelican itself!

So, how did the Seahorse 920 win its spot? We will tackle this through the technical specifications of both the Seahorse and Pelican. First of all, let’s talk about the material. Both of its exteriors are made from Polypropylene. This alone already gives an impression that the Seahorse would just be as tough and durable as the Pelican.

For the locks, the Seahorse 920 owns a single throw while the Pelican has a double throw. It will not affect the security, as it all depends on the durability of where it is attached. The Seahorse’s lock wins with its built-in purge valve, guaranteeing an absolute seal.

The Seahorse wins in terms of the lock, but with the handle, Pelican sure is better. The alternative is not as comfortable as the Pelican, since the edges may dig in your hand which is made worse by its bulky shape. Pelicans have incomparably smoother carry handles.

Pelican Hard Cases
Pelican Hard Cases. (Image credit: MIKI Yoshihito on Flickr CC BY 2.0)

This feature is not necessary but still worth the mention: looks. The Pelican is known for its military type of looks, definitely giving out the rugged vibes. Seahorse doesn’t fall short, but to be honest, it wouldn’t look as good as the Pelican if seen side by side.

When it comes to the choice of color, Seahorse definitely wins as it has four colors available and Pelicans only have black available. In terms of the texture of the product, Seahorse is more on the smoother side, while Pelican is on the rough side.

An honorable mention as the best alternative is the Nanuk 935 Waterproof Hard Case. Quality-wise, it is almost the same as both the Seahorse and Pelican. It has a sleeker look compared to the two. The sides are also flat, best for stacking purposes. To best describe it, it looks like a modern version of a hard case.

Quick Ranking of the Five Alternatives:

  1. Seahorse 920 Protective Hard Case – On par with the Pelican Hard Case.
  2. Nanuk 935 Waterproof Hard Case – Also another great contender, not falling behind the Seahorse. The looks are a great plus.
  3. Ibex 2500 Hard Protective Case – A great hard case that will protect your equipment, but slacks off in looks because of the plastic outer case.
  4. HUL Large Waterproof Military Style Hard Case – Just the best hard case you can get on a tight budget. Placed low as in terms of only the quality, it wouldn’t be as good as the other three above it.
  5. Amazon Basics Hard Case – Placed low because it is specifically designed for a camera, and even though it is still a hard case, it may affect its quality once you store other equipment in it.

Is Pelican Case Still Your Unformidable Choice?

Do you still think any of these alternatives are no match for the mighty Pelican hard case? Still don’t have an alternative in mind that can shake up your resolve to buy the Pelican despite its very expensive cost?

Let me give you a little tip, buy a secondhand Pelican case if your budget doesn’t permit and you can’t give it up nonetheless. You can search listings from eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, or even asked around for someone who you think may sell theirs!

Many get rid of their cases used but still new especially if they don’t have anything else to use it for, and that is advantageous for YOU who wouldn’t mind as long as the hard case is still working like store-bought brand new.

This video examines case models 1510 through 1690 to help you understand the range.

Final Verdict

Pelican cases are designed using high-quality products which ensures that the final hard case will be the best that it can offer. Due to its production costs, it is marketed at a higher price as well which not every consumer can afford.

For some, it is a great investment for protection and peace of mind that no external factor can damage their goods. On the other hand, it is not worth some audience’s money as there are alternatives who can do the same—although not as good as the assurance a Pelican could give a user.

As a bit of general advice for anyone who is reading through this, if you have the bank to afford a Pelican hard case, then you should just definitely go for it. Meanwhile, for those who really have no choice but to stick with a hard case of a lower price, then choose one of the alternatives listed above.

It has different price ranges, so choose the one that is best for you. We can’t stress it enough, but be aware that these alternatives are not meant to work as a Pelican, but meant to work simply as a hard case that will protect your valuables.

Last but not least, just get a hard case! The cost of a hard case is nowhere near the cost of a repair or replacement for damaged gear. It’s better for your equipment to be safe than for you to be sorry.

About Jayden Buckley

Hi, my name is Jayden and I am author/editor for PlayTheTunes. I remember the first time I hopped on the drums, I was hooked. Music has played an enormous part of my life, and I'm honored I get to share my experiences with you!