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Pelican Protector And Hardback Case Review: Built Tough

We carry a substantial amount of gear in our line of work, precious gear that’s not exactly what you’d rugged. At any given time we’re carrying a camera, three lenses, a gaming notebook suitable for plus additional lights/tripods depending on the scale of the events we cover regularly. Gear protection and carriage is a big concern for us, and we’ve mainly settled on using comfortable camera backpacks and when needed, CD-R King hard cases.

But that camera bag isn’t going to withstand crushing force and we’re absolutely sure that if ever that CD-R King case ever fell in water (we’ve gone to quite a few events that we needed to access by boat), everything inside would be flooded. If you really want the best levels of protection for your gear, everybody knows that the gold standard is Pelican cases.

As luck would have it we were loaned two Pelican cases to test by Cobys Gear And Gadgets who carry the complete line of Pelican cases here in the Philippines. We’ve actually been using their Pelican Protector 1720 long rifle case to store our rifles when shooting, which has worked out pretty well so far. This review concentrates on two small, albeit valuable members of Pelican’s lineup that most people would want protecting their gear: the Protector 1200 and the Hardback 1095CC.

The Protector 1120 is a hard case designed to carry a full size DSLR and an extra lens, or a typical mirrorless with two or more. It uses user-configurable, pick and pluck foam that’s around 10.5cm deep to protect the camera and anything else that you decide to put inside it, as well as stainless steel inserts in vital areas to give the case an almost indestructible exterior. Pelican says that this particular case is watertight, crushprooof and dustproof – and is built to the same standards as their bigger cases. We’re not going to argue with them – their website is filled with testimonials about cases surviving being dumped in the ocean, dragged behind cars and even withstanding a VBIED explosion – clearly these cases are made to withstand hellish conditions while keeping the gear inside safe.

That being said, there are a few quirks and annoyances with it. One, it’s relatively bulky, especially compared to the amount of gear it carries. Two, it’s heavy for its size, weighing at 1.3 kilos for just the case and foam inside it alone, without anything inside it. The throw latches aren’t the easiest to unlatch either, though that can be seen as a plus since people can’t just silenty open your case without you knowing about it. There’s two holes on the lid for you to put on locks in it should you decide to check it in if you’re flying, though we don’t recommend you doing that (not in the Philippines, at least).

The Hardback 1095CC is a case made for notebooks and can accommodate up to 15-inch models, like the Dell XPS Inspiron Gaming pictured above. It has the same DNA as the Protector series of cases, and is advertised by Pelican as being watertight, crushproof, and dustproof. The latch is big and easy to manipulate, though it’s designed to stay shut even if the case is dropped or is under immense pressure. Inside the case there’s molded plush lining that’s designed to absorb shocks so it’s not transferred to your notebook. There’s a removable shoulder strap included, though there’s no place in the case for a power adapter – you’ll have to find another place to store it.

We’ve been using both products for around 2-3 weeks and carried them with us when we traveled to Hong Kong last week. We’ve never been as comfortable flying with our gear as we were while we were using both, though lugging both around had its disadvantages. Like we said earlier both cases are quite bulky and add quite a bit of weight, which is a major concern if you’re hoofing it from the airport to your hotel. They’re also quite expensive, retailing just shy of Php 5K here in the PH, which is quite a bit of cash for most people to protect their gear.

But for many people who rely on their gear to put food on the table, these cases are as important as the gear they protect. If you’re just someone that needs a convenient carrying case with you, these aren’t for you. If you’re a guy that depends on your gear, travelling frequently from one location to another then you might want to consider investing in these cases.

You can buy these two cases and other members of the Pelican family at Cobys Gear and Gadget, located at the second level of the Shangri-La Plaza Mall.

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

One Comment

  1. So is this case a 1200 or 1120? I want to buy this for the exact same camera. In the article you mention both the 1120 and the 1200 but dont specify which one the camera is using.

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