Whether in the remote backcountry or rolling through a crowded city, carrying gear and supplies safely and securely is critical to any overland adventure. The elements – and people – can wreak havoc on your equipment.
To protect my gear, I’ve used a number of overlanding cases over the years. But I needed cases that offered more protection and recently acquired a couple of Pelican Cargo Cases, a relatively new offering from a company that has been making durable storage cases for decades.
While I haven’t yet put them through their full paces, I wanted to share why I chose the Pelican cases and my initial impressions of them.
Pelican makes incredibly durable and watertight cases that are used by professionals of all stripes to protect expensive and sensitive gear, such as cameras and electronics. Pelican recently launched a line of vehicle-cargo cases, designed for rugged adventure.
Here’s the TL/DR version of the in-depth review below:
Pelican Cargo Cases are a good option for anyone looking to carry equipment outside of their vehicle and keep it safe from the elements and potential theft. They can be paired with Pelican’s Cargo mounting kits, which makes it easy to take them on and off and open them while they are attached to the vehicle. They aren’t cheap. So, unless you have a big budget you will likely want to use them along with other, cheaper cases.
Pelican Cargo Case Overview
I’ve been using Pelican boxes to protect my camera equipment on outdoor expeditions for years and they’ve never failed me. I even took one on a whitewater kayaking trip to Canada and it held up great despite all the bouncing around in my boat.
I trust the durability and protection that Pelican provides, so I was stoked when I saw that Pelican was coming out with the larger cargo cases designed for overlanding and other types of expeditions.
Often, when we are out exploring, I’ve needed a watertight and durable box that could fit on the outside of my Jeep or overland trailer. It also needed to be lockable, so that when I go into a restaurant or store, I don’t come back out with all my goodies missing. There are a number of storage cases on the market that will work for overlanding, but very few can be trusted to protect electronics, tools, and sensitive and/or pricey gear.
Pelican must have noticed this gap in the market. Their cargo boxes check a lot of boxes…hehe. They come in 10 different sizes, to fit a number of vehicles and functions. Here are some examples.
BX50 Cargo Case
Internal volume: 9.1 gallons
Internal: 13 × 12.3 × 13.3 in
External: 17.25 x 17.25 x 16.00 in
BX55S Cargo Case
Internal volume: 9.6 gallons
Internal: 32.38 x 8.00 x 8.52 in
External: 36.63 x 13.00 x 11.50 in
BX90R Cargo Case
Internal volume: 18.4 gallons
Internal: 32.38 x 15.00 x 8.75 in
External: 36.62 x 20.00 x 11.50 in
Here are some of the key features of the cases that stood out to me. The Pelican cargo cases feature heavy-duty lay-flat handles for comfortable, secure grip and easy transport. Integrated tie-down plates and an interface plate allow for easy mounting to vehicles, while the roto-molded construction and weather and dust resistance provide durable protection for equipment in extreme conditions. E-coated steel latches and padlock hasps offer added security.
Heavy-Duty Lay-Flat Handles
The handles have been designed to stay out of the way, lock at 90 degrees and offer a comfortable grip. They are an improvement over traditional rope handles.
Integrated tie-down plates that can be used with our Vehicle Mounting Kits or with ratchet straps or rope to open the case while it is tied down.
E-Coated Steel Latches
The latches feature an over-center design that can be easily opened from the top of the case and include padlock hasps. They are coated with a twin-layer electroplate for superior corrosion resistance.
Mounting Kit Interface Plate
These sturdy metal plates are designed to accept mounting kit draw latch/connection point. They also provide additional tie-down points in case you want to use straps to hold the box to your rig.
The cases are made of lightweight polymer with UV blocking agents, and are designed to withstand serious impact in extreme conditions.
Weather Resistant and Dustproof
The cases are tested to Mil-Spec 810G to protect against 70 mph wind-blown rain and dust and feature a rubber gasket lid that makes them weather resistant and dustproof. It is rare to find cases that are this weather-resistant – my cameras will thank me!
The many functional features of the cargo cases aside, they are beautiful cases. Pelican switched from a dark gray plastic to black recently. The black is really nice looking, and the cases have an elegant, but rugged look to them. I showed them to a friend and he was impressed/jealous. He commented on how “cool” they looked.
The plastic feels durable, but not as heavy-duty as some of the Pelican boxes I’ve used previously. Maybe this is due to the size of the cargo cases – they would be quite heavy if the plastic was as thick as their small camera cases.
The latches look sturdy, as do the plates for connecting to the mounting kits. Speaking of those, I haven’t yet mounted them to my trailer and Jeep. Frankly, it looks a little daunting, but I’ll report back.
Overall, the cases seem well-built and rugged enough to handle the abuse I plan to put them through. I am going to mount one on the roof rack of my Jeep and the other on top of my overland trailer’s fender.
Hopefully, they will keep rain and dust out of my gear, especially my camera gear. Fingers crossed – but also, I do trust Pelican as a brand, so I’m optimistic.
Here are some related articles that you might find interesting: