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07-25-2013, 08:58 AM   #1
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Storage & Protection For All My Gear

I am looking for something to safely store my camera gear while not using it. My first choice is to get a Pelican Case, probably a 1600.

I might put it in the trunk of a car once in a while, but mainly it will just sit in my office for a safe protected place for my gear.

I noticed that you can get pelican cases with pick & pluck foam to customize it for your gear, or with adjustable dividers.

Is one any better than the other? Is there any hazards with the foam such as deterioration over time, and small pieces floating around?

Seems like the foam would provide better protection from bumps , and the dividers would be more versatile in case I swapped lenses or something.

I'd appreciate your experience, and thoughts on this.

Thanks,
RobN

07-25-2013, 09:10 AM   #2
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My gear - my active kit - sits in an Airport Security Bag.

Airport Security? V 2.0 Roller Camera Bag - Think Tank

or

Logistics Manager

I can lock it and use the cables to secure it.

I've used Pelican cases before, and they are great for what they do, but to get true protection from them requires that you have adequate foam surrounding your gear. The loss of available space makes Pelican cases too small when you start putting in your gear.

Yes, Pelican cases look awesome and look *tough*, and they are, but for most camera gear that is taken in and out of living spaces/airports/cars etc, I prefer soft cases.

Soft cases breath, deform on impact, and make better use of configurable space. Dropping a Pelican, with it's hard shell will require that energy go "somewhere".

Note: "Soft cases" is a relative term. The above Think Tank bags are not "soft".

Last edited by LaurenOE; 07-25-2013 at 09:15 AM.
07-25-2013, 10:47 AM   #3
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I use a Pelican case for my K5 and a lens or two. However, I only use it when I'm out sea kayaking. They are great cases but on a day to day basis, there are plenty of other solutions out there. @LaurenOE has some good suggestions.
07-25-2013, 10:54 AM   #4
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Thanks All

Thanks for the info & suggestions, I hadn't thought about the foam taking up a lot of room, but I see where it would be a factor.

RobN

07-25-2013, 12:18 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobN. Quote
Pelican Case, probably a 1600.
I use Pelican 1510's for all my kit, as these are the largest size permissible by most airlines as carry on baggage.

I use the dividers system, with a bit of packing or bubble wrap to take up any slack space, the net tidy thingy in the lid for the bits and bobs.

Main case carries two bodies c/w grips, lenses mounted, plus four other lenses and bits.

Last edited by Kerrowdown; 07-28-2013 at 12:27 PM.
07-25-2013, 12:51 PM   #6
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Thanks,

Other than the size, that's what I'm considering most. I don't need to worry about the size, as I would use something else for travel unless by car.
Just mainly want one place to keep all my gear protected, sorted, and accessible as I need it.

At this point, 2 bodies, 18-270, 55-300, 18-55, M50, 2x teleconverter, cleaning stuff, batteries and chargers & a couple filters.

I have a Tamrac backpack for my frequently used stuff, or daily walkabout.

In the future I hope to add a 50-500 Sigma, a good macro and an external flash.

I don't think I will want to add much to that although it is sort of addictive.

RobN.
07-25-2013, 06:32 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by LaurenOE Quote
My gear - my active kit - sits in an Airport Security Bag.

Airport Security? V 2.0 Roller Camera Bag - Think Tank
From the above link, emphasis added "The Airport Security V2.0 is our largest carry-on rolling camera bag that meets U.S. domestic carry-on size standards for flights between major hubs."

I live in a rural area. All flights use the nearly ubiquitous CRJ (Canada Regional Jet). On CRJ's, The above bag is still treated as a "carry-on", only nobody is allowed to carry such a bag in to the airplane's cabin. Such bags are "valet" or "plane-side checked" on these smaller regional planes. It means the same baggage handlers are putting your bag in to the same cargo area as traditional checked luggage. The only difference is your bag will be handed back to you at the gate rather than going to a baggage claim area. Do you want to hand your camera gear to a baggage handler to ride in cargo under any circumstances?

So. You say you never fly in to the dinky airports like the one closest to my home. Is an airport like, for example, Nashville big enough for you? Is Chicago O'Hare big enough? My last flight from Chicago to Nashville, and the return from Nashville to Chicago was via a CRJ. And I can come up with other examples. What I am trying to say, is it isn't the size of the airport that determines the size of the plane these days. More often than not, it is the distance between the airports.


Last edited by JimJohnson; 07-26-2013 at 11:47 AM.
07-25-2013, 06:46 PM   #8
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I have one Pelican that is fine. Mostly though I use soft bodied Lowe pro's and I use the dividers....but also carefully pack all equipment with foam blocks....then seat belt the cases in my car.

I don't travel by airplane ....but when I did....I made sure the case I used would qualify as carry on gear and I used aluminum cases....well padded inside to hold all equipment tight.
07-26-2013, 06:36 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by JimJohnson Quote
From the above link, emphasis added "The Airport Security V2.0 is our largest carry-on rolling camera bag that meets U.S. domestic carry-on size standards for flights between major hubs."

I live in a rural area. All flights use the nearly ubiquitous CRJ (Canada Regional Jet). On CRJ's, The above bag is still treated as a "carry-on", only nobody is allowed to carry such a bag in to the airplane's cabin. Such bags are "valet" or "plane-side checked" on these smaller regional planes. It means the same baggage handlers are putting your bag in to the same cargo area as traditional checked luggage. The only difference is your bag will be handed back to you at the gate rather than going to a baggage claim area. Do you want to hand your camera gear to a baggage handler to ride in cargo under any circumstances?

So. You say you never fly in to the dinky airports like the one closest to me home. Is an airport like, for example, Nashville big enough for you? Is Chicago O'Hare big enough? My last flight from Chicago to Nashville, and the return from Nashville to Chicago was via a CRJ. And I can come up with other examples. What I am trying to say, is it isn't the size of the airport that determines the size of the plane these days. More often than not, it is the distance between the airports.
True.

However, there are those times when I fly into small airports, and when I do, I wait on the tarmac to give my bag to the valet handler so I am the last person on the small plane, and usually I get it back as soon as I get off the plane.

This is why I travel with as much professional gear as possible. Pro gear is a little more robust.

Since I do many international photo outings, I try and take as much of my photo gear with me as carry on, but sometimes, there is no other way.

I am on pins and needles when my gear goes out of my sight, but why buy exceptional photo gear if you don't take it with you to exceptional locations?

07-26-2013, 10:35 AM   #10
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Rob, for your purposes of storing gear in your office, a Pelican, or similar, hard case is a fine solution.
To your questions about foam vs padded dividers, you are right that the foam will afford greater shock protection but the dividers are reconfigurable and may allow more gear to fit. I went with a couple of cases and did the pick n pluck foam, which is a great customizable solution and looks great. No worries about degradation of the foam, I have used this type of foam for many years and it still holds up well. I think there are lesser foams that contain a latex content that will crumble over time, but this ain't that.

I am shopping for another case for my 645 rig and may go with padded dividers just to mix it up a bit, but really find the foam to work well.

Here are some pics





I take these in the field if I need to padlock my gear to a pole or table to use as a central base when walking around an event, for example. I also bring it to the beach when there is a definite possibility of getting drenched. The rubber o ring really works if the case is pummeled by waves. For just regular hiking, this would not be a good solution for my, in which case I use any combination of sling bags, a vest, lowepro belt system, shoulder bag, etc...

Last edited by mikeSF; 07-26-2013 at 10:42 AM.
07-26-2013, 12:23 PM   #11
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Wow !

That's an impressive bit of gear!

Thanks for taking the time to post the pics, and explain your experience.

I'm thinking a large case with the dividers for my storage solution, then if I need to travel, maybe something smaller with foam.

I have a Lowepro that will fit in my pack for hiking if needed, but usually use a Case Logic protective pouch if its just my body & 1 lens.

Thanks to all for your suggestions and info.

RobN
07-26-2013, 11:11 PM   #12
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I realize the pic is not labeled so you can't tell which lenses are there...I believe most of the ones listed in my signature for the K5 are appearing in that second shot.
07-31-2013, 09:27 AM   #13
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In my former job we used Pelican cases to transport our Phantom cameras and to transport our lenses. All the driving was on rough washboard roads or cross country on a full size van. The Pelican cases offered all the protection we needed. They were converted from the foam to the inserts in order to get the number of cases for lenses down to two large cases from three.

I now have a Pelican case that my large format bag fits into. I only use it when we go camping so other gear can be piled ontop of it with no concerns. I would not use it for daily use, instead the camera bag gets put into either the back of the RAV or the hatch of the SAAB. The only way they are not protected enough in either vehicle is if I either rolled or ended up in a slough. In either case my camera gear would not be the highest priority I find soft sided bags easier to use, have a need to have several sizes and types of them and easier to carry any distance. I also have the wonderful fortune of choosing a three hour drive to an airport or flying on a Beechcraft. I have little concerns with valet handling of a camera bag when I cannot get it into the little closet behind the pilot.
07-31-2013, 11:01 AM   #14
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This is sort of an off-the-beaten-path answer. Though I have weeded my gear collection significantly, at one time I had as many as ten film bodies and 40 legacy lenses, plus the digital stuff.

For simply storing my camera gear at home (in a humidity-controlled house where fungus isn't really an issue) I use simple, inexpensive, second-hand Domke F2 bags. Right now I have three, all with the newer padded dividers. Each can hold two bodies, 4 to 9 lenses (depending on the combination of focal lengths), 4 separate legacy hoods, 2 flashes and flat stuff (filter wallets, manuals, SD card cases, batteries, etc.). . When I've had truly long lenses (300mm or longer) I've stored them in the OEM soft or hard case. I literally use two Vasque hinge-top hiking boot boxes to hold accessories. All of this is stored in a dedicated locking shelving cabinet in my home office. Each bag is laced with little dessicant bags and the cabinet is lined with cedar.

When using gear I select what I want that day and carry a LowePro Backpack or LowePro Sling Bag and tripod carry case. For light shooting (just going for a walk) I have a Domke F5-something that holds one body, 2 lenses and a very small flash. For travel I use the backpack or a rolling briefcase and tripod case as carry-on bags.

Of course my needs are not as robust as Lauren's.

Last edited by monochrome; 07-31-2013 at 03:02 PM.
07-31-2013, 02:03 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Of course my needs are not as robust as Lauren's.
Too funny!

There is nothing wrong with Pelican cases. They look tough, serious and "James-Bondy" as well as function really well. It's just that they are often overkill as there is a ton of wasted space. Foam doesn't need more than a few cm/mm to absorb shock.

In some of the images above - with all due respect - I mean, c'mon batteries in a Pelican case? Remotes? O-GPS-1? Power cords?



I totally get the need for extreme crush resistance and water proof-ness and again, Pelican is right up there for that sort of thing.

If not, the Think Tank products or knapsacks are probably fine.

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