5 Best Pelican Case Alternatives in 2018 – Protective Hard Cases

Pelican has been the go-to manufacturer when it comes to protective cases. But are there more economical alternatives that can match the quality and durability of pelican cases? There actually are quite a few less-known brands that may stand up to Pelican.

To make your choice a bit easier, I’ve listed a few Pelican case alternatives that feature comparable specs. They should give your instruments or other gear ample protection while staying within a reasonable budget.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the top 5 worthy alternatives to Pelican cases.

My Favorite Protective Hard Cases Other than Pelicans

The cases I liked are suitable for musicians, DJs, videographers, and other professionals and hobbyists who are on the lookout for an affordable yet rugged protective case.

The Seahorse 920F is an American-made protective case with a lifetime guarantee. Even though the Seahorse is in the upper price range, it comes with a number of premium features.

This case is made of polypropylene copolymer, making it very rugged but flexible enough to withstand some rough handling. The 920F feels sturdy and well-built with scored Accuform foam on the inside. The foam is fully customizable and fits comfortably around instruments or any other equipment you may need to transport.

The 920F is a sizable protective case with approximate exterior dimensions of 24” x 16” x 10”. The case can hold a couple of smaller instruments and accessories, but you shouldn’t expect to fit a synthesizer inside.

The Seahorse 920F comes with a set of wheels and a retractable handle. They do a great job of taking the strain off your hand and back, making the 920F one of the most travel-friendly protective cases. On top of that, the Seahorse is water and airtight and features twist-lock latches so the case won’t break open easily no matter how rough you handle it.

  • Travel-friendly design
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    Ample space inside
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    Customizable Accuform foam
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    Water and airtight
  • Price may be a bit steep

Although the AmazonBasics protective case is primarily designed for camera gear, musicians may find it useful as well. There is enough room for a smaller brass instrument, guitar pedals, processors, or your favorite DJ mixer.

There are 3 sizes available but even the largest one is compatible with most US airline standards so you can easily take it on the plane. The inside features customizable foam squares.

The squares have been pre-cut for camera gear but you shouldn’t have any problems fitting your instrument or audio accessories, or even a handgun. It also comes with a pressure equalization valve to protect your equipment against extreme pressure changes.

This protective case is very lightweight yet built from durable plastic. These features make the AmazonBasics case easily transportable and strong enough to support heavier gear or less-than-careful handling.

  • Airplane ready
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    Lightweight and durable
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    Pre-cut protective foam
  • May not be suitable for all musicians
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    The sides may flex too much

This protective case is designed for professionals who need a hard case, which include musicians, videographers, and more.

The Monoprice Hard Case comes in a large range of sizes, from as small as 1 liter volume to as massive as 146 liters. As is the case with most hard cases, the internal foam is fully customizable to your needs, those the foam in this one doesn’t come with any cutouts.

The protective foam fits snugly around your equipment and the impact and UV-resistant case shell features a pressure release valve. The Monoprice sports a 67 Ingress Protection (IP) rating, attesting to its premium build quality.

Overall this case feels sturdy and durable with minimal flexing on the sides.

  • Premium build quality
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    Huge range of sizes
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    Compact and versatile
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    Ultraviolet resistant
  • Latches may be hard to close
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    Only 1-year warranty

The Condition 1 protective case by Royal Case Company offers the ruggedness and versatility that most gear-oriented professionals need.

This case is made of polypropylene copolymer with molded hinges and stainless steel hardware. It is completely protected from the outside elements with a pressure valve to relieve sudden pressure changes. What’s more, this case features spring-loaded hinges that make opening and closing a breeze.

The Condition 1 comes in 4 different colors to match your style or the type of gear you put inside. There are four customizable foam layers with an additional layer of scored foam under the top lid.

The 4 pieces of foam combined with the increased depth of this protective case should allow you to safely stack different pieces of equipment.

  • Rugged and sturdy
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    Comfortable handle
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    Versatile and customizable
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    Stainless steel hardware
  • May not be as watertight as expected

The CASEMATIX TOUGH-XL is another case designed for videographers. But musicians, gun enthusiasts, and other gearheads can use it as well since it features a fully customizable layer of thick foam.

The CASEMATIX is relatively inexpensive for a Pelican case alternative. But you shouldn’t be deterred by the low price since the build quality is excellent.

This case is made of high-quality polypropylene which adds to its overall rigidity, and the dense ELE foam should keep you gear nicely secured no matter where you take it.

Even though this case offers ample protection for your equipment, it doesn’t feature a pressure release valve. So it might not be suited for every professional, especially if you have to bring sensitive gear on air travel.

  • Affordable price
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    Thick ELE foam
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    Rugged materials
  • Lack of pressure relief valve
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    The latches could be better

What to Consider in Protective Hard Cases

Before you actually purchase a Pelican case alternative, there are a few things you should know about. This is a brief overview of the features you should look for.

Materials

Most hard cases are made of polypropylene or polypropylene copolymer. This type of rigid plastic offers more than enough protection, but some models perform better than others. Your case should feel rugged and you make sure the lid or the bottom don’t flex too much.

It also pays off to invest more into a case that comes with steel elements for added protection and durability.

Protective Foam

The protective foam inside the hard case is usually Ether-Like-Easter (ELE) polyurethane. Even though it is a budget option compared to polyester, it is more customizable than the harder polyester foam. You should choose a case featuring thicker layers of ELE that don’t sink in too much when pressed.

Pressure Release Valve

The pressure release valve might be one of the vital features of a hard case if you know there will be pressure changes. It ensures that your sensitive equipment won’t come under undue pressure, on an airplane for example.

Conclusion

I hope my selection of decent Pelican alternatives allows you to choose the most suitable hard case for your instrument or other gear.

My personal favorite would be the Seahorse 920F because it offers excellent protection and it’s very easy to move around with its wheels and retractable handle. But if you are on a tight budget, you can consider any of the more economical options on my list.

Gavin Whitner
    Gavin Whitner
     

    A guitar player, lyricist, composer, and also the lead editor of MusicOomph, Gavin is one of the four musician friends behind this site. Outside of music, he's an avid sports fan and hardly misses anything from football (soccer) to F1.

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