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Peli™ Case alternatives – 11 Pelican™ style cases to consider

Last Updated 21st July 2021
Posted In: Guides & Advice | Transit Protection

Pelican Case Alternatives

11 tough, waterproof case options you should consider

Let’s be honest – Peli cases are the most well established and widely used protective hard cases currently available. They are so popular in fact that many rival waterproof options get referred to as Peli cases themselves.

But that is not to say that they are always the best choice for every application, with a wide number of Peli case alternatives being available.

Taking this into account, which case should you use to keep your equipment safe, dry, and in one piece?

This guide takes a look at the pros and cons of 11 Pelican case alternatives, allowing you to make an informed decision on the best option for your business / application.

Quick Reference / Contents

Introduction

Why use Peli Cases?

There is a reason that there are so many Peli case alternatives now available. Put simply, the indisputable fact is that Peli cases (and the Peli Protector case range in particular) are a fantastic protective case solution for a huge range of applications and requirements.

For starters they are incredibly tough (so tough indeed that they come with a lifetime guarantee). This strength is coupled with complete protection from both water and dust (being IP67 rated). The cases are shock proof. Impact resistant. Cannot be crushed. And this is even before considering their range of features that focus on usability.

All Peli cases come with pressure relief valves, durable hinges, comfortable to use handles, wheels (on larger cases), reinforced eyelets to attach padlocks, extremely durable and secure latches, and a wide choice of colours and sizes.

Add in the large range of accessories and options (foam inserts, dividers, straps, lid organisers, bezel kits and so on) and it makes you wonder why other manufacturers considered making cases to compete with Pelican’s range.

Different Peli case options

It must also be said at this point that there are a number of options within the range of Peli cases themselves, all of which are suitable for differing applications.

This includes the standard Peli Protector cases for the highest levels of protection, Peli Air that offer a lighter weight and easier handling, Peli Micro for very small equipment, and Peli Hardback specifically for laptops, tablets, and similar electronics / devices.

However, the remainder of this guide will focus exclusively on the Peli case alternatives that you may wish to consider instead of these.

peli case alternatives
Although Pelican are established as the market leader, there are a number of Peli case alternatives worth considering

The 11 Peli Case Alternatives (UK)

Waterproof equipment cases you should consider alongside the Peli options

So, without further ado, please see below for the 11 Peli case alternatives that you should be at least considering when looking for a durable, waterproof equipment case.

  • Storm Case
  • Explorer
  • B&W Cases
  • Roto Mould Single Lid
  • ISP2
  • Nanuk
  • WAG Heavy
  • Peli Air
  • SKB 3i Series
  • EXOCase
  • SKB 2 Series

Please continue reading below for a brief summary of each of these options, along with pros and cons of each case brand / range.

01: Storm Case™

Closest Peli case alternative

OK – so the first Peli case alternative included on this list is actually manufactured by Peli (although it was originally developed by Hardigg, before the company was purchased by Pelican back in 2009).

However, any conversation about Pelican cases will likely see Storm case mentioned. In fact, Peli vs Storm cases is one of the more hotly contested debates amongst users of this type of case.

Saying all that, GWP would recommend Storm cases as one of our preferred options for a wide number applications.

Offering the same levels of performance and build quality as Peli cases, Storm provide an improved appearance (in our opinion), surface finish and easier to use latches (which will not seize shut at lower temperatures, as Peli case catches can be prone to doing). It can also be argued that their range of features makes them the easiest and most comfortable cases for frequent use, without compromising on toughness, durability, or resistance to water.

Beyond this there is little to choose between the cases in terms of performance, pricing, and longevity – it really comes down to which catch type you would rather use, and your preference in terms of aesthetics.

peli storm cases
Peli Storm cases are GWP's recommended option if looking for a waterproof equipment case

Pros

  • Excellent performance levels
  • Well-designed catches (vs Peli)
  • Excellent appearance and surface finish

Cons

  • Smaller range of sizes / colours
  • Improved appearance is subjective
  • Surfaces can more easily show up scuffs / scratches

02: Explorer

Best all round Peli case alternative

Explorer cases are another waterproof option that enjoys widespread use in military applications. Many people also feel the aesthetics of these cases is superior to their rivals, with Italian design heritage showing through in the construction of the cases

This does not come at the cost of performance however, with the cases being tough, hard wearing and IP67 rated.

In fact, many will claim that Explorer cases are the best all round Peli case alternative. The range combines a wide number of size and colour options, extensive testing, wide selection of standard features, and competitive price points (which tend to be lower than Pelican cases).

Critics would argue that the usability of the cases is not quite as good as the established Peli options, and that the surface finishes are not as attractive (if that is important consideration.

However, they are an option worth “exploring” (sorry!)

Explorer cases
Explorer cases are a great, all rounder when looking at Peli Case alternatives

Pros

  • Great balance between cost and features
  • Excellent protection
  • Extensive testing (to Military standards)

Cons

  • Appearance not to everyone’s tastes
  • Can lack usability of more premium offerings

03: B&W Cases

Best budget protective case

Want to know the cheapest Peli case alternative? That accolade goes to the range of B&W outdoor cases.

Providing the same levels of protection and performance as Peli cases, but at a considerably lower cost, B&W cases are the option of choice for those on a tight budget.

So why wouldn’t everyone switch to these cases. Well, as one of the newer cases available (developed in 1998) B&W cases only offer a fairly limited range of sizes. This can mean having to compromise on space, or a use a case which is too big (but is the nearest fit).

The overall quality is perhaps slightly less when compared to some of the more premium offerings (particularly Storm Cases) but, overall, the cost to quality ratio is exceptional.

B&W Cases
B&W cases are widely viewed as cheap Peli cases, being very cost effective

Pros

  • Cheapest Peli case alternative
  • Comparable levels of performance to more expensive options
  • Extensive accessories list

Cons

  • Small range of sizes / colours
  • Quality a (very) small step down from some premium options

04: Roto Mould Single Lid

Toughest protective case option

Another Peli case option (although again manufactured by Hardigg) makes it onto the list of alternative case options as arguably the toughest option currently available.

In fact, Single Lid rotationally moulded cases widely touted as the toughest, strongest and most durable cases currently available. This is achieved thanks to the manufacturing processes, but also the extra tough polypropylene material used.

There are quite literally a huge range of sizes to choose from, alongside very specialist cases which can be used as lockers, desks and so on (Hardigg “mobile military”). The cases also boast an IP68 rating.

What the single lid cases add in strength does lead to compromises elsewhere, most notably in usability. Whilst there are a lot of options, the cases are bulky and heavy. Whilst this enables them to offer excellent protection, it does mean they can be difficult to move and inefficient to store / transport. They are also costly when compared with injection moulded options.

However, if you are looking for the toughest Pelican case alternative, this is the best choice for you.

peli single lid cases
The Peli Hardigg rotationally moulded "single lid" cases are the toughest option currently available

Pros

  • Toughest case available
  • Huge range of sizes
  • Various specialist options

Cons

  • Heavy and bulky
  • Difficult to handle / transport
  • Expensive

05: Hardigg™ ISP2

Best for transit / stacking

Being very similar to the single lid cases, the key USP of the ISP2 cases is the interlocking pattern moulded into the cases. This allows for the cases to be very securely stacked, which in turn makes them ideal for storage and transportation of kit and equipment.

Whilst also boasting the benefits of other roto mould cases – namely that they are exceptionally tough and durable – they also suffer the same shortcomings (being heavy, expensive etc.).

However, for storing or moving items which simply cannot be damaged, ISP2 cases are a great option.

Pros

  • Easily stacked during storage / transit
  • Extremely tough and durable
  • Wide selection of sizes

Cons

  • Heavy and bulky
  • Difficult to handle
  • Expensive

06: Nanuk

Widest range of features (as standard)

Nanuk are one of the newer Peli case alternatives and are fast growing in popularity.

Manufactured / developed in Canada, Nanuk cases are manufactured from an impact resistant NK-7 resin to ensure that they absorb shocks without damaging the items inside.

Besides this, NANUK cases are watertight, lockable, ideal for stacking and come with a full lifetime guarantee. They also boast a range of features as standard that are optional extras on other cases – and this is where Nanuk cases really excel.

This includes mounting points / bezels for electronics (an add on for Peli cases), lid stays, telescopic handles and more.

Where they fall down slightly is the range of sizes – with the number of options being about half that of the Peli Protector range.

However, if you require a feature packed equipment case at a reasonable price, Nanuk could be the option you are looking for.

Pros

  • Wide range of standard features
  • Competitive pricing
  • Great performance

Cons

  • Smaller range of sizes
  • Less availability in UK market

07: WAG Heavy

Best where weight is a key consideration

WAG are better known for producing a range of lightweight sample cases / carry cases, including the Tekno, Twist and Beat ranges (amongst others).

However, the double walled construction of the Heavy case range means it is straying dangerously close to the more durable waterproof options available.

In fact, if full water resistance is not required, then it is a great option to consider.

Considerably cheaper and lighter in weight than the extra tough equipment cases, the spec can be perfect for applications such as service engineers, demo kits etc.

Of course, the case is less well suited to some specific applications, making it fairly obvious when this should be considered as option.

WAG heavy cases
Although not fully watertight, WAG Heavy cases are durable enough for many applications

Pros

  • Good protection with lightweight
  • Easy to handle (light)
  • Very cost effective

Cons

  • Not fully waterproof
  • Less durable overall

08: Peli™ Air

Light weight with full water resistance

So what do you choose if you are looking for a case that is both light weight and fully waterproof?

Well, the answer is a different Peli case!

Developed and launched as recently as 2016, Peli Air cases are a lightweight alternative to the Peli Protector option. The weight savings achieved make the cases much more easy to handle, as well as more cost effective if transporting / shipping via air freight (the cases also adhere to ATA / A4A regulations).

However, the performance and protection levels of the Peli Protector cases are carried over in the Peli Air range, making it best compromise between protection and ease of use.

Peli Air
Peli Air cases are as much as 40% lighter than standard Peli Protector cases. Photo by: Uros Podlogar

Pros

  • Lightest, fully waterproof cases available
  • Easy to handle
  • Peli quality

Cons

  • Limited range of sizes
  • Not as cheap as some alternatives

09: SKB 3i Series

Widest range of standard sizes

Getting the size of your protective case right can have a wide number of benefits. For example, it eliminates wasted space in the case (which may need to be filled with foam – adding to your costs). It can mean your case is much easier to handle (again if it is not oversized). And the purchase cost will typically be lower.

This is one of the key benefits of Peli cases – having been established for so long, there is a wide range of sizes available.

However, one Peli case alternative has an even larger selection of options – the SKB i Series.

With just under 60 sizes, SKB 3i cases can be found with dimensions that will be almost perfect for your specific application.

In all other ways SKB cases and Pelican have very little to choose between them. SKB cases have quickly forged a reputation for providing high performance and durability. They are fully waterproof, dustproof, plus highly resistant to being crushed, impact and vibration. SKB also manufacture a range of specialist designs, as well as rack units too.

SKB iseries
SKB iSeries cases offer almost 60 differing sizes, providing a huge range of options

Pros

  • Huge range of sizes
  • Excellent performance
  • Comparable pricing to Peli

Cons

  • More expensive than some alternative options
  • Less customisation potential

10: EXOCase™

Only custom sized option

Continuing on the theme of case sizes, what if you need a very specific size or format? What if you are struggling to find a moulded waterproof case that you can fit your gear or equipment into? What if none of the off the shelf sizes are exactly what you need?

EXOCase™, whilst technically a waterproof flight case, offers many of the benefits of the other moulded waterproof cases on this page.

However, being manufactured from a modular system, it means you can specify the exact size of the case (rather than selecting the nearest option), which can help reduce transit costs as well as aiding handling.

Whilst there is some compromise in terms of weight and water resistance (EXOCase is IP5* rather than IP67), it can be considered as a true Peli case alternative thanks to its build quality, extensive testing and custom options.

If you have been looking for a custom size Peli case, this is your only real option.

EXOCase
EXOCase is the first waterproof flight case, making it an option if you need a custom size Peli Case

Pros

  • Complete size flexibility
  • Attractive appearance
  • Replaceable components / parts

Cons

  • Only Ip5* rated
  • Heavier than moulded plastic options

11: SKB 3S Series

Best for very small equipment

Whilst Peli offer their own micro case range, an alternative to this is the SKB 3S series.

Comprising a range 10 basic sizes and 3 colours, SKB 3S series cases are a direct competitor and alternative to the Peli Micro options.

However, whilst sharing the same features and benefits, they do offer a unique appearance and typically lower price points too.

Pros

  • Ideal for smaller requirements
  • Fully waterproof
  • Competitive pricing

Cons

  • Small range of sizes
  • Appearance not to everyone’s taste
  • No transparent versions available (as per Peli Micro)

Summary

How to choose a Peli case alternative?

Choosing a waterproof protector case can be a difficult decision. And whilst many peoples default choice will be to look at Pelican products, there are a wide range of Peli case alternatives that you really should consider.

As an independent supplier of protective cases in the UK (including all of the brands and options highlighted in this guide) GWP Protective will be happy to provide clear, unbiased advice on the best case for your specific application, budget, industry or intended use.

So, if you are looking for a Peli case alternative but are not sure how to choose, please speak with one of GWPs’ experienced advisers, who will be happy help.

Please Note: All trademarks are registered and/or unregistered trademarks of Peli Products, S.L.U., its parent, subsidiaries and/or affiliates

Further Reading...

About the Author

Richard Coombes

Richard Coombes

General Manager | GWP Protective

Having originally joined GWP Protective back in 2004, working on the factory floor, Richard now heads up the business as General Manager. [Read full bio…]

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