|The HPRC 2550W|
I recently got the HPRC 2550W and it is a really sweet, professional hard case. There is a whole lot to like about this Italian beauty, so let's get going.
The HPRC brand is produced by the Italian company Plaber S.r.l, founded in 2006 by the two partners Amabilia S.r.l (known for producing various professional cases since 1982) and the injection molding company plastmeccanica S.r.l, founded in 1988 out of a set of other companies.
The brand "HPRC" is an acronym for "High Performance Resin Cases" which currently has 17 different models of hard cases using a patented material. They are all watertight, dust proof and fairly light, targeting all people who want to send their equipment into the most severe conditions.
Don't let the mirrored "P" in the HPRC logo fool you - this baby is not a sexy Russian, but a beautiful Italian - which Plaber describes as 25% lighter and 25% stronger than similar cases from any other manufacturer. In my experience I can assure you the HPRC 2550W is indeed noticeably lighter than my Peli 1510 carry-on case. My Peli is known outside of Europe as the Pelican 1510 Carry-On case.
|Even if the logo could stem from the Soviet Union era, this is not a sexy Russian, but a beautiful Italian case.|
Pelican's 1510 specifications list the weight of their carry-on case without foam as 11.99 pounds (5.44 kg) and 13.6 pounds (6.17 kg) with foam. The HPRC 2550W specs show it weighing 10.69 pounds (4.85 kg) without foam and 12.19 pounds (5.53 kg) with foam.
The weight difference between the HPRC 2550W and the Pelican 1510 should come from the aluminum made extractable handle and the somewhat shorter height of the 2550W I believe. So, from a non-scientific approach, I do not believe the different materials being used for the case account for much of any of the weight difference.
The 2550W case I have been testing is one out of five HPRC models with wheels (model suffix "W" according to HPRC-speak). It's the only one small enough to fulfill the FAA carry on regulations. The larger sister 2600W comes at 550mm x 420mm x 260mm / 21.65" x 16.53" x 10.24" and is too large for international commercial aviation carry-on use.
The HPRC 2550W is a sturdy hard case with extendable handle and two wheels for "trolley mode" coming in the outer dimensions of a maxed-out international carry on: 545mm x 350mm x 230mm / 21.46" x 13.78" x 9.05". This gives us 44.29 inches in "linear length", barely making the 45 inches maximum dimension for carry-on luggage as stipulated by FAA, which should be accepted by most airlines.
|The extractable handle can be used to lift or pull the case when it is locked at its lower position. The grip itself can be flipped 90 degrees and locks at the 180 degrees position shown here.|
|The HRPC 2550W case is definitely compact yet offers maximum space within the carry-on limits. The extractable handle is shown locked in its top position. Please note the small, read lock button high at the top of the pole that you pull upwards to unlock the grip to let it slide it back down.|
|The extractable handle in its lower position with the grip flipped down 90 degrees in transportation mode.|
The HRPC 2550W is really comparable in size to my Pelican 1510, which qualifies as a carry-on according to the FAA regulations. The Pelican 1510 is approximately 14mm / 0.54" taller and a tiny bit wider and shallower than the HPRC, measuring 559mm x 351mm x 229mm / 22.00" x 13.81" x 9.00"
Both cases max out the FAA regulations completely giving you no headroom, which might be bad if you want to convince stressed out ground staff that you indeed should be allowed to take your gear with you on board. I have never had any issues with my 1510 on international long haul flights and guess my new 2550W will be doing just as well. Remember that smaller, short distance aircraft will definitely have issues to stow these hard cases as carry on and will often not allow them on board, probably asking you to drop them off at the plane to be stowed away outside of the cabin while you embark on your adventure.
Some photographers may argue against a hard case for carry-on following the idea that if you can carry it on board, why bother about a hard case in the first place, rather save the money and take your son's old soft, Sponge Bob Backpack (SBB) instead and just dump the lenses and camera(s) into it, right?
Yes, you could do that. But, if you would find that nasty, old ground staffer one evening at this off-the-beat airport forcing you to check-in your SBB, your lenses would be grinded to mineral crystal before you could count to 747. So, a better choice is to check-in your hard case as a plan B than to let that happen. That is what they are made for and since you should have insurance of your gear in case it is lost or stolen in transit, it is not too much of a deal to go with this backup plan.
My HPRC case is black, which is the only serious color for photographers, right? You can though also order the case in yellow and orange. No tan color available - sorry soldiers!