A VISIT TO SEE STORM CASES
A while back in an issue of the American Outdoor Photographer magazine, I saw a notice for a new brand of hard case for photo gear. The product, called Storm Case, is what appeared to be a possible rival to the well-established Pelican brand. After going to the Storm Case site, I was fairly impressed by their cases and what the said that they offered. The Storm Case products are made by Hardigg, a well-respected industry leader.
|Storm Case cases by Hardigg|
So one Monday, I decided to call Storm Case to see about locating a dealer to actually see a case. I knew that "Cases 4 Less" (http://www.cases4less.com) sells cases, but I thought that a chance to actually see and try a few of the cases was definitely in order.
I was pleased to receive an e-mail from Storm Case informing me that Hardigg had a distribution center north of Austin, and that I could go and see some of the cases first hand. Though the Hardigg Case Center is neither a showroom or a dealership, I would still be able to see some actual cases.
One Tuesday morning I went to the Hardigg Case Center for what turned out to be an excellent visit. While I was planning on looking at only two cases that are close to the Pelican 1550 (the iM2500 and iM2600), the nice gentleman allowed me to see several other cases, including the largest case that Storm Case makes, the iM2950. They make 10 cases, that range from a small case (the iM2100) to a case that is as large as the Pelican 1660. Four of their cases (the iM2500, iM2720, iM2750, and iM2950) all have very solid wheels and telescoping pull handles. Available colors are black, gray, military green, and a pretty wild yellow. I guess that the yellow would certainly be hard to miss on a baggage carousel!
All of the Storm Case cases can be bought both with and without foam interiors (the foam interiors are the typical “pick & pluck”), and a divider system is also available. One of the strong selling points for Storm Case is a new high-tech resin, called HPX™ that Storm Case claims to be more resistant to abuse than other well-known materials.
My overall impressions were that this could be a serious alternative to Pelican. I found that prices on the various Storm Cases are pretty much comparable to the cases from Pelican.
The carrying handle was actually very comfortable, though it is difficult to tell what it would really be like when the case is loaded with gear! Also, I liked the solid feel of the telescoping press and pull handles that Storm Case has on the four models that include these. The larger cases that have these telescoping handles pull effortlessly (once again, with no gear).
So, is a Storm Case for you? I would recommend that if you are in the market for a hard case to store or carry gear (and considering the increasingly stringent airline carry-on regulations), that you take a good look at these cases. Storm Case (though Hardigg has been around for many years) is still a new product line, so dealers are still somewhat limited in number. Me? As I am in the market for a hard case, I will definitely buy a Storm Case!
As for JRP, well, we all know he loves his Pelican 1550, a lot! That case he has is NATO-codified and tested to MIL C-4150J (Military Standard), IP-67 (Ingress Protection) and ATA (Air Transportation Association). You break it, Pelican replaces it... forever.
You can also see what the comparative prices are like at www.cases4less.com.