I have heard the suggestion about using a suitcase or concealing the pelican in another bag and I would like to hear more thoughts on that. The problem I see with the old suitcase idea are these:
1. Good ones are not inexpensive and are themselves high-dollar items that are likely prone to being broken into. I would be reluctant to buy and rely on a used (pre-beaten-up) case.
2. Not-so-good cases are cheaply made. I have seen many broken ones come out of those luggage chutes and riding around on the carousel. The idea of it breaking open and ports and housing and so on falling out is discomforting.
3. By the time I wrap each item in clothing or place it in an individual padded bag, how much space do I really get unless I go to some really mammoth case?
The problems I see with the concealing rolling bag with a Pelican inside are these:
1. Most rolling bags are going to add 7-9 pounds to an already heavy pelican case and gear. I just weighed a Pelican inside a rolling bag and it was over 30 lbs, empty.
2. I doubt the rolling bags are made to hold a hard case with 30-40 lbs in it. I would think handle and wheel and zipper breakage will occur early.
3. The maximum luggage size for most airlines is 62 inches. They tend to be long but somewhat narrow. The few I have seen cost around $300 and really aren't sized to fit a Pelican case well and the end result would be a huge and very heavy bag. I suspect that in addition to putting a Pelican case in the bag, I would need to stuff soft things in to keep the pelican from sliding all around and breaking the bag. I doubt that would be within the 50 lb max..
4. A $200 pelican inside a $300 rolling bag gets to be pretty expensive luggage. Do you lock the bag and the pelican or just one. i would think if a thief saw a pelican concealed in another bag, that would virtually shout out that expensive stuff was inside. Would it be better to have a scuffed-up pelican with sea & sea and save the whales stickers on it? How about putting a tank inspection sticker on it?
Finally, although I have heard of the danger of using a Pelican because it is obviously full of expensive gear, I have not heard that many stories of stolen pelican cases and no more than other gear bags. Similarly, I used to avoid gear bags that suggested dive gear but then someone pointed out that compared to other items, dive gear is not really a hot commodity for stolen merchandise, at least not fins, wetsuits and BCDs. Regulators might be a different story. I have bags with BARE and Stahlsac brands on them that seem to fit gear better than non-dive gear bags. I am not sure housings and ports would be viewed as prime theft items and I also think that with all the security protocols now in place the theft of luggage itself (as opposed to valuable items ifrom the luggage) is less than it used to be.
I don't know any of the above to be true or false. just thoughts as I transition from carrying everything on board with me to dealing with larger stuff.