Jump to content
Nicool

Do Pelican cases really get stolen/lost?

Recommended Posts

Hi everyone,
I am preparing for my first international trip in quite a few year (whohoo!!), and realising I am not going to be able to take my housing/camera/lenses/strobes in a carry-on. I'll be flying with Singapore Airlines / Scoot, so 7kg + a personal bag (max 10cm thick) is all I'll take, plus things in pockets perhaps.

A Pelican 1637 Air Case sounds like a good solution, to check-in all my underwater photography equipment, except for batteries (the rebreather, wetsuit & other small bits will go in another bag).

However I have read quite a few Wetpixel thread, including this one, and noticed concerns about a Pelicase attracting too much attention / risk of getting stolen, and I wonder how real this risk is.

 

Can I ask:

=> If any one knows personally someone who got his/her pelican case stolen while it was checked-in? If so, what was the itinerary?

=> Who might have used a Pelican case checked-in for several trips without any issue?

 

Let's not get off-track with tricks to stuff more things in cabin baggage, I am well aware of them (+ many not applicable on the companies I use, which are likely to weigh/measure the carry-ons).

 

thanks a million :)

Nicolas

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Nicool said:

=> If any one knows personally someone who got his/her pelican case stolen while it was checked-in? If so, what was the itinerary?

In almost 30 years of diving and almost 20 years as a member of Wetpixel, I only have a hazy recollection of one such incident - some years back. I don't think it was stolen as much as stuff removed.

Maybe put the Pelican inside a more discrete holdall? (big case though!)

Exciting to be travelling again. Good luck with it.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, ChrisRoss said:

From Chris' link this, to me, sounds really good advice:

2) If you are traveling with a task-specific bag that stand out as one carrying expensive equipment, such as a Pelican Case or Think Tank bag, make sure the bag is extremely visible and identifiable, then pack it inside a non-descript bag. My Pelican 1514 case tends to fly inside a bright green Mountainsmith Cube when it needs to be checked (the Cube never blends in anywhere).

I'm sure there was a time, way back, when Pelican actually sold bags similar to that Mountainsmith one to cover their cases. I've not seen them advertised though for ages.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've taken my rebreather in a Pelican case on probably 10+ international trips all over the globe and I have never had an issue. I'm boarding tonight with a Pelican case for my rebreather and one for my camera gear and both of them will be checked.

Can it happen? Probably. But, I think the odds are very low.

- brett

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks all that is really helpful.

In particular, reading Chris' article I realize I had misunderstood the risk: it's more about someone grabbing your Pelicase on the baggage delivery belt, as opposed to some dodgy airport staff simply not delivering the bag (I would assume there is sufficient security to mitigate that).

With that in mind, I really like this piece of advise:

1) Brightly mark or label your bags, especially if your baggage consists of black ballistic nylon bags. Thieves generally only steal bags that blend in and are not easily identifiable.

The other ones I was sort-of doing anyways.

 

10 hours ago, TimG said:

From Chris' link this, to me, sounds really good advice:

2) If you are traveling with a task-specific bag that stand out as one carrying expensive equipment, such as a Pelican Case or Think Tank bag, make sure the bag is extremely visible and identifiable, then pack it inside a non-descript bag. My Pelican 1514 case tends to fly inside a bright green Mountainsmith Cube when it needs to be checked (the Cube never blends in anywhere).

I'm sure there was a time, way back, when Pelican actually sold bags similar to that Mountainsmith one to cover their cases. I've not seen them advertised though for ages.

 

Thanks TimG :)

I looked at bags like Mountainsmith, I don't think I can find a bag that would easily wrap aroung the dimensions of a Pelican 1637 case: 67x52x38cm.

Also, it would be extra weight, so not thinking I'll do that.

  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Get a good lock. And really yes. Mark your bag clearly and easy to detect. I have been thinking about using tile or airtag recently... still thinking about it...

Sent from my SM-S908E using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you final destination has a stopover one can check before boarding (at the boarding gate where they check your passport and boarding pass) if your bag is indeed in the hold by showing them the TAG. They can immediately check and revert with a confirmation. After having one experience like this, i always now check and ensure that the bag is in the hold of the aircraft.

Diggy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I have read stories about Pelican and similar cases being targets for theft.  It makes sense because thieves surely recognize a Pelican case is more likely to contain valuable stuff than would regular luggage.  But I don't know anyone personally who has experienced theft.

My own feeling is that the theft risk varies depending on where you are going or traveling through and how you are traveling.  The greatest risks is airline employees getting into bags in transit and thieves grabbing bags off carousels in the airport.

The first of those is hard to predict or prevent for us.  Decent locks may help.  At various times, some airports had bad reputations for employee theft, but I think that changes from time-to-time.  As to the second risk (carousels), i try to get to the luggage as soon as I can after deplaning.  You can also buy tracker things mentioned by hellhole above, that you can put in the bag and send a signal to your phone, so that if the bag gets picked up you might be able to know.  I am not sure whether those really help.

It has always surprised me that Pelican and similar have not come up with and marketed cases that look like regular suitcases.  I tried the Pelican in another bag thing once or twice, but the two bags together weighed a lot and were just that much larger, so I was not happy with the solution.

I have found the best locks for Pelicans to be the Nanuk brand case locks.  They don't flop around like regular locks and appear slightly harder to twist off or cut off.  Maybe.

I think it comes down to balancing the risk of theft vs the risk of damage to gear.  I tend to think damage risk is greater.

There is one case that I know of that offers similar protection to the Pelicans but looks like a regular case.  Tenba Air Cases.  They are expensive but are suitable for checking while not looking like a camera case.  I have used the 2520W a lot.

Edited by Draq
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Several domestic trips with a 1637 with CCR, and so far, no problems. Mine is the grey version, so it's going to stick out a bit more than the black box, but so far so good. The biggest issue seems to be that you never know if it's going to show up on the carousel or get kicked out at the over-sized baggage counter. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Draq said:

I think it comes down to balancing the risk of theft vs the risk of damage to gear.  I tend to think damage risk is greater.

There is one case that I know of that offers similar protection to the Pelicans but looks like a regular case.  Tenba Air Cases.  They are expensive but are suitable for checking while not looking like a camera case.  I have used the 2520W a lot.

The 2520W is a bit smaller than the Pelican 1637, the 3220W is closer in size to the pelican.  At least in Australia, the Tenba bags seem a little cheaper than Pelican.  This shop sells them:  https://specular.com.au/shop/bags-cases/transport-cases

One thing to watch is the bags are pretty heavy before you put anything into them.  Most airlines limit checked bags to 23kg before charging more, with an absolute max of 32kg.  If you are judicious with what you pack and maybe carry on batteries and camera bodies it should be fine for many systems. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most of the airlines that  I use have a maximum luggage size of 62 linear inches and the 3220 exceeds that, so I have not tried it.  I have managed to stay well  within weight limits when I use the 2520W, but I also do not check camera body or lenses and don't often take dome ports larger than 140mm.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I travel with a Pelican Air 1615 hat has stickers all over it, 2 TSA padlocks, and an Apple Air Tag hidden inside the case. Only problem I have ever had is the airline put it in the oversized carousel baggage pickup but I found it quickly. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"It has always surprised me that Pelican and similar have not come up with and marketed cases that look like regular suitcases."

Actually, Pelican did market a case that looks a lot like a regular suitcase. This is pretty close to looking like a regular suitcase. The front bag zips off to go under the seat and the main bag fits in overhead compartment space. It's got space for my DSLR housing, a couple of strobes, lenses, ports, extensions, computer, and lots of other bits & pieces.

I've got a couple of these.

-Tinman

ADD_3865.jpg

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought I would update the thread I created with my experience, during the trip I bought my Pelican 1637 air case, flying from Sydney to Manado, via Singapore.

Well, I am glad I got 2 solid padlocks, because one of them went missing when I picked my case on the lugguage belt, and the padlock hole got torn apart!

I can't exactly tell what happened: either some malicious baggage handler tried to break through (bags sat for a 10+ hours connection in Singapore) and it was too hard to break both locks, or one of the padlock holes was faulty.

Anyways, I sent the case back to Pelican for investigation upon my return, and they decided to replace it free of charge, as part of their lifetime warranty!

I won't know what really happened, nor if there was a manufacturing defect on my case, but I am grateful for the quick turnaround and warranty from Pelican, I got a new case 1545432778_IMG_34232.thumb.jpg.cd408ceed382cd6ff3db696a3bf5d3b7.jpg159801946_IMG_34222.jpg.ce7f0025fc2333ba264f34664aa7ff2e.jpgwith a more vibrant colour now :)

Nicolas

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Nicool said:

I thought I would update the thread I created with my experience, during the trip I bought my Pelican 1637 air case, flying from Sydney to Manado, via Singapore.

Well, I am glad I got 2 solid padlocks, because one of them went missing when I picked my case on the lugguage belt, and the padlock hole got torn apart!

I can't exactly tell what happened: either some malicious baggage handler tried to break through (bags sat for a 10+ hours connection in Singapore) and it was too hard to break both locks, or one of the padlock holes was faulty.

Anyways, I sent the case back to Pelican for investigation upon my return, and they decided to replace it free of charge, as part of their lifetime warranty!

I won't know what really happened, nor if there was a manufacturing defect on my case, but I am grateful for the quick turnaround and warranty from Pelican, I got a new case with a more vibrant colour now :)

Nicolas

I'd suspect the baggage handling equipment more than anything else.  Looks like it has torn off the steel protector as well.  What type of lock did you use?  I always try to make sure lot to have anything sticking out the sides of my baggage.  I've always thought that type of closure was pretty poor design, there's not much plastic there.  I assume you've seen the various baggage handling videos online?

You could try fitting these instead:  https://www.amazon.com/Pelican-Case-Locking-latches-Keys/dp/B07XTRF74Y

just need to check your case is compatible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, ChrisRoss said:

I'd suspect the baggage handling equipment more than anything else.  Looks like it has torn off the steel protector as well.  What type of lock did you use?  I always try to make sure lot to have anything sticking out the sides of my baggage.  I've always thought that type of closure was pretty poor design, there's not much plastic there.  I assume you've seen the various baggage handling videos online?

You could try fitting these instead:  https://www.amazon.com/Pelican-Case-Locking-latches-Keys/dp/B07XTRF74Y

just need to check your case is compatible.

Thanks Chris, I used big padlocks: https://www.bunnings.com.au/syneco-40mm-solid-brass-padlock_p4061711

Getting torn-off is a possible explanations, I did see how baggage get handled but I would also think that these holes are there for the precise purpose of holding padlocks, and the Pelican guys must be aware that some customers will take their cases for air travel...

These TSA latches look quite sleek, but I always wonder how much protection they offer vs burgalry? Surely it can't be too hard for a malicious baggage handler to find a TSA key, they would be all the same.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Nicool said:

Thanks Chris, I used big padlocks: https://www.bunnings.com.au/syneco-40mm-solid-brass-padlock_p4061711

Getting torn-off is a possible explanations, I did see how baggage get handled but I would also think that these holes are there for the precise purpose of holding padlocks, and the Pelican guys must be aware that some customers will take their cases for air travel...

These TSA latches look quite sleek, but I always wonder how much protection they offer vs burgalry? Surely it can't be too hard for a malicious baggage handler to find a TSA key, they would be all the same.

Maybe - but their solution is the little metal plate - which is obviously inadequate as the plate was dragged off as well.  If you look at it, it is a flat metal plate held on with little barbs, this does not actually reinforce the hole- it should be extruded so that the metal also lines the holes to actually make the hole significantly stronger.  The only extra strength provided is the barbs.  What it will do is prevent the padlock rubbing and eventually wearing through. 

If they were to do it properly you would use a metal cylinder, same diameter as the hole with a rim at the top to stop it falling through, then drill a hole in that to mount a padlock  on the underside- that is a proper design as it would need to tear out the entire tab to break.

Realistically a padlock is not really going to stop someone determined to get in only slow them down.  I always lock my regular luggage but realistically only regard it as a device to stop the zippers opening up if the tag gets caught up, and prevent casual theft.  Even your padlocks are a breeze for a smallish pair of bolt cutters.  You could try using gaffer tape to hold the locks flat against the case or use a nut and bolt through the padlock hole, you could even source a torx head bolt as the tool to open it would be harder to find.    In Singapore I would think your case would be as safe as anywhere.  Or just get insurance and the TSA latches.

On TSA keys, they all have a key number on the lock - I believe there are a few different keys.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been using these lately. They seem more substantial and protrude less.  probably makes no difference from a theft standpoint, but perhaps less prone to loss/damage in handling.  Nanuk brand.

image.png.f1b571e28e2015856912ef967cce0abc.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been using smaller pad lock and I have changed from key to number locks.

 

I choose small one because they don't stick out. I was using bigger ones. And I find that they can get caught up unintentionally....

 

And the small ones.. there is hardly any space to stick anything between the grooves to give leverage or anything like that... I think.. :)

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sponsors

Advertisements



×
×
  • Create New...