Waterproof, dustproof and crushproof. The Pelican #1660 is perfect for hauling gear whether it is in the back of the truck or on an airplane. Note the heavy duty carry handles, reinforced padlock holes, wheels and drag handle.
You will remember a few months ago I wrote about a hunt we were on in Southeastern Arizona with the film crew of the new show Meateater. One of the things that impressed me was the amount of gear that those guys traveled with and how difficult it must be to manage that whole process. I am planning a few trips in the near future so I started playing with some ideas on what to take with me and how to take it on a plane then transfer it to a rental vehicle or helicopter. More on that later.
At the same time, I have been looking for some sort of an upgrade from the cheap Rubbermaid Actionpackers I have been using as truck boxes. Thanks to a number of readers and the good folks at Pelican, I have found what I was looking for.
Pelican is world renowned for making top notch instrument cases and I have always appreciated their products but they also make foot locker size gear trunks for the U.S. and Canadian military. The model #1660s pictured above measure 29×20.75×17.5 externally. Not only are they significantly bigger than my 24 gallon Actionpackers but they are infinitely more protective and will carry everything I have except for two items. Due to their length, I have to carry my scoped rifle and full size ice axe in a separate Pelican #1720 case.
The #1660 case features double throw latches, piano hinges, automatic pressure equalization valve, a lifetime guarantee and comes with lid and floor foam as well as three layers of Pick ‘N’ Pluck customizable foam. They come in three colors; Desert Tan, Black and OD Green.
Forgive me if I gush (a little uncharacteristic for me I know) but these cases are, in a word, awesome. Yes, I am going with awesome. They are big, burly and super cool. Best of all, they work as advertised. Strike that. They work better than advertised. If you value your gear these are the containers you gotta have. Period.
UPDATE – I know, because you have written and told me so, that some of you have already purchased these big boxes. I have been using them in the truck but also flown with them so I thought I would tell you how it has worked out for me. I only fly Southwest Airlines so this info applies to them, you will have to figure out how things work with other carriers and let me know.
SWA allows “oversize” baggage to be checked onto passenger flights as long as they meet the following criteria. Weight has to be less than 100 lbs and the sum of the height, width and depth must be less than 80 inches. Southwest charges $50 for for the privilege which I don’t think is unreasonable considering the alternatives.
There is a catch though, sometimes. The TSA says that if the box is flipped over on its top with the wheels forward, it can go on the conveyor belt behind the ticket agents. If it goes on that belt, it is x-rayed but not opened and examined by hand. If the counter agent you happen to draw does not know that or if she is in a particularly rotten mood (that doesn’t happen much at SWA which is one reason why I fly them exclusively) because it’s Valentines day (true story) then you get to go spend some time with the people in royal blue whom I guarantee will never get your stuff back in the box the way you had it if they get it all back in at all…and thanks to Osama Bin jackass and his groupies once they open the case you are not allowed to come near it let alone help them put your valuable equipment back in the big Pelican. Bottom line is that this can be done successfully and the 1660 cases work very well but it can be a challenging process so, be nice, pick your ticket agent wisely and do your best to cope with the buffoonery.
Oh, one last thing. The TSA has zero, I say again ZERO sense of humor in these matters so don’t go there with your comments or you won’t be going anywhere for a while.
UPDATE 2 – Here are a couple other suggestions that might help. Print out and carry the specs on the Pelican 1660 case so there is no question of its actual dimensions. Go to the SWA website, print out and carry the checked baggage policy, it is only one page. Leave some extra room inside the case so that when the TSA puts everything back in it doesn’t have to be done perfectly to work. Again, once they open it, it is off limits to you. Lastly, consider sending it as cargo. Good luck.
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