Pelican Case Alternatives For Touring Musicians

Let’s face it, drum gear, accessories and music instruments are not exactly cheap.

And you’ll definitely want the best protection for your gear when you need to transport them around, especially if you are touring by plane and have little control over how the air crew handles your baggage.

Pelican cases are one of the top companies that provide hard covered cases suitable for drummers and musicians.

The only issue?

Their price tag.

So…if you want the maximum protection at your budget, here are the:

Best Pelican Case Alternatives

Pelican Case AlternativesInterior DimensionExterior DimensionWeightPre-cut foam available?WheelsPressure Release ValveWaterproof
*Our Pick*:
SKB Trap X2
Tray: 26" x 7.75" x 6.5" (66 x 19.7 x 16.5 cm)
Snare: 15" x 9.5" x 16" (38.1 x 24.1 x 40.6 cm)
30.5" x 24.75" x 14.25" (77.47 x 62.87 x 36.2 cm)40.91 lbs (18.6 kg)
*Best Pelican Case Alternative Below $300*:
Gator Cases' Protechtor Series Classic Accessories Case
36" x 16" x 12" (91.4 x 40.6 x 30.5 cm)37" x 17" x 16" (55.6 x 43.2 x 40.6 cm)26 lbs (11.8 kg)
Seahorse SE1220 Equipment Case
25.7" x 19.5" x 13.1" (65.3 x 49.5 x 33.3 cm)27.9" x 22.3" x 15.1" (70.9 x 56.6 x 38.4 cm)27.05 lbs. (12.27 kg) with foam

25.7 lbs. (11.66 kg) without foam
Seahorse SE1530 Long Case
44.5” x 14.3” x 6.22” (113 x 36.3 x 15.8cm)46.6” x 16.7” x 6.8”  (118.3 x 42.4 x 17.3cm)19.6 lbs. (8.89 kg)

17.2 lbs. (7.81 kg) without foam
Duratool Waterproof Case (MAX505S.079)
19.69″ × 13.78″ × 7.64″ (50 × 35 × 19,4 cm)21.85" × 16.85" × 8.31"(55.0 x 48.2 x 21.1 cm)8.5 lbs. (3.86 kg)
Harmony Cases Utility Hardcase
32" x 14" x 10.5" (81.3 x 36.5 x 26.7 cm)35" x 16.5" x 14.5" (88.9 x 41.9 x 36.8 cm)No official data.

My estimate is ~20lbs (9.1kg)
IBEX Case
19.1 x 14.0 x 7.3" (48.5 x 35.5 x 18.5 cm)16 5/8″ / 14.2 cm20 x 16.3 x 7.8" (50.8 x  41.4 x 19.8 cm)
Royal Case Condition 1 Case #839
21.9" x 17" x 8.4" (55.7 x 43.1 x 21.4 cm)24.5" x 19.5" x 8.4" (62.2 x 49.5 x 21.4 cm)13 lbs (5.9 kg)
*Best Pelican Case Alternative Below $100*:
Monoprice Hard Case
17.64" x 13.58" x 4.76" (44.8 x 34.5 x 12.1 cm)18.86" x 16.34" x 5.91" (47.9 x 41.5 x 15 cm)9.6 lbs (4.34 kg)

We’ve done a quick review of each of the pelican case alternatives listed in the table above.

I focused on Pelican case alternatives for drummers who need to pack their cymbals, drum accessories and maybe a snare. Hard drum or tom cases will be covered in another article!

What is a Pelican Case?

Pelican is a company that makes high quality, durable hardware case.

In recent years, they have also expanded their offerings to include waterproof iphone shells, backpacks and more.

Reliable hardware cases remain their core product.

They are trusted by users across industries like the military, emergency medical services (EMS), aerospace and more.

On top of that, they have also gained a strong following among hobbyists in the drones, music and photography niches.

What makes a Pelican Case so sought after?

Their unique selling point is that their boxes are waterproof, shockproof and have high impact resistance all while being light weight.

Users can customize their own boxes to suit their needs with Pelican’s Pick and Plug foam insert system.

Basically, you choose how you want to shape your foam protection for maximum protection of your equipment.

And oh, all their cases comes with a lifetime warranty too.

Sounds tough to beat?

Yes, it is.

Pelican Case Alternatives [Our Top 10]

As drummers, we know the fear of packing our drum kits for travel.

It’s nerve wreaking traveling with your dismantled drum kits, packed into boxes.

Will my drum kit be thrown and manhandled during the transport?

Did I tug enough cloth to protect my drum heads? 

We researched and studied over 58+ hardware cases; from Seahorse cases to OEM hardware cases to pick out the top 10 pelican case alternatives in this review.

I’ve arranged these Pelican Case Alternatives into various categories, by budget. But before that, here’s the ultimate winner:

Best Pelican Case Alternative

Durable, backed by years of experience and includes lifetime warranty as well, it’s the…

SKB Trap X2

SKB cases has a long history of building durable hardcases, specifically for musicians. Their experience in product design catered to drummers and musicians gives us the confidence in their products.

The SKB Trap X2 (SKB TPX2) case has the following specifications:

  • Exterior Dimensions: 30.5″ x 24.75″ x 14.25″ (77.47 x 62.87 x 36.2 cm)
  • Empty Weight: 40.91 lbs (18.6 kg)
  • Has a cymbal vault that stores and protects up to 6 cymbals.
  • Comes with removable tray
  • Padded Interior
  • Comes with wheels for easy portability (wheels are lockable and can be easily removeable too)
  • Watertight; uses a heavy duty strap that provides reliable closure
  • Rustproof
  • Crash Resistant

According to SKB cases, the SKB Trap X2 is “roto molded with the patented X pattern for strength and durability of Linear Low Density Polyethylene”.

Here’s a review from a fellow drummer:

As a drummer, I would personally prefer this over Pelican, simply because of its design. You can fit a snare drum, 6 cymbals and several stands and accessories into this single case with some simple organization:

SKB’s hardcases are also known for their durability – many drummers I know have been using theirs for decades with no issue. Plus, they have a lifetime warranty on their products for some added peace of mind.

Here’s a walkthrough to how the case looks like:

You may also want to consider SKB’s hardcases for drums. SKB also makes guitar hardcases, if your bandmate is looking for one.

The SKB Trap X2 is about $350 at the point of writing, but if that’s beyond your budget, here are more alternatives:

Best Pelican Case Alternative Below $300

What if you could save $100++ and still get trustworthy and reliable waterproof hard cases that will protect your gear?

This section explores pelican case alternatives that give you maximal protection for your budget:

Gator Cases’ Protechtor Series Classic Accessories Case *Our Pick*

Gator Cases have been in the business of making instrument cases since 2000.

Their products are proudly made in America and also come with lifetime guarantee, hence they are the hottest favorite pelican case alternative among musicians and hobbyists.

The Protechtor Series Classic Accessories Case (Model:GP-PC304WU ) has the following specifications:

  • Interior Dimensions: 36″ x 16″ x 12″ (91.4 x 40.6 x 30.5 cm)
  • Exterior Dimensions: 37″ x 17″ x 16″ (55.6 x 43.2 x 40.6 cm)
  • Empty Weight: 26 lbs (11.8 kg)
  • Comes with 2 wheels for extra mobility
  • Comes with lifetime warranty against cracking

This accessories case is great for touring musicians.

First up, it is durable and feels very sturdy – it can definitely survive rough handling.

Another plus point, is its size – it’s huge. The Protechtor Series Classic accessories case has a simple open design which allows you to organize your packing list accordingly. One common complain is that users tend to end up putting too much gear in, making it a little too heavy to roll around. (its wheels doesn’t look as sturdy as the case itself).

This accessory hardcase features the classic strap lock method – however it only comes with 1 strap. I would suggest that you purchase a couple more just in case the original strap doesn’t last.

Another thing to note is that this case doesn’t come with foam nor dividers. You may want to get some form inserts, use makeshift cushions, or wrap your gear with foam packaging to keep them from bumping around during the trip.

That said, I do think that Gator Cases’ accessories case is the most versatile Pelican case alternative for musicians on this list.

Seahorse SE1220 Equipment Case

Seahorse SE1220 Protective Equipment Case

Seahorse is another strong competitor of Pelican and their hard cover cases are equally sought after.

Their products are proudly made in America and also come with lifetime guarantee as well.

The Seahorse SE1220 case has the following specifications:

  • Interior Dimensions: 25.7″ x 19.5″ x 13.1″ (65.3 x 49.5 x 33.3 cm)
  • Exterior Dimensions: 27.9″ x 22.3″ x 15.1″ (70.9 x 56.6 x 38.4 cm)
  • Weight with Foam : 27.05 lbs. (12.27 kg)
  • Empty Weight: 25.7 lbs. (11.66 kg)
  • Comes with wheels for easy portability
  • Waterproof
  • Airtight
  • Rustproof
  • Crash Resistant
  • Comes fitted with pre-cut, customizable foam

Take note that this case does not come with a pressure release valve which means the pressure might build up inside the sealed case during air travel.

A user mentioned that all you’d need to do is to undo the latches, give it a minute and you’d be able to open the case with ease.

For it’s price and size, I think that the Seahorse SE1220 is a steal.

You could fit a couple of cymbals in there, or pack your drum module, drum pad or synthesizer in along with trigger pad or microphone.

Seahorse offers 2 versions of the SE1220; with or without customizable foam. If you’re looking to protect gear or equipment that is sensitive to shock or extreme vibration, get the version with the foam. You can cut it to fit your gear. Alternatively, you can save some moolah by using some egg crate foam to hold your equipment instead.

If you are looking to transport cymbal stands, snare stands or the like, the following is more appropriate for you:

Seahorse SE1530 Long Equipment Case

Seahorse SE1530 Black Gun cas

The Seahorse SE1530 case has the following specifications:

  • Interior: 44.5” x 14.3” x 6.22” (113 x 36.3 x 15.8cm)
  • Exterior: 46.6” x 16.7” x 6.8”  (118.3 x 42.4 x 17.3cm)
  • Weight with Foam : 19.6 lbs. (8.89 kg)
  • Empty Weight: 17.2 lbs. (7.81 kg)
  • Waterproof
  • 2 x In-Built Metal Locks
  • Pressure Release Valve
  • Comes fitted with pre-cut, customizable foam
  • Comes with wheels for portability

This variation of the Seahorse SE1530 was created for storing arms, hence it comes with built-in metal locks. 

I find the locks very handy as a deterrence against curious inspectors or baggage handlers. Drum modules, instruments or stands usually don’t warrant a need for our cases to be opened.

Also, it comes with a pressure release valve as well.

This means that if you decide to pack your drum modules in as well you can be sure that they will not be subdued to increased pressure within the case.

With it’s durability and size, the Seahorse SE1530’s weight remains manageable as well.

Plus it is almost 70% cheaper than a Pelican long case.

Remember, Seahorse cases also come with a lifetime guarantee so you are protected if your case is damage due to overuse or mistreatment during transport.

You can read what other users of the Seahorse SE1530 say here and here.

Thanks for their durability and value for price, Seahorse has been gainig popularity in the music scene as a strong Pelican case alternative in recent years. They offer a good range of case sizes to suit different needs. If you’re looking for a smaller, niftier Seahorse hardcase, check here.

Duratool Waterproof Case (MAX505S.079)

Duratool Water Resistant Case with Wheels and Foam Insert

Duratool manufactures functional, no frills hard cases at a budget. The MAX505S comes with a waterproof seal with a pressure release valve that’s useful for air travel. The case comes with foam that you can cut to fit your gear.

However, despite creating reliable products that are being recognized the world, the company remains rather elusive on the internet. You can only find them through their distributor.

To me, this is a major point of concern because it means I might have trouble looking for help in the event that my Duratool case is damaged. Make sure to find a reliable and responsive distributor of Duratool if you are purchasing the Duratool Case.

They do not provide lifetime guarantee either.

Here’s the specifications of the Duratool Waterproof Case (MAX505S.079), see datasheet here:

  • Interior: 19.69″ × 13.78″ × 7.64″ (50 × 35 × 19,4 cm)
  • Exterior: 21.85″ × 16.85″ × 8.31″(55.0 x 48.2 x 21.1 cm)
  • Water proof seal to keep your instruments dry
  • Automatic pressure release valve so that your instruments can fly safely with you
  • Comes fitted with foam, you might need to use a knife to cut though the foam
  • Weight: 8.5 lbs. (3.86 kg) – super lightweight

There have been feedback that Duratool may not be consistent in their quality, hence there are users with cases that did not perform up to par.

If you are certain that your gear will not be exposed to extreme conditions, this Duratool case is a cost effective option for you.

Best Pelican Case Alternative Below $200

You just want a hard case with customizable foam inserts to carry your gear around without paying for all the extra features that you don’t need?

The following are suitable for you.

Warning: You get what you pay.

Although the following do come with features like pressure release valves, customizable foam insert and more, we did notice that the quality may not be consistent.

If you are planning to use the hard case just to transport your equipment within town, they will do just fine. But if you are planning to travel by plane, you might want to take extra precautions. You’ll also notice these hardcases tend to be smaller.

Harmony Cases Utility Hardcase

Harmony audio is a reliable company that pro musicians and DJ often turn to. They have been serving this industry since (at least) 2014.

The Harmony Cases Utility Hardcase is a no frills flight case that is commonly used by pro audio crews. It’s a tough, sturdy box lined with padding on its interior:

If you want a versatile, low cost pelican case alternative, this utility hardcase might just be for you. You can customize the interior with some pick-and-pluck foam inserts if necessary.

The Harmony Cases Utility Hardcase (Model: HCUT3213W) has the following specifications:

  • Interior: 32″ x 14″ x 10.5″ (81.3 x 36.5 x 26.7 cm)
  • Exterior: 35″ x 16.5″ x 14.5″ (88.9 x 41.9 x 36.8 cm)
  • Weight: No official data. My estimate is ~20lbs (9.1kg)
  • Watertight
  • Comes with wheels for greater mobility.
  • Locks using recessed latches – quite secure.
  • Fitted with spring loaded handles that are easier to manage (compared to free hanging metal rod handles)

Just slightly smaller and lighter than Gator Cases’ Hardcase, you’ll save about $200 – $400 with this Utility Hardcase (depending if you’re comparing against Gator or Pelican).

This utility hardcase is built with plywood, it should be able to handle most rough handling. However, the box may crack if it is mishandled. This hardcase doesn’t come with lifetime warranty.

This hardcase would be best used for stands and non-essential gear. You may not be able to fit your cymbals into this hardcase either.

IBEX Case

ibex rugged protective cases

IBEX cases produce cases in various dimensions to cater to a larger group of audience which means that you’d probably be able to find a case for your needs.

I think this case is one that musicians and drummers will find practical:

  • Interior: 19.1 x 14.0 x 7.3″ (48.5 x 35.5 x 18.5 cm)
  • Exterior: 20 x 16.3 x 7.8″ (50.8 x  41.4 x 19.8 cm)
  • Weight: 10.05 lbs (4.56 kg)
  • Watertight
  • Dustproof
  • Temperature resistant from -20°C to 80°C (-4°F to 176°F)
  • Comes with pressure release valve
  • Comes fitted with pre-cut, customizable foam

This IBEX protective case is another great option for musicians and drummers who want to protect their drum modules, synthesizers and even cymbals.

The case is sturdy and can hold its own even when it is stacked beneath larger bags.

Plus, it also meets the carry on requirement for airlines so that you can bring your equipment with you while you travel.

One downside to note however, is that this case does not come with wheels or pulley hence if you are planning to pack heavy equipment you might want to think again.

Check out the details on the IBEX hard case on Amazon here

Best Pelican Case Alternative Below $100

For the extremely budget constrained musician, here are some reliable Pelican Case alternatives that provide safe level of protection for a fraction of the cost.

Royal Case Condition 1 Case #839

Condition 1 Case #839

If you are limited by the size of your budget but still want something that provides reliable protection for your gear, this is it.

Here’s a look at the specifications of the Condition 1 Case #829:

  • Interior:  21.9″ x 17″ x 8.4″ (55.7 x 43.1 x 21.4 cm)
  • External: 24.5″ x 19.5″ x 8.4″ (62.2 x 49.5 x 21.4 cm)
  • Weight: 13 lbs (5.9 kg)
  • Watertight, Airtight
  • Comes with pressure release valve
  • Comes fitted with pre-cut, customizable foam
  • Comes in various color options too

It remains lightweight while providing the protection your gear would need during transport.

The size is slightly larger than the standard carry on requirements though and it doesn’t come with wheels so you’ll need to manage the amount of gear you pack into the case.

Some users have mentioned that the pre-cut foam provided is not stiff enough, you might need to consider replacing those.

With that said, given it’s price point you’re getting a great deal for a functional hard case that will protect your gear during transportation.

Learn more about the Condition 1 case on Amazon now.

Monoprice Hard Case *Our Pick*

Monoprice Hard Case Weatherproof

The Monoprice hard cases do not come with a lifetime guarantee but they do provide reliable protection.

I don’t know how they managed to pack so much features for such a low price point, I mean just take a look at the specifications of the Monoprice hard case:

  • Internal: 17.64″ x 13.58″ x 4.76″ (44.8 x 34.5 x 12.1 cm)
  • External: 18.86″ x 16.34″ x 5.91″ (47.9 x 41.5 x 15 cm)
  • Weight: 9.6 lbs (4.34 kg)
  • Comes with pressure release valve
  • Waterproof up to 1 meter depth for 30 minutes
  • Seal design provides IP67 level protection
  • Comes fitted with pre-cut, customizable foam

You’d also notice that it is lightweight despite the protection it offers.

Although it’s made in China, you are getting pretty good quality, practical size and basically a bang for your buck.

It’s not just me raving about it, many photographers, audiophiles and musicians have also recommended the Monoprice hard case as a great low budget option for their gear.

You can read what other users of the Monoprice hard case say about their hard cases.

Why drummers might need a Pelican Case?

For the touring drummer or the musician who travels to record music, the Pelican Case is a hardy case that will protect your sensitive and fragile equipment like your microphones, drum modules, mixers, recording devices, stands, cymbals, synthesizers, etc.

Pelican makes hard cases in various sizes that allows for you to plan what and how to pack.

What to look for in a Pelican Case Alternative?

These are the criteria we used to determine the best Pelican Case alternatives.

  • Customizable foam insert

This is a key feature that allows users to customize the spaces in their pelican case or hardware case to hug their equipment snugly for maximum protection.

You wouldn’t want your equipment to be moving around freely in the hardware case as it gets thrown around because that would defeat the purpose of getting the hardcase protective box in the first place.

  • Size

Having a hard case that is too small or too big will not be practical, hence size is an important factor to consider.

Most companies manufacture hard cases in a range of dimensions, we used the 2 most practical and useful Pelican cases (listed in the next section) for musicians and drummers as comparison.

  • Lightweight

You’ll want a lightweight case so that it is easier to transport even after you have packed your equipment in.

  • Waterproof

This is optional unless you are worried your case will come in contact with a huge amount of water.

  • Durability

The purpose of a pelican case or a hardware case is to protect your gear, hence durability is a key factor that the box must have.

  • Shockproof

Let’s face the truth.

Check in baggage or luggage will be thrown around and mishandled, no matter what the airline industry say.

If you have bulky gear that you have no choice but to check-in, you’ll want the baggage to be shockproof.

Because if the hardware case breaks from the shock, then it defeats the purpose of purchasing the hardware case too.

Durability and Shockproof ability are difficult to gauge from the product specifications, we refer to user reviews to crowd-source for the reliability of the Pelican Case alternatives.

2 Pelican Case Models that Musicians Often Use

Pelican manufactures a wide range of hard cases, I based my comparison on the following models because I felt that they are the most appropriate and practical models for musicians and drummers alike.

The Original Pelican Drum Hardware Case (1740)

Pelican 1740 Long Case

Here are the specifications of the 1740 Pelican Case:

  • Interior: 40.98″ x 12.92″ x 12.13″ (104.1 x 32.8 x 30.8 cm)
  • Exterior: 44.16″ x 16.09″ x 14.00″ (112.2 x 40.9 x 35.6 cm)
  • Weight with foam: 27 lbs (12.2 kg)
  • Empty Weight: 22 lbs (10 kg)
  • Waterproof
  • 6 piece foam set

Holds up to 6 cymbal stands, a snare stand and a hi-hat stand, the Pelican 1740 Protector Long Case was originally marketed to drummers who tour or have to travel with their equipment.

The original case is lightweight at just 22 lbs and is completely waterproof. Pelican tests their products to ensure that all their cases meet the claims they make.

The best part about owning a pelican case is that you get to own a hardware case for life. Pelican is so confident about the quality of their products that they offer lifetime guarantee on their hardware cases.

However, unless you are touring overseas, you might not need a hand carry protector case with wheels to transport your gear. Instead, you might be using a full sized flight case.

Here’s a size reference of the Pelican 1740, you can tell how deep the case is in the video:

Hence the 1174 Pelican Long Protector Case might not be the best option for you.

Instead, you might want to look at smaller Pelican cases like:

Pelican Protector Transport Case (1690)

Pelican 1690

If you are transporting your cymbals, this might be the hard covered case that you should consider purchasing.

The 1690 Pelican Protector Transport Case has an area of 30.13″ by 25.12″, you can probably fit your cymbals and hi-hat in. The 1690 has a depth of 15.36″, you might need to check if there will be enough space.

It comes with 3 levels of Pelican’s signature Pick N Pluck foam which gives you the freedom to pack your cymbals and hi-hats accordingly.

With such quality, comes a larger price tag which new touring drummers don’t usually want to stomach.

What is IP67?

The IP code is the ‘international protection marking‘ aka ‘Ingress Protection Marking’ code, as regulated by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

It is an international standard that tells us how well a product can protect against intruding bodies.

A product with IP67 rating is:

  • Dust tight: Provides complete protection against dust, in a vacuum. This is tested for at least 8 hours.
  • Can be immersed in water, up to 1m depth for at least 30 minutes. There should be no entry of water in harmful quantity.

However, not being ‘rated’ IP67 does not mean that the product does not meet the requirements. It just means that the company has not tested the product according to the standards set up the IEC.

Conclusion

I hope our review and break down of the Pelican case alternatives above have given you better options to consider according to your needs and budget.

Feel free to leave a comment below if there’s anything we’d miss or if you don’t agree with our review 🙂

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