I was already on the hunt for a laptop case that could hold its own against the rest of my gear when I was asked to review the Pelican 1495. As a photographer, my requirements were simple: I needed a case that is rugged enough to endure the abuses of the road yet customizable enough to streamline tethered shooting on set. Pelican is the name behind most of my go-to hard cases for camera gear, so I was excited to see how its take on a laptop case would stack up.
The 1495 looks and feels like a Pelican case. Its external housing is built of an Ultra High Impact polymer that is virtually impossible to damage or crush under reasonable circumstances. Stand on it, drop it, kick it—the worst you will do is add a scuff. In technical terms, it meets Def Stan 81-41/STANAG 4280 specifications. To qualify for this military rating, a case must be able to endure a gauntlet of hazards including extreme temperatures (-10 to 210 degrees Fahrenheit), high impact, and drops. If it can survive in a war zone, it can probably survive a PA tossing it into a van. If that reckless PA overshoots the van and your case splashes into a lake, the 1495 is IP67 certified so it will keep your laptop dry even while completely immersed for short periods of time. It is also chemical resistant and corrosion proof, so you really can use it nearly anywhere. Finally, like other Pelican cases, it features an automatic pressure equalization valve that adjusts to changes in the external environment.
The 1495 comes in three varieties: completely empty, with a 3-piece foam interior, or with a “deluxe” compartmental build. For my needs, the foam version delivered everything that I want from a hard laptop case. It consists of three form-fitting foam inserts: a 1-inch bottom sheet to protect against shocks, a customizable pick-and-pluck midsection, and an egg-crate style top.
I tether my camera to a 13-inch MacBook Air. The surface area of the 1495 provided plenty of room to cushion all sides of my computer while also leaving room to carve out a dedicated space for an external hard drive and storage for my power adapter. Getting creative with the removed chunks of foam, I was able to elevate my computer while simultaneously adding a bit of airspace underneath my computer to dissipate heat.
The deluxe version of the 1495 felt more geared toward Pelican’s military audience. The interior includes the kind of storage you would expect to find inside a briefcase. A wall of storage compartments (pens, business cards, notepads, etc.) is screwed into the lid of the case. In the main body is a 17-inch nylon padded laptop sleeve and a zippered pouch for peripherals on top of a rigid insert. It is the perfect briefcase if you have a business meeting in the middle of the desert or jungle. In the photo/video world, I can’t imagine much use for those of us working behind the camera, but it could be a lifesaver for producers working on location in hazardous environments or challenging weather conditions.
Four latches close the case. Personally, I’ve become spoiled by the Pelican Air™ latches, which are a breeze to open and close. However, there is no doubting your case is closed with the 1495. Its contents can be secured two ways: via a built-in combination lock and/or two stainless steel rings that can be secured with separately available padlocks. A padded shoulder strap is included to facilitate transport, although the case is too bulky to carry in such a manner for long distances. It has a rubberized handle that is much easier to grip for carry.
What’s your favorite way to get your laptop to set? Have a tethering secret? Let us know in the Comments section, below!