Everyone loves Pelican cases because when you pick them up, you just know that they will handle whatever abuse you throw at them, for years to come. Not everyone needs that degree of near indestructability for all their gear. The rest of us want something reliable and durable, but could do with saving a few bucks. Enter the Vault line, Pelican dependability at a better price, exactly the style for which many everyday outdoorsy types have been looking.
These may not be new to most people, considering the Vault line was launched about a year ago. Now, they have the option of coming with removable padded dividers with touch fastener attachment, instead of the usual solid foam, and these are the models I reviewed. Also, if you are interested in picking one up in this configuration, they will be exclusive to B&H Photo at launch.
Exactly What You Need
I wish I could start and end this review by just saying, “It’s a Pelican.” That is exactly what the Vault series feels like, a standard Pelican case. It is built to last and will easily keep your gear safe. The heavy-duty polymer will hold up to one, two, or a thousand drops, the handles are just as tough and are comfortable to hold for lengthy periods, and they are dustproof and weather resistant to keep all that nonsense away from your equipment. Latches are very secure and have a push-button mechanism to make sure they stay that way. Also, there are stainless steel lock hasps for securing your equipment more when needed.
Popping the cases open and snapping them closed is very satisfying. You always know when it is secure by a solid click when the latches are secured. If you just want a strong case in which to store your equipment for travel, then this is all you need. I could see these being useful for long road trips where I can put my equipment in the trunk and stack everything else on top of these cases without worrying about damaging my gear. Picking up the cases is a good feeling too, because the grips are comfortable for lengthier carry. I made use of them walking through New York City and when going to shoot a mile walk from my home.
Pelican has numerous options available with the new divider system, so you can find the perfect size for your kit. For an essential photography kit with a DSLR or mirrorless camera and 2-3 lenses plus accessories, the V100 Small Case is a great choice. For a little more room, you should opt for the V200 Medium Case. I like this setup for photography because for everyday carry I’m just going to toss my camera into a backpack or shoulder bag but, if I need to carry more stuff, I might opt for a hard case. The V200 has enough room for your camera, a couple of pro zooms, including a 24-70mm f/2.8 and 70-200mm, and has room to spare for a few primes, accessories, maybe a flash or two. The adjustability of the dividers is great in this model and it comes with some elastic straps to help secure some of your items.
Moving up to the V300 Large Case, we have some serious room to pack tons of gear. Easily store a camera or two, a few lenses, core accessories, lights, microphones, and other tools in this pack, and the divider system here allows for a lot more customization. If you want to carry everything at once, this is where the V550 Standard Equipment Case may be needed. It will hold a couple of cameras with battery grips, half a dozen lenses, including a pro-caliber 70-200mm f/2.8, and some important accessories with ease. And, finally, we have the V600 Large Equipment Case. This will hold a great deal of camera equipment, but you could also consider using it for your portable lights and their accessories. There is room for some sizeable items here that you might need to protect. For exact sizes, I would highly recommended following the links to the product pages to see which will work for you. If you just want a basic kit, I would say go for the V200, because you can fit a good amount of equipment in there without getting too bulky.
Keep It Organized
Vault cases aren’t brand new, but the dividers are so I’m going to take a closer look at that. The divider system appears to be simple enough, with a soft fabric covering everything and hook-and-loop fasteners to move the dividers around the case as needed. The foam provides a nice cushion for equipment and the fabric feels like it is a soft material that will be fine around optics and displays. It’s more stiff than some other types of dividers out there so your gear will be held in place when the case is closed. The cases also come with some elastic bands.
Moving around the dividers is easy, but pulling them off still requires a bit of effort, so your equipment will be held securely in place. The top of the case has a standard foam, too, so there really is complete protection for your gear. These cases can be used for nearly anything. I currently have a light kit in a Large, a camera setup for the Small, and audio gear in the Medium. And, I feel confident I could toss these down the stairs and nothing would happen. I may have even accidentally tested that myself. Anyway…
…if you want some more modularity in your Pelican case or don’t want to have to cut out foam, the new divider system is perfect. It is thick, too, so it should offer the same degree of protection as the other cases. Are you thinking about a new hard case for your it? Does the Pelican Vault line fit your needs? Let us know in the Comments section, below!