Air travel is a pain in the ass for everyone. And it doesn’t get any worse, or more embarrassing, than having to rummage through piles of crammed clothes in an open carry-on suitcase trying to find that iPhone charger you know you packed. Or your kid’s favorite travel toy that you faintly remember shoving in there somewhere. It’s one of the many reasons we love Pelican’s new hard shell suitcases, which are equally at home in the Four Seasons or while camping on the Appalachian Trail.
This is the ultimate tough carry-on for the organized traveler.
The lids have zippered compartments for stowing larger items and see-through mesh pockets secure passports and cables where you can actually, you know, see them. The cases have packing cubes that keep gear tightly bundled and allow you to arrange your gear by stacking or grouping stuff side by side, whatever works best for you.
Now, this thing isn’t exactly for the faint of heart. Just look at that thing. It’s made from a lightweight but durable hard-shell that looks all but bulletproof. Might as well be, in fact. No dents, cracks, or creaks possible. A pull-out handle lets you glide the case on soundless, stainless steel wheels through the airport if you need it, or a suitcase handle lets you carry it like a tacklebox. This is tactical-level travel we’re talking about, and it weighs 10.35 pounds empty.
While it’s technically a carry-on, it’s the maximum airline-allowed size for overhead storage, so make sure you’ve got some room above when you’re flying. That said, when it’s safe and secure in the air, you can rest easy. Nothing’s going to hurt what’s inside.
And it’s what’s inside that really gets us excited about it. The exterior may be an impenetrable shell, but on the inside, you’ve got a series of mesh-walled compartments. On the bottom of the top lid are some zippered compartments for storing large items and mesh pockets for stowing passports, books, cables, and any other small item you may need.
In the body proper of the case are zippered, mesh packing cubes that help you separate your clothes out. You can put shirts and pants in one, socks and underwear in another. Or shoes. Really, it’s up to you. But the point is that all your gear is separated, organized, and ready for you when you need it. If you’re not all about that zippered mesh life, you have the option to replace the bags with add-on dividers or foam. Just costs a little extra. In our opinion, you should be fine with the zippered mesh.
You don’t have to rummage through your luggage to get what you need, wherever you are. And for two, you won’t be holding up the security or check-in line, digging through your carry-on to find your passport or computer (you know exactly where they are), adding everyone else in line to your nightmare and creating that collective airport headache we all know and love. (Hint: we don’t love it. Get the case.)
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