Hands-On Review: The Pelican 1525 Air™ Case

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There’s always room for improvement, even for the most tried-and-true designs. Such logic guides the thinking behind the Pelican Air™ lineup, a lightweight reboot of some of the industry’s most trusted hard cases. I tested the Pelican Air 1525TP™, a mid-size case fitted with Pelican’s TrekPak™ divider system.

The Pelican Air 1525TP™ is about half the weight of similar-sized cases.

True to the intention of its design, the first thing I noticed when picking up the Pelican Air™ was how light it feels compared to similar-sized cases. It accomplishes this thanks to Pelican’s HPX2 resin, molded into honeycomb structural units that allow for a 40% reduction in weight without compromising strength or durability. The effect is genuinely jarring for anyone who has grown accustomed to the usual heft of similar-sized hard cases. Shed weight aside, Pelican promises that the Pelican Air™ cases can endure the same abuses stomached by heavier models. I found no reason to believe otherwise throughout my review period.

Press-and-pull latches, an automatic purge valve, and movable card holder are among the features of the Air cases.
Press-and-pull latches, an automatic purge valve, and movable card holder are among the features of the Pelican Air™ cases.

Pelican Air™ cases are opened via press-and-pull latches, adding a layer of security that ensures your case won’t accidentally open on its own during transport. Once inside, Pelican offers three options for organizing and protecting gear: Pick-N-Pluck™ foam, Padded Dividers, or a TrekPak™ divider kit. The case is also available empty if you prefer complete control of its layout.

No Foam
Pick-N-Pluck™
Padded Dividers
TrekPak™

My model was shipped with a TrekPak™ kit, which sections the interior into custom grids. Comprising closed-cell foam laminated to corrugated plastic, TrekPak™ dividers take up less space while allowing the possibility of a much more tailored layout than possible with generic foam dividers. Each panel is cut to size with a custom blade (included) that fits perfectly between the grooves of the panels, ensuring a straight cut every time. The panels are then arranged and held in place using steel U-pins. Small red pull tabs are also included to make it easy to pull a pin out if you need to rearrange your dividers.

The TrekPak kit transforms cases into precise grids tailored to gear.
The TrekPak™ kit transforms cases into precise grids tailored to gear.

The TrekPak™ system is an appealing compromise between the bulk of conventional foam dividers and the precision of Pick-N-Pluck™ foam. I was able to create a grid that allowed precise placement of each of my pieces of gear. The rigidity of the panels combined with the relative ease of cutting them to exact specifications makes for an effective, space-saving storage system. More panels are included than will be necessary for most purposes, allowing the possibility of rearranging their layout for future uses.

What was I able to fit inside the Pelican Air 1525TP™? After laying out my TrekPak™ grid, it comfortably housed two cameras with mid-size lenses attached, two battery grips, chargers, a 70-200 f/2.8 lens, light meter, radio transmitter, five filters, and a shutter release cable. The accessories could easily be swapped for another large lens or several small lenses. Pelican Air™ cases are available in a variety of sizes and shapes, depending on what you are storing and how you are transporting it. Ideal for travel, several models include wheels and extendable handles. The Pelican Air 1535™ is designed specifically as a carry-on item for travel. A polycarbonate card holder can be secured to the side or front of the case, depending on what makes sense for your use.

A blade designed specifically for TrekPak foam makes quick work of architecting case interiors.
A blade designed specifically for TrekPak™ foam makes quick work of architecting case interiors.

All Pelican Air™ cases have stainless steel reinforced padlock holes for added security when traveling or shipping. The elements are kept at bay via an O-ring that seals to IP67, and an automatic purge valve maintains internal pressure while the case is closed. Cases can be submerged in 1 meter of water for up to 20 minutes without reaching the contents.

While camera cases may not be the most glamorous items in a photographer’s repertoire, they rank among the most important. The Pelican Air 1525TP™ is an attractive option for storing and transporting a small-to-medium amount of equipment. For larger jobs, check out the rest of the Pelican Air™ lineup.

Pelican 1525TP Air Case with TrekPak Insert

Have you used any of the Pelican Air™ cases? Share your experiences in the Comments section, below!

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