Review: Pelican 1650 Case, My Strobe Travel Case

my well-worn 1650 



my well-worn 1650


You worried about how to appropriately fly/travel with your strobes without them getting smashed? Try a Pelican hard case!

As some of you may know, I live my life on the road (mainly in and out of airports and aircraft). My gear takes a beating and flies hundreds of thousands of miles.  I travel with a variety of cases and bags for my cameras, laptop, stands, and softboxes, but I chose the Pelican 1650 to carry my 4 primary White Lightning strobes (I will discuss what gear I travel with on another blog).


My lighting case has probably travelled about 200,000 miles and has the scars to prove it...
My lighting case has probably travelled about 200,000 miles and has the scars to prove it...

My 1650 is the case that probably sees the most action (aka. abuse) because it is the heaviest, and it gets checked-in at the airport the most often.  It has seen a wide-variety of climates (deserts to snow storms) and my gear has always survived (not including the clumsy fingers of airport baggage inspectors dropping lights when they inspect them outside of the case).

My 1650 with the padded-insert and lid organizer options

Most Pelican cases come with a foam core insert. You break/cut away the foam to the shape of the gear you intend to store in the case. I personally find that annoying, especially since you will always upgrade your great over time. For a little more money, I opted for the padded divider insert option as seen in the photo above.  You can order that option for just about any larger pelican case. It makes it easy to reconfigure your case layout, especially if you are carrying a lot of gear. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.  Also, make sure to pick up a lid organizer. You never can have too many pockets to keep extra cables, batteries, gels, etc.

Pelican’s Guarantee:

“You break it, we replace it… forever.

Pelican guarantees its products for a lifetime against breakage or defects in workmanship. Pelican cases are guaranteed to be watertight to a depth of 3 feet for 30 minutes (IP 67) unless otherwise stated if properly closed with undamaged o-ring in place. Pelican’s liability is limited to the case and not its contents. This guarantee does not cover the lamp or batteries (rechargeable or alkaline) for lights. Any liability, either expressed or implied, is limited to replacement of the product. This guarantee is void if the Pelican™ product has been abused beyond normal and sensible wear and tear. This guarantee does not cover shark bite, bear attack or damage caused by children under five.”

With a guarantee like that,  you know their cases are tough!  Even though I recommend you purchase a Pelican case from a reputable dealer, you may find some great deals on Ebay.  Pelican offers a wide-variety of cases for your needs, but I suggest not going any larger than the 1650 if you plan on flying with your gear. My case (filled) weighs in about 70 lbs, which is the limit for domestic airlines before they start charging you crazy fees. Besides! Do you know how annoying it is to lift a 70 + lbs case in and out of your car?

Pelican also offers a custom 3-line name plate that you can order for your case. It is attached rock-solid with adhesive.

Below are some links to pick up a 1650 for yourself, but I would suggest going into a camera store and seeing what size works for you best. Remember not to go overboard with a case too big for you! :

9 thoughts on “Review: Pelican 1650 Case, My Strobe Travel Case”

  1. thank you, thank you, thank you! its impossible to checkout flight cases…. thankfully we happen to use the same lights and your images helped immensely!

  2. Ditto Ray! I also have 4 White Lighnings, Mini-Vagabonds, and other PCBuff tools. I’ve been looking for an appropriate Pelican box but couldn’t decide between the padded dividers and the foam for travel. Thanks a million, Douglas, for the blog! Do you have a recommendation for a light stand Pelican box?

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