The Pelican 1514 Case, Would You Throw It Off Your House? I Would!

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17/04/2009 – The Pelican 1514 Case, Would You Throw It Off Your House? I Would!

Yesterday after I posted an entry about testing the durability of the Pelican 1514 case by running over it with a Chevy 1500 series pickup, which you can read here, 16/04/2009 – The Pelican 1514 Case, Would You Drive A Truck Over It? I Would! , I received a number of comments that the test did not test the impact durability of the Pelican 1514 test.

While personally I was satisfied that my equipment could survive a massive impact inside a Pelican 1514 test, this I decided another test was required. As I am not a lab, do not have access to an Airbus A330 or Boeing 767, and was not conducting these tests with any scientific benchmark, I came up with my own ‘impact test.’

Yesterday evening after walking down to the beach with my son Max I stood outside and looked at the second floor deck on my house. While looking up at the height of the deck, and the railing I figured it was taller than then drop from the cargo door of a Boeing 737 or Airbus A320 (the two most common aircraft I fly on). Upon further research, it seems the cargo door of a Boeing 737-800 stands 8ft 10in (2.42 meters) from the ground, and the deck of my house is certainly taller than 8ft 10in, not including the added height of the 4ft railing around the deck, so I decided I had found my new test.

This morning I got up, I got my boys dressed, made my daughter a sandwich, loaded up my Pelican 1514 with two Canon 1D series bodies, two Canon L-series lenses, one Canon USM-series lens, a Canon flash, some other random accessories, changed a diaper, then threw the Pelican 1514 off the railing atop the deck on the 2nd floor of my house. I’d estimate that my deck railing is a shade over 16-feet (4.87 meters) from the ground (my tape measure is only 12ft), which puts the drop around the height of a bag falling from the back of a Boeing 767 or Airbus A330 (if anyone has the height from a 767 or 330 cargo door to the ground I’d appreciate it).

The case hit the ground, bounced, rolled, came to a stop and then I checked it out. Upon opening the case it was apparent that everything stayed in place. Sure the Canon 580ex Speedlight had moved a bit, the 70-200f2.8 had rotated a bit, but everything was completely intact. I removed every item from the case, shot frames with each camera and lens and everything is working perfectly, exactly as I had placed it in the case!

…before you ask, no I will not be lighting my case on fire, then throwing it in the ocean and firing a shot gun at it to check for its further survivability. This impact test was good enough for me to cement my belief that the Pelican 1514 can survive almost anything (although some do get cracked in shipping and by airline ramp handlers).

If you know of a stronger carry-on case let me know. I’d love to test it out!

Below is a slide show of 16 images from this impact test of the Pelican 1514 case.

Happy Flying!
–Click Image Below To Begin Slide Show–


  1. Well, I have faith in the case now but no matter how strong it is, wouldn’t the equipment inside of the case (glass inside the lens or mirrors inside the body) still take a beating with that kind of impact?

  2. Stephen,

    It all depends on how the gear is packed. With proper packing the contents are preserved and the impact is minimized.

    I have tested everything out, focus, shutters, felt for loose screws, things knocked out of place, everything is fine.

    Happy Flying!


  3. As Will mentioned. Drop it on the street and see what happens. Yes, it’s an impact test, but it’s not a real representation of where your planes are landing, unless you are heading to Tonga or somewhere that has a dirt runway. Last I checked, runways were nice HARD pavement, not slightly forgiving grass & dirt.

    Personally, I would do that, but only if I was packing my stuff with the other insert (the foam.)

  4. Jim,

    I considered dropping the Pelican 1514 into the street, but moving my house 10 feet closer to the road seemed kind of difficult.

    The other choice was to lay asphalt across the lawn, but I decided against laying asphalt in the front yard for the the impact test. Aside from cost of laying asphalt on the lawn, the time involved and getting proper zoning for the paving was just to much of a headache. So I decided to just throw it onto the ground below, which is quite solid.

    Happy Flying!


  5. Some people are never satisfied!

    If you’re not convinced, don’t buy the bag!

  6. Check and see if Fish ends up selling any of his gear in the classified section. I’m not insinuating anything, of course.

  7. Larry,

    Not likely. What is the current market value for a Canon 1D with 1.5mil cycles and a 1Ds with around 1mil cycles?

    Happy Flying!


  8. -Fish, re to Jim “moving my house”

    Funniest response I’ve seen in a long time.

  9. Next time you’re throwing something out of the house – why don’t you make it the case with the Yankees logos on it.

    – James

  10. Not sure what I’d see *if* the case failed, but opening the case and showing me the cameras intact rather than in pieces doesn’t do it for me. I’d be interested in knowing the Pelican absorbed the shock well enough that the glass was still in alignment and the photos were as good after the drop as before.

    I could likely put my camera gear in Tupperware or Rubbermaid with a couple pillows and show the same before and after pictures.

  11. Bug,

    After the drop every piece of gear was removed and fully tested. Each lens was focused, manually and with auto focus, the lenses were inspected for loose screws and giggled to listen for rattling. Each body was fired, with each lens for a few hundred frame, then fired in a burst for approximately 100 frame.

    With each body having shot a couple of hundred shots, 300-400 frames, followed by a 100+ frame burst, while focusing and shooting I was able to determine that all of my gear was in perfect working condition. If there was a focus problem I’d have spotted it when I viewed the test shots. If there was a shutter or mirror problem (the 1Ds already has a shutter problem, it will not fire above 1/1000 and needs to be replaced) I would have discovered.

    Happy Flying!


  12. Are you nuts?! Just Kidding!!! I found your post absolutely hilarious, certainly not the type of quality assurance testing I would have taken on myself but your confidence in the equipment you own is appreciated.

  13. I have the same case and have flown with all of my gear many, many times (mostly through Atlanta, yikes.) The pelican kept everything safe and secure. Security checked the case each and every time…guess all of those long hollow looking tubes (lenses) are a bit suspicious.

    Thanks for the entertaining test! This case ROCKS!

  14. I just bought a pelican 1510 and flew across country. I had no problems going through the airport or getting on the plane. Its the best suitcase I have ever had. Cheapest too, cost only $110 online.

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