Gear Review: Pelican Micro Case for Cameras and the Rugged Outdoors
How do you protect your camera when you go outdoors? During years, I used a soft case for my compact camera, a Canon PowerShot S95. It was versatile, didn’t take much room in my pocket and it was light. That was great until it wasn’t anymore. On the first day of our winter trip to Scotland last year, my cabin luggage was force-checked when we boarded the plane. In the rush, I forgot my camera was inside the luggage and when I pulled it out in Inverness, the camera shutter was stuck. Jammed. First day of my 10-day vacation, camera broken. How’s that for a compulsive photo-savvy travel blogger? Bad. I spent the whole vacation feeling like something was missing in my hands and the repair cost me a quarter of the camera’s price.
A month later, I found out about Pelican micro cases. We were about to go caving in a mine with my girls when the organizer of the adventure showed me her micro case. It was perfect for the job and I looked at it with envy. It was simply a hard black case where she stashed her camera. I knew the mine was going to be wet, that we were going to crawl in places and that we would have to squeeze between rocks. In a nutshell, the potential for camera damage was high. Suddenly, the camera in my pocket felt very vulnerable in its soft cover.
After that trip, I decided to invest.
Photos – click on thumbnails to enlarge:
The Pelican Micro Case comes as a hard plastic shell with a clear or solid lid. I chose mine clear so I could know my camera was there. Sometimes you wonder where your stuff is. Inside the case, my camera fits snuggly on a rubber liner that feels quite cushy and works well as extra protection for shocks. On the outside, the case comes with a carabiner and I usually clip it to the loops of my hiking pants so that it’s always ready for quick shots. So far, it’s been a lot more convenient than having the camera in my pockets, even though the whole thing is quite bulky.
Now the case’s characteristics are just what I need for rugged sports:
- Dustproof – check that, I’ve taken it on summer mountain trips in dirt terrain and at the beach on the sand. My camera’s spotless.
- Water resistant – that’s a feature I use a lot as we tend to brave the great outdoors in all types of (bad) weather. I’ve even used the clear lid as a shelter under which to switch on my camera so I could snap a quick shot in torrential rain and avoid the lens getting wet. It worked!
- Crushproof – again, check and double check. I went on a rocky climb this summer and literally crawled between boulders in hairy spots. Honestly felt more concerned about my own safety than the camera’s. Fortunately I didn’t have to worry for my camera when I squeezed hard between rocks. Only the lid is scratched all over but my camera remained intact inside.
The only thing that the case isn’t – and it would be an awesome extra – is waterproof. Though I suspected it couldn’t be immersed, I decided to try total submersion regardless and went for a swim this summer with car keys in the case. In doubt, I picked an all-metal car key without electronics. I clipped the case to my bathing suit and off I went. Back on the beach, I opened the case and indeed it felt damp inside. Not wet like there were water drops everywhere, but damp regardless. Note to self: do not immerse your camera in water. This ain’t the case for snorkeling or canyoning.
One last thing. Micro cases come in different sizes, it’s to be expected. To find out which was the right fit for my camera, I simply googled “Pelican micro case Powershot S95” and bingo, I found the answer on a forum. It was quite easy and it fits perfectly.
Priced at less than $20, the micro case is a real essential piece of gear to protect compact cameras if you love going outdoors. No more fear of the rain, sleet, or snow. Even if you drop it (not from very high, OK?) or if you fall on the case, chances are the camera will mostly be fine inside.