Photographer next to Pelican Air 1535 hard case.

Outdoor Photographer’s Review of Pelican Air 1535 Hard Case

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I’ve taken my Pelican Air 1535 hard case everywhere with me these past few months. From swimming with orcas in the high arctic in Norway, to ice climbing shoots on frozen lakes in Ontario, to the white sand beaches of southern Australia. How ever, No job has ever been so demanding and so hard on my equipment as was this ultra stage race in New Zealand. I finally feel as though I’ve abused my Pelican Air 1535 hard case enough to give an honest review of it.

New Zealand Ultra Adventure.

The Alps 2 Ocean Ultra Stage Race begins at the foot of New Zealand’s tallest mountain, Mount Cook. The race then descends and ascends mountain ridges, winds and turns around foothills, skirting alpine lakes and traversing gravel beachheads until finally reaching the coast of the Pacific ocean. Hence its’ name, “Alps 2 Ocean Ultra”. The race is a 7 stage (7 day) event, covering a mere 323 kilometers.

You can imagine how difficult it might be to film a particular athlete at an event like this. Access is nearly impossible, set up is almost always completely remote, weather is constantly a liability. Working out of a vehicle doubling as a mobile production studio would also mean a ton of wear and tear on my equipment.

Simply getting to the base of Mount Cook with all of my film equipment is a true expedition in itself. Flying across the country to the west coast, then west coast to Auckland in the north island, another flight to Christchurch in the south, then finally a bus to Oamaru. After Oamaru, you guessed it, another bus. All in, we’re talking about 3 days of non-stop travel.

Pelican Air 1535 Hard Case.

The Pelican Air 1535 is light and also has a really low profile. That means I can be one person, traveling with everything I need to shoot a remote, small production film on location, anywhere in the world with just one hard case, and one camera bag. Both fly with me as a carry-on item, and a personal item, for every single flight. Bonus if there’s budget for an additional shooter. I’ll bring an additional 1535 case full of more film essentials (mostly lighting and audio and some novelty lenses).

I couldn’t travel with all of this equipment if the 1535 didn’t have wheels. I can’t stress enough how critical is is that this is a rolling hard case. When you haven’t slept for three days, the last thing you want to do is muscle around heavy film gear.

The ability to easily lock the case shut, and run a cable lock through the handle also makes for peace of mind. I don’t often get stuck sleeping in airports, but if happens, it’s nice to know my livelihood isn’t at risk of being stolen right out from under me.

Pelican Air 1535 Trekpak Inserts.

The nature of being an outdoor photographer is that no two jobs are exactly the same. In fact, I don’t feel as though I have ever had a shoot repeat itself. And that means that my set up is constantly changing. My essentials one day may not be my essentials the next. Having the Trekpak inserts grant me the flexibility to modify my load out, as many time as I need.

Example, some jobs may call for a small drone and two lightweight mirrorless cameras and compact lenses. The next might call for a bigger drone, full size cameras and faster lenses. The Trekpak inserts allow me to use two Pelican Air 1535 hard cases in an infinite amount of ways.


I’ve used the Pelican Air 1535 Hard Case and Trekpak inserts for tons of the toughest film and photography gigs on the planet. I can confidently say that this set-up is without a doubt a staple for me, and should be a staple for any other professional that requires protecting their equipment from some of the toughest jobs around.

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