I get to see a lot of cases in my line of work. And they almost always fall into two categories. They either work great, or the are inexpensive. If you’re looking for a knock around case for your first-aid kit, or a convenient way to keep your truck gun dry on a canoe trip, the inexpensive cases will work fine. If you care about what you are putting in the case, you need to invest a bit. Call it insurance.
Explorer Cases, an Italian company that is giving the iconic makers like Pelican a run for their money, makes great cases. The unimaginatively named 4412 is a good example. The size makes the case ideal for transporting optics, for storing GoPro sized cameras and accessories, or even traveling with a laptop. And, it goes without saying, the 4412 is ideal carrying guns.
Case makers measure their wares in complex fractions. If that’s what you need, you can pick up the dimensions (in inches or millimeters) here. It can be really helpful when you are sizing for a very specific item.
For the rest of us, the 4412 is just under 19 inches wide, 17 inches tall, and 6 inches deep. On the outside. The useable space inside is more restricted, of course: 17 inches wide, 13 inches tall, and a touch over 4 inches of depth with the space in the bottom and the lid combined.
That depth would keep you from stacking in guns vertically, but they can be placed flat with no difficulty. The case, with foam, weighs in over eight pounds. You can pack it to twenty three pounds before it will sink, and it is rated to withstand temperatures from -27 all the way to 194.
The case is available in black, green, and orange, and comes with foam, or not. It is even available with a PC insert that looks more like a briefcase than a gun case.
The 4412 we picked up for testing came back in early June, and it has lived outside ever since. It is one thing to take a case out of the box and see if the seals will keep out water. It is another for a case to survive a southern summer, in full exposure. Add to that a couple of rambunctious (and summertime bored) six-year-olds. They can break anything.
But not the Explorer. After two months outside, the box looks as good as it did the day I pulled it from its packaging. These photos were taken last week. More importantly, the seals still hold.The clasps work flawlessly. There’s been no warping or distortion to the lid. Despite the exposure to sunlight, the plastic is not brittle.
I despise pick and pluck foam, but it is damn useful. I’m just a bit too compulsive about the visual appearances of cases. I want the outside to be beat up, covered in stickers, dents and scratches. But I want the inside to be pristine and neatly organized.
To that end, I’d suggest looking at MyCaseBuilder.com. I worked with them for a Pelican rifle case review, and I went back to them when it was time for a new camera case. Their software is super easy to use and the results are really incredible.
Otherwise, you can pick and pluck. Just be sure you are going too deep. The interior measurements and shock proof nature of a case like the 4412 only work when there is some squishy crush space between the plastic case and the protected object. Otherwise it is just a waterproof box.
The 4412 with pick-n-pluck foam comes in close to the price of some of the serious competitors, like Pelican. The Explorer sells for $150 or so, depending on color options and foam preferences. The prices are close enough that it may not seem like news really. But it may indicate a trend. Competition will drive prices down. And when the product is this solid, that’s good news for us.