These are the main types of storage cases and cargo boxes I use, in order of what I use most:
- Zarges Aluminum Cases – The original aluminum case for expeditions, military, medical, photography, etc.
- Frontrunner Wolf Packs and Cub Packs
- Pelican Cases
- Plano Totes
I use a variety of containers for storing gear, both on the road and in storage, and have a veritable boatload of different sizes and types. What I pull out and use for an adventure depends on what type of wandering I’m going to do and where. Some gear lives permanently in certain containers, always ready to go.
ZARGES ALUMINUM CASES
What I use most on the road and when camping are three certified bear-resistant Zarges K470 aluminum cases, one custom Zarges K420 for kitchen/food stuffs, and three different Pelican Cases for my photog gear.
Three of the four Zarges cases I have are certified “bear-resistant” by the International Grizzly Bear Committee and are about the longest-lived gear I own. The extra pesos spent on them mean they’re something that will outlive me and that my daughter and likely her daughter will be able to use. I like knowing that, and that the slow accumulation of stickers and badges may mean something to them at some point long after I’m gone.
I chose Zarges over Alu-Box because they are the original aluminum case and, importantly, the silicon rubber gasket is in the lid, not on the rim of the lower case. I know from experience I’d end up fouling that gasket and getting little gashes and chunks torn out of it. I ordered mine from Zarges direct, in Charlotte NC and they showed up (free shipping) in two days. Great company, excellent customer service.
What I use most for adventure gear I keep in storage are half a dozen Plano #1619 56qt Sportsman’s Trunks and several Sterilite containers of various sizes. These are used for storing a variety of gear, clothes, and non-perishables, ready for picking for the next long adventure.
I really like the smaller Plano 1619 (56qt), and find the Plano 1819 (108 qt), just too big for my use, especially on the road. The 1619’s are only 24″ long exterior, are a comfortable sitting height, and fit nicely under the different bed arrangements I’ve had when I take them on the road.
Adding some EPDM 1/2 round rubber to the inner lip on the lid, as shown in other threads here, is really helpful in making them tighter to weather, though they really do pretty damned good on their own without it. I used Trim-Lok and time will tell how it holds up. I like that it’s hollow and flattens when the clasps are battened down.
The Pelicans, well, are Pelicans and live up the the Pelican name. Heavy duty construction, extremely protective, have pressure valves, and are just all-around rugged beasts. I’ve had one for 14 years, a 1510 with wheels and extendable carry-on handle, that has been all over the continent with me. I now have three of the 1510s.
I recently found a gigantic Pelican 1620 on craigslist for way cheap that I picked up to go with my 1600s because they stack well, but in the end sold it because it was just too big for my use. The 1620 you could wash a dog in, seriously, and the 1600 is about half the height.
I have a mess of black/red Sterilite Industrial Totes that are way cheap, too, at like only $9ea/60qt & $12ea/108qt that I use for carpentry, garden, and household use. They’ve stood up really well to all sorts of abuse like hauling demolition debris, hauling power tools in and out of my van daily, being loaded up with loam and compost, etc. They have a nice lip on the lid, a place to lock if you like, and stack really, really, well. Great for storage, though I’m not sure I’ll use the larger sizes for camping as the sidewalls will bulge if overloaded. They do have some great smaller sizes I just got from Walmart that also stack nicely, that are far sturdier in the smaller sizes that I plan on using for a variety of things in the van and trailer. Bathroom stuff, first aid, etc.
I also love my Magpul Daka Pouches and use them for everything from electronics, cords, to maps, passport, and legal papers, etc.
I’m a container geek, and need to do a proper review and vid post at some point on the other containers I use regularly.