The Case for a Protective Case
By Petr Hejl
This article was originally published in August/September 2016 issue.
In the very early times of my aerial photography adventures, I was traveling places mostly with my two DJI F550 copters sitting in the back of my car, with the rest of the gear neatly stacked around them. It was just a matter of time before I had to hit the brakes really hard one day, causing a bit of a land- slide and damaging one of the gimbals.
Even then I was still too frugal to spend some money on good protective cases for my equipment. I ﬁgured that I’d just buckle the copters up in the back seat and leave the rest in the hatch. That was until one day, when I arrived at a job that was not accessible by car and required us to transport all the gear up the mountain on a snowmobile.
Going up that hill, sitting on the back seat of a snow mobile, only clinging to it with my legs, holding one F550 in each hand along the sides, I realized that buying a good protective case may not be such a bad investment. After we got to the top, I also discovered that the rest of my gear that we pulled behind in a small sled got covered in snow kicked up by the track it was deﬁnitely time to look for a case.
Four years and bunch of diﬀerent protective cases later, I really learned the value of investing in a tough and water tight case. I travel a lot and enjoy the idea of knowing that my equipment will get to its destination in one piece very important if your client depends on your ability to show up with working tools.
I have recently added a Phantom 4 to my collection and since I sold my P3 along with its case, I started looking for a case that would serve well to protect my new “toy”. I decided to just use the original P4 foam case while waiting for more manufacturers to come out with more variety of cases to choose from. Nanuk must have been reading my mind because just last week they sent us their new 945 case for the P4.
BACKPACK OR HARD CASE?
You might say that a backpack may be a more suitable solution for a Phantom, but it really depends on what you do. If you’re looking to hike up the mountain for a few ﬂights and the Phantom is the only thing you carry, a back- pack solution may be more appropriate.
However, if photography and video is your profession, you need to travel with multiple pieces of equipment and allow other people to handle your luggage, then the hard case is a perfect solution. Also, if you’re doing this for business, the client’s perception is very important. Everything communicates!
While it may not make any diﬀerence as far as the quality of your work is concerned, it may be diﬃcult to convince your clients that they’re dealing with professional if you’re pulling diﬀerent components of your equipment from a pile sitting in your trunk or the ﬂoor of your car.
EVALUATING THE NANUK 945
So, how does the Nanuk case I just received stack up?
The Nanuk case is very rigid, manufactured from NK-7 Resin, with thick walls, rounded corners and oversized details. The polyethylene foam inserts are custom cut to hold your Phantom, four extra batteries, the controller, charger, tablet and few extra slots for accessories.
I am planning to widen these extra slots to hold four more batteries. There is no need to remove the props to store your Phantom in this case, which is really helpful when quickly moving between multiple locations. Even with the quick-lock props on the P4, every second counts.
The case also includes a gimbal sleeve a block of foam that goes over your gimbal before placing the copter in the case, which replaces the plastic DJI gimbal locks.
The hinge pins in the lid, handle, latches, as well as the shoulder strap anchor points are steel. The four latches are solid and feature integrated slide locks to keep them locked in place.
The handle is rubber coated and feels good in your hand. The included neoprene shoulder strap with AirCells is a great accessory if you need to carry the case over longer distance it is extremely comfortable and easy to attach to the anchor points next to the handles.
The manufacturer also includes a nice TSA approved combination padlock and the case is available in 7 diﬀerent colors. As much as I like black, I have discovered that black cases tend to get extremely hot when left in the sun which may damage the content, so I tend to pick lighter colors to prevent this.
I like the orange as it is easy to spot, especially if you’re traveling with a pile of cases and need to quickly check if all of them are still with you. Nanuk also oﬀers custom case printing, so you can have your company logo or case content description printed right on it.
While backpacks may be a really good solution for hobbyists who only carry a single piece of equipment and prefer to travel light, they may not be the best solution for all.
An investment into hard protective case is a great idea for professionals who travel with multiple cases of equipment, have their luggage handled by other people (assistants, baggage handlers, cab drivers) and really depend on their equipment getting to their destination in working condition. Rest assured that your P4 will be well-protected during your travels in the Nanuk 945 from Plasticase.
Manufacturer: Plasticase Inc.
Price: Starting at $179
Included in Package: Case, Shoulder Strap, TSA Combination Lock, Foam Gimbal Sleeve
• Built tough
• Comfortable Aircell shoulder strap
• Steel pin hinges and shoulder strap anchor points
• Four latches with integrated slide locks
• No need to remove props when transporting the drone
• Included TSA security lock
• Very likely to survive both the zombie apocalypse … or airport baggage handlers
• Well priced
• A bit heavy
• Only 4 spare battery slots
SIZE: L 22 x W17 x H8.2 inches
WEIGHT: 12.7 lbs
MATERIAL: Lightweight NK-7 Resin outer case, Polyethylene foam insert
WEATHERPROOF: Watertight, maximum buoyancy 120 lbs.
MISC: Available in 7 Colors, available custom logo printing, conditional lifetime warranty