Many new DJI Phantom 3 pilots quickly see the need to purchase some sort of case to protect their aerial media platform when in transport or storage. Though penny pinching pilots whose freshly depleted wallets are still suffering the sting of the Phantom’s thousand dollar plus price tag may initially convince themselves that the box in which DJI packages the Phantom 3 will perfectly suffice as a case, the protective capabilities of cardboard are limited at best. Add in the fact that using the Phantom box as one’s travel case almost completely destroys a pilot’s ability to travel incognito and the case for buying a dedicated case is made!
While the number of different cases that were available for the Phantom 3 product line was initially quite limited, Phantom 3 pilots have an increasingly bewildering variety of different styles of cases to choose from. We started out using a soft sided, backpack style case for our Phantom 3 Professional. This style of case usually possesses a smaller form factor, allowing it to qualify as an acceptable airline carry-on. As much as we initially liked our soft sided backpack style case, however, we eventually grew annoyed at the need to remove and re-install the props every time we wanted to fly our Phantom. Additionally, we found that this style of case offered limited protection to our Phantom when loading it into a car stuffed full of the goodies that we typically drag to the field for a weekend flying session, but what case to go for next?
The Nanuk 945 is a nylon/plastic resin composition, hard-sided case. It is one of eighteen different sizes of cases available from PlastiCase, a Quebec based manufacturing company. Notable features include a patented PowerClaw latching system and an IP67 waterproof rating. The Power Claw latches are designed to prevent the latches accidentally releasing due to the case being dropped or impacted. We like that a total of four of these latches are used on the 945. Two are in the usual location, along the top edge of the case on either side of the handle, with an additional latch positioned on each of the sides. The IP67 waterproof rating means that the interior of the Nanuk and its contents will stay dry for at least thirty minutes when submerged at depths of up to three feet.
We have noticed that on many hard cases, a small, circular shaped vent is located near the carrying handle. While reading about our Nanuk, we learned that this vent is used to equalize potential pressure differentials. A pilot who packs his Phantom in the Nanuk at sea level and then travels to the mountains to shoot aerial video could face the dilemma of being unable to open the case when arriving at the destination. This is due to the seal used to make the case waterproof. This airtight seal can result in a vacuum developing inside the case, which could effectively make it difficult if not impossible to get the case back open! The one way valve allows the pressure inside the case to continuously equalize to the pressure outside the case, all without compromising the watertight properties of the Nanuk.
Though the Nanuk cases are available with uncut, cubed foam inserts, this Nanuk 945 comes equipped with a rigid foam insert that is cut to contain a gimbal equipped Phantom 3 Professional, Advanced or Standard. Space is also provided for the variety of accessories and equipment required by a Phantom 3 pilot. The 945 can potentially keep a Phantom pilot in the air for 100 minutes, thanks to its provided array of five battery slots. The most delicate parts of our Phantom 3 are its gimbal and 4K camera. We like how the Nanuk includes a soft foam composition cradle block. This block slips around the gimbal and
camera, locking them in a neutral position beneath the Phantom and effectively isolating and protecting them while stowed inside the case. Compartments are also provided for spare props, the stock battery charger and cables, spare “AA” batteries, the proprietary Phantom 3 controller and its phone/tablet cradle, and any small tools or accessories needed. A short, thin slot is provided and sized to accept an iPad Mini or Samsung Galaxy tablet. Phantom pilots who prefer to fly with a full size iPad may be challenged to find the necessary space for it in the 945, though a little creative engineering and prowess with a sharp knife could potentially solve that wee issue. Perhaps the best feature of all, however, is that a Phantom 3 fits inside the Nanuk 945 with no need to remove the props! This, however, comes with the caveat that a pilot planning to travel on an airline with his Nanuk/Phantom will find that the case is too large to meet the airline mandated carry-on size restrictions.
Another feature that we particularly liked is that whether a pilot prefers Fruity Pebbles or plain old Cheerios, the Nanuk 945 series of cases can be had in a variety of colors. Pilots who prefer the bold and boisterous will probably opt for a red, yellow or orange Nanuk. More conservative folks will no doubt be drawn toward the more understated silver, black or graphite gray color that we received. A number of worthwhile accessories are also available. Nanuk offers an optional padded shoulder strap. This strap allows a pilot to sling the 945 over their shoulder and uses an impressively thick strip of Aircell technology padding to help prevent fatigue when lugging the Nanuk long distances through large airports. The Nanuk is without a doubt engineered to endure the potential abuses dealt out to checked baggage. Pilots willing to check their precious Phantom 3 as cargo will want to grab one of the TSA certified padlocks, also available as an option. With a special Master key, TSA personnel can open this combination padlock to inspect the case contents if necessary. The lock comes with a visual indicator that acts as a flag, letting a pilot know if the lock was indeed opened while in transit.
NEED TO KNOW
TYPE: Waterproof Impact Resistant Hardcase
EMPTY WEIGHT (WITH FOAM): 12.65 pounds (5.74 kg)
INTERIOR DIMENSIONS: 22x17x8.2 inches (559x432x208mm)
EXTERIOR DIMENSIONS: 25.1×19.9×8.8 inches (638x505224mm)
MATERIAL: Lightweight NK-7 plastic resin
COLORS: Black, graphite, olive, orange, silver, yellow
- NK-7 nylon resin composition hard case endures impacts and securely protects a pilots Phantom 3
- Integrated slide locks in the four latches keep the case securely closed
- IP67 waterproof rating means that the case will keep its contents dry for at least 30 minutes when submerged at a depth of up to three feet
- Choice of six different colors Available
- Included foam gimbal block cradles and protects gimbal and camera
- No need to remove props when stowing Phantom inside
- Too large to be airline carry-on size legal
As an early Phantom 3 Pro adopter, we plunked $1,300 of our hard earned cash down on the barrel. Add in the cost of additional batteries, a variety of accessories and the iPad Mini 2 that we use to fly our P3P and the total dollars invested definitely demand a dependable transport and storage solution. We feel that the Nanuk 945 hard case is that solution. We no longer worry about incidental damage when taking our Phantom out for a shoot or loading it into a car stuffed full of other cargo. We especially like that we no longer have to remove the props when stowing our Phantom in the case! Perhaps the most notable feature of the Nanuk 945 cases is the Limited Lifetime Warranty offered by PlastiCase. PlastiCase promises to stand behind a pilot’s Nanuk for as long as they own it!
NANUK nanuk.com, (800) 783-6883