REVIEW: Pelican R40 Personal Utility Ruck Case
Frequent travelers know that there are two challenges that can be tough to overcome while on the road—staying organized and keeping fragile items well protected. The Pelican R40 Personal Utility Ruck Case is designed to help with both problems, providing rugged and versatile protection no matter where your travels take you.
Small enough to easily tuck into a suitcase, duffel, or backpack, the R40 is nevertheless roomy enough to hold important items that you want to be able to find at a moment’s notice. Despite its size, however, the case lives up to Pelican’s legendary standards for durability and protection, making it a great place to store a smartphone, charging cables, a multitool, or anything else you want to access quickly.
Design (4) ★★★★
The R40 Personal Utility Ruck Case is the perfect example of function over form. The case was designed to keep valuables well-protected while maintaining as small of a footprint as possible. The result is a product that won’t win any beauty pageants but performs its job admirably. The R40s durable protective shell—along with rubberized bumpers and oversized locking mechanism—does make it somewhat bulky for its size, although that is the price you pay for the level of protection that this case offers. While we wouldn’t mind a slimmer, more streamlined version of the ruck case, had Pelican cut corners with its design, the R40 simply wouldn’t have delivered such a high level of performance.
Features (5) ★★★★★
Pelican has managed to cram a surprising amount of features into the R40. For instance, the case is MOLLE loop compatible and it comes with a rigid divider tray that allows users to keep the case’s precious cargo separated. This allows you to put things like a smartphone and a set of keys inside the same unit without worrying that the phone will come out with a severely scratched screen. An integrated pressure valve helps to maintain the internal air pressure while still managing to keep water and dust at bay. In fact, the case has an IP68 waterproof rating, which means it can be submerged in water up to two meters deep for up to 30 minutes without leaking. That makes this a good case for use in the outdoors, while boating, or even just keeping important items protected while at the pool.
Durability (5) ★★★★★
As already mentioned, the R40 is incredibly durable. The case is made from abrasion and impact-resistant ABS shell, which acts as a relatively lightweight suit of armor around anything you put inside. The rubber bumpers on either end do an excellent job of absorbing impacts as well, protecting the case from jarring impacts that could otherwise cause severe damage to its contents. The case’s comically-large locking mechanism snaps into place with a satisfying click and during testing, it never failed to keep the lid firmly closed despite multiple drops from a variety of heights. And despite doling out plenty of punishment, the hard shell remains mostly unscathed, with only a few minor scratches and abrasions. As a further testament to how well made the R40 is, Pelican actually backs it with a lifetime guarantee.
Overall (4) ★★★★
The Pelican R40 Personal Utility Ruck Case is a versatile piece of travel gear that active outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate. It provides outstanding protection from accidental drops and impacts, as well as keeping dust and moisture from damaging delicate items. While we wish it were a little thinner and lighter—the case tips the scales at 1.68 pounds—we also wouldn’t want to compromise its rugged construction and durable design in any way. Until a thinner, lighter ABS-like material that offers the same level of protection can be created, this is the best personal case of its kind. That makes it extremely easy to recommend for anyone who travels frequently.
Priced at $54.95, the R40 is one of those items that you might feel is too expensive unless you fall squarely into its target demographic. If that’s the case, you’ll actually find the price to be quite good considering everything you get for your money. But this level of organization and protection will be appreciated by anyone who finds themselves traveling with any regularity.
Note: Pelican also offers the G40 Personal Utility Case and R20 Personal Ruck Case, both of which are slightly smaller and lighter.
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