Are Pelican Cases Airtight? 5 Facts You Should Know

July 12, 2022

Are Pelican cases airtight? The answer to this common question is no. Due to the construction and special features that make Pelican cases extra rugged and protective, they are not considered airtight by definition and have a few caveats. In fact, Pelican cases were designed that way intentionally and were never meant to be totally airtight. So what do we mean by this, exactly? Here are five facts you need to know about Pelican cases and why we designed them this way.

1. Forget Airtight. An Automatic Pressure Valve Is Better

The word “airtight” is thrown around a lot to make standard cases more appealing to buyers. However, what does it really mean and is a case ever truly airtight? The truth is probably not. A case should never be 100 percent airtight, as this could create a vacuum lock when transporting the case and gear between altitudes. And this vacuum seal can make your case very challenging to open.

So airtight is not much of a feature to boast about. Instead, what you really want is an automatic pressure valve — even better!

What does the automatic pressure equalization valve do for a Pelican case? Essentially, the valve balances the case’s internal pressure, keeping out water and dust. So, in short, no, Pelican cases are not airtight, nor should they be. A watertight case is efficient enough and all you need, so long as they are built with an auto-pressure valve that offers relief to the case and invites airflow to pass through.

2. All Pelican Cases Are Watertight Anyway

Now that you understand what airtight means in a case and that a watertight case is perfectly suitable — especially with a pressure relief valve — let’s discuss this more in-depth.

To start, it’s important to know that all Pelican cases are IP67 rated. Some Pelican products, like our Personal Utility Ruck Cases, have been tested for a higher IP68 rating. Still, each Pelican case is at a bare minimum capable of being submerged in water for a depth of one meter for 30 minutes.

Furthermore, each Pelican case series offers its own set of extra features that add an extra watertight layer. For example, Pelican cases also come with a watertight silicone O-ring seal to prevent even the smallest bit of moisture from leaking in.

3. The Pelican G40 Go Case: Airtight as They Come

g40 go case

Ultimately, however, you will find that the Pelican Protector, Air, Storm and Micro series are designed with an automatic pressure release valve. But if you absolutely need an airtight case, there is one exception to the PRV rule. Pelican offers a Micro case that fits the bill due to the construction design of the single latch. The G40 Go Case features a small hole covered by its integrated single hinge latch when locked securely, making this small Pelican case completely and technically an airtight case.

4. Not All Valves Are Created Equal

Finding a case with a pressure relief valve is easy. However, you really want to find a PRV that is automatic and offers more sophisticated tech features. For instance, without an automatic pressure valve, it’s up to you to release it manually. Even worse — some brands attach a faux PRV piece to their cases that really serves no function in actually releasing any pressure.

An automatic pressure valve is one thing, but it also helps if it offers a way to keep out dust and moisture. That’s where Pelican cases excel. Each automatic pressure valve on the Pelican Protector and Air case series features a Gore-Tex layer that is hydrophobic, repelling water molecules while inviting airflow. Due to this advanced feature, we technically can’t call Pelican cases airtight.

5. Pelican’s Valves Are Guaranteed for Life

Pelican’s valves are built tough and problems are exceedingly rare. Still, it’s good to know that you’re purchasing a case from a reputable company that stands by its products. Pelican offers a Lifetime Guarantee that will cover the valve and more. Should you ever encounter any issues, we can offer a replacement or fix the valve completely free.

Are Pelican Cases Airtight? No, But...

So, are Pelican cases airtight? As you can see, there are many variables that lead to a resounding “no.” But you shouldn’t see this as a downside. You need a pressure release valve — preferably an automatic valve — to prevent a vacuum lock seal. And that is a major advantage, especially when transporting your Pelican case and facing high elevations and changing altitudes

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