The Pelican™ First Aid Kit: The Case That Started It All

July 29, 2020

In honor of our late founder, David Parker, we created a special edition commemorative first aid kit. It was extremely limited edition with only 100 in existence, and we are proud to say that it sold out in four hours. All proceeds will benefit the Fallen Firefighters Foundation to help the surviving members of brave first responders who gave their lives on the job.

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The special kit was built inside a white, nearly indestructible Pelican 1120 Protector Case with red latches, and sports a special commemorative decal on the lid that pays homage to the late 1970s when it was introduced as the company’s second product. The kit also featured a limited edition brass plate inside the lid and professional/industrial first aid supplies that nearly mirror the original kits.

This introduction got us thinking about our company’s storied history so we’d like to tell the tale of how Pelican Protector cases came to be. It all started in the early days of Pelican when Dave (an avid diver) saw the need for a dive-specialized first aid kit. This would ultimately become the legendary Pelican™ Protector Case™ you know so well.

In true Dave Parker fashion, he over-engineered everything in the kit including the case, which was crushproof and watertight. He also went all-in by building several details into it including a mirror inside the lid for inspecting cuts, a molded in ruler for measuring lobsters and several specialized supplies including stainless steel tweezers and scissors, jellyfish sting ointment and pills to combat seasickness. When he introduced it into the local dive market, it was extremely popular in the small arena. Being the fledgling company only offered three products, including the kit, it really boosted the business.

“Dave was a great storyteller and I can remember him talking about the moment that changed his business forever,” said John Padian, former Pelican COO and company veteran or nearly forty years. “He said it happened when he was at the DEMA (Dive Equipment Manufacturer Association) Show in Tampa, Florida. Several people came to the booth asking if he’d sell the case without the first aid contents in it. Dave declined thinking that ‘they sell first aid kits not cases’ but it so happened that local divers had been using the case to protect their valuables. At the Show, it was obvious that the tough case was extremely popular and he always used to tell people that at that point he didn’t need to be a Harvard graduate to know he had a market for cases,” added Padian.

From then on, Dave put out the “Guard Box”, which was just the first aid kit sold empty and in different colors. This one size of case was the start of an amazing journey and when the demand for new sizes and features grew, so did the product line.

That small case is the case heard around the world. Across the globe Pelican cases are depended on by professionals in some of the harshest conditions known to man. We now have hundreds of unique sizes for just about any purpose. Today’s case lines include:

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The original Pelican™ Protector Case™ was introduced more than 40 years ago and has since evolved into the global standard for equipment protection. The ultra-reliable double-throw latches hold tight under extraordinary drops and impact.

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Up to 40% lighter than other polymer cases, Pelican™ Air cases lighten the loads of the dedicated pros around the world who have set out to change the game. Pelican™ Air cases are the first in a series of remarkable innovations engineered by Pelican, the pioneers of protective cases.

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The Pelican™ Storm Case™ line has the same legendary DNA as our Pelican™ Protector Case™, with one primary difference: a unique Press and Pull™ latch that locks automatically, but opens with a light touch.

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Single Lid
Single Lid Cases offer 20% more protective material in the edges and corners (where it is needed most) so they are exceptionally durable and reliable. With recessed handles and integrated stacking ribs, these cases can be fitted with a wide range of bolt-on options like document holders, skid runners or casters, tie down rings and even a humidity indicator.

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Rack Mount
For the same toughness as a Single Lid Case but with double ended lid openings, use our sturdy aluminum and steel racks with shock mounts to protect delicate electronics. Seven styles (Classic Rack, SuperMac™, MAC Rack™, Black Box, ProRack™, 33” Classic-V, and 24” Super-V) are available, from ultra-sensitive to rugged protection options.

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With heavy-duty hinges, nail-tough hasps and an extremely tough high-impact polymer shell, Vault cases withstand the weather, drops, kicks, throws, abrasion, dust, baggage mishandlers - whatever comes with the territory ahead.

After all these years, Dave Parker’s passion for building products that won’t fail when it counts most has laid the foundation for the dynamic company Pelican is today. It is our honor to carry on the tradition of providing the toughest most reliable products on the market.