Every once in a while you see something that is so simple and elegant that you smack your forehead and say, “why didn’t I think of that?” Another photographer clued me into the TrekPak inserts for hard shell Pelican cases and after I checked them out online I purchased a kit for my Pelican 1510 rolling case. My 1510 Pelican case, like all of my Pelican cases, came with a standard padded Velcro divider system that worked but left a lot to be desired when it comes to functionality. The padded inserts sagged and didn’t always fit into the box the way I wanted them to and it is debatable as to how much protection they actually offered. The TrekPak inserts by contrast are incredibly easy to adjust, allow for ridiculous organization and are much lighter than the dividers that came with my Pelican originally.
The whole idea behind the TrekPak system is based on using metal pins (shown at right) to secure the dividers. When I got the TrekPak insert, it came with the divider set, a bag of the pins and a separate bag of red pull tabs, which can be slotted onto the pins to make them easier to pull out. It took me all of ten minutes to redesign my Pelican 1510 and dial in the divider set for my Elinchrom Quadra strobe kit (see the image on the next page). Once I had it all set up, I was able to fit more equipment into my Pelican case than I could with the old dividers. The TrekPak system also holds my gear much more tightly and offers more protection than the old divider set ever did.
The relatively inexpensive TrekPak insert has breathed new life into my Pelican 1510 case and has really gotten me more excited to actually use these cases again. As we all know Pelican cases are quite heavy all on their own, much less when you start tossing in heavy camera equipment. Since I travel by air fairly often, the final weight of the loaded case is always a concern. If you have read my newsletter for any period of time then you have probably read a few different equipment reviews on camera bags that I use. I kind of go nuts with camera bags. It seems I am on a never ending quest for the perfect way to get my gear to the location since that is a huge part of my job. I love the protection offered by Pelican cases, but I don’t love the weight. With the TrekPak insert, the 1510 is just a little lighter and a lot more organized and easier to use.
I haven’t had the TrekPak insert that long so I can’t speak to how durable it is. But from my limited experience it appears to be plenty durable. TrekPak started out as a Kickstarter project and these are practically made out of their garage up in Colorado. Once again, a small manufacturer came up with a brilliant idea and the marketplace has latched onto it with great enthusiasm. I just thought I would help spread the word. They make a variety of inserts to fit just about any Pelican case you might have. TrekPak also makes inserts that fit into soft-sided backpacks and also an insert that fits into just about any photo backpack if you are sick of your foam/Velcro dividers. If your Pelican case needs an overhaul I highly recommend checking out the TrekPak website and ordering an insert. You won’t regret it! And your Pelican case will suddenly be a lot more useful than it ever has been.
This article is an excerpt from my Spring 2013 Newsletter. If you would like to subscribe to the Michael Clark Photography Newsletter please send me an email. You can download back issues of the Newsletter on my website.