Ultimate Guide to Rugged Drone Cases for Protection, Organized Storage, and Travel
Types of Drone Storage and Travel Cases, Backpacks and Bags
The first accessory many pilots buy for their drone is a solid, dependable case to protect their investment. Just as there are many types of drones, there are cases for each type and several different options in each category of drone. Let’s take a look at three different types of cases that provide varying degrees of protection, convenience, and value.
“Included” Manufacturer Cases
Most consumer drones don’t come with a case at all, but higher-end models like the Phantom series come packed in a cardboard box with foam liner that may look sufficient to protect your new drone. After just a few uses, though, this OEM case will start to break down and is especially problematic in wet conditions such as mist, rain, or snow. Without sealing or ruggedization of any kind, you can’t depend on the default packaging to protect your drone beyond the initial shipment. These standard cases also omit any storage for peripherals like iPads, chargers, or extra batteries, so you’ll soon outgrow and outlast the free case that came with your drone.
Rugged Wheeled Case
Fans of military movies or cop shows know that the good guys always show up well prepared with enough gear. A detailed look at all their tech reveals that the same rugged, water-proof, airtight wheeled cases once available only to the toughest marines are now custom-made to protect your drone and organize its accessories and your personal gear.
Smaller models like the GPC Mavic Pro Hard Case omit the wheels to save space and are easily stowable under an airline seat or in a passenger car. Even the 249-g DJI Mini 2 has a hard case to protect its tiny, delicate gimbal. Even these small cases provide room for extra batteries, spare propellers, and a charging solution to keep you flying for hours.
Professional users will absolutely need to purchase a rugged drone case for their professional model like the Phantom 4 Pro, Inspire 2 or Matrice 300 and Matrice 600 series. You can even buy separate cases just for batteries (like this Matrice 200 battery case) so that you can fly all day and also comply with FAA regulations about air shipment of lithium batteries.
When you need to go where wheels can’t, a backpack case, made even for models as large as the Inspire 2, is your ticket to freedom as you hike to remote terrain and capture the ultimate drone photos and videos of an unexplored landscape or remote inspection site. Underwater drones (ROVs) are a perfect fit for backpacks, like these models for the Dory and Gladius Mini from Chasing. Backpacks leave you a little extra room in side pockets for extra personal gear as well, so bring along a water bottle or spare tablet to see the camera’s view on your drone.
Top Reasons to Buy a Storage Case or Rugged Travel Case for your Drone
- Protection: Your professional drone was a major investment and you’re careful to avoid obstacles while in the air, so take the same precautions on the ground and protect your drone while en route to your filming location. The best cases not only protect from dropping and cosmetic damage, but from water and dust that can damage the sensitive electronics and optics on your camera, motors, or controllers. The best options from GPC and Pelican are strong enough to stand on and will keep your drone protected for years of constant use.
- Transportation: Your drone and fleet of spare batteries are going to get heavy, so why not get some help from one of man’s oldest inventions, the wheel! Much like the airplane roller bag made air travel so much more convenient, today’s rugged wheeled drone cases made transporting your drone safe and effortless. The durable plastic and rubber wheels are similar to what you’d find on rollerblades or industrial handcarts and can help you roll your drone over streets, sidewalks, and uneven terrain like grass or hard-packed dirt. These rugged storage cases also have several sturdy handles as well, so when the terrain is too steep for wheels, grab a buddy and each take a handle as you traverse the final few hundred feet.
- Organization: Rugged drone cases are the organizer’s dream because there’s a place for every essential and nice-to-have component and accessory. Cases from GPC and Pelican include custom-fitted cut foam that precisely cradles a particular model of drone with no room for jostling the sensitive components. Cutouts for batteries, transmitter, spare parts and tablets make a complete solution in just one wheeled, watertight box.
- All-day operation: Need to fly without interruptions? Bring along multiple spare batteries and a charger, all packed neatly in a case with space designed specifically for those essential accessories. Batteries are heavy, so you’ll greatly appreciate the convenience of having a simple way to safely transport all that weight.
- Convenient kits for quick deployment: When time is short, especially during search and rescue, fire department or police operations, you want to be able to grab your gear and go. Having the drone and all its essential gear pre-packed, safely stored, and ready to quickly deploy provides a huge time save and ensures all the critical parts will be deployed with the drone. Manufacturers like Autel even sell some models in a rugged bundle that includes a special rugged case and extra batteries and propellers so that you can save money by buying everything together in your initial purchase.