POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Mar 3, 2013
» What it is: A very hard, very tough rubber-lined plastic case in which you can store a cellphone, a camera or other small valuables that you don't want to lose or crush, especially when roughing it or jamming things into your luggage.
» How it works: Put in whatever it is you want to stay intact and dry, close the easily functioning latch, and pack it away.
» The good: I tried the Pelican 1020 (the cases come in numerous sizes), which held my BlackBerry, MP3 player and earbuds. It could also hold a small camera and a clamshell phone. The point is, this thing is rugged, perfect for a backpacker or backwoods canoeist who frets about where to keep electronics safe, along with perhaps some identification. The manufacturer says the case is water-resistant but warns against submerging it. So I submerged it -- for an hour. And the paper towel I had put inside was bone-dry when I took it out. So it is very water-resistant. This case also will float when loaded, and it contains a purge valve that will keep water out but let pressure equalize, should that become an issue. It's also great for traditional travel. Having suffered the tragic crushing of my prescription sunglasses on a trip through airport security, I put my replacement pair in this for safekeeping on a multiflight trip. If I wanted to safeguard something from being crushed in checked baggage, this would be my choice.
» The bad: It seems a little clunky, but to be this tough, it needs to be.
» Availability: The Pelican 1020 is on sale for $11.99 at tapeonline.com, or check other websites.
--Ross Werland, Chicago Tribune, www.chicagotribune.com.