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The $2 Waterproof Hard Case

Posted by on September 18, 2012

Have you ever sought out an inexpensive alternative to a hard travel case? Dishing out $20 to $30 for an Otterbox or Pelican case can put a damper on your wallet especially if you only have plans to use it a couple times. I have recently discovered an inexpensive alternative to purchasing an Otterbox or Pelican case for travel. Not only is the item repurposed from an existing product, but it contributes to the reuse/recycle principles we find in eco-friendly living. What I have discovered… drum roll please… is an old tennis ball container. Believe it or not, but an old tennis ball container provides great storage options for camping, backpacking, kayaking, or just having a weekend getaway. Not only can a tennis ball container hold a considerable amount of goods but it is waterproof and virtually crushproof. In addition, the tennis ball container is very lightweight (for those conserving weight for your winter hiking) and can pack into the water bottle holder of a daypack. Obviously, it cannot take the same beating as an Otterbox or Pelican, but dollar for dollar, using an old tennis ball container is a great alternative value.

Storage Test

During my storage test, I was able to hold all of my weekend essentials safely and securely in the confines of the tennis ball case. The wide-mouth opening on the case provides easy access to your goods.

Items (from left to right): Full-size deodorant, full-size toothpaste, razor, toothbrush, travel-size mouthwash, and eye drops

The tennis ball container when full.

Waterproof Test

 For the waterproof test, I put a dry hand towel in the tennis ball case to measure any moisture penetration during the test. I placed the sealed container in a bucket and sprayed the container for 3 to 4 minutes with a powerful “shower” hose to simulate rain. When the bucket was full, I held the tennis ball container underneath the water, completely submerged, for a time trial of 5 minutes. After the submersion test, I let the container sit on top of the water for a two-hour trial. It should also be important to mention that the tennis ball container is very buoyant and floats well when sealed.

After the waterproof test was completed, I removed the hand towel to discover that that tennis ball container had remained completely dry throughout the entire test.

Strength Test

The strength test included testing the container both vertically while standing up and horizontally while lying down. I used a flat surface and a concrete cinder block (weighing 42.5 lbs) for the test. Both the horizontal and vertical tests were a success, causing no structural damage to the tennis ball container.

Overall, the Otterbox/Pelican alternative is a great option for those looking to save some extra money (and some weight) while packing for that next weekend trip. So start looking in your garage for that canister for old tennis balls, because you have some packing to do!

-Alex

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