Gear Scout: Pelican 1085 HardBack Laptop Case

Like many people, my ability to travel as frequently as possible means I have to take with me a few essential tools, most importantly––my laptop. Last year alone, my laptop accompanied me on more than 3,000 miles of motorcycle touring with one trip assaulted by several days of torrential rains. My laptop survived all the hard knocks and weather, albeit just barely, thanks to a good case and what I have to admit was a healthy dose of luck. I recently bought a new MacBook Pro and with the financial sting still fresh, felt I needed to protect that investment with an upgraded case.

One of the most trusted names in hard cases, Pelican’s 1085 HardBack case seemed like the obvious choice. The HardBack series from Pelican is a comprehensive line of cases suitable for everything from small tablets to 15” laptops. The 1085 is ideally suited for 14 inch laptops and fits my 13 inch MacBook Pro perfectly. Available with a molded foam interior or Pelican’s famous Pick N Pluck foam, I chose the latter. Customizing the foam to fit my computer took but a couple minutes and with the lid latched in place made me not only feel warm and fuzzy, it made me want to pack up and hit the road.

Like all Pelican cases, the 1085 is waterproof, crush resistant, and comes with an unlimited lifetime guarantee. The open-cell foam provides maximum shock protection in the event of a drop, and a rubberized shoulder strap helps eliminate unexpected gravity checks. The wide latch at the front of the case is easy to open and close, and a pressure valve beneath that latch prevents unwanted lock-up. Two small padlock loops on either side of the latch allow for additional security options.

I was expecting the 1085 to be borderline heavy and perhaps too big and awkward to carry in a pack or pannier, but it is a near perfect size. At only 3 pounds it provides maximum protection for minimal weight. The sleek exterior makes sliding the case in and out of packs and bags easy and keeps the bulk to a minimum. I do wish it had a handle, but the shoulder strap slots could be used to facilitate a small loop of webbing to serve as an easy grab. Some people think travel with a phone or laptop defeats the purpose, and to their credit, I tend to agree. However, products like the 1085 HardBack allow me to extend my tether so I can explore more often. For less than $60, it’s a great investment, not just in computer protection, but for future adventures.


Recommended books for Overlanding

Americas Overland - The Driving Handbook
by Donald Greene
From $20
Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide To The Art Of Long-term...
by Rolf Potts
From $13.2
The Alchemist, 25th Anniversary: A Fable About Followi...
by Paulo Coelho
From $10.47

Christophe Noel is a journalist from Prescott, Arizona. Born into a family of backcountry enthusiasts, Christophe grew up backpacking the mountains and deserts of the American West. An avid cyclist and bikepacker, he also has a passion for motorcycles, travel, food and overlanding.