There cannot be many photographers out there who don’t own at least one Pelican Case. The super tough plastic boxes (often on wheels) that a lot of our gear travels in are superbly designed, brilliantly made and as tough as old boots. I have three of them and another photographer swapped the standard hard wheels on my 1510 case for some softer rubber ones a couple of years ago and the absence of grating hard wheeled noises was a revelation. I find myself using my 1560 case a lot more these days and so it was time that got the ‘old soft wheel shuffle’ too.
I am not someone who indulges in much DIY but it became obvious when I read this ‘how to’ blog post by David Fearn that even I could do it. So I sourced some 60mm inline skate wheels from SkatePro, re-read David’s blog post and got stuck in. In his post Mr Fearn used 63mm wheels but I went for 60mm because a) I was having trouble finding keenly priced 63mm ones and b) the original Peli had worn down to 59mm and still worked. The extra 3mm probably makes no difference but I went with smaller. Once I had the bits and tools assembled, the job took less than ten minutes.
What a difference some soft wheels make to rolling the case around. On and off of a train, on and off of the London Underground with barely a sound! Quite why Pelican fit rock hard wheels in the first place or why they don’t offer a soft wheel option is anyone’s guess but I’m most definitely a convert – even if it means that the lifetime wheel replacement guarantee that the manufacturer offers goes away. I ordered plenty of wheels and so I reckon I’m good for another ten years now.