Testing Pelican’s ‘Go’ and ‘Ruck’ Portable, Rugged Gear Cases

The Pelican Ruck is great for organization.
Jack Haworth

Whether you’re splashing through the mud or paddling across a choppy lake, it’s a challenge to protect your gear from the elements. 

This is especially true for those essential but easy-to-lose personal items like a phone, keys or small tools – items that you want easy access to, but don’t want to leave vulnerable to a mishap.

Fortunately, the good folks over at Pelican – the seasoned manufacturers of durable cases – have designed a solution. Two, in fact: a pair of tough yet compact cases, the Go and Ruck, built for protecting the most fragile belongings on the hardiest adventures. We tested both cases on a kayak-fishing morning excursion – including full-submerion – and we recommend both. There are subtle differences between the two that can help you determine which one suits your needs – here’s what we found.

Pelican Go Case ($34.95)

Pelican Go Case
Courtesy of REI

Designed for the everyday adventure, the Pelican Go Case is perfect for accessing and protecting your daily essentials both on and off the water.

The case comes in two different sizes, and while the G10 is sufficient for smaller setups, the G40 includes a divider tray to store your phone above the other contents – perfect for quick access. The tray also comes with card slots and an elastic strap on the back, and openings on either end make for easy charging access.

Divider case is great for phone.
Jack Haworth

True to Pelican’s high standards, the protective exterior of the case was built to handle serious abuse. While the ABS outer shell and rubberized bumpers protect against impact, the Go also floats and is watertight to a depth of over 3 feet for 30 minutes.

The Pelican Go Floats
Jack Haworth

The Go’s loop handle can be utilized for either hand-carry or for attaching to a pack with a carabiner.

Pelican Ruck Case ($44.95-$64.95)

Pelican Ruck Case
Courtesy of REI

While the Go is perfect for on-the-go protection, the Pelican Ruck Case is better suited for a rugged adventure. Designed to meet military-spec standards, the Ruck comes in three different sizes – R20, R40 and R60 – each weighing between 1.2 and 2.3 pounds. Backpackers and hikers may balk at the Ruck’s weight, but we found the case to be an ideal fit for both kayaking and fishing.

Floatable and waterproof down to 6-feet-deep (double the depth of the Go) Ruck’s rubberized exoskeleton and durable ABS/PC outer shell is shockproof and capable of withstanding a 40-foot drop and temperature extremes ranging from -10 F to 199 F.

The Pelican Ruck floats
Jack Haworth

And if thwarting would-be thieves is a concern, the case even includes an integrated lock hasp where you could attach a small TSA lock (not included).

Open the dual-pivot hinge latch and you’ll find the Ruck’s interior features an efficient but modifiable organization system. In addition to the divider tray, the case includes a snap-in lid organizer that’s useful for stowing small tools or fishing tackle.

The Ruck works as a perfect fishing tackle box.
Jack Haworth


With these two new portable options from Pelican, you’ll rest easy knowing your gear will stay safe, organized and dry in any environment. With adjustability and effective organization, these cases make a great addition to your camping, fishing or kayaking kit. The Go comes in at a lower price point and is suited for daily ruse, while the Ruck offers larger carrying capacity and twice the submersion depth.

So whether you’re looking for a bulletproof case to protect your phone on the water or want to build a small fishing tackle box for your kayak, Pelican’s Go and Ruck will stand up to the test.

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The article was originally published on Canoe & Kayak

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