Dry box for Canon Rebel XTi

Any suggestions? Pelican case? If so, what size? Considering the 1200 dry box… trying to get “the better half” to let me take the good camera on flat water!



Been using one for a long time

– Last Updated: Feb-08-10 8:15 PM EST –

I have had a 1200 for 13 years or so and it has served me really well. I have mine set up to hold an SLR with a 70-200 f2.8 lens, and have another area plucked out to hold a wide angle or normal zoom or prime lens (typically a 16-35 or 24-70 f2.8).

Mine has the old style latches that are loud and hard on the fingers. The new style latches are MUCH nicer on the fingers (I have them on a 1510, and have been thinking about a replacement 1200 for the new latches).

Mine has always stayed dry and offered good protection.

I wish it were a bit deeper to handle a camera with a grip (my main camera for several years has been an eos 1DsII which doesn't fit in the 1200), but there are other models I could have bought that would have been deeper.

Edit: The box I have is a 1440, not a 1200. I wasn't home to check the model when I wrote my original message

Canoe or Kayak?
I have the same camera and use a 28 -200 lens as well as a 78-300 IS lens.

If a kayak, pelican case is very awkward to use and I’ve given up on it. I found a waterproof deck bag that I’ve used extensively. A quick unzip and I can grab the camera and take the shot.

photo here…



User-Friendly Latches

– Last Updated: Feb-07-10 5:47 PM EST –

I am not sure that this issue with the latches is always related to when the box was made. I have a 1200 box that I bought about 6 years ago that has very nice, smooth, easy latches. Maybe those are the "new" ones of which you speak. I occasionally use a much larger case that's about 20 or 25 years old, and it has the same easy-to-use latches as my 1200 box.

On the other hand, I have a 1120 case that's only about three years old, and it's latches are a nightmare to operate. When the box was new, they could only be closed by slamming them into place with a hammer (I actually needed to hold the lid down tightly with one knee, then slam each latch into position with a sharp hammer blow) - nothing else would work. You can imagine how violently those latches would fly up when pried open. They would spring up so fast and with such force that I've gotten more nasty cuts on my knuckles from them than I can count.

I have filed the working edges of those over-tight latches quite a bunch so they work a little better, but I still need to wack them shut with a sharp blow using the heel of my hand, and they still fly open with enough force to make me yelp if I don't make sure that my fingers are out of the latch's swing radius when I pop them open. This is especially bad in cold weather. The 1120 box uses a smaller type of latch than the 1200 box, so they cannot be directly compared.

I think any of the larger boxes use some version of a larger, easy-to-use latch, not the finger-smashing small latch of the 1120 box.

50 cal. ammo box not pretty enough?

50-caliber ammo box
Those boxes are okay, but they aren’t perfect. A surprising percentage of them are not waterproof, so you really need to look closely at the gasket before buying the one you want. Also, they will really scratch up the inside of your boat during latching and unlatching unless you attach padding to the edges (though that’s not a huge problem). I used one for about 25 years (mostly in aluminum canoes), but I got tired of that loud “ka-bang” every time I popped open the latch (you won’t get many wildlife shots if you keep your camera in an ammo box). Once you use a nice Pelican case, you won’t ever go back to using an ammo box. That said, they are cheap and they get the job done.

yeah but
Mostly agree, but read up on the Pelican gore tex pressure equalization “valve” before deciding that the Pelican is failsafe.

Deck Bag
Andy -

I have that same deck bag. I got it for a pretty good price, the store was dumping it. I find that zipper a nightmare. I’ve carried a Leica in it and that works OK because it’s such a small camera. Last year I took a 50D with a 300mm lens and didn’t use it at all because it was such a pain to extract.

I just bought a recreational boat with a huge cockpit (A Hurricane Santee Sport). Haven’t used it yet, too cold in New York. I intend to carry either a 1DSII or 50D with a 500mm lens and a monopod. Am going to carry it in some kind of dry bag between my feet.

I agree that the hard cases would be too difficult to use, though I haven’t tried one.

Zipper on mine
opens and closes fine, I keep it lubed. As long as it seals. I find the bag much easier to use than than a case.

Is THAT how it works now?

– Last Updated: Feb-07-10 10:33 PM EST –

I'd been wondering what the deal was with the new style of vent. I didn't know how it worked, but being the "simple is better" kind of person that I am, I liked the old style better, because it was fool proof. Now I know for sure that the old style was better.

That's okay though. Installing a "real" on-off valve would only take about 5 minutes. One of those tiny brass valves from the hardware store, threaded into the plastic case housing, would do the job nicely!

On that note, though, the fact that you can actually open an ammo box with your hands after there has been a significant drop in air temperature or decrease in altitude is a positive demonstration that it's not at all leak-proof. If it were leak-proof, you'd need tools to pry it open under those conditions (or you'd at least have to really yank hard on the cover) since there's no vent to allow pressure-equalization.

yeah, I know

– Last Updated: Feb-08-10 1:45 PM EST –

You just sort of pay your money and take your chances, either way.

But in my experience, I can almost always hear a little pressure relief when I open my ammo box after a change in elevation. I take this to mean that the seal is good and pretty much airtight.

At least for those looking into Pelicans, be forewarned. For those looking into ammo boxes, check and test those seals. Got a Canon 40D in mine, and I guess I trust it.

Then, keep the boat right side up.

Pelican 1450

– Last Updated: Feb-08-10 7:14 PM EST –

The camera that you choose should use a pelican case 1450. I have a Canon EOS 7D, and it is slightly larger than your camera, but I can tell you from experience that the 1450 is the ideal size for general use. That is to say, if you have the camera plus a lens attached, plus any other equipment, you will need a 1450. The 1200 that you mention is quite small, you could put just your camera in that, but not any other accessories at all. I own about 3 Peli 1200 boxes, and I use them for binoculars. Remember, when you cut the foam you must leave enough foam around the edges to give some cushioning for the camera. If the camera comes right to the edge, or only leaves about a quarter inch of foam around the edge, it's not very well protected.

Pelican 1450 box is available for $86 which includes free shipping and no handling and no sales tax on Amazon.com right now. That's where I buy mine. They work ideally.

I do agree with Andy, you really do is tough to use a pelican box in a canoe and kayak. I use mine specifically for in the car or other areas, not for in the kayak.


P.S. Ask if any questions--I'm the Pelican box guru, owning them for everything from my compact flash memory sticks to my 17 inch laptop. Cheap insurance--$86 not much for lifelong storage for your $600 Rebel plus accessories, well over $1000.

Best advice--keep away from water. Nothing is really waterproof.

Signed, Seedy One.

PS--read the Amazon.com reviews I've linked. Second review down is storing your camera exactly.

Again--if you're only putting the Rebel plus a short lens in there, you could likely squash it into a 1200, and have little padding on sides, and it'd be waterproof but not "bombproof" for falls. Or, get the 1450--slightly bulkier, but you need padding on sides inside *see Amazon pic) and you can put other stuff in there too. And none of these boxes, as AS states, are any good for really using on water--too hard to stash, open, etc.


Also like the waterproof bag
The flatwater is easy. But when it gets lumpy you still have to get the camera out of the case and back in again. A deckbag is much easier for me to deal with. I use an Aquapac and while I’ve never held it under water, it’s gotten splashed plenty and has never failed me. Unless it’s dicey I take it out of the bag to shoot.

sagebrush bags
I’ve been using sage brush camera dry bag

for my dslr. I carry the body with a 55-300. When I’m shooting I’m not wearing skirt, so I keep it on the floor just under the deck. Very well made.


I bought a Watershed Ocoee bag for my stuff. A friend of mine thought to take out the liner from a Kata day pack and stick it in the Ocoee. Perfect fit. It will hold a modest SLR (D200), 35-70/f2.8, and a 12-24/f4. I can even squeeze a flash in, sometimes. No dice on a D2H or my 70-180 macro.

I’m considering buying the next size up, the Chattooga. It should hold a pro body, and two to three f2.8 zooms, plus some other gear.

They are expensive, but the very best dry bag I’ve ever had. Not exactly quick-extraction, but they are bombproof.

What’re you gonna do for a bag/box after all this great advice?

Thanks everyone
Sure were some great comments. I am now leaning toward a deck bag, simply because of the ease in getting my camera in and out. If the rivers that I paddle were rough, then a box would be a better choice, but 1-2 mph current is fairly safe…I think! Of course, I still have to persuade my wife to let me take the camera… (Still hear about the video camera that “someone” dropped on a boat ramp…)

Thanks to everyone!

And thanks
For the difference in Pelican box sizes. I would much rather have a bit bigger than squash my camera. Probably will get both options, take the Pelican when we go canoe camping, but like the options for my kayak with a deck bag…

But does sound like the 1450 is the perfect size, thanks for your great research and reply.