ATA style road cases are thought to be the “best” way to transport your gear. Let me show you what you need to know and how to figure out the best way to protect your GEAR!
When it comes to protecting your gear there are a lot of different options. They range from the simplest methods such as soft bags or stacking bins all the way to these heavy-duty road cases.
Road cases are a great option for transporting your gear and ensuring that it safely gets to its destination but there are a couple things to keep in mind when you use these. Number one thing to consider is the weight and making sure that you will realistically be able to get it in and out of transport vehicles and to your gig site without causing too much strain to your back!
What To Look For
Not all road cases are created equal. You will find that some cases have hinges, and some don’t, as well as foam and separated sections. You may want to take a closer look at these variations depending on your personal needs.
Wheels or No Wheels
There are some cases with wheels and some which don’t have wheels. If you have a good cart the wheel aspect might not be much of a concern for you but if your primary mode of transporting these cases will be the case itself, you may want to go the wheel option and save your back the hassle of lifting.
With smaller cases you may find that the option of no wheels better suits your needs because they can be more easily lifted and stacked for more storage space.
Another thing to consider is the thickness of your case. Cases are made out of plywood with the best wood used called Baltic Birch. This type of plywood is very dense with a lot of layers to it which promote rigidity and add to the sturdiness for greater protection. You will also find that the outer layer of this wood is structural rather than just veneer.
On top of the wood there will be a plastic laminate with metal on the corners for even greater structural integrity. If you are going to go the route of these large road cases, thickness definitely matters. It is better to go with the higher quality wood and thickness from the beginning and ensure that your case will last a long time and do its job with the greatest efficiency.
Custom Made vs. Premade
If you go to a case company, you can easily get something custom made to fit whatever you need it to exactly. You can also find great quality premade cases if your needs are a little less specific. It really just comes down to what you need it for and your personal preference.
With premade cases you will find the bottoms will either have carpeting or foam. There are advantages and disadvantages to both styles. Having foam on the bottom provides that extra layer of protection and so is definitely something to consider looking for. Carpeting on the sides rather than the bottom provides a little extra durability and protection for your gear as your bringing things in and out of the case.
Another thing to think about before purchasing your perfect case is latches and hardware. How it opens and closes and the number of latches it has may make a significant difference to you. Ensuring that everything remains tightly sealed is incredibly important.
The handles are another important feature to your case. You will want to figure out how hard or easy it is to pick the case up when it’s full, how easy it is to lift up perhaps over a stair or something like that, and how easy it is to push. Basically, any types of maneuvers you may find yourself doing with your case and gear needs to be tested out and considered before purchasing to help keep life easy for you once you are using them.
When a road case says ATA, it means that the case can fly on a plane. This is definitely something to keep an eye out for if you will be traveling for gigs and need something that can be transported by flight. These ATA cases can be checked as checked baggage without issue and can physically withstand the extra abuse baggage takes when being taken on a plane.
It’s important to note that there are different levels of ATA, and they all have a certain number of flights that they are technically good for. You can look up and find the spec online. You want to make sure that you get something with the level that matches your needs. If you go in for a higher quality case it will more than likely be worth it because they have the potential to last for many years, getting great use out of them.
A well-built road case can last you a lifetime. Taking the time to really look into what you are buying and making sure that it fits your needs is well worth the time. You will end up with a great case that will protect your gear and is built to last.