Gear Review: Pelican ProGear Vault Case for iPad

Pelican ProGear

Technology has certainly made travel much easier and more enjoyable in recent years. Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets have allowed us to stay in contact with friends and family back home, while also providing hours of entertainment while on long flights or spending time in crowded airports. My iPad is a constant companion on any trip I take these days,, allowing me to read books, watch movies, listen to music, and play games while taking up very little room in my carryon bag. But as an avid adventure traveler, I often find myself visiting remote, out of the way places that aren't always very accommodating to delicate tech devices.

Protecting my precious tablet is always a major concern, particularly when trekking in the Himalaya or camping in a remote part of Africa. Thankfully, the fine folks at Pelican offer a wide range of options for keeping our tech gear safe from harm, including the incredibly durable Vault cases specifically built with the iPad in mind. 

​Pelican offerer versions of the Vault for both the iPad Air and the iPad Mini, and other than their obvious difference in size they are nearly identical. These incredibly rugged and durable cases enshroud your tablet in a full suit of armor that not only protects them from accidental drops on hard surfaces, but from the harsh elements frequently encountered in the outdoors too. Made from tough, impact resistant rubber, the Vault also includes a screen-protecting lid that further shields the iPad from serious harm.

That lid is held in place by aircraft-grade aluminum which ensure that it it remains firmly attached to the case itself no matter how much abuse it is forced to endure. The result is product built to accompany us on all our adventures, no matter where they take us.  

Once placed inside the Vault, and with the lid closed tight, the iPad becomes completely immune to dust and dirt, which usually have a detrimental effect on any electronic device. A tablet equipped with a Vault can even survive being momentarily immersed in water, or getting pelted with driving rain, thanks to the tight seal that this case creates. Rubber protectors cover the headphone jack, Lightning port, and various other vulnerable points along the edge of the iPad, while still granting the user easy access to those various ports and switches as needed.

A protective layer of hard, yet completely transparent, glass covers the rear-facing camera lens too, keeping it well protected while still allowing it to be used to capture photos and video from our travels.

It is clear that the designers at Pelican put a lot of thought into the construction of this product. It is evident that they took great care to ensure that it can be carried safely into some of the harshest environments on the planet, and bring our mobile devices back home in once piece. The primary goal with this case is to protect our fragile gadgets no matter where we take them, and no matter how much punishment we dole out along the way. As a result, the Vault  feels like it is nearly indestructible, which is only further enhanced by the fact that the company backs it with a lifetime guarantee.


If there is a knock to be made against the Vault case it probably that isn't very convenient to get your iPad in and out of it. Apple has built a very thin, ergonomic device that I prefer to use without a case when I'm not traveling. But in order to achieve that tight seal that repels dust and dirt, the tablet must be installed in the Vault with a cover plate that protects its outer edges. For the iPad Mini versioin of the Vault that plate is held in place by six screws that must be removed when ever taking the tablet in or out.

That takes a bit of time, and you'll have to remember to keep track of all of the screws, as well as the included hex tool as well. Owners of Apple's larger iPad have it far worse though. Their version of the Vault case actually has 15 screws to deal with. 

That one annoyance aside, I have to say that once installation is complete, the Vault feels really nice around the iPad. While it does add a degree of bulk, it is still surprisingly light and thin for a product built to protect our gadgets from so many potential disasters. While I will continue to remove my iPad from the case when I return from my travels, I didn't find it to be especially annoying to use the table in the case while on the road. If anything, I appreciated the fact that the Vault provided some extra grip while using it in places where dropping my iPad would typically have resulted in catastrophic damage.


If you're a traveler who frequently hits the road with your precious tech gadgets in tow, than the Vault case from Pelican is a great product to have on your radar. It provides plenty of protection for your iPad, while also delivering the piece of mind you need to confidently use your device in just about any environment. Considering the cost of replacing an iPad, the $79.95 price tag for the Mini version of the Vault seems like quite a steal. Unsurprisingly, the larger version of the case built for the iPad Air also carries a higher price tag.

With an MSRP of $159.95 it is bit more expensive than I would like. Fortunately it can be found online at a good discount, which makes it much easier to recommend as well. 

For adventure travelers with an iPad, these cases should be considered mandatory gear for your next expedition.