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Thread: What’s your travel case?

  1. #1

    Default What’s your travel case?

    How do you protect your travel mando when flying? What is acceptable as a carry on case? My travel mando was made from a Saga kit. I don’t want to spend more money on the case than the instrument.

  2. #2
    Expert on my own opinion Bogle's Avatar
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    Default Re: What’s your travel case?

    My "go-to" case for air travel is from Gator.....polyfoam with a black nylon exterior. It's compact, not quite as thick as a Travelite but similar in construction. The Gator's big advantage is storage, with a decent-sized interior compartment PLUS 1 large and 1 small nylon mesh zipper pouch on the front exterior, allowing space for a cellphone, tablet, personal effects, etc.

    I have a couple of Travelites and they're nice cases, but the Gator (to me) is ideal as a carry-on.

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    Rush Burkhardt Rush Burkhardt's Avatar
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    Default Re: What’s your travel case?

    I use a cheap gig bag for carry-on travel, and have for 40 years. I sit, patiently, with my mandolin (a '37 Gibson F12 Randy Wood-conversion)in my lap until almost all travelers are on board. I then look in neighboring compartments for one (preferably with soft stuff) where I can put my mando, securely, on top of the bags in place. I close the compartment and watch to be sure no one attempts to put additional luggage there. (Has only happened once in about 100 trips.) I then forget about it. If it is damaged by shifting luggage, I will have more than my mandolin to worry about! PS It has never had ANY damage!
    Rush Burkhardt
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    Default Re: What’s your travel case?

    Calton. But then I don't take a travel mandolin and have , so far, been allowed to carry it on. I do always pay any early boarding fee. R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

  6. #5

    Default Re: What’s your travel case?

    I'm a newbie and I was wondering where the best place to buy an air travel case would be? Does anyone use a particular shop or website?

    Thanks,

    Harry,

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    Registered User EvanElk's Avatar
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    Default Re: What’s your travel case?

    Almost any mandolin case will fit in an overhead compartment. I have been traveling constantly this past year and always have a mandolin with me. Lately I've been using a Hoffee - it is slightly fatter than my Calton and it fits fine in every overhead I've put it into this past year. I've also never had any complaints about bringing it onboard. There seems to be a positive attitude and/or policy about musical instruments these days.
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    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Default Re: What’s your travel case?

    I use a Hoffee. There are many threads on travel cases to be found on the Mandolin Cafe. I'd suggest checking them out; there's a lot to learn and there are many opinions.

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    Registered Muser dang's Avatar
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    Default Re: What’s your travel case?

    A Hoffee for a saga kit mando? I feel like the OP is looking for something less expensive
    I should be pickin' rather than postin'

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    Registered User EvanElk's Avatar
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    Default Re: What’s your travel case?

    I didn't notice what mando he was talking about... though Hoffees can often be had used for a good price. I recommend a Northfield recurve with backpack straps so you have your hands free for other luggage. I have one of those and it's awesome for getting though airports and super slender
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  11. #10

    Default Re: What’s your travel case?

    Crossrock fiberglass case. You can find them on Amazon for $160 at times, or normally 180 bills.
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    Registered User Buck's Avatar
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    Default Re: What’s your travel case?

    Since your budget is below that of a true flight case, I'd suggest that any decent hard case will do. To get the most out of that, pack the instrument as if you were shipping it. At a minimum add padding that will immobilize the headstock to prevent a whiplash break. That means padding underneath and on top. This can easily be removed and replaced if TSA asks to see inside the case. Make sure the instrument fits the rest of the case well too. Instruments get damaged when they can move inside the case, and sometimes case shows no external damage.

    I used a Hiscox for a guitar, but did as noted above on a recent trip to Ireland. Though I travel a great deal, I seldom fly. The case was a good fit overall, but I padded the headstock to prevent the whiplash break. I was also able to carry it on all flights and it was stored in a closet for me. The flight crew couldn't have been more accommodating. I smiled a lot. As Billy Joe Shaver says, "It's nice to be important, more important to be nice."

    Since I just recently took photos of it, here's my travel case...though I realize it's not what the OP is looking for.

    Todd Yates

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  14. #12
    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Default Re: What’s your travel case?

    Quote Originally Posted by dang View Post
    A Hoffee for a saga kit mando? I feel like the OP is looking for something less expensive
    Well, I agree that a Hoffee is not for him, but be fair. The OP asked us what travel case we use. "What's your travel case"? is the title of the thread. "How do you protect your travel mando when flying?" he asked. I was just answering the question in the form that he posed it, after all!

    Also, I think those of us who do a lot of air travel with a mandolin tend to get a more expensive "flight" case, regardless of the instrument housed inside. Yes, it might seem like overkill to put a lesser (say, $1,000) instrument inside a $800 case, but for many of us, the lesser instrument may be one of several mandolins that we own, and one that we're willing to take on the road with us. But the case is probably our very best case! So YES, I can certainly imagine putting a Saga kit mandolin inside a Hofee, Calton, or Pegasus case for a trip, especially if you already own the case, and probably got it originally for a more expensive mandolin that you may prefer to leave at home. Makes perfect sense, no?

    Many of us own several mandolins, all in their cases, but own only one (perhaps two) really good flight-worthy cases. You seldom travel with more than one mando.
    Last edited by sblock; Aug-16-2019 at 5:42pm.

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  16. #13

    Default Re: What’s your travel case?

    I use a Pegasus case for all of my travel, planes, cars, gigs, even to church. I don't like taking risks.
    Cheers

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    Registered User Tom Haywood's Avatar
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    Default Re: What’s your travel case?

    Going with the OP's question. I built a small acoustic mandolin to fit my large suitcase. The suitcase is the mandolin case. Clothes and supplies are the padding. The suitcase is regular checked baggage on an airplane. This "case" has been successful on airplane and large bus travel numerous times with no issues at all. The mandolin was designed to be stronger than my more expensive mandolins. In fact, I chickened out of carrying a "campfire" style mandolin this way.
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  19. #15

    Default Re: What’s your travel case?

    My significant other made me a soft textile bag from an ikea blanket. I have a soft case too, but I like those vintage guitar bags that provide no comfort or security.

  20. #16
    Registered User Bob Clark's Avatar
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    Default Re: What’s your travel case?

    I have a Hoffee and a Gator. Whether I bring my more expensive Phoenix mandolin or my less expensive Crystal Forest flat-top depends on who I will be playing with and the genre. To a limited degree, also the venue.

    Which case I use depends on the mode of travel, mostly not the plane or train, but the ground transport when I get there. The Hoffee is used if the case will ever leave my hands, for example if I am to travel in a van with others. The Gator is used if the case will never leave my hands, for example if the ground transport is only myself or maybe one other person in a personal car or cab.

    Dollar value of the instrument doesn't determine the case, for me. Perceived risk does. That said, most of my travel is by train not by air.

    I'd also like to add that as beautiful and functional as the Hoffee is, I actually prefer traveling with the Gator. There is something satisfying about my rather worn Gator, and I like that my IPad fits in its outside pocket. In my mind, it has become a lot like an old pair of jeans. It makes me smile.

    This is what works for me, but certainly others take a different route and that's cool, too.
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    Default Re: What’s your travel case?

    For an inexpensive (Ibanez 510 in my case-no pun intended) mandolin I just use a Boulder Alpine bag-no matter the mode of travel. For air travel, I put it in a small back pack(my carry on) so the body is padded by stuff in the pack I wrap the headstock, which sticks out the top of the pack, with a t shirt or bubble wrap for additional padding and am careful where I stow it in an overhead. If I were to travel with a better mandolin (carry on), I’d use a Gator poly foam case. YMMV.
    Thanks

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    Question Re: What’s your travel case?

    I had a Pocket mandolin in a well padded bag in the OHC when I flew to Ireland,
    for my Bicycle tour-pub crawl in 97..



    I took my mandolin for empty house companionship, when I flew to my father's Memorial service ..

    Short Hop PDX to SFO.

    Packed, Original hard case, wrapped in Clothes, in a duffle bag,

    strapped to a backpack frame, worn to make ground transportation connections easier,

    and as checked luggage ,

    it was OK . this was around this time of year , in 2000..
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    Default Re: What’s your travel case?

    I now have a Carbon Mix A5, it goes in a Fiberglass Eastman A5 specific case,
    Not that I fly anywhere any more..

    but it would be the one to take, if I did. ( want overhead compartment space ? get on early ) ..

    New the FG Eastman has been made versatile A4/F4 , A5/F5 , look like they all fit..







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    Default Re: What’s your travel case?

    Case du jour, a Presto made for Duff mandolins. Very nice and certainly suitable for air/car/boat/train/car travel.
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    Default Re: What’s your travel case?

    I have a Price Streamline case, love it.
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  26. #22

    Default Re: What’s your travel case?

    My vote would go for the Crossrock fiberglass. I don't have one for my mandolin, but I have the carbon fiber shaped version for one of my fiddles. It's super light, compact, offers great protection (you can stand on it), and even has a nice scalloped area so it hugs into your hip if you sling it over your shoulder for those long terminal walks. The straps are stellar. I would imagine the mandolin version is just as up to the task.

  27. #23
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    Default Re: What’s your travel case?

    I bought a $40 slightly padded tennis racket bag for my travel mando. I fly almost every week for work. Sometimes I put some clothes in there with it, sometimes I put a tennis racket in as well. I like to travel light, and I fear a hard or bulky mandolin case would eventually feel like too much of a burden and I would be tempted to leave it home. I just place it in the overhead bin and havent’ had any problems. If I were bringing my Collings with me, I would get something more substantial just for peace of mind. Reunion has some decent appearing bags, which include backpack straps, for $130 ish on Amazon. I think their tenor use bag actually may be a better fir for a mando based on some reviews I saw.
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