80-SERIES OVERLAND TOOL KIT, House Your Tools – THE PELICAN CASE 1520 / 1550 / 1600
By: Rodney “GCRad1” Wills

80-SERIES OVERLAND TOOL KIT, House Your Tools - THE PELICAN CASE 1520 / 1550 / 1600

Everyone has their Pelican Case story! Before I tell my Peli’-story, this may be THE STORY of how Pelican Cases became synonyms with overland adventure! While reading Susan Dragoo’s March 11th, 2020 post, “Classic Kit | The Pelican Case” (linked below) while the whole story is chalked full of good stuff, this is the “AH-HA! I bet this is the spark of it all moment…

“A two-person team was selected from each participating country for the Camel Trophy, and each member received two Pelican cases for the event, embossed with the event logo. Pelican’s United Kingdom distributor, Peli UK, supplied 200 of the Pelican 1600 cases for the Camel Trophy every year in the mid- 1990s. “It wasn’t a sponsorship deal,” Ward said, “Camel bought the cases outright.”

From my days of SCCA Rally, one thing (many things) that stuck with me was the rule about carrying a factory manual in the vehicle at all times! While it simply makes good sense to carry tools, the manual aspect had not previously crossed my mind! But how was I to carry a book inside a rally car?! I needed a way to carry the book without destroying it and a small cache of tools. When I received the book, it was much larger than anticipated. Too, we would be accessing the tools much more often than the service manual, so the choice was made to keep the manual separate from the tools in it’s own case. I was on a shoe-string budget, but I wanted something that would do the task! I’ve used other cheaper “plastics” boxes only to have them shatter or leak. Pelican was always the known brand and my camera equipment is carried in a Pelican case. But to carry a book, mentally that was a little tough to justify the cost, especially at a time in my life when the pennies didn’t stack very high #becaseRaceCar! At the time, I found another company called Storm Case and promptly slapped my factory service manual inside, strapped it down and went rallying!

Rally is what brought me into the “overland adventure” space and in 2008 when I purchased my 1992 80-Series dubbed the ADV80, I ordered a factory manual right away. (2009 Pelican purchased Storm). Technically, there was a couple of motorcycles in between rallying and the Land Cruiser. With the motorcycle, I knew I was not a MX guy, nor a FMX guy, nor a desert race rat… What kind of moto-guy was I? I discovered my place and home within forum community of ADVrider.com. It’s from this forum that I asked the members, “Just picked up a 1992 80-Series Land Cruiser, what forum is there like ADVrider.com for 4-wheels?” I was pointed towards IH8MUD, Expedition Portal and Pirate4X4 for the extreme stuff. Within IH8MUD I found everything technical about my rig. I Joined the ‘MUD forum on . I was already familiar with Expedition Portal through motorcycle adventures, but now I was looking at different sections of the forum! (Joined 

As I started dirt pursuits immediately with the ADV80, I was equipped with my “encylco-bible” size service manual stuffed into an old computer laptop sleeve and tools toss into an old military backpack lid for a tool bag. Both of those items were tossed into a long-style milk crate along with a hand-winch aka “come-a-long.” I grew up in the South, we didn’t have a winch, but we had “come-a-long’s” and used quite a bit getting the “wood-truck” un-stuck! I love “Gucci” stuff, but I know how to make Abe’ Lincoln squeal! But I am going to GO!

Notes from November 28, 2008

ADV80 Desert-2-Mountain Trip Nov 29th – 30th, 2008
Packed and loaded. As I reflect back, each trip is a learning experience in what to bring, what is needed and how to pack.
Note #1: Don’t put charcoal bricks in zip-lock bag and place in same box as Cheez-It’s in another zip-lock bag. One taste of those Cheez-It’s relegated them to nothing more than campfire Ninja throwing stars.
Note #2: Things in boxes, if box is not completely filled to the top, items in box will also catch a little air, within the box. Found that out on a few “yumps” in the desert as we were in rally-mode a few times.

August 25, 2012 – Jonathan Hanson of Exploring Overland published “TheOne-Case Tool Kit, Part 1” (Link down below for extended reading)
This is the story that GOT ME! It sent me down the “rabbit hole” so – so many times! And here it is, 10-years later and I am still going back to it! My two big “takeaways” from this 4-part series of post is quality tools and THE PELICAN CASE. And not just any Pelican, but the 1550, “I’ve finally wrapped up my project to assemble a comprehensive one-case field tool kit—and I’m really glad I restricted myself to a Pelican 1550.” I took that as my signal to search! I had eBay searches for days – weeks! I found myself five of them, one for me and four for my buddy as he was building his 98 Jeep ZJ “SHTFV.” They are BRIGHT YELLOW but the price was RIGHT!

Now that I am living in Colorado Springs, I’m still driving the ADV80 with it’s underpowered 3F-E and just clicked off 328,000-miles (March 2022) on the odometer! I am still pursuing adventures, but ever so cautious as I am learning that high-altitude and cold weather are additional burdens to my poor ol’ rig! Thus, having tools with me is even more paramount! I am constantly asking guys what special tools they have/carry and while I don’t have them all, I do have a decent collection specially dedicated to my Pelican 1550. Granted they are mostly Craftsmen Tools. They are not Snap-On tools, but they are not Harbor-Freight tools. At least they are mid-80’s Craftsmen tools.  Again, Jonathan’s story comes to mind!

“It’s sheer common sense that for ten wrenches to be produced in Asia, shipped across the Pacific Ocean, trucked to a Harbor Freight store in Topeka, and sold at a profit for 15 bucks, something along the line had to give: quality, ethics, or both. If you’ve brought out the tools, something has already gone wrong. Why risk compounding the situation by using cheap tools to try to fix it?”
Jonathan Hanson of Exploring Overland published “TheOne-Case Tool Kit, Part 1”

Before we “deep dive” on contents of the tools, lets keep this confined to the Pelican Case itself. Some of you may not be as committed to carrying a 1550 Pelican Case and may opt for the slightly smaller 1520. There are several reason for opting for a slightly smaller case as a 40-Series Land Cruiser’s cargo space is much smaller than an 80-Series cargo area.

Size for comparison for the Pelican 1520 VS 1550  VS 1600:

Exterior (L×W×D) 19.78 x 15.77 x 7.41 in (50.2 x 40.1 x 18.8 cm)
Interior (L×W×D) 18.06 x 12.89 x 6.72 in (45.9 x 32.7 x 17.1 cm)

Exterior (L×W×D) 20.66 x 17.20 x 8.40 in (52.5 x 43.7 x 21.3 cm)
Interior (L×W×D) 18.63 x 14.18 x 7.72 in (47.3 x 36 x 19.6 cm)

Exterior (L×W×D) 24.39 x 19.36 x 8.79 in (62 x 49.2 x 22.3 cm)
Interior (L×W×D) 21.51 x 16.54 x 7.99 in (54.6 x 42 x 20.3 cm)

Front Runner Wolf Pack
Exterior: (L×W×D) 20.1″ x 15.8″ x 9.1″ (510mm  x 400mm  x 230mm)


Why did I included the Wolf Pack?

When my rig is not posing as a WORK TRUCK…

When the ADV80 is not working as a “work truck,” it is set up so my wife and I can sleep on a deck with he Pelican 1550 Case and Wolf Packs (3) fit underneath. Wolf Packs are carrying recovery, spares and kitchen supplies.
Take a moment and deep dive further into all this and I will hopefully come back and post what my tool kit contents are as well as what Justin carries in his #RLLC80.
• Jonathan Hanson of Exploring Overland published “The One-Case Tool Kit, Part 1, 2, 3, 4
• Susan Dragoo’s March 11th, 2020 post, “Classic Kit | The Pelican Case
• For some extended research:

Pelican 1520 Case (Black) On-Board Tool Containment
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