Gear Reviews

Reviewed: Hardcase for a tough life

Hardcase low profile on roof rack

There’s a new 4X4 gear case on the market that we have been testing out, during filming for season 11. Now a box is a box, right? They all do the same basic job, because if they don’t they wouldn’t be boxes. It’s all the little thoughts and conveniences that make this Hardcase easier to use and a bit more useful for 4X4ers.

Roto-moulded in tough food-grade grey plastic, these cases don’t stand out like dog’s balls. No good for mall-crawlers, only real campers and 4X4ers. The interior is smooth and shiny to make it easier to clean (along with a drain bung), while the outside is a matte finish for better grip. There’s moulded handles on both the ends and sides and adjustable, relocatable handles with plastic grips fitted too. The catches are steel and use steel and brass inserts to prevent pulling through the case and to give a smooth interior. Being steel, the latches are also fairly tough, and the padlock loop is doubly thick to prevent undesired access.

Smart use of space in a cramped canopy
As far as we know, this is the only end-opening hardcase getting around. Gas struts work, too!

The Hardcases use high-quality material with no discernible odour. Cheap boxes can stink to high heaven, as does everything stored in them. Food grade means it’s safe for your tucker; even flour won’t take on a plastic flavour, and the seal is easily removable just in case you do make a mess inside. There’s a drain bung (that also fits a tap) in the bottom so you can use it as an ice bucket, baby bath, live bait container or if absolutely desperate an oil change catch tray too.

Bottle opener on Hardcase
Built in bottle opener? Spot on.

More than just a bottle opener on a box

Then there’s the clever solutions. The tie down method is my favourite: Instead of a strap across the top of the box limiting access, you thread the strap through specially relieved channels on the lip of the box and back under and repeat on the other side, so it can stay tied down and still have full use of the lid. For long jaunts on the road, this feature alone will save a lot of time and heartache.

There’s a variety of sizes, both in floor area and height. The low profile cases are great for the roofrack or on top of a drawer system inside. One of our boxes is end-opening instead of the usual side opening, it fit really well next to the fridge in the back of the Amarok. And as predicted, access was convenient.

Hardcase tie down method is neat, convenient and easy to use. There's ample headroom under the lid too!
Hardcase tie down method is neat, convenient and easy to use. There’s ample headroom under the reinforced lid too!

Where can you buy them?

You can buy them from proper hardware stores around Australia including Mitre 10, Home Hardware, Thrifty Link, Hardings and True Value Hardware stores.

Oh, we may have inadvertently dropped a partially loaded Hardcase from roof rack height onto compacted dirt, and didn’t break it, but did leave it in a convenient place to stand on… so we won’t mention how robust they are…

UPDATE

We have since been informed by the importer that stock is expected in the first week of November for the majority of listed hardware stores, customers may potentially be able to arrange with their local store if they wish to purchase in advance of the amended release date.

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