Rimowa and Pelican are known for their high-end luggage that exudes luxury. The Rimowa Essential Cabin continues the company’s legacy and is a strong, spacious suitcase that can withstand the harshest conditions. The Pelican 1510 is a deserving competitor of the Rimowa cases and has some great features.

If you are searching for some of the best carry-on luggage options, the two suitcases that invariably stand out are the Essential Cabin and the Pelican 1510. 

Both luggage is made from high-quality materials and has features making them ideal companions for air travel.   

The trademark grooves of Rimowa luggage hard shell luggage are unmissable and give their luggage line a distinct, drop-dead gorgeous look. Made to withstand almost any condition, the Rimowa Cabin features a durable polycarbonate shell and is perfect as a carry-on bag. 

Many consider the Pelican 1510 a rival to the Rimowa luggage Essential Cabin, and for good reasons. The Pelican case can stand on its own when it comes to the quality of material and looks.

With not a lot separating the two suitcases, which one is a better option? We will answer this very question in this article. So, let’s get going!

Rimowa Essential Cabin Matte Black
Rimowa Essential Cabin Matte Black
Pelican 1510 Protector Carry-On Case
1510 Protector Carry-On Case

Rimowa Essential Cabin

Engineered and designed in Germany, the Rimowa original Cabin is one of the sturdiest suitcases you can find on the market. The suitcase is made from high-quality polycarbonate material that is impact-proof and has exceptional attention to detail, as you would expect from such a quality carry-on luggage brand.

Size and weight

The Essential Cabin is designed to carry about four outfits for a 2-3 day trip. The suitcase is 21.7 ‘15.4’ 9.1 inches (55x39x23 cm) in size, which makes it compatible with most airlines for cabin storage.

The Essential Cabin is an extremely lightweight suitcase weighing 7.1 pounds (3.2 kilograms) thanks to its light polycarbonate design. It has a fully loaded storage capacity of 9.5 gallons (35.9 liters), making it one of the best carry-on luggage brands. 

Rimowa Essential Cabin sideways
Rimowa Essential Cabin sideways

Built with quality material

The Essential is made from a high-quality polycarbonate that is a great choice for luggage. The lightweight, high tensile strength, and impact resistance make it an ideal material for making hard shell suitcases.

Furthermore, the material can be easily molded to give Rimowa hard-sided carry-on luggage its characteristic look. These quality bags are also available in various colors that help them stand out and exude class.

Rimowa is one of the first luggage brands to use polycarbonate material in their suitcases for over a decade, with great results. The company also tried to introduce a transparent polycarbonate suitcase, which was a head-turner for sure.

The polycarbonate that Rimowa uses is of the highest grade making the Essential Cabin one of the sturdiest suitcases you can purchase. The Essential is made using a thicker polycarbonate sheet than other bags.

The polycarbonate Essential Cabin suitcase is great for anyone looking for a cabin suitcase that will last for years in style.

High-quality wheels

Wheels are one of the most important parts of a suitcase that make it easy for you to lug it around the airport when you are scampering to catch your connecting flight. Wobbly, low-quality spinner wheels that jam often can make your experience horrific.

Thankfully, the Essential Cabin contains ball-bearing in all four wheels with cushioned axles, making them smooth on almost any surface. You can glide this suitcase through the airport in a breeze and never worry about missing your flight.

Rimowa Essential Multiwheel system
Rimowa Essential Multiwheel system

Zip that lasts a lifetime

The Essential Cabin features a 360-degree zip with TSA-approved locks for added security. The high-quality zip is as smooth as they get and will not jam on you when opening or closing the carry-on luggage.

Rimowa Essential TSA locks
Rimowa Essential TSA locks

The internal dividers

The Essential Cabin comes with high-quality internal dividers that attach with Velcro. So, if you don’t like them or want extra space, you can always remove them.

The meshed compressors can help you keep things organized and prevent your clothes from tossing and moving around during transfers.

Rimowa Essential Cabin Interior
Rimowa Essential Cabin Interior

The Rimowa warranty

All these features of the Essential Cabin carry-on luggage come with a 5-year Rimowa warranty. However, you must register your product to get this extended warranty. If you do not register your product, you still get the standard 2-year warranty, typical of luggage brands in this category.

You can easily register your product on the Rimowa luggage website by entering the serial number embossed on the suitcase’s side.

The warranty covers all manufacturing defects, including the YKK zippers and the four wheels. You can also cover airline damage under this warranty. 

However, if you break the polycarbonate shell or damage it, the warranty won’t cover it. If your suitcase needs replacement parts, the company will do it at no additional cost within the warranty period.

Pelican 1510

Pelican carry-on luggage has long been known for its sturdy design and durability. The Pelican 1510 is no exception. The strong, sturdy exterior is complimented with plenty of cushioning, making it safe to store expensive equipment like cameras and lenses. 

The Pelican cases are designed to store anything from expensive cameras to photography lenses and computer equipment that you don’t want in your checked bags. 

Pelican 1510 Protector Carry-On Case
1510 Protector Carry-On Case

Size and weight of the carry-on bag

The Pelican 1510 meets the FAA requirements for carry-on luggage. The case has dimensions of 22.00 x 13.81 x 9.00 inches (55.9 x 35.1 x 22.9 cm), with a lid depth of 1.79 inches (4.5 cm).

The case is extremely lightweight, thanks to the polycarbonate material used in the construction. The case weighs about 13.6 pounds (6.17 kg) with the foam and about 11.99 pounds (5.44 kg) without it.

Pelican 1510 Protector Carry-On Case

The material

Pelican cases have a reputation among carry-on luggage brands for making carry-on luggage that offers great protection and is built like a tank. The Pelican 1510 is no exception. 

The carry-on hard-sided bag is made from high-quality co-polymer, provides excellent security, and is virtually indestructible.

The co-polymer construction makes the carry-on bag impact-resistant and keeps the weight light. One of the best things about this case is that it has an O-ring seal in the lid that holds water and dust away. Even when the suitcase is submerged in water, 1 meter deep, for 30 minutes, the water can’t intrude on the case.

Pelican 1510 Protector Carry-On Case

The latching mechanism

The Pelican 1510 features patented double-throw latches that are more secure than other bags with zippers. They make a satisfying “click” when you close them as well. 

The latches effectively keep dirt and water out of the carry-on luggage by establishing a tight seal with the O-rings. There won’t be any accidental opening with these locks.

For security, the Pelican 1510 has two holes in the latches that allow you to secure the lid using two padlocks. Although there is no TSA lock in these suitcases, the security with the padlocks is adequate.

Thanks to the sturdy material, the O-rings, and the patented latch mechanism, the Pelican 1510 can endure any travel condition.

The case also features a purge valve that can equalize the pressure inside if you travel to higher altitudes. The valve would not let any air in to maintain water resistance. 

Furthermore, you don’t have to press a button or anything like that to equalize the pressure; it all happens automatically. 

Pelican 1510 Protector Carry-On Case

Wheels and mobility of the carry-on bags

The wheels are an important part of any suitcase. The Pelican 1510 features 360-degree wheels, making rolling this suitcase on any surface easy. 

Although the wheels are made from polyurethane plastic and can be locked in one direction, they have stainless steel bearings.

There is no padding in the axles, though. The ride can be a bit bumpy, especially on an uneven surface.

Organizations and internal paddings of the carry-ons

The Pelican 1510 suitcases come with four interior options-

  • With foam
  • No foam
  • Padded divider
  • Trek pack version

The padded dividers use hard-wearing nylon and have strong hook and loop fixtures. You can arrange the padding in whatever configuration you like. 

You can always remove the padding to turn this case into a regular suitcase if you don’t need the packing cubes.

If you go for the model with the padded divider, the upper segment of the case contains a padded, removable 15-inch laptop case.

Great look

Although the Pelican 1510 is made with utility in mind, it also has a great look. Although the suitcases are not as colorful or flashy as others in this segment, their minimalistic look shows they mean business.

People who travel frequently also like to customize the case’s outer shell by putting up stickers to give them a distinctive look.

The Pelican 1510 is available in three color options- army green, army beige, and black.

Comparison of features of these quality bags

While both the Pelican 1510 and the Essential Cabin are great suitcases in their own right, they have quite a few differences. Here is how these two suitcases compare when pitted against each other.

Rimowa Essential Cabin Vs. Pelican 1510
Rimowa Essential Cabin Vs. Pelican 1510

The design

The first and most obvious difference between the two suitcases is their design language. While the Essential Cabin is more stylish and contemporary thanks to the characteristic grooves, the Pelican 1510 is more minimalistic.

Both suitcases are made from high-quality polymer, sturdy, and built to last for a lifetime. However, while the Rimowa closes with a zipper, the Pelican has a patented double-throw latch system.

The latching mechanism makes the Pelican a more secure case than the Essential Cabin.

Another great feature present on the Pelican and absent on the Essential Cabin is the O-ring. The Pelican is water-tight and dust-resistant due to the O-ring seals, while the Essential Cabin has no water or dust resistance. 

The Essential features an in-built lock; the security in the Pelican is provided by two external padlocks that secure the lid of the case.

Both suitcases feature smooth, stainless steel bearings in plastic wheels, making it a breeze to roll these in a hurry.

 However, the Essential Cabin features padded axles, making rolling these suitcases easy on any surface. 

The interior 

The Pelican 1510 and the Essential have similar interior designs and features. Both suitcases come with internal pads and packing cubes made from high-quality nylon. You can remove the compartments if you like in both suitcases.


Here is a detailed comparison of the features of both these carry-on cases so that you can make an informed purchasing decision.

 Rimowa Essential CabinPelican 1510
Measurements 21.5 inches/55 cm width15.4 inches/39 cm depth 9.1 inches/23 cm height22 inches/55.9 cm width13.81 inches/35.1 cm depth 9.0 inches/22.9 cm height
Weight 7.1 pounds (3.2 kilograms)11.99 pounds (5.44 kg)
Volume 9.5 gallons (35.9 liters)7.04 gallons (26.6 liters)
ExteriorPolycarbonate Polycarbonate
Locking system Zippers into 1 TSA-approved lock on the sideDouble-throw latch system with two padlocks
ColorsRed gloss, matte blue, matte black, black glossArmy green, army beige, black
Pros– Lightweight-Rick looks and feel-High durability-Sturdy wheels-Greater volume for storage – Lightweight-Minimalistic look-O-ring for waterproofing-Sturdy wheels-Great latch system
Cons– A zipper lock can make closing the case a problem.-You can easily overpack it and exceed the maximum weight.– Plastic wheels can wear quickly.-Weighs more than the competition.

Price comparison

Both Pelican 1510 and the Essential are excellent choices for carry-on luggage. They are lightweight, sturdy, and good-looking pieces of luggage.

The Pelican 1510 starts at $200 (without foam), and a fully-specced version with padded dividers can go up to $275.

On the other hand, the Essential Cabin is a significantly costlier option coming in at $875 in retail stores.

Although the Essential Cabin carries a more expensive price tag, it is a high-end strong bag that is more than a carrying case. It makes a style statement that easily justifies the price.

Customer reviews

The Pelican 1510 and the Essential Cabin have received much praise from users over the years. Most people are generally happy with their purchase and love the quality the suitcases provide.

What do the customers say about the Pelican 1510?

People love the real-world performance of this sturdy and rugged case. Most reviews rave about this case’s sturdy exterior and roomy interior.

Many users also find the waterproof O-ring to be a great feature, especially if you are planning to store sensitive equipment like cameras and computers in this case. 

The latch system in this suitcase is also very secure, making it an ideal companion for shutterbugs and frequent travelers alike.

Pelican offers a lifetime warranty with this case, which is also a great feature. However, some people have reported difficulties in getting replacement parts from the company, but the reaction to the warranty is generally positive.

What do the customers say about the Essential Cabin?

People who have used the Essential Cabin love this suitcase’s classic design and utility. Most people using the case report have no problem stashing it in the overhead compartment on a passenger plane.

Most users also like the color options and the classic Rimowa design in these carry-on cases. The Essential Cabin is lightweight and easy to maneuver through tight spaces, thanks to the high-quality steel bearings on the wheels.

The polycarbonate exterior of these suitcases is more resistant to scratches than aluminum suitcases, and many people love this feature. 

Frequent travelers also love how roomy these away bags are. Thanks to a great compression system, you can easily fit a week’s worth of clothes in this suitcase for short holidays or business trips.

Most people also report having a great experience with the company’s warranty department. The parts under warranty are quickly replaced.

If you are looking for stylish suitcases that you can carry on planes, then the Essential Cabin is a fantastic option.


Traveling on a plane with a carry-on can be a hassle if you don’t have the right bag. Airlines are quite strict regarding the dimensions and weights of carry-on luggage and suitcases. 

The Essential Cabin and Pelican 1510 are both great cabin luggage designed with FAA regulations in mind.

The Essential Cabin and the Pelican 1510 are also great carry-on bags thanks to the lightweight polycarbonate material. 

However, the Pelican 1510 has a leg over the Essential cabin due to water resistance and better interior organization. 

That said, the classic style and flashy colors make the Essential Cabin suitcases a great choice for those who don’t want their luggage to be boring and drab.

So, if you want a lightweight, elegant, sturdy, and easily maneuverable travel companion, you can’t go wrong with the Essential Cabin. Check out Gracefuldegrade for more reviews about travel luggage.