Updated: Nov 15, 2022
Save hundreds of pounds and make your own
What is a photographers hard case?
These are sometimes called flight cases, but they are often a waterproof hard plastic storage case for all sorts of photography equipment.
They come in lots of different sizes and can be used for travelling around and transporting your expensive camera gear. Inside they have padded compartments of various sizes
I prefer these types of cases when travelling to a client job because they have easy access, are very protective and look professional. It’s not the sort of thing you would take out on a hike though, thats when the rucksack rules.
These cases can be expensive, anywhere from £200 to £500 and upwards, depending on the make, size and type you need.
So a year ago, I thought how hard can it be to make your own. I’d already found that you can buy the basic plastic case on its own without anything inside. Or even some came with that horrible foam you can ‘cut out’ or tear out holes to fit your gear in.
I tried foam a long time ago, never again. It doesn’t last, breaks up easy and you can get tiny bits of foam rubbing off every time you take your camera gear in and out.
After working out what gear I wanted to carry and laying it out on the floor, I found a case online that seemed about the right size.
It was called
And cost £35 which looked like a bargain
When the case came it had protective foam inside the lid and bottom which was fine, but I binned the cut out foam that filled the rest of the compartment.
What you need to make padded inserts for camera hard cases
I spent too much time looking for inserts I could buy to make compartments but firstly they were expensive, something around £150 or more, and secondly I couldn’t even find ones they were the exact size for the case, including the depth.
You will need (mostly from eBay)
1. Waterproof 4oz coated nylon fabric (orange) lining 1m to 2m £10
2. Upholstery foam sheet high density (blue) £10
3. 2 x 4mm beekeeping Correx Sheets £7.50
4. Neoprene adhesive foam rubber sheet 30cm x 122cm long £10
5. Bobby pins 5cm £2
6. Gaffa Tape £5 7. Double sided parcel tape £5
Total insert cost about £50 (UK GBP) (April 2021)
The size and amount of this depends on your size of case but the above was for my case.
Scissors, Craft Knife, Cutting surface
How to make padded inserts for camera hard cases
Work out how you want to section to case up. Put your camera gear inside to get a good idea of layout.
Cut the Correx sheet up into the right height and length to fit inside your case. Each divider will need two identical pieces of Core sheet, and stick them together with the double sided tape. Your won’t needed Correx Sheeting for edge of the case
Cut in to the right size the self adhesive neoprene rubber sheet and stick to each side of each Correx divider you have already cut.
Place the Core dividers into your case and where one divider touches another divider at 90 degrees, use a bobby pin (or two) to connect them. The bobby pin slides between the walls of the Correx sheets and holds them together.
5. Cut the upholstery foam to the right depth and length to go around the inside edge of the case. This will be in sections that fit between the dividers.
6. Take the upholstery foam and wrap and cut the neoprene sheet around each section. You dont need to do the ends of the foam as they will be hidden. Over lap the nylon sheet and secure the nylon sheet with a strip of gaffe tape the full length of the join. The gaffe tape will be hidden between the case and the foam. The gaffe tape has never come unstuck, other tape might.
Thats all there is to it. Altogether under £85 A really strong ridged and padded dividers in a waterproof case. The dividers can be moved or even remade. I have added a couple of extra padded bits, but thats the beauty of making your own. The case fits in the car boot perfectly and when opened I can see everything easily. Ive been using this for about a year and a half and its still as good as the day I made it.