PRODUCT EVALUATION: Phone protection for riding 

By the staff of Dirt Wheels

The Pelican R40 Ruck and Shield cases are built to withstand some hard impacts and abrasion.


Many people in today’s culture view their cellular devices as an extension of themselves, and thus they are never without them. There are plenty of arguments for and against the intrusion of technology into everyday life, but we are not going to get into any of that here.

As editors, we use technology to present readers with up-to-date information. That means our pricey pocket computers need proper protection from the elements. Pelican understands that need all too well, so they gave us a Shield phone case for our iPhone Xs Max and an R40 Ruck case to test.



The Ruck phone case comes in three sizes (the R20, R40, and R60) and is built incredibly tough to protect your items from the elements. Inside the case is a divider tray that has Velcro straps that you can utilize to secure a phone cable. Inside the lid is a flexible rubber divider that we unhooked and slipped our phone behind. The bottom of the R40 Ruck is big enough to hold keys and a wallet or a spare battery charger.

The Ruck is built with an impact- and abrasion-resistant ABS material with rubber over-molded protective bumpers. A large clasp securely closes the dual-pivot, hinged lid of the case. An IP68-rated dust and waterproof seal keeps the elements out. The IP68 rating means the Ruck can be submerged in 6 feet of water for up to 30 minutes without liquid seeping in. There are handles built into the shell that you can clip a carabiner to or use to tie the Ruck down, and the case can be locked shut as well.

You can purchase the Ruck in orange, green, tan, or black. Prices range from $44.95 to $64.95, depending on the size. If you have a smaller mobile device, the R20 will be perfect. For those with bigger phones, or who need to store more items, we suggest you go bigger. Our R40 Ruck case fits in larger hydration packs, the glove boxes of multiple UTVs, and rack bags on 4×4 quads. We even strapped it down directly to the rack of a utility ATV. The case is extremely durable. You could drive over it in a UTV and it wouldn’t get crushed.

Inside the Ruck are a divider tray and a flexible rubber divider on the lid. We put our phone, wallet, keys, and a phone charger inside.



One of our editors, Collin, is quite good at dropping his phone. Climbing out of his truck, it falls from his lap, and sometimes it magically just grows legs and hops out of his grasp. One time he crushed it in his tailgate and spent a few hundred bucks to replace the screen. We ordered the Shield case from Pelican for him.

Pelican builds the base with five protective layers that include a shock-absorbing interior shell and reinforced corners. The construction consists of polycarbonate, thermoplastic elastomers, and Dupont Kevlar. Pelican also claims it is three times better than certain military standards and passed the tests with ease. They also offer a “You break it, we will replace it…forever” warranty. 

The case has three strong snap-shut clasps. The entire back of the phone is protected, and there are rubber over-molds for the volume and lock/unlock buttons. The Shield has a cutout for the phone’s camera and rubber closures over the silent switch and charging port that is easy to open. This isn’t a waterproof case, and the screen doesn’t have a protective layer over it, but it will work with screen protectors.

The Shield is a little bulky, but the case (choose black or white) is well worth the cost of $59.99. The shell protrudes far above the screen to help protect it. Collin has already done a great job of dropping his phone with the Shield around it without any issues. Pelican has many different case options for many different phones. Go to or call (310) 326-4700 to check out their awesome protection products.

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