If you’re in need of a sturdy case for your PDA and accessories, consider the Grinder Gear Expedition. Here’s a tough case with lots of thoughtful design features. As you can see in Figure A, the Expedition is a medium-size pack; the front consists of a webbed pocket and another zippered side pocket. It’s small enough to clip on a belt and large enough to hold more gear. At $44.95 (U.S.), the cost is comparable to other high-quality packs, such as RhinoSkin’s RhinoPak 2000, which retails for $39.95 (U.S.).

Figure A
The Grinder Gear Expedition is a sturdy PDA pack ideal for belt, briefcase, or backpack. (Photo courtesy of Grinder Gear)

Made of 1000 denier Cordura nylon, the Expedition is a pack that can survive a camping trip as easily as an international business flight. With PDA owners toting GPS, map software, and even cell phone and digital camera snap-ons, these rugged travel uses are not so far-fetched any more. Need more evidence of its ruggedness? The Expedition uses 5/8 inch climber’s-grade webbing for its carrying handles.

The back of the Expedition contains a novel feature for a PDA case: a strong, snap-on belt clip. This clip has a quick release lever. It swivels, which releases stress at the clip-point. When I tested the case, the belt clip was very snug—the spring seemed to be high quality.

You can see a “stuffed” version of the case in Figure B. The inside is plush and soft—just what exposed touch screens require. Inside you’ll also find two additional zippered pockets, one on each wing. In the hinge are loops for storing pens and two small pouches that are ideal for holding extra batteries. Nonelastic bands on either wing can hold down gear, or you can slip a notepad cover in one for times when you really need a pen or pencil. Use the four elastic straps to secure your PDA by its corners.

Figure B
There’s plenty of room on the Expedition for accessories. (Photo courtesy of Grinder Gear)

Overall, this model is an excellent design. I especially like the thick elastic straps, heavy-duty case materials, high-quality zippers, and stiff liner that help the bag keep its shape. I have only a few design concerns. I’m concerned that the belt clip might release, though the fact that the case snaps down into the belt clip makes this unlikely. I also believe the front webbed pocket would have benefited from a flap to help keep the contents secure, like you would find in the RhinoSkin 2000 that I reviewed previously. In my experiences with other cases, the elastic straps used to hold the PDAs had a tendency to stretch out. The Expedition’s straps, being much thicker than I’ve seen, may hold up better. The Expedition is also a little bit small for some accessories. For instance, I use the RhinoSkin 2000 to carry a portable folding keyboard as well as my Palm IIIx, but that’s not practical with this model.

Otherwise, with three color choices (blue, taupe, and black) and a reasonable price, the Grinder Gear Expedition will definitely keep your PDA safe. It fits the following equipment: Casio models E-10, E-11, E-100, E-105, E-115, E-125, Everx Freestyle, Samsung InfoGear, Palm Pilot models Pro, IIIx, IIIc, V, VII, m100, OmniSky/Palm Vx, Oregon Scientific PDA-256, Psion Revo, HP Jornada models 200, 420, 428, 430, 540, 545, 547, 548, Compaq 1500/2100, Ipaq H3650, Handspring Visor and Prism, TRGPro, Stowaway Keyboard, and Philips Nino.

Other models by Grinder Gear include the Scout and the Basecamp.