Carrying Case

When you buy a telescope, it comes with the minimum accessories needed for you to begin operating. As months and years go by, your equipment stash grows by leaps and bounds as you have seen. Initially you tend to pile all of it into the same small cardboard box that your original equipment came in. I always stored my eyepieces and other equipment in the small boxes that they were shipped in and put those boxes inside the larger cardboard box that Celestron originally shipped my accessories in. Over the years, I've added two more eyepieces, a T-ring, T-adapter, tele-extender, off-axis guider, CCD camera and then a flip mirror assembly. So now I need something larger to carry all my stuff that will keep it all organized and at the same time protect it while in transport to the observing site.

What you need when you get to this stage is a large, sturdily built foam-lined carrying case for all of your equipment. A typical large-size equipment box is made of aluminum and will have prefabricated openings provided for standard-sized items such as eyepieces and star diagonals. Some may then offer larger openings for things like camera bodies and support equipment. A feature that is appearing in many cases today is the so-called "pluck-foam" case. This is a case that has no pre-cut openings in it. The interior is composed of hundreds of tiny squares of foam that you can "pluck" out of the case to create custom openings for your specific equipment needs. Whether you go with pre-cut or pluck foam, go with the largest case you can afford. They are designed to be portable so don't worry about getting something so big that you won't be able to move it. For example, the largest case offered by Orion in their aluminum line measures about 17 inches across by 12 inches wide by 5.5 inches deep and weighs less than ten pounds empty. If aluminum cases run a little steep on your budget, you may want to consider polyethylene (plastic) cases. These run cheaper, but remember that you get what you pay for. Think about that before picking a case to carry your expensive eyepiece collection around in. Camera stores sell these but usually at exorbitant prices. Astronomy houses offer better deals on large high-quality cases for as little as $45.

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