Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Banjo travel cases?

Hiya Pals, any advice on a safe hard case for a banjo that can survive the hazards of checked baggage at airlines?
Some let you carryon… some don’t. If I join y’all at a cabin camp, I’d hate to arrive with a damaged instrument. I’ve heard horror stories😱
Would appreciate recommendations.


Not sure how much you are looking to spend. Crossrock makes a good protective case but I don’t know how it would do with flying…

Calton cases are basically unbreakable and you’d have no issues while flying with one but they’re expensive. In my opinion they’re worth it though.


The three superprotective case brands I most commonly see are Calton, Hoffee, and Price. These are called “flight cases” and are usually made out of fiberglass (Calton, Price) or carbon fiber (Hoffee). Carbon fiber has the advantage of being lighter. You can watch (some pretty entertaining) tests for both Calton and Hoffee on YouTube :smile:

Personally, I would do everything I could to carry on my instrument even if it were in a flight case. If you really have to check it though, flight cases are your best bet.

Man, you never know what those boys out in the Ozarks are going to be up to. :joy:


Welcome to the forum, Dan. I recently purchased a Calton. I’m planning to attend the Montana Cabin Camp this summer and wanted a reliable case for travel. These are available thru Ben’s general store if you choose to go that route. I just got my new case in a couple of weeks ago and I really like it.


FWIW- Bela Fleck uses a Hoffee carbon fiber case. So does the Del McCoury Band.
These guys travel a lot, so they need a rugged case.

The price? (gulp!) $1175.00

Since Ben is a pilot, I don’t suppose he has to worry about baggage handlers!


Don’t play banjo, but I bought a Crossrock fiberglass guitar case. It is a small fraction of the price of the Hoffee or Calton cases. The structural strength and overall quality of the case I purchased are both outstanding. Frequently one hears comments about “it’s great for the price”, but this is a situation where it’s just great, and the Crossrock price “hits it out of the park”. I have no ax to grind. I’m just a retired old guy who plays and enjoys BBC instruction.


Beat me to it @Michael_Mark


Those crossrocks look intriguing. A fiberglass baritone uke case for $200 shipping is unthinkably cheap. I’d be shocked if they were as stout as a Calton/Hoffee, but still…

One suggestion with stringed instruments and travel regardless of the case: detune it a bit (or a lot). With string tension, a shock load can snap a headstock. A banjo has about half the tension of a guitar, so it is not as susceptible, but I still would detune it a bit.


I have a couple Calton cases and they are beasts—very strong and quite heavy—one holds a standard sized Nechville banjo and the other holds a custom built 12” open back Ome. I recently bought a Crossrock for a 13” open back that Dave Dillard is building (yes, I obviously have an addiction problem :blush:). The Crossrock was much less than half the price of a Calton, is a high quality build, and much lighter (it’s made of carbon fiber while Calton is fiberglass). But Calton custom built the padding with info from Ome as they built the 12”, so it fits very securely. I bought the Nechville case from Ben and since that banjo is a classic size with a resonator, it fits perfectly as well. The Crossrock provides a choice of two banjo case sizes and then provides extra loose pads in case you need a tighter fit. The Crossrock is also designed to be able to go back and forth between backpack straps or a single shoulder strap, while you have to specify which strap design you want on the Calton (I recommend the backpack straps due to the weight of the case).

So which one is better? Probably the Calton, but I’m happy with the Crossrock purchase. Good luck with your shopping.


I heard Uwe Kruger talk about detuning his guitar before traveling. He always unwound each string a fixed number of turns (I don’t remember the exact number, Let’s pretend it was 6 turns.) When he reaches his destination and gets off the plane, he simply cranks them up 6 turns & is ready to play!


Hey thanks y’all…your replies have been most helpful!