The new Pedaltrain Premium Soft Cases are a direct response to customer feedback asking for pedalboard gig bags that could stand up to the rigours of the road. Pedaltrain upped their game on every level with these bags, delivering soft cases that are full of the features people wanted while staying at a very reasonable price. In this article I’m going to give you the real-world rundown on my experience with their Metro 20 Premium Soft Case and run down it’s features.
For your reference, I have been a user of Pedaltrain products for a number of years, owning 3 different pedalboard sizes and using at least 6 different iterations of their cases as well as one 3rd party case. Though I have never had any quality issues with Pedaltrain cases, I think you will find as I did that these new cases are at a whole new level.
First off I have to say you can see and feel the difference with the new water-resistant fabric that Pedaltrain used. It feels quite durable and doesn’t catch or rip easily when scratched against other objects. The water resistance is legit too. I literally poured a whole cup of water on the bag to see how it holds up, and the water just fell right off the bag in beads without soaking in at all. To add to the water resistant fabric they also used robust self-sealing water-resistant zippers. These were also put to the test with another cup of water poured over them. Inside the bag? Dry! As I Canadian who is still enduring snow and freezing rain in mid-April, the results of my test are quite comforting! Many of the outer panels of the soft case are also lined with a hard plastic layer to further protect from any impact that may occur.
The inside of the soft case is lined with some seriously thick padding. My Pedaltrain Metro 20 board fits nice and snug, nestled safely in the thickest padding I’ve ever seen in a soft case. The walls of the bag seem to be about ¾ of and inch thick with padding. That’s some major protection!
Carrying the case feels quite nice. The standard pedaltrain soft case is pretty decent actually with a nice handle, but backpack straps on the Premium Soft Case take comfort and ease of transport to the next level. Much like everything else, the straps and back of the bag are nicely padded. Not only is carrying the weight of a pedalboard more ergonomic with two straps to distribute the weight more evenly, but all that padding makes it feel like you are carrying less weight. I will also add that carrying my pedalboard on my back has made it a lot nicer walking through doorways and such as it’s not hanging at my side. This may seem like a small point but it actually has added significantly to the comfort of carrying a pedalboard…I feel almost aerodynamic, ha ha!
I was so curious how good these pockets would be. To be honest, pockets were one of the main reasons I was even interested in the Premium Soft Cases. I like being able to carry all my cables and accessories with my pedalboard to save on trips back and forth from the car. As mentioned I’m using the Metro 20 pedalboard and even with the smaller size of this board and bag I have a ton of room for storage. In the larger pouch I can fit two instrument cables and a 15 foot extension cord quite easily, AND I’ve managed to fit my small Fender fold-up guitar stand in there as well! Big Score! I could probably fit one more instrument cable in there as a backup if I wanted to, though that’d be getting tight. In the smaller pouch there is ample room for my In-Ears, Capo, Spare strings, IEC cable, spare pedalboard patch cables, and picks. Not bad for a little case!
The whole bag oozes with quality. You can see it in the larger metal zippers that they used, the rivets attaching straps and handles, the rubber pads at the bottom of the bag, and the double stitching visible in many areas. You tell this bag was meant to last. According to Pedaltrain these new Premium Soft Cases were road-tested by touring musicians prior to their release, adding to the confidence that other musicians have signed off on them. Time will tell, but I am expecting this bag to last me for a long time.
The price of the Premium Soft Cases are quite reasonable. For my model it was only $90 USD, which is less than I’ve paid for other 3rd party cases. Given the quality to cost ratio, I’d rate the value of these bags to be excellent! You would be hard pressed to find any other comparable product at this quality for this price.
Room for improvement?
There isn’t much that I can say negatively about these Premium Soft Cases. Pedaltrain did a great job of taking things to the next level with these. If I were to suggest anything for improvement I’d recommend a smaller pouch inside the smallest outer pouch to house more valuable items or even just little things to keep them from moving around or getting lost.
If you transport your gear fairly regularly these new Premium Soft Cases are a very valuable investment. They offer more protection and features than a standard soft bag, without the weight of going to a full road-case. I would 100% recommend these bags to anyone. Short of regularly touring again where I’m throwing my gear in the back of a trailer every night, I don’t see how I would ever need anything more than this style of case for my pedalboard.