plano grab and go casePlano Molding built a plastic tackle box in 1952. Plastic offered a lightweight, rustproof alternative to the metal tackle boxes common to the times.

Since then, Plano has supplied the outdoor industry with hundreds of storage solutions. Along that path, it has found its way into the hands of three generations of bowhunters, fishermen and shooters. Chances are you have storage shelves and boxes from Plano and perhaps even travel cases for golf clubs.

The big news this year is that companies are stretching their imaginations, their pocketbooks and their product lines. Everyone, it seems, is looking to diversify, searching for a gear line to protect them from the uncertainty of this volatile economy. In Plano’s case, it is stepping outside its comfort zone of injection-molded plastics and into soft goods, although it has marketed soft-sided gun cases for years. So get ready to meet the name “Tenzing.”

According to Doug Long at 5 Stone Advertising, “Tenzing was born in the Idaho backcountry (www.facebook.com/tenzingoutdoors), created to remove all limitations for hunters pursuing big game and personal goals. Through Tenzing, Plano will offer a full line of high-performance hunting packs. These packs feature a host of innovative qualities that equip bowhunters to go further, hunt bigger and return heavier. Each pack is reinforced with Dyneema and has been specially designed for quick, silent access to all gear carried.”

(Archers know the name Dyneema as a .014-diameter polyethelyne bowstring material offered by Brownell that has superior strength and durability. No wonder that it has been selected to reinforce backcountry packs!)

The Tenzing TZ 6000, for example, is a superb long-range hunting pack developed in the “bat wing” style which incorporates wrap-around chest and waist straps with side pounces. Designed in the style of multi-purpose military packs it has 20 specialized compartments, expands to 6,013 cubic inches and weighs only 7.8 pounds.

The Tenzing TZ 2220 is smaller than the 6000, but it is what Long calls a “serious overachiever, putting everything you need right within reach.” It has 11 specialized compartments, and 2,228 cubic inches of gear storage space. The 2220 weighs 4 pounds.

These Tenzing packs have heavy duty padded shoulder straps. They use multiple expansion straps as well to help carry a bow or gun when climbing or moving through difficult country.

Camouflaged in Advantage Max-1, each pack is designed both for superior functionality and eye appeal. Both the 6000 and 2220 include an internal hydration system.

Of course, Plano’s stock-in-trade is injection molding and they do this as well as anyone. Their new Manta Crossbow Case is a good example of building a product that meets the needs of hunters.

“It’s our most versatile crossbow case yet,” says public relations professional Gary Dollahon. “Plano engineered the Manta to fit the varied configurations of today’s crossbows, both recurve and compound. It’s the only crossbow case you’ll ever need.”

The Manta has a number of features that will endear it to crossbow hunters. It is 44.75×38.75×13.125 inches and collapses to 33.125 inches long because the buttstock case end adjusts for either long or short stocks. Plano’s patented PillarLock System protects the crossbow by providing internal support in the wider areas and thus helping prevent damage from careless handling or accidents. Inside the case, multiple tie-down straps ensure a secure fit and the protective high-density foam lining for the stock and limbs is customizable and located in key impact areas. There’s a bolt and quiver storage area in the lid and the case comes with two handles and a removable shoulder strap to make carrying easier. The scope does not have to be removed for transport.

Plano recently made a splash with a series of bow cases called GrabNGo, based on a “two cases in one” concept. The exterior is a hard shell lined with high density foam and suitable for airline travel or for tossing into the back of the pick-up with the spare tire and barb wire.

The interior is an attractive soft sided case with camo accents and a full zipper.

What makes GrabNGo cases click is thick wall construction and the PillarLock System of structural supports that add structural integrity to a big case. The soft shell case on the inside has cut-out flaps that let the PillarLock-supports work without crushing the case or what is carried inside.

Several GrabNGo models are available. The black compact case is 43.25x19x6.75 inches and is specially designed to hold the new parallel limb bows. Arrow storage is provided under the lid.

Of course, Plano’s long-standing forte is the all-weather hard-sided bow case. The Plano name might not be so well known by average archers, but the cases themselves are distinctive. The black AW Bow Case, for example, uses the crush resistant PillarLock system with lockable, spring-assisted dual-stage latches and a weather resistant rubber seal. It lets a bowhunter store a fully-loaded quiver also, although a mounting bracket is required. Interior tie-down straps are positioned to keep bows and accessories in place during shipment and padlock tabs are molded onto the case. Exterior dimensions are 48×20.75×5.7 inches. It also comes in green with the Bone Collector logo for fans of Michael Waddell.

Contact Plano Molding at (800) 874-6905; (800) 226-9868; www.planomolding.com . Become a fan of Plano gear on Facebook.com.