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Thread: Northfield Airloom Tura case versus Hoffee carbon fiber case

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    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Default Northfield Airloom Tura case versus Hoffee carbon fiber case

    Maybe it's just me, but the newly announced carbon fiber Tura Airloom case from Northfield looks a whole lot like the carbon fiber mandolin case made by Hoffee. Colors aside, the outer shell looks to be nearly identical in shape, and the latches and strap attachment rings look to be the same, too, and located in the same positions -- at least for the online samples shown in the composite picture, below. The latches on the example of the Airloom Tura that were posted on the MC, but colored black, were a bit different, however, and they look to be an improvement. Maybe the handles are just a bit different, too? The list price of the Airloom is a bit lower than that of the Hoffee, so that's a good thing for consumers. What do you think? Are these really the same case?

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  2. #2

    Default Re: Northfield Airloom Tura case versus Hoffee carbon fiber case

    What I pointed out in another post about this case is there’s no locks on any of the latches and the hardware looks lighter in weight than what comes on the Hoffee. It is a nice looking case and I think it’s probably good for around town or as a carry on but I don’t think I’d want to check it in with the rest of the baggage. Is anyone thinking of putting this into the hold of a plane and seeing how it fairs down there. I read the description on the Northfield’s web site and it doesn’t mention it’s flight worthy like Hoffee’s site but your mileage may very.

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    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield Airloom Tura case versus Hoffee carbon fiber case

    Quote Originally Posted by 707erich View Post
    What I pointed out in another post about this case is there’s no locks on any of the latches and the hardware looks lighter in weight than what comes on the Hoffee. It is a nice looking case and I think it’s probably good for around town or as a carry on but I don’t think I’d want to check it in with the rest of the baggage. Is anyone thinking of putting this into the hold of a plane and seeing how it fairs down there. I read the description on the Northfield’s web site and it doesn’t mention it’s flight worthy like Hoffee’s site but your mileage may very.
    I've looked carefully at the available pictures, and zoomed in on these to the extent possible, but I cannot tell from the photos whether EITHER the Hoffee or Tura case latches have locks. I happen to own a Hoffee case, and so I know that just one of its three latches has a lock on it. I don't know for a fact that Tura cases don't have any lock, and this is something you'd actually have to verify with Northfield. Looking at photos is not good enough, and besides, they two prototype photos posted on the MC for Tura cases have different latches! So who knows what they're eventually settling on, and if a lock is on their case or not?

    As for the single Hoffee latch lock -- like so many other case locks of most major brands -- it is flimsy in the extreme. The locked latch can easily be busted open with a small pocket screwdriver, for example. Or, if you care about damage to the latch, the lock can easily be picked with a bobby pin or a bent paper clip. The actual key is just a punched piece of sheet metal with a single protrusion: it's a primitive warded lock, and not a tumbler lock.

    So...if you repose any trust in case locks while traveling with an instrument, you really shouldn't! Anyone who wants to can open a locked Hoffee case. Besides, if someone wanted to steal the instrument, they wouldn't bother to open the case to extract the contents. They would steal the whole instrument, case, and all. Then worry later about getting the mandolin out later (which is trivial to do). Do not place any trust at all in case locks. Their only function is to prevent the latch from accidentally opening. However, there is not just one, but THREE, latches that would have to accidentally open to let the mandolin slip out. The chances of that happening are really small.

    Most folks who travel with a "flight case" for their mandolin by air try to put it in the overhead storage. There are special airline rules that allow this (see the other threads on the MC about traveling with your mandolin). Failing that, if you are required to part with it, you can always gate check it, which is not the same thing as checking it as luggage from the start. Gate checked luggage is generally handled by hand, not by robots and luggage machines, and it does not usually come unlatched with handling. That said, I have never had a problem, in over ten years of travel, with bringing a Hoffee case with a mando inside onboard an aircraft. And I have never, ever locked it. Hope I never have to!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Northfield Airloom Tura case versus Hoffee carbon fiber case

    Drew Egerton has one that he posted about, maybe he can chime in.

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield Airloom Tura case versus Hoffee carbon fiber case

    My advice always is to either throw out the case lock key immediately upon purchase of the case, consign it to that drawer where you keep all the things you never use, or -- in extreme cases of "I never throw out a perfectly good whatsis" syndrome, leave it inside the case, in the accessories pocket, in a tiny Ziploc bag.

    All case locks and keys are good for, is to lock you out of the case, so that you have to bust or pick the lock to get in, after you've lost the tiny key. As sblock points out above, any thief will steal the instrument in its case, disable the lock, and snicker at its futility. Case locks are strictly for show –– the appearance of increased safety, without the substance.

    You might infer from this post, that I have locked myself out of a case in the past. And, you might be right.
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    Default Re: Northfield Airloom Tura case versus Hoffee carbon fiber case

    I ordered one of the Seafoam cases and it should be here on Friday. I am really looking forward to it. I like Northfield products and have a Recurve case that I’m happy with.

    There is a similarity to the Hoffee, but to my eye, the placement of the Hardware is just ever so slightly different and (MAYBE) a tighter radius on the headstock end. I wouldn’t swear to it though, I do have an appointment with the eye doctor in August.

    Scott

    P.S. I’m not concerned if my cases have a locking latch or not. If I am flying with MY mandolin, I don’t check it with my baggage.
    Last edited by SWS; Jul-26-2022 at 10:59pm.
    Scott

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    plectrist Ryk Loske's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield Airloom Tura case versus Hoffee carbon fiber case

    I understand the uselessness of the usual case latch locks ... which is why on the Hoffees I've bought I ask Jeff to put on the twist latches; an all around better latch with a better locking option.
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    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield Airloom Tura case versus Hoffee carbon fiber case

    Standard Hoffee latches lock. All three of them.

    My biggest question on the Tura case is whether it is arched enough for a taller than average bridge? It's one reason I went with the Hoffee over the Calton. I knew there would be enough space above the bridge on my Brentrup.

    The Tura looks nice. If it had been available earlier, might have purchased it instead of the Hoffee. But am not changing at this point.
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  10. #9

    Default Re: Northfield Airloom Tura case versus Hoffee carbon fiber case

    I'd like to get one of these, but if I do, it's probably going to be included with the high(er) end NF mandolin I lust for .

    On the issue of flight-case-worthiness, having just flown on 6 different flights in the last 4 weeks, I'd say that the usual advice applies, and that's to get priority boarding. I never had anyone bat an eye at getting the mandolin on and in an overhead. I flew two overseas (Europe and return), and regional (in Europe and US) flights of varying sizes. It just was not a problem. The mando *case* did merit a little extra time in security on a couple of occasions, so that's something to allow for.

    To me, there was a little more concern on ground travel. We went on 5 train rides, a couple of which where it [mando] got squeezed into some tight spaces with other luggage, and there, it would have been moved and re-squeezed/wedged as the trains were bedlam (airline strike changed some plans). Overhead storage on trains, if it exists, might hold a mandolin in a case, but it's not a guarantee. Busses also have some risk because it will almost always go in luggage there, i.e., no, or very small, overhead space, but you usually get to place the case in the luggage area, though whether it stays where you put it is a concern.

    If you want to keep a case from accidentally opening, I'd say get a zippered cover, which I believe is in the works for this case, and already available for others. (I'm with the "don't lock the case" mindset.) Or, get some two-sided velcro strips and wrap those around the case in a couple spots, with some adhesive velcro on the case in positions for those strips to keep from sliding around and getting accidentally dislodged. (I did that with guitar cases that I knew were going get gate-checked.)

    And, FWIW, on the traveling I just did I used a Travelite, which is bulkier than most, and tight enough I left the Tone-Gard off for this trip. It does zipper shut, so I had no worries about accidental opening. The oblong, "Hill-style" case my Eastman has also zippers, but is heavier and a bit loose fitting at this point, so I wanted something snug and as light as possible. If I had been taking the Northfield along, I probably would have used its Recurve case, augmented with a vecro strap. (Both my mandolins are essentially the same size, as far as case-fit goes.)

    N.B./P.S. I will say that, having traveled quite a bit since the late 60s, whatever your experience was pre-Corona/COVID, if it applies in the post-C world, it's happenstance. The flight/travel situation is really chaotic, and I would not dream of flying with an acoustic guitar these days.
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  12. #10

    Default Re: Northfield Airloom Tura case versus Hoffee carbon fiber case

    I have owned many Caltons over the years and one Hoffee. I found the Hoffee to be a bit too big for my tastes. But that's just my opinion I know they are fine cases. I now own two of the new Northfield Heirloom Tura cases. I can tell you that these are much smaller than a Hoffee. The overall teardrop shape is generally the same on all Caltons and Hoffee cases but it’s the thickness of the new Heirloom that I like. It’s very thin yet with lots of storage room inside. It's very strong with little to no flex in the shell and very lightweight. The price is very reasonable as well. Who knows how long they can sell for that price.

    I received the newest version of the Calton with a recent mandolin purchase from Carter's.... I was really disappointed to find that it's bigger, heavier and more expensive than the last Calton I received just one year ago. I understand that prices are going up everywhere right now so that's understandable but larger and heavier? why? How much cost and trouble was it to make a totally new case design like that?

    Of all the Calton cases I've owned.. including 4 right now I have NEVER locked the latches. I'm not even sure where the keys are.
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  13. #11
    Registered User Drew Egerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield Airloom Tura case versus Hoffee carbon fiber case

    Quote Originally Posted by 707erich View Post
    Drew Egerton has one that he posted about, maybe he can chime in.
    There are not any locks on the latches. I have never owned a Hoffee and have only briefly seen one here or there, so I can't directly comment on the pros and cons comparing the two.

    My thoughts on the locks are mostly covered in other replies here. If you lock it and security or someone intending to steal it wants to open it, they will bust it open. A mandolin is small enough that they'll just take the whole case and figure out how to pick the lock or bust it open later at their leisure.

    As far as a flight case, I would be nervous to check a mandolin in any case, but I personally don't feel this one is a bit less protective than my old Calton was. I won't be running over it any time soon to test that out (I hope).
    I think the NF website sums it up pretty well: "Let’s put it this way “we find it to be ready for nearly anything reasonable. Even stretching that to mishandling at times—the occasional stumble, or collision with other gear, crammed to the gills in a trailer that’s headed to the next venue.” But it’s not the prevention, or solution, to instrument abuse. That said, the Tūra is the strongest case we have ever made."


    Eric Platt, on the height, I'm not sure about how tall you are talking. Kind of hard to measure the inside there, but I can say that it does not leave a bridge imprint in the top foam with my two Northfield mandolins even with Tone-Gards installed. My old Calton did.
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  15. #12
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield Airloom Tura case versus Hoffee carbon fiber case

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Egerton View Post
    Eric Platt, on the height, I'm not sure about how tall you are talking. Kind of hard to measure the inside there, but I can say that it does not leave a bridge imprint in the top foam with my two Northfield mandolins even with Tone-Gards installed. My old Calton did.
    Well, probably close to a half inch deeper (taller) than normal. The Brentrup will not fit in a Travelite, fits fine in an Airloom, and barely fits in an Airloom Deluxe. In the last, the bridge does touch the top.

    Hopefully later this year will be able to look at a Tura in person and see. However, even if I like it, doesn't mean I'm going to get rid of the Hoffee.
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  16. #13

    Default Re: Northfield Airloom Tura case versus Hoffee carbon fiber case

    Quote Originally Posted by Chadly View Post
    I have owned many Caltons over the years and one Hoffee. I found the Hoffee to be a bit too big for my tastes. But that's just my opinion I know they are fine cases. I now own two of the new Northfield Heirloom Tura cases. I can tell you that these are much smaller than a Hoffee. The overall teardrop shape is generally the same on all Caltons and Hoffee cases but it’s the thickness of the new Heirloom that I like. It’s very thin yet with lots of storage room inside. It's very strong with little to no flex in the shell and very lightweight. The price is very reasonable as well. Who knows how long they can sell for that price.

    I received the newest version of the Calton with a recent mandolin purchase from Carter's.... I was really disappointed to find that it's bigger, heavier and more expensive than the last Calton I received just one year ago. I understand that prices are going up everywhere right now so that's understandable but larger and heavier? why? How much cost and trouble was it to make a totally new case design like that?

    Of all the Calton cases I've owned.. including 4 right now I have NEVER locked the latches. I'm not even sure where the keys are.
    There are two different sizes of mandolin cases. My Toole came with a larger one because it's body size dictated it. It is reasonable to believe that whoever ordered the case wanted the bigger body. Was it an F5 mandolin that came with it?

    As for the prices, they are about to go up again, from what I heard. I have three or four extra Calton mandolin cases here that I was going to sell. I have decided to put them in the closet in my office for now.

    I have to say, I am a little partial to the Mainstage cases that Heiden is using.
    Sorry, I am no longer suffering fools

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