Skip To Content  

ATA Case vs. Trunk Case

The key aspect that will determine whether you need an ATA or trunk case is going to be the type of object and its sensitivity to impact. Let’s dive into the key differences between to two:

ATA Cases

When it comes to transporting equipment, whether it is camera systems, audio equipment, cables, monitors, or other sensitive devices, it is crucial to have a reliable and durable case to protect your gear. Two popular types of cases for this purpose are ATA (Air Transportation Association) cases and trunk cases. While both are designed to protect equipment during transport, they have distinct differences in design, function, and intended usage.

ATA cases are specifically designed to meet the standards set by the Air Transportation Association for air travel. These standards include requirements for recessed hardware, reinforced corners, and the ability to survive the rigors of being checked as baggage on an airplane. The ATA standards also require the case to be able to withstand certain environmental conditions such as extreme temperatures and high altitudes.

Most ATA cases can include custom:

  • Trays
  • Shelves
  • Handles
  • Removable sides
  • Waterjet cut foam

This makes ATA cases the ideal choice for transporting fragile equipment such as cameras, audio equipment, musical instruments, and other sensitive, form fitting equipment.


One of the key features of ATA cases is their recessed hardware and rounded corners. This means that all of the latches, hinges, and other hardware are flush with the surface of the case, rather than protruding out. In addition, the rounded corners allow the case to easily bounce off other objects. These design features help to prevent damage to the hardware during transport and makes the case less likely to get caught on other objects.

ATA cases come in a variety of sizes and materials, including plastic, Zyply, and ABS. Each material has its own benefits, such as plastic being more weather resistant and ABS being the most affordable. Additionally, many ATA cases come with wheels and extendable handles for easy transport.

If you are ordering several ATA cases to load into a truck, it is recommended that you have the cases built to a custom size so they fit tightly in the back of a box truck. You want to minimize the amount the cases can roll around and impact each other during transportation.

Trunk Cases

On the other hand, trunk cases are designed for ground transportation as they are typically heavier than their ATA case counterparts. They are typically used to transport equipment that is not as delicate and form-specific, such as tools, cables, and miscellaneous parts. Trunk cases are usually more durable and are built to withstand more rough handling than ATA cases.

Trunk cases are typically made out of ¾” birch plywood and then include a protective outer layer. The two most common outer layers are fiberglass and gelcoat paint or truck bed liner. Personally, we recommend the truck bed liner as it tends to be cheaper, stronger, and more durable.

Most trunk cases can include custom:

  • Handles
  • Partitions / dividers
  • Recessed hardware
  • Whiteboard-style labels
  • Castor cups for stacking cases

The edges and corners of a trunk case are rounded, but not as significantly as with an ATA case, meaning it doesn’t bounce off other objects as well. Depending on your needs, the hardware can be recessed or external to the case as well.

Similar to an ATA case, we recommended that you build trunk cases to a custom size so they fit tightly in the back of a box truck. This will minimize shifting and impact during transportation which will better protect your equipment and prolong the lifespan of your cases.

In conclusion, your specific needs will determine which case style is best for you. Below is the list of reasons to choose one case style over another:

ATA Case:

  • Transporting sensitive, form fitting objects that would be best to have surrounded by foam like cameras, monitors, and audio devices.
  • Potentially traveling by air, so the weight of the case should be minimized.
  • Need customizations like individual trays, shelves, and removable sides.

Trunk Case:

  • Transporting bulky, durable, and non-form fitting objects like cables, wires, lights, and miscellaneous equipment.
  • Traveling solely by ground transportation, so weight is not a major concern.


Volunteer Case & Container is the oldest custom crate and case manufacturer in the East TN area. Founded over 30 years ago, all of our protective packaging solutions are still designed and assembled at our facility in Oak Ridge, TN. We specialize in custom wood crates, ATA cases, wood or plastic containers, injection molded cases, and waterjet or CNC cut foam inserts. Our customers span a variety of industries including nuclear, government, aerospace, military, medical, R&D, and more. Our team has experience designing and building everything from huge wood crating for 70,000+ lbs machinery to small injection molded cases for key-sized objects. Whatever your needs, our team works on quick turnaround times to provide you with high quality protective packaging. Contact us today for a free quote.

Request a Quote


No matter the size or sensitivity of your product, Vol Case has a protective packaging shipping solution for you.

Wood Crates

Wood Crates

All of our crates are stamped and certified for international export. Whether you need a single small crate delivered to you or dozens of oversized crates built onsite at your facility, we can handle the job. Our crates are fully customizable and can include foam, shelves, shock absorbers, ramps, latches, and more. We have experience building both commercial and military crates for equipment weighing 70,000+ lbs. Learn more here.

ATA / Road Cases

ATA / Road Cases

ATA / Road cases are best for highly sensitive objects that are light enough for one or two people to lift and move around. Our ATA cases can be either wood or plastic siding and all have durable metal edging. All ATA cases come with custom foam interiors and can have any number of wheels, handles, partitions, straps, latches, and more. Our cases are split or pop riveted together to ensure maximum strength and durability. Learn more here

PE & Wood Containers

PE & Wood Containers

If you need something lighter or cheaper than an ATA case, our PE and wood containers are the solution. PE containers are made with a strong, but lightweight, plastic siding and no metal edges. This provides a lighter and cheaper option to an ATA case, while still very durable. Our wood containers are made with wood sides and metal edges and are our most cost effective case option, but are heavier than the PE version. Learn more here.

Trunk Cases

Trunk Cases

Trunk cases are perfect for equipment regularly transported by box truck. Our trunk cases come in three sizes: Small - 22.5” x 30” x 30”, Medium - 22.5” x 45” x 30”, & Large 30” x 45” x 30”. These exterior dimensions allow them all to fit neatly in a box truck for maximum capacity. All trunk cases include handles, latches, four swivel castors, and castor cups on top to allow for secure stacking. As needed, labels, dividers, and foam can be added as well. Learn more here.

Injection Molded Cases

Injection Molded Cases

We are a certified distributor for Pelican, SKB, and Nanuk cases, meaning we offer better pricing than you’ll find anywhere else. All of our injection molded cases are watertight, comply with military specs, and are built to withstand the harshest environments. Custom waterjet or CNC cut foam inserts are available for all cases for maximum protection. Whether you need a case to hold one object or many, we can design a case for you. Learn more here.

Waterjet & CNC Cut Foam

Waterjet & CNC Cut Foam

We offer a wide range of foam types, densities, and colors to best fit your needs. We offer foams types such as PE, PU, Crosslink, and Zote foam. All of these are available in a variety of densities depending on the weight and sensitivity of your equipment. We also offer colors other than the standard black/charcoal and have options such as anti-static. All these foam varieties can be waterjet or CNC cut to perfectly fit your product. Learn more here.


Whether you need one wood crate or hundreds of ATA cases, we’d love the chance to earn your business. All of our designs and quotes are done for free without any purchase required. We are able to work off dimensions/CAD files that you provide to us or we can visit your facility to take measurements of the equipment.

phone (865) 481-3801
location_on 328 Warehouse Rd. Oak Ridge, TN 37830

Request a Quote