Accessory Review: Travel Humidor (Otterbox and Xikar)

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Accessory Review: Travel Humidor (Otterbox and Xikar)

Travel Humidor Review - Otterbox and XikarWhen it comes to the hobby of cigar smoking, we all tend to follow along the same path early on in our hobby. For me, I started off storing my cigars in a small desktop humidor that I purchased from ebay. Within a month or so, I outgrew that humidor and moved to creating a Tupperware container to house my overflow.

Somewhere between that first humidor and the Tupperware, but long before the Coolidor, I picked up a travel humidor. Making frequent visits to friends houses, I felt I needed something more than a simple zip-lock bag and a water pillow.

One day while visiting a cigar shop with a friend, I wandered over to the humidor display to see what was available. What I found were three different types of travel solutions to choose from. The first looked like some sort of plastic mason jar with a built in hygrometer. The second was a fancy metallic box which looked sort of like a mini suitcase. Upon further inspection, I found it to be cedar lined with a very poor seal. The third was a very basic black box with a gasket around the lid to create a tight seal.

After comparing prices, I went with the simple black box, which turned out to be an Otterbox built to store fifteen cigars. Inside the container was a humidification element and foam trays to separate layers of cigars. Around the lid was a gasket which made a very tight seal when the two lid clasps were fastened to the body of the travel humidor.

Over the last few years I have managed to acquire a few more of this style travel humidor. Some are branded as Otterbox while others look slightly different and are made by Xikar. The Xikar model is very similar but have a different clasp to fasten the lid and appear to use a more rigid foam to separate the rows of cigars.

Because of the similarities of the two travel humidors, I’ve decided to lump them together into a single review. In an Otterbox variety, I own five, ten, and fifteen count models. In the Xikar variety, I only own a couple of five stick models which were given to me as promotional items at events such as the Famous Cigar Expo.

Positive

  • Both models have an excellent seal which in most cases can be submerged under water without issue.
  • Once charged, both humidors can be used for an extended period of time without drying out.
  • Both models have a durable shell that can easily withstand an accidental drop

Negative

  • Xikar Model foam is a little too stiff and worries me when storing cigars with fragile wrappers
  • Otterbox Model foam is a little too soft and sometimes allows cigars to shift in the container
  • Otterbox clasps are dovetail connected and sometimes pop off. They go right back on but the first time will give you a fright.
  • Otterbox ten and fifteen count models should be filled completely. If one tray is left empty the cigars inside bounce around.

If packed away in checked luggage, they become pressure locked and can be a real pain to get open. I have seen models with a pressure release valve, however, none of my travel humidors have such a feature

Looking back over the pros and cons list, it would seem that I am unhappy with my travel humidors. Actually, it is quite the opposite and I find them to be an accessory that every cigar smoker should own. They are affordable and can be found online as well as in cigar shops across the country.

enjoying cigars since 2005

13 thoughts on “Accessory Review: Travel Humidor (Otterbox and Xikar)

  1. I have a 15 count travel humidor with X-Treme on the lid. It reminds me of the Xikar ones and I cant remember where i picked it up. I really wish when they said 15-count or 10-count they would specify what ring gauge they are using. I KNOW I can not fit 15 60 ring gauge cigars in mine!

    I think they are all well made and will do what they are intended to, but like you said, you can’t use a 15 count for taking 3 cigars with you unless you have extra padding to fill the space up.

    Mike

    1. If packed away in checked luggage, they become pressure locked and can be a real pain to get open. To help with this just put the bottom extra cello at end of cigar in the seal when you close the case. It will then be real easy to open your case after flying

  2. I guess I’m pretty ghetto. I picked up some Lock & Lock containers for under $2 a piece on clearance. I have one that holds about 10 cigars and one that holds about 20 to 30 cigars. I throw a Boveda pack or a Drymistat tube in there and it does the trick. They are airtight with a hard plastic exterior. I suppose you could pick up some foam inserts at a local craft store if you wanted some cushion or protection but I’ve never seen the need.

    I have taken them on planes numerous times and I always carry them on and never check my cigars.

    1. Ditto. Lock + Lock and a Boveda pack lasts for months. I work offshore for 3-4 months at a time and this is the best system.

  3. I have a 5 cigar Otterbox “CigarCaddy” that I use pretty regularly. I also have an 18 cigar “Herf’dor” Pelican case which originated as a group buy on the alt.smoker.cigars usenet group back in the late 90s. It has the preasure releif valve and 3 foam trays. The original version was a larger case that had 5 trays for a total capacity of 30 cigars. I have seen travel humidors in CI’s store with “Herf’dor” stamped on them but they were more along the lines of the Otterbox variety. I also have a couple very nice wooden 2 stick travel humidors, but there isn’t much point to them…they are beautiful and well made, but if I’m only taking 2 sticks with me a leather case will do and is less bulky.

  4. I have a five count “Herf-a-dor” by HUMICARE. I have rarely used the thing, but when I have it has been real convenient to travel with. Coincidentally, I took this with me yesterday on a flight from Virginia to Texas and when I went to open it up last night the pressure made it extremely difficult to open. There is no pressure release button on this model and I had to use a flathead to help pry it open. I am content with my five count and do not anticipate purchasing any larger models in the future.

    Nice article Walt!

  5. I have a 15 count ‘Cigar Caddy’ with the pressure release feature but of yet have not used it on a plane. I have used it on road trips though, and it worked admirably. It kept my sticks safe while I tried to squeeze everything in the car.

  6. I’ve got a 5 and a 10 of the otterbox style. I just wish someone would put gel or beads in instead of the crappy green foam that always seems to dry out on me on longer trips. Now I just add a water pouch. I also have a really nice Xicar travel case they used to sell. One side is a valet for a watch, cufflinks, and stuff like that. The other side is cedar lined for a dozen cigars. I don’t find myself using it much because the cedar needs to be prepped ahead of time and I always pack at the last minute.

  7. I have a 5 and 10 count Cigar Caddy/Otterbox. For humidification I use a sheet of 65% Heartfelt Beads since it takes up virtually no space. I keep the sheet in my humidor so and just slip it into the Cigar Caddy when I go so that it’s ready.

  8. I have a 5 count Herf-a-dor I got online cheap somewhere. I’ve never had any problems storing cigars in it and their was never any damage … to the cigars. I did bend a screwdriver (albeit a cheap one I bought just for this purpose) trying to get it open after a long flight once.

  9. I’m about to buy one of the big 50 count x-treme models for my upcoming visit to Absurdistan. How long do they hold humidification? I guess what I am really asking is, does the humidifier work well enough if you are actually using it as your daily humidor? As of now, I want to go with the 50 ct model and two heartfelt medium sized tubes. I’m just assuming the built in puck wont really keep 40+ sticks that are being smoked through regularly, properly humidified.

  10. my wife got me the Xikar 5-cigar one, and it’s fantastic! the little humidifier in there (basically a green sponge that you add distilled water to) does a damn good job of keeping the cigars nice and moist. i can go a good week and a half before having to recharge it. actually, it almost does too good a job. i recently smoked a Cohiba Red Dot Pequeno that had been in the case for a good week, and it ended up being a little too wet! i enjoyed the smoke nonetheless, but i made sure to air out the next one i smoked for a good hour before lighting up.

    bottom line: i love the thing, but i definitely see the benefit of using beads instead of the sponge.

  11. I have the Xikar model 6200 and a Herf-A-Dor 5-stick case with me right now. The first travel humidor I purchased was a 15 stick case made much the same way as the two I still have.
    Bottome line up front- I love my travel humidors and I highly recommend them. Even the finest cigars are an unpleasant experience if not taken care of. These robust style cases protect cigars and are convenient for the life I live.
    Two years ago, the day before I left for my first deployment, I purchased a 15 count travel humidor. This enabled me to keep cigars with me and know that they would not get crushed. The conatiner worked flawlessly. I found that the internal foam for humidification was more than sufficent. In fact, after fully charging the disk, I had to check the humidity level a few hours later. When I check the humidity, I leave the lid open for a while to allow the humidity to reach the desired level. Then I close it, and check it again the next day. This is not a problem since I need to open it almost every day to get a cigar to smoke. I just leave the lid open for a few minutes if neccesary. I find that I need to recharge the disk with cigar solution or pure distilled water once every 10-20 days.
    The 5 count travel humidor came in a combination purchase through ci. With it, I am able to take cigars with me and not worry if they will dry out or get crushed if I am not ready to smoke them right away.
    I am now on my second deployment in two years. This time to Afghanistan. My brother was in Iraq until recently. When we found cigars online that we wanted to purchase, we would sometimes split the purchase. This meant that after the cigars arrived to him, he had to ship them to me. He used the cigar bags (like fancy sandwich bags) to keep the cigars fresh. I sent him cigars inside the 15 count travel humidor I had, no one has seen that humidor since. Perhaps the mail clerk liked the case and the cigars, and “lost” that delivery.
    Before deploying again I looked at buying a larger travel humidor. After shopping around I found several that would fit the need. I purchashed the Xikar 50-80 travel humidor. I bought it for the price and for the features. I like the pressure relief valve and I like the rugged design. I have removed some of the foam layers to fit more cigars.
    I have sort of accidentally started a cigar club amongst my co-workers. It is funny to me that after only two years of smoking cigars, I am looked to as the subject matter expert. They come to me for advise and to learn about cigars, never even thinking to question my absolute authority on the subject.
    I recommend these cases to my co-workers since we all live the life of deployments and field training. We all dream of designing a man-cave with furniture sized humidors, but since we spend more than half our lives deployed, the robust cases work well for us.
    I would recommend this style of case to anyone who travels often or even just wants to be able to take some of their collection with them to a dinner at a friend’s house.
    This large travel case I have for cigars works much better than the coolidor I used in Iraq during my first deployment. To be fair, the coolidor was cheaper. But, I cannot afford to spend money on cigars without knowing they will be well maintained.
    Get one. Get a bigger one. Get one for a friend.

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