I came across something that might be really handy if you ship your lenses or travel with them packed in a suitcase. I’d never seen Beta Shell before, but it is a pretty cool product line. Essentially they are hard plastic cases that have memory foam at the top and bottom with close-cell foam collars to stabilize the lens from the hardest shocks. The top is a screw-in affair that is water-sealed – and I mean capable of submersion and all kinds of dastardly conditions that would normally ruin your lens. These things seem almost military-grade.
I talked to the owner/inventor of the company for a little while – he seems like a good guy who has thought through his product very well. If the water-tight lid becomes a little sticky due to pressure/altitude changes, there is a flat bar across the lid that can be leveraged against a table or counter-top.
They aren’t available from B&H or your local camera store yet, just directly from the company, but that is something he’d clearly like to change – ask about them at your local camera shop (and I don’t mean the mall, I’m talking about the places that has a whole corner devoted to light stands and a case full of nothing but 1970’s-vintage film cameras. If you don’t know the closest one of these, I suggest you find it – they are great fun and a valuable resource). Beta Shells start at $45 for the smaller ones and go to around $90 for the biggest lenses. That isn’t cheap, and probably is a lot more useful to a Pro photographer who ships his/her lenses or a camera store that rents them than an Enthusiast Photographer, but I could see getting one for my two 2.8 lenses for secure storage and the off chance I mights ship them instead of travel with them. They also seem to be very well-made – my guess is they would last for years of hard use.