So I've got some answers to my own questions... I picked up a "blemished" set of the Gator Roto cases (though I couldn't find a mark on them) from Musician's Friend. They're nice cases and they actually have metal clasps which are nice but can be difficult to fully latch if you don't have a little slack in the strap. The rivets holding the lining in place around the rim are a nice feature, too.
The Gators can be stacked, but are no where near as secure as the SKB's because the "locking pattern" (for lack of a better description) is not as pronounced on the top of the cases. This slightly "s" shaped pattern is barely raised, and the edges are very rounded. On the bottom of the cases, there is a rectangular "receiving patten" or indentation that is over-sized or larger than the "s" pattern. In short, put one case on top of another, and the slightest push would cause the top case to start sliding out of place. Bear in mind, you can't tackle a stack of SKB cases or tip the stack beyond maybe 15 degrees without them sliding and falling either... but there's a definite, easily noted difference if stacks resistant to toppling are important to you. That would be important if you need to stack your cases on a cart. (I see visions of a 3 Stooges episode.)
The Gator cases are also noticeably thinner and less rigid than the SKB's. If I had any fear of a loaded case being dropped, bounced or - worse - spilling out of a moving trailer on an interstate (read some of those testimonials on the SKB web site)... I'd go with thicker.
Again, the Gators are VERY NICE cases - far better than bags (even better than my much-loved and thickly padded LEVY bags) any day. New, they are a significantly less expensive choice than the SKB's. Since the Gator 18x22 bass drum case was too small for my 18x22 Pearl
kick drum, I had to return the entire Gator set to Musician's Friend. Bear in mind these things are a FORTUNE to ship ($80 plus!
) due to their over-sized nature and weight. Even though Gator fails to include inside dimensions/measurements on their web site (so you can be double-dog sure before you buy), M's Friend gave me an RMA since I was "unhappy with the product" (that didn't fit), but return shipping became my expense. I thwarted the odds and drove to their warehouse here in Kansas City, and the nice security lady and warehouse personnel took pity on me since I was already there; proving forgiveness is sometimes easier than permission. I think I got lucky... my PayPal account was credited within a few days.
So now, I've been picking up the SKB cases that I need through eBay or as blemished items from M's Friend. I just didn't want to spend some money now and then later wish that I'd spent just a little bit more. I've seen folks criticize the SKB cases for the lining's coming loose. My advice: thoroughly measure your drums (with all mounting hardware, legs, etc. accounted for) and then use the measurements on SKB's site to make sure you at least have some small gaps or wiggle room. What lining wouldn't tear or come lose if you're shoving kick drum legs, etc. into a case that's just a little too small?
Sorry for the book, but I thought I'd provide some detailed information to those facing the same questions. I sure couldn't find any comparisons on-line - not even a single product review on the Gators. Both are good cases, but I prefer the SKB. I might add that SKB was quick to ship parts at no charge (not even postage) when I needed latches for a hardware case. Nice folks that stand by their products.
If you didn't pass out a few minutes back and have some questions that I can help with, let me know.
Good luck & happy drumming!