By John “Toast” Oast
While I typically use the BlackPak from YakAttack these days for gear transport on the water, I get a lot of questions about the converted milkcrate I have used for years. I still use this old crate to store gear at home and transport it, but once on the kayak, the BlackPak goes into action. This being said, the old warhorse is still a great piece of equipment.
To build this crate, I used an extended length milkcrate. These can often be hard to find, but if you can get your hands on one, they are great for the kayak! They have a longer profile, and therefore more capacity than standard crates. Oh yeah, be sure to acquisition your crate in a legal manner, as they are private property of the product distributor. Grocery and convenient stores will often sell them, if you inquire. Remember that file crates, like you can purchase via retail at department stores, are not as study and durable as milkcrates, so I avoid using them.
To set mine up I took two identical crates. One was to be my main box, and the other I cut the bottom off of. Note that the crates are stackable, so the bottom of the second crate fit perfectly as a lid for the other. You can either cut it close to the bottom to make a smooth lid, or leave a few inches above the bottom to create a storage shelf with sides. Just remember that if you do the latter and open it on the water, you might lose what you had on top, if it is not secured. I attached the lid to the lower half with lightweight store-bought hinges, and affixed them with rivets and large washers to keep the rivets from pulling through the molded in holes in the crate.
I then used a short piece of shock cord and a bungee button on the outside of the box, so that the cord could be used to latch the crate closed firmly. I simply ran the cord through holes on the lid and tied both ends off on the underside of the lid. For an extra bit of versatility and rod stowage, I attached short segments of PVC on both the inside and outside of the crate, by drilling four holes in each, and attaching them with zip-ties. By cutting the lid to allow access to the interior tubes, I could carry rods on the inside, and the lid would still open.
Finally, I attached feet on the underside of the crate. The feet I used were given to me by one of my buds at a paddling demo a number of years back. They get the base of the crate up higher in the tankwell, helping to minimize water getting to the gear inside the crate. I even put a waterproof LED light inside the crate, for those nighttime fishing raids.
Well, that’s my handy-dandy kayak fishing milkcrate. Get a crate from your local store and see what ideas you can come up with.