Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ultimate DIY Kayak Crate



The kayak crate.  It is probably one of the most coveted pieces of equipment a kayak fisherman can own and for good reason.  While most anglers use a standard plastic milk crate, I tend to make mine out of inexpensive and readily available store-bought containers.  When I first got into the sport, I used file crates for storage.  The problem with these is that the plastic is thin and the crate tends to flex.  Zip tie a couple of rod holders to these units and over a short period of time, the plastic crate will deform.   After designing my first DIY LARGE KAYAK CRATE, I found that there are some great, heavy duty containers just waiting to be modified for this application.


This build utilizes an "Itso" storage cube tthat can be found at Target for around $9.  The plastic construction of this cube is extremely solid and it is an ideal size for most kayak tankwells.  It measures  in at 14.8"x14.8"x14.8" and weighs a little over 4 pounds.  What makes this cube unique is that it has pre-drilled holes that match up perfectly for the PVC rod holder install.


The first step is to cut six 15.5" segments of 1.25" diameter PVC for rod holders.  Although I don't usually carry 6 rods with me at one time, I use the holders for my DIY Telescoping Camera Pole for the GoPro HD and other accessories.  I also built a removable carrying handle that  utilizes the center rod holders and allows for one-handed portability - more on that later.




Once the PVC segments are cut, use Brillo soap pads and some water to remove the lettering from the PVC.  My dad taught me this trick about 17 years ago when he would make furniture-grade rod holders out of various hardwoods and use the cleaned up PVC for the inserts.  



If you don't own a heat gun or are not comfortable using one, simply sand the inside edge of the PVC pipes so that they don't bite into the rod handles.  If you decide to go the heat gun route, do this OUTSIDE and wear proper safety gear including a respirator mask, eye protection and thick leather gloves.



I like to keep the heat gun stationary and rotate the PVC by hand as this method ensures even heating.  I use a Modelo bottle for this next step for a handful of reasons.  Most importantly, the glass is thick which is crucial for proper safety.  I also really like the beer and the shape of the neck makes a perfect and uniform mold for the PVC every time.   



     
Once the PVC is up to temperature, slide it over the Modello bottle until it stops on the notch below the neck as pictured.  The PVC should easily slide into place.  If it doesn't expand smoothly with little pressure, it is not hot enough.  Leave it on the bottle for a few seconds and slide it back off.  Repeat this sliding-on-and-off process as it cools.  DO NOT leave the PVC on the bottle for an extended period of time.  As the PVC cools it shrinks.  If it is left on the bottle, this could lead to obvious safety issues.  I keep a cold bucket of water next to me to dip the warm molded PVC (of course, without the bottle attached) in order to speed up the cooling process and set the PVC to shape.
 
Attach the PVC rod holders to the inside of the crate using large zip ties as depicted in the photos.  For the middle rod holders that aren't on a corner, I ran two zip ties through the top hole and attached a brass claw style clip to serve as an anchoring point when the crate is used in the tankwell of the kayak (see photo). 


One extra step I took was to drill a hole in the bottom of each PVC pipe and 2 more holes, side by side, in the bottom of the crate.  One zip tie attached through the floor of the crate and through the PVC gives the rod holder that much more stability and keeps it from twisting or pulling out of the crate.  




Using masking tape, mark out a section on the front of the crate that will be cut out.  This "door" makes it very easy to access items in the crate.  Use a hacksaw blade to carefully cut out the pattern.  I installed Cowles Products - Door Edge Trim (Part #T3802 - O'Reilly Auto Parts LINK) to cover the rough edges and to dress the crate up a bit.  This trim has strong adhesive housed inside the U-channel and only costs a couple of bucks.

You could stop here and have a really nice setup.  I decided to go further with it and make things a little more organized.  I took some scrap 7/8" fiberglass rods (1" PVC could be substituted), added rubber chair tip protectors to the ends and zip tied them to the PVC rod holders in the back of the crate as pictured.  This provides a shelf for my Plano boxes and makes them easy to reach.






I ran a section of bungee cord through 2 of the existing holes in the top of the cube and knotted the ends.  I made another loop of bungee cord and passed it over the horizontal bungee and around the two fiberglass rod supports (see photo).  The tension that the combination of these two bungees creates holds the boxes in place, whether it be as many as 5 boxes or as few as 2.  I left enough room under the bottom of the shelf to store my water bottles.  There is still a lot of storage space left over in the front of the cube for other items.



Lastly, I built a handle out of a 10.5" length of 1" diameter PVC, two 6" sections of 1" diameter PVC and two 90 degree couplings.  I can't tell you how nice it is to be able to throw 3 or 4 rods and my camera in my loaded crate and carry it one handed like a suitcase.


The top portion of the handle was sprayed with truck bed liner.  I drilled two holes at an angle through both the rod holders and the vertical legs of the handle for an attachment point.  PTO pins, available in this well-priced assortment available at Harbor Freight, make quick work of attaching and detaching the handle.  

Enjoy!   - Paul

MORE PICTURES BELOW








39 comments:

  1. Do you mind if I try to copy the idea? Not sure if I can but I'd like to give it a try!

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  2. It's not too hard to build and it works great. I know of at least 8 people that said they were going to/are in the process of building one of these. - Paul

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  3. Mr_Scrogg @ Kayakbassfishing.comSeptember 24, 2011 at 1:58 PM

    shesamaniyak.com, That's why MacGuyver..... Ahem, Paul does these things. So people can copy and make something to help them out on the water.

    Great job, Paul. Keep it up!!!

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  4. Very creative, functional leashes and crate.

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  5. do you sell this product for people who do have all the tools you use in this piece.

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  6. Once again, you have blown it out of the water (pun intended). Very nice work indeed.

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  7. Great idea. Where did you purchase the coiled cable connected to the Cable Cuffs?

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    Replies
    1. http://palmettokayakfishing.blogspot.com/2011/09/build-rod-leash-for-kayak-fishing.html

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  8. Where did you get the foam inserts for the bottom of the GoPro mount? Thanks a lot!

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    Replies
    1. Are you referring to the foam? This may help you out http://palmettokayakfishing.blogspot.com/2012/02/kayak-fishing-monopod-conversion-for.html

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  9. Did you just use a zip tie to attach the brass clip on the side?
    Thanks,
    Dom

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    Replies
    1. Sure did. I use the 11" zip ties that are black from Harbor Freight as they don't break down in the sun and are quite strong and cheap - $1.99 for 100 of them.

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  10. I would like to try and build one of these if you don't mind??

    Beth

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    Replies
    1. Hey Beth, have fun with the build. I publish all these instructions so other folks can build these items. Good luck!

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  11. Paul, thank you for the great crate. I just finished mine and although not the same as yours, my family says it is a close second. Once again thanks, and I will be ordering the sticker to put on and give you credit. Mike

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    Replies
    1. Sorry for the late reply Mike. You are welcome and glad the build worked out for you.

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  12. nice crate did you use a 1-1/4 for all rod holder even the one with the monopod in it

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  13. I took this challenge on and built me my first kayak crate based on your design, while mine didn't turn out as pretty as yours definitely will be a great add on to my kayak. I am a kayak newbie and have to say your website is the best kayak site I have found and love your gear you profile and how easy you make the efforts, even putting the item links for the hardware. Thanks for the great website and I look forward to my next items to be your rod leashes. LOL.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Jeff - glad it worked out for you. Whenever I can find some time, I have a few more builds that I will post. Have a great weekend.

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    2. Was at Sports Authority tonight browsing the Kayak/Ski shelve when I spotted 1/4 20 X 3/4" knobs used for Ski Bindings, best was they were on sale for $0.47 for a pack of four. I bought 2 packs. I now can adjust my rodholder and accessories without a wrench.
      Phil

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  14. These are some great ideas, you are one creative yakker! I went out today and bought the stuff for the crate, the new camera mount using the monopod and the rod leashes. That should keep me busy for a few hours! Thanks for the great ideas!

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  15. Bought the crate today at Target, will be building mine tomorrow

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  16. Thank you for your time and effort in creating this blog and posting step by step instructions with great detail. I was googling for DIY milkcrates and stumbled to your posting. Awesome crate. Will try to build one.

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  17. How and where did u attach the bungie for holding the boxes?

    Thanks ,
    Jeff

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  18. Nice post, its really knowledgebale and valuable, this post helps me alot thanks for sharing with us.

    Discountskitubesandgear | Discountskitubesandgear | http://www.discountskitubesandgear.com.au/



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  19. What model plano box did you use?

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  20. Cant find the itso box anymore, looks like they discontinued them :(!

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  21. Look for the white itso box on targets site, they seem to be much easier to find than the black one.

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  22. Paul, I too am a newbie who just purchased my fishing yak to hit the Texas costal area and have been over numerous sites on DIY opportunities. Jeff (Sept 10, 2012) posted earlier that this was the best site and I have to full agree- amazing, simplified explanations of all your DIY projects!! I found my Itso box at Target today (in white >=[ ) and have my list of everything else to pick up tomorrow at the local hardware store! I just wanted to thank you so much for everything and hope to see more projects soon!

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  23. Unable to locate the ITSO box at target and on target.com. Noooooo!

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  24. can i get someone to make me one????

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  25. Nice invention using pvc pipes!

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  26. Any idea where I can find the storage cube like yours????

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  27. For those of you looking for this crate Target no longer carries them. I contacted the company to find where I could get one. They are only sold at homedepot.com in a 2pk. The internet item #:205559523. B+IN 14.8 in x 14.8 in Black Storage Cube. Hope that helps

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  28. What size Plano boxes are pictured? I currently using 3700 series thinking of switching to 3600 for kayaking

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