Featured Image Credit: Scott Beutjer Fishing
Kayak fishing crate options is one of those areas where I am biased. Having started with a home modified milk crate, moving to an Engel cooler for my Hobie PA14 and finally adding an H-crate on my Outback was a series of personal choices that I feel were best for me. I did a short stint with a BlackPak, but it just didn’t seem to fit my needs, or maybe just my style. That doesn’t mean it is not a good option, just not the right fit for myself.
When I have definite opinions about gear (and that has been said is too often), and is the case here; I reach out to my kayak family for help. So, in a quest to understand what are the top choices and why, I asked some folks. Following are the top five (then the honorable mentions).
Kayak Fishing Crate: YakAttack’s BlackPak
I wasn’t totally surprised to find that the number one response was the YakAttack BlackPak. With its 12”x16”x11” dimensions, this option has plenty of room for tackle and gear storage and will fit on virtually any kayak on the market. It is a highly versatile piece of equipment that allows anglers to modify it for rod holders, GearTrac, a VISIPole or any number of accessories available on the market. There are even limited color options available.
The BlackPak can be attached to the kayak and transported to and from the water without fear of turning to see it gone.
The included lid makes it possible to keep gear in the crate while moving between locations, tie downs keep the wind from blowing it around or holding gear in case you find yourself upside down in a creek. It will hold several storage boxes, soft tackle bags, your lunch, or about anything you carry on a fishing trip; you cannot go wrong with this choice.
Kayak Fishing Crate: Homemade/Milk Crate Options
It doesn’t take long hanging around the kayak fishing community to learn that part of its beauty is the simplicity of it all. Many guys are also in kayaks because it is extremely affordable. For these two reasons, a simple old school milk crate is highly popular; just like you see behind grocery stores. They have room for gear, can be tied or strapped down and can be very inexpensive.
These crates can be modified or not, have things attached or not, can be attached to other crates, modified to have lids and locks, painted and they come in multiple sizes. The choices are only limited by imagination. I have seen versions created by anglers that could most likely be marketed and sold in big box stores. These crates are easily “found” (see them on the banks of lakes all the time), purchased online or companies like YakGear make ready to use models.
Kayak Fishing Crate: Plano’s Soft Crate
This tackle storage system is designed to fit inside a milk crate or sit in the kayak and resembles a tackle bag more than a crate. At 12″L x 17.5″W x 12.5″H, it is comparable in size to the BlackPak or the standard milk crate options. It is configurable with zippers, pockets, and tool holders that give several opportunities to manage your gear.
Plano’s soft crate comes with two 23650 stowaways, but has the capacity to hold nine, and folds on itself to create a handle that also makes it possible to carry to and from the kayak or on shore trips. Several anglers I surveyed made this their personal choice because of storage capacity and how easily it can be carried.
Kayak Fishing Crate: Hobie H-Crate
A Hobie H-Crate, like the BlackPak, is a highly configurable option. With inner dimensions of 14.75 in x 11.4 in x 13 in and integrated rod holders, there is no shortage of space to store gear. It has the H-Rail system that will allow any Hobie accessories to be attached, but also has mounting holes to add additional rod holders or gear tracks. This crate also has adjustable straps that allow it to be secured in most kayaks.
There is an H-Crate Jr. available just in case you have limited space.
One shortfall of the Hobie crate is that it doesn’t come with a top, but they do have a soft cover with a zipper that can be purchased separately. This slightly restricts access to the gear inside, but is still a great way to stow gear in case you roll. But if you chose not to buy the top, this is still a solid option.
Kayak Fishing Crate: Magellan Dry Box & Flambeau Tuff Crate
These two came in tied for fifth in my very unscientific survey. I was a bit hurt that the Engel cooler did not rate as high as the Magellan Dry Box, but the difference in price is most certainly the deciding factor. The Magellan is a dry box/cooler option that has the external dimensions of 18 inches L X 12 inches W X 13.5 inches H and has latches and a carrying strap. This box also has an aerator port for keeping live bait. It has a hard shell and is insulated.
Personally, I have a dry box option because there are times you just want your stuff dry.
The Flambeau Tuff Crate doesn’t seem to be lacking space at 16.75″ L x 12.8″ W x 15.26″ H, and also has an additional top section to hold even more gear. The crate snaps shut and can hold several tackle boxes. To be honest, had I seen this option when I first started, I may have gone with this one.
It looks like one of those homemade options; something someone Frankensteined from a few milk crates!
Kayak Fishing Crate: Honorable Mentions
I am still standing by my Engel Cooler with my lucky duck mounted on the top; and I am sure that Kris Hummel will speak up for his Wilderness System’s crate (also with a duck on top) though they didn’t make the top five. The listings above do not represent all that is available on the market, or that lives in the imagination of future kayak anglers.
As the sport continues to grow, and companies try to market to us… there is no telling what might be available soon. Keep your eyes open, or maybe just create the next best thing yourself and see if you can build the top crate!
This article was contributed by an ANGLR Expert
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