If you have made it to this amazing instructable, that means you have or are soon to have a kayak that you want to make more suitable to your fishing needs. I was just like you one day when I decided to build my first crate. I wanted more on deck storage, rod holders (w/leashes), and a way to close and lock it in the closed position in case of a rollover. After retrieving my actual milk crate, I spent time walking around my workshop looking for random materials that I could use to make my milk crate more suited to my fishing needs. In total, this milk crate cost me a whopping $4.85. It would've been free if I had already had the milk crate. I hope you enjoy my design and get good use from it. TIGHT LINES!!!
Picture for Cutting PVC
Picture for Grated Lid
Picture for Foam Insulation
Picture of sunset fishing
Step 1: Gather Needed Materials
For this project, your going to need:
- Milk crate
- About 5 ft of 1.25" PVC Pipe
- At least 9 heavy duty zip-ties
- A grate of some sort (I used a grated metal shelve from an old freezer)
- 4 small bungee chords
- A sheet of foam at least 18"x18"x3" (I found old foam insulation)
- 4 small straps or medium bungee chords
- Adhesive (I used gorilla glue)
- (Optional) Colored Duct tape
- (Optional) Spray Paint
- Drill with 1/4" bit
- Cutting tool (Dremel, Hack-saw, ect.)
- A file or sandpaper
Step 2: Cutting PVC
Now that you have acquired all your materials its time to cut the PVC to length and also cut out the slots allowing your spinning rods to slide down into a locking position. (This step requires using cutting tools that can be dangerous if you have never used them before. If you think you need help, be sure to get it. Don't do anything your not comfortable with.)
- Cut your 5 ft piece of PVC into three 20" segments (this length is a preference, if you would like them longer or shorter please do so).
- On each of the 20" segments, mark a 5/8" (or however wide the base of your spinning reels are) wide slot from one end and make another mark about 4-6" down the length of the segment
- Fill in the lines to create the slot you will be cutting out
- Use a dremel or carefully use a hack-saw to cut the slots out
- Use your file or sandpaper to take off any burrs or sharp edges
- (Optional) Wrap the PVC in you preferred colored duct tape for aesthetics and be sure to cut your slot back out
Step 3: Attaching PVC Rod Holders to Crate
Now that your PVC rod holders are cut to shape, its time to attach them to your crate. You'll want to use one of the two side of the crate that does not have openings for handles to attach all 3 rod holders to.
- Hold up your PVC segments to the crate in the position you think you want with the slot at the top (be sure the bottom (non-slotted end) of the PVC is flush with the bottom of the milk crate)
- Mark a spot for holes on the crate on each side of the PVC about 1 inch below the slot to drill
- Mark a spot for holes on the crate on each side of the PVC about 3 inches above the bottom of the crate to drill
- Drill all 4 marked holes
- Use 2 zip-ties to run through the holes to attach your PVC rod holder
Repeat this process until you have connected all 3 rod holders to the same side of the milk crate
This is also a good time to find locations that your small bungee chords will be able to wrap around the PVC and grab the reel of the rod to lock them into place in case of a rollover.
Step 4: Building Your Lid
This part of the project is a part that is going to be custom to what you can find that will work for you. To build a lid for my milk crate I wanted something that was grated so I could see into it easily and water and air can easily pass through. I was able to find some metal shelving from a freezer which was nothing more than criss-crossing dowel rods which were welded together and painted white (as shown in the attached picture). Find something that will work for you.
- Cut the lid to match the dimensions of the top of the milk crate
- (Optional) Spray paint lid to preferred color for aesthetics
- If using a grated lid like the picture, orient the lid so that the large wires are on bottom and at the rotating edge to allow for smooth opening/closing
- Mark 3 spots for holes on the side where the lid will pivot (one in the middle and one on each side all evenly spaced)
- Use the drill to drill out the marked spots for holes
- Attach the lid by running zip-ties through the holes and around the pivoting piece of the lid
- On opposite side from pivoting end, find a connection point for a small bungee chord to connect to on the milk crate
- Attach bungee chord and clip on to lid to hold in the closed position
Step 5: Cut Foam to Specific Needs
Every kayak is different and not every kayak has a big opening available for a milk crate to sit comfortably in. The foam is not only added to this project to reduce wear from the milk crate riding against the plastic of the kayak, but also to allow you to shape the foam so that your crate fits as well as possible in YOUR kayak.
- Get an idea of exactly where you want the milk crate (be sure this location will have connections to strap the crate down or plan on adding those)
- Use the 18"x18" foam to get an initial idea of how the milk crate will ride
- If the foam and crate fit there is no need for further adjustment
- If the foam and crate do not fit, figure out what adjustments you need to make to ensure good fitment
Step 6: Strapping Your Crate In
When strapping your crate in you need to think about the type of water you plan to be on. I go on a lot of river trips and rougher water conditions that create a need for a good connection between the kayak and crate. If you plan on only going out on small lakes and ponds, you will not need such a sturdy connection and will probably be able to use bungee chords to strap your crate down. I prefer nylon accessory straps that have little to no stretch in them to ensure my crate is not going anywhere.
If using bungees:
- Find the locations near each corner of the crate (preferably towards the top) where you would like to connect your bungees.
- Mark your spot to drill a hole and drill it
- Connect each bungee from the kayak to the crate with the crate on top of the foam
If using nylon accessory straps:
- Find 2 locations on each side of the crate that are preferably in line with your connection points to the kayak
- Use a dremel or drill to cut 2 slots, one on top of the other, at each location (be sure to leave at least 1/4-1/2" between the two slots)
- Run the strap into the bottom slot and back out the top slot
- Repeat until all 4 connections are made
Step 7: Hit the Water!
It's now time to take out your kayak and try out your new addition. Find out what you like and what you don't like. Everyone has specific needs that may not be necessarily met by this specific design. This is a good base to start from to expand on and improve so that you have something you can call your own and that fits your needs perfectly. Kayak DIY is an extremely fun hobby and the amount of people getting into it is rapidly growing as kayaks are becoming more and more popular. Have fun and be safe out there!