As ubiquitous as paddles and PFDs, the kayak crate is an essential tool for storing gear and holding rods. Snatching a milk crate from behind the local convenience store used to be a rite of passage for newbies. Today, purpose-built storage systems add accessories and dry storage to the concept. From classic to crazy, the latest generation of crates offer options for every angler.
The best tackle storage and gear crates for kayak fishing
1) Plano V-Crate
$99.99 | www.planomolding.com
Completely out of this world, Plano’s V-Crate offers a courageous solution for tackle and gear storage. The lower compartment of the V-Crate is waterproof to hold keys, smartphone and other dry gear. The large top section is open for rain jacket, leader, water bottles and other big stuff. Each side of the Plano V-Crate holds two utility boxes angled so they are easy to reach without turning completely around.
The V-Crate is heavy and bulky, but a handle on top makes it easy to carry. Gear tracks on the sides of the V-Crate will hold rod holders and other accessories, but we’d love to see the V-Crate rigged with vertical rod tubes. Plano’s first entry into storage solutions for kayaks anglers looks out of this world, but its design is down to earth.
2) Hobie H-Crate
$142 | www.hobie.com
Completely out of the box, the H-Crate puts Hobie’s unique spin on the kayak crate. A rod holder is integrated into each corner of the crate. The crate walls are pre-drilled for accessories. Hobie’s 12-sided H-Rails serve as carry handles and provide a solid base for rod holders and other matching accessories. Best of all, the crate is easy to collapse and store.
Grommets on the corners are designed to latch to Hobie’s tie downs, but they also hold a bungee to fit in any kayak. We choose the smaller Hobie H-Crate Jr. for standup paddleboards and compact kayaks.
3) Wilderness Systems Kayak Krate
$149 | www.wildernesssystems.com
The Louis Vuitton of fishing crates, Wilderness Systems’ Kayak Krate features a larger, lower compartment for big items and a smaller, upper compartment for stuff you need to quickly access. The smaller top compartment is covered with a clear, water-resistant lid. The large, lower compartment is blow molded, like a Tupperwear container, and seals to keep tackle and gear out of the elements.
The Kayak Krate comes with four rod holders, but they can only be installed on the sides of the crate. Wilderness Systems includes a bracket allowing the Krate to fit smaller tankwells. If you need to keep your gear cool and dry, the Kayak Krate offers the most protection.
4) YakAttack BlackPak
$130 | www.yakattack.us
One of the first purpose-built storage systems, YakAttack’s BlackPak was designed to solve the short comings of the classic milk crate. Built of indestructible solid plastic panels, the walls are predrilled to accept rod holders and other accessories.
The BlackPak includes three rod holders, but more rod holders can be added in dozens of positions. The top rail is predrilled to accept YakAttack gear tracks; it’s easy to add mounts and holders from other companies. Tie-downs on the crate coincide with factory rigged bungees on most kayaks. We’ve been using the BlackPak in the above photo for years with little signs of wear and tear.
5) YakGear Kayak Angler Kit in Crate
$69.99 | www.yakgear.com
This is the classic kit to get an angler started. A 13-by-13-inch milk crate fits in any tankwell and easily fits in the back of the truck and the garage. YakGear throws in a grapple anchor, rope and cleat. They add two rod leashes, an accessory pouch and two vertical rod holders. They threw in a lip gripper to land your first fish.
The YakGear crate is one of the lightest options for storage, but the open design exposes gear to the elements. YakGear offers the Cratewell, a bag fitting in the crate for dry storage or an aerated live well. Customize the crate by cutting the sides or attaching accessories.