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A kayak crate can be a useful thing to have as it means you can have all your gear right where you need it. But finding the right one is not always easy.
We have put together a guide to help you check out some of the features and designs of the best kayak fishing crates out there so you can narrow down your search for the right one.
- Hobie H-Crate (best overall)
- Perception Splash Kayak Crate (best for customizing)
- Wilderness Systems Kayak Crate (best for water resistance)
- Pelican ExoCrate Fishing Bag (best budget)
Top 5 Best Kayak Fishing Crates Reviewed
1: Hobie H-Crate (best overall)
- Dimensions: 17.4 x 14.1 inches
- Weight: 5 pounds 13 ounces
The Hobie H-Crate is a lightweight and durable molded plastic crate that is designed with lots of features to make your life easier. A great feature of this one is the four sturdy carry handles. These handles are compatible with H-rail accessories (sold separately), meaning you can add additional gear much more easily.
The molded hole pattern on the four sides is also designed so that you can attach other gear and customize it.
Another great feature is the built-in rod holders – one at each of the four corners. The rod holders benefit from having bungee cords so that you can make sure your rods are secure.
This one also has skid pads on the bottom which are designed to help minimize noise to prevent spooking fish, as well as provide a little more traction on the deck.
This crate can be taken apart for storage when not in use.
- Built-in rod holders – stores up to 4 rods
- H-rail handles – compatible with other H-rail accessories (sold separately)
- Grip pads – helps to stop the crate from sliding and reduces noise
2: Perception Splash Kayak Crate (best for customizing)
- Dimensions: 17 x 13 x 12.5 inches
- Weight: 5 pounds 4 ounces
This Perception Splash Kayak Crate can be a good choice if you want to be able to personalize it with added extras (sold separately).
It is made from durable but lightweight polyurethane with a waterproof finish to help keep the inside dry. A nice benefit of the material is that you can fold the crate down when you’re not using it, making it more convenient for storing at home.
There are plenty of webbing loops and D-rings for you to attach your gear or secure the crate to the deck. It’s spacious inside, with room for up to 13 Plano boxes in 3600 size (or seven of the 3700 size).
The lid secures with buckle closures and is completely removable so you can access all of your gear easily. The crate also benefits from having ergonomic handles that are useful when moving it around the deck or unloading it from your boat. Additionally, it has feet that help to raise it slightly off the deck to keep it dry.
There are additional accessories, such as rod holders (sold separately), that you can add to the crate to suit your needs.
- Removable lid – easy to access your gear
- Water-resistant material – to keep the contents dry
- Spacious – lots of room for gear inside and attachment points on the exterior
3: Wilderness Systems Kayak Crate (best for water resistance)
- Dimensions: 18 x 12.25 x 8 inches
- Weight: 10.9 pounds
The Wilderness Systems Kayak Crate is a durable, blow-molded storage system that is designed to fit in many different tank wells. It comes with four rod holders plus additional brackets that can let you adjust the height or position of the rod holders, which can be useful for narrow tank wells.
This is a spacious kayak crate with a large main storage compartment, which has room for up to ten 3600 Plano boxes. You’ll also find additional storage in the lid compartment.
A great feature of this fishing crate is the hinged lid, which has a latch closure. When the latch is secure, the crate is designed to be water-resistant to help keep your gear dry.
It also features universal tie-down points so that you can secure it to your kayak (tie-down straps not included).
- Hinged lid – easy to open and close with one hand
- Water-resistant storage – inside stays dry when the lid is securely closed
- Adjustable rod holders – can be positioned to suit different sizes of tank wells
4: Pelican ExoCrate Fishing Bag (best budget)
- Dimensions: 15.25 x 14 x 12.5 inches
- Weight: 3.75 pounds
The Pelican ExoCrate can be a good choice if you’re looking for a more affordable crate that still has dedicated fishing features. A nice thing about this is that you can use it either on its own (thanks to its handy panels) or you can put a 13 x 13 inch milk crate inside, letting you boost the features of a standard milk crate.
This is a lightweight, durable bag that is designed to be resistant to UV rays and saltwater. It has plenty of storage pockets and compartments to hold various fishing tackle and has two rod holders with holes in the bottom for drainage.
Another nice feature is the removable shoulder strap, making it easier to carry from your car to the boat if your hands are full.
- Water-resistant – helps to keep gear dry inside
- Can be used with a standard milk crate – or on its own
- Rod holders – rod storage and lots of compartments for tools and accessories
5: YakAttack BlackPak
- Dimensions: 16 x 12 x 11 inches
- Weight: 8 pounds 6 ounces
This YakAttack BlackPak is an American-made crate that is designed to fit in most kayak tank wells. It features a lid that can be secured with a bungee cord to keep your gear safe.
It also benefits from having three rod holders, which can be positioned in a choice of ten different spots around the crate, letting you choose the most suitable location depending on your kayak’s set-up.
Another great feature of this one is the track rails on the top. These can be used to mount additional accessories (sold separately) and they are compatible with MightyBolt.
The crate also has drain holes and carry handles.
- Multi-position rod holders – can be easily attached to different sides for convenience
- Gear track rails – lets you attach your own accessories more easily
- Bungee lid closure – easy to open and close
Why Use A Crate On Your Kayak?
On a kayak, space is not usually something you have a lot of, so increasing your storage space can be sensible, especially if you want to be able to bring a lot of gear on board.
As well as boosting your storage capacity, a crate can let you organize your gear, which can make it easier to locate individual items and minimize the risk of losing anything. It can also help to keep your rods safely out of the way.
Let’s face it, you probably wouldn’t head off on vacation with individual items in your hands and pockets – you’d likely have a backpack or suitcase. Well, the same goes for kayak fishing. While you might also have a backpack, a crate can be more convenient to access while you’re on the water and it can fit neatly in your tank well.
A fishing crate can also mean your deck is free of clutter, which can be safer, particularly if you want a clear deck for standing.
Can I Build My Own, Or Use A Milk Crate?
If you simply want to increase your storage capacity without splashing out on a dedicated fishing crate, you can use a milk crate and build your own.
Build Your Own
Step 1: Attach PVC Pipes
Once you’ve cut your 1.25 inch PVC pipe to the right lengths, attach them to the walls of the milk crate using zip ties. You can fix them to the inside or outside, depending on your rod holder preference or the size of your tank well.
Step 2: Strap It Into Your Kayak
Place the crate into your boat and secure it to the deck using bungees. You can also add foam around the bottom of the crate to minimize noise and movement, and add flotation.
Useful Features Of A Kayak Crate
Rod holders can be a useful feature to have on a fishing crate because it can provide additional storage for your rods and can let you carry more than one or two at a time.
You may find that this is even more useful if your kayak does not have any built-in rod holders at all. However, some kayak crates do not come with rod holders as standard, meaning you would have to purchase these separately or make your own.
Video: DIY Rod Holders For Kayak Crates
On the other hand, if you already have plenty of rod holders on your kayak, having them attached to your crate may not be as essential. But you’ll probably find that it’s always better to have too many than not enough.
A lid can be a handy feature to have, as it can give you a little more security for your gear. It can also mean added protection from rain and splashes.
A lid that can be easily opened and closed can be better, especially if it has a one-handed design, as this can be more convenient when you’re trying to hold onto your rod or a fish in your other hand. It can also be useful if the lid has a hinge, so there’s less chance of you losing it overboard.
However, a lid is generally not a necessity, as it will likely depend on your preference and style of fishing.
Size can be an important factor to think about when choosing the right crate because you will want to make sure it will actually fit in your kayak.
It can be helpful to know the measurements of your rear tank well if that’s where you intend for the fishing crate to go. This can be important if you have a smaller or narrower boat.
If you’re looking to save space, having additional compartments on your crate can be ideal. This also means it can be easier to find smaller items, as you can organize them in the various pouches.
This can be helpful for storing lures, fishing line, and all your essential tools.
A water-resistant crate can be a good idea if you want to keep your gear dry. But this will probably depend on what you plan to store and whether you want it to remain dry if you capsize.
Not all closed-lid crates will be watertight but they can offer a little more protection than one that’s open.
A good soft crate will generally have water-resistant material to stop splashes and rain from soaking through to the interior.
Attachment points, such as D-rings, can be essential as they can help you secure your crate to your kayak so that it doesn’t fall overboard with all of your gear inside.
It can also be useful to have non-slip grips or feet on the bottom to help prevent the crate from sliding around in the tank well.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is A Milk Crate As Good As A Dedicated Kayak Fishing Crate?
A milk crate generally won’t have the fishing-specific features found on a dedicated kayak fishing crate. However, a milk crate can be fine as a basic storage crate or if you like to build and customize your own unique fishing crate.
Will Any Crate Fit On My Kayak?
This will probably depend on the available space you have on your deck and whether or not your chosen crate has attachment points to allow you to secure it to your kayak.
Are Kayak Crates Durable?
Most dedicated kayak crates are generally built to be durable, so that they can resist water, UV, and dropped hooks.
The Bottom Line
We think the best kayak fishing crate is the Hobie H-Crate because it’s durable, includes rod holders, and has the benefit of H-rail handles for easily mounting accessories.
A worthy runner up is the Wilderness Systems one because it can keep your gear dry with its secure lid.
Remember to check the dimensions of both your tank well and the crate. Not all fishing crates will fit in all kayaks. You may also want to think about whether or not you want to customize it or even make your own.