Gear Prep – Milk Crate

MILK CRATE PROJECT  [Dustin’s Kayak]


Initial Planning

I wanted to be able to store some easy to access items behind me for our trip down the Lower Pecos River (GPS, Delorme InReach, Extra Fishing Tackle, etc.)  so I did a ton of research online and found items like the YakAttack BlackPak but I didn’t want to spend the money on an expensive storage solution so I decided to build my own!

So I found some milk crates at the  that were DairyCrateOrgange_x
cheep ($9.99/Each) and they also came in 6 different color options.  Being that my Kayak now had orange shock cord on it, I decided to buy the orange version.

I had seen a ton of people out there making custom crates with lids and other accessories, so I figured I would do the same thing!  Instead of making just one lid, I decided to give my crate 2 different storage areas.  So I bought a total of 3 milk crates with the idea of taking two of them and cutting them up to create a second storage area and a lid.

The Build

I cut the 1st crate right above the solid area at the bottom of the crate (see cut diagram below).  This gave me a 2 inch shelf that would register on the crate below it. I then cut the 2nd crate right above the bottom edge. I made sure to not cut off the lip to insure that it to would register on my 2 inch shelf that I cut from my 1st crate.




I used my table saw to complete the cuts on the two crates.  It had no issue with the plastic and cut it very well.  I just set the fence on my table saw to the desired width and went to cutting.  I also did some sanding by hand and a belt sander to remove some of the saw marks.  I recommend hand sanding the edges and not the belt sander.  I used it on an area and it was very hard to judge what it was removing and I almost removed too much in one area so I put it up and got out the sanding block and did the remaining crates by hand.  After sanding, I noticed that there was still some rough edges and sanding marks so I took a plumbing torch and used it to to melt the plastic just enough to smooth out the sanding marks.  Just quick passes 5-6 inches from the edges was enough to smooth it out and not melt the crate.

Once I had my three pieces finished (full crate, 2 inch shelf and lid) I used a Dremel tool to make 4 small rectangular cuts so that I could add large zip ties for hinges.



Final Touches

To hold the lid down and the second shelf down, I used some 1/4 inch bungee cord and J-hooks that i bought from Austin Kayak. To add some extra support for the J-hooks, I cut some squares from some scrap plastic from the cut off process that fit in the grid area of the crate.  There was actually a lip from the molding process that held the square blanks in position perfectly and prevented them from being pulled out.  To add extra support, I took a solder gun with a flat tip on the end and welded the plastic square to the crate.

Kayak Fishing Crate

I did a test rivet on a piece of scrap and noticed the force used to fasten the rivet was pulling the rivet through the plastic square so I added a washer to the underside of the lid to give the rivet some extra support.  This worked great and I don’t fear that the rivet will pull loose.

fishing milk crateI added a J-hook to the front of the crate to secure down the shelf with 1/4 inch bungee cord.  I used some scrap plastic from the cut off process to build the surface up to give the J-hook and bungee cord more room to easily secure the lid. I feared that if I put the hook in the recess then it would make it more difficult to get the bungee under the lip of the lid and into the hook.

Additionally, I added some foam ribs to the bottom of my crate as my kayak (Jackson CoosaHD) has ridges in the cargo area behind the seat which caused the crate to rock back and forth.  I also wanted some foam on the bottom as I was worried that the plastic against plastic would cause some wear and tear.  I used some cheap foam floor mats from Harbor Freight and cut them down on my bandsaw.  The bandsaw cut them like butter and It allowed me to add bevels to them so they would fit the contour of the ridges on my kayak.  I used some industrial strength double sided tape and some small zip ties to secure the  foam to the crate, which seemed to work great!

Fishing milk crate foam bottom


Finished Milk Crate



Milk Crate Wrap Up

I was very pleased with how the crate turned out.  The Milk crate itself is high quality (I was worried for the price that it would be weak and flimsy) and I would buy from them again if I ever had to make another kayak fishing crate.

The bungee latches work great, and they have enough force to keep the lid closed in the event of rolling the kayak.  There are probably easier ways to secure the lid and shelf, but the extra effort to do the J-hooks makes it look cleaner and very functional.  Im also going to be making some pull tabs that will help in grabbing the bungee and placing it in the J-hook (below is a prototype pull tab with a D-loop).

Kayak Milk Crate

I will be posting a follow up entry when I figure out the best way of securing the milk crate to the kayak.

I hope you find some inspiration from this project.  I know there are a lot of them out there but wanted to give everyone my process in completing my kayak fishing milk crate.



Materials List/Cost & Links 


  • 3 Orange Milk Crates ($9.99/each)
  • 1/4″ Bungee Cord ($.49/foot)
  • J-Hooks ($.50/each)
  • Foam Mat ($9.99 set of 4 mats)
  • Zip Ties (had on hand)
  • Rivets (had on hand)


The total project cost me roughly $65.00 to make.  The crates being the greatest cost at $46.79 with shipping.  The other materials, like the J-hooks, bungee cord and floor mats will be used in future projects so the extra supplies will not go to waist and will lower the total cost of my milk crate project.

Links (Click listed item to be forwarded to where I found my supplies)

Orange Milk Crate
1/4″ Bungee Cord
Foam Mat




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