Are you looking for something crafty and fishy to do while it’s cold outside? How about make yourself your very own custom kayak fishing milk crate!
Nick and I decided to go the old “Do It Yourself” method rather than the store bought route when it came to an additional rod and tackle storage solution for our kayaks. There were a couple of reasons behind our thought process, 1) cost, 2)we can customize and 3) it was a fun project for us to do together. The cost side, well, if you Google “Kayak Crate Rod Holder”, you will see prices ranging from $60.00 to $125.00, then you get to multiple that by 2, since there are 2 of us…..this adds up in a hurry. The second reasoning; customization, we were able to build our rod holder how we wanted it and not at the mercy of some dude with a CAD program who might not even kayak fish. Regarding the third point of fun; it really was fun to think through what we wanted and how we wanted it and after running around and buying the necessary components, it only took maybe 30 minutes to actually assemble.
The store bought crate rod holders are really pretty simple, they typically have 4 rod holders around the outside of a box with some having lids. We actually did a one up and added a removable light mount to ours and made a 36″ light pole for a 360 light. We included the cost of the 360 light in the section below; note that if you purchased a store bought 360 light and mount specifically to fit on the kayak, they run for $45.00 to $100.00 plus and you will probably put holes in your kayak. For simplicity, we will lay out the process and cost for building one kayak milk crate rod holder just like ours and you can do the math if you want to make another one.
What you need, where to get it and how much:
Authentic Milk Crate (dims. 13″X13″X10.5″) – Container Store – $9.99
PVC Pipe (dims. 1/2″X10′) Sch 40 – Home Depot – $2.03
PVC Pipe (dims. 1.25″X10′) Sch 40 – Home Depot – $4.88
Adapter – 1/2″ CPVC CTS Slip X MPT Male Adapter – Home Depot – $0.29
Adapter – 1/2″ CPVC CTS Slip X MPT Female Adapter – Home Depot – $0.29*
Drill Bit – 5/8″ Wood Bit – Home Depot – $5.00*
Zip Ties – 10″ (100 count) – Home Depot – $9.00*
Gorilla Glue – Home Depot – $5.00*
360 Light – No Limits 360 Light – Academy – $20.00*
The * is a best estimate on what the cost was, we don’t have the receipt in front of me, but these are pretty close figures. Before we get too far down a rabbit hole, let’s do the math for the all in cost here; based on my fingers and toes we are at $56.48. Gee, I am no rocket scientist or math guru, but that seems a lot better than a store bought rod holder and 360 light ranging from $105.00 to $225.00. Obviously you won’t need 100 zip ties and you won’t use a whole bottle of Gorilla Glue, so consider these items a bonus! Also by purchasing 10 foot sections of PVC pipe, you will have plenty of extra material to make another crate or add additional rod holders to your milk crate, in other words, you can go crazy! Okay, that’s enough about money and justification, let’s build this thing!
Step 1 – Figure out where you want the rod holders on the milk crate and drill two holes about 1″ apart for the zip ties to go through. We used three sets of holes for each rod holder to make sure they wouldn’t slide or twist once mounted to the side of the milk crate. Typically, a person would put two rod holders on opposite sides of the crate, but you could add more or even put them on three sides of the crate; it’s up to you and what you want to do. We kept it so we could use the milk crate handles on the sides that the holders would be mounted to make it easier to carry.
Once the four rod holder holes were drilled out, we drilled holes about a 1/2″ apart for the light mount, again making three sets of holes to make sure the light mount will be good and sturdy. When the light pole is mounted, there will be a 36″ of pole sticking up, so you want to make the foundation is solid.
Step 2 – Cut the 1.25″ PVC pipe into 12″ pieces, with a 10 foot piece of pipe, you get 10 pieces; you obviously have enough here to make your milk crate look like Sputnik when you have rods mounted. You can make adjustments here and cut longer pieces so the reels will set up higher, but at 12″ it keeps the profile low and makes it easier to get tackle boxes or other stuff out of the crate. If you don’t have a PVC pipe cutter, no worries, just ask the guys at Home Depot to cut it for you. They have no problem doing it. In fact while they are cutting the pipe, tell them what you are doing; they will get a real kick out of it.
Step 3 – Cut the 1/2″ PVC pipe into a 36″ piece and a 12″ piece. You can see where this is going right? You have your light pole and mount cut now. Out of a 10′ piece of PVC pipe, you will have enough for two sets and plenty of extra pipe to spare towards another project. Again, you can adjust these cuts to your preference; there is no law saying you can’t change here. Also, ask the guys at Home Depot to make the cuts for you if you don’t have a PVC pipe cutter. I would do all of this cutting in one trip if I was you unless you just like hanging out at Home Depot.
Step 4 – Round off the edges to the PVC pipe. You can use a Dremel tool with a sandpaper head on it or just sandpaper. We used a Dremel tool and made really quick work of this task. You want to round off the edges so 1) you don’t cut yourself on the pipe and 2) you don’t want to mess up your cork rod handles when sliding them in and out of the holder. We did both ends…..not sure why except it’s fun to play with the Dremel tool. The only piece of PVC pipe that we didn’t round the edges on was the 36″ light pole and one end of the 12″ light mount. More on this in a minute.
Step 5 – Ream out one end of the 36″ light pole using a 5/8″ drill bit. The diameter of the No Limits 360 Light is slightly bigger than the 1/2″ ID PVC pipe, so you have to make the inside of the 1/2″ pipe wider and the 5/8″ bit is the perfect size for the job. In fact it makes for a perfect fit. Trust me, on all of this….. I actually carried the No Limits light into Home Depot with me and tried to stick it in the end of every pipe they had and figured out that I was going to have to do some extra work here. So I measure the diameter of the light base and found the right size bit for the job.
Step 6 – Secure the No Limits 360 light inside the reamed out end of the 36″ light pole and secure in place with the Gorilla Glue. Note: it doesn’t require a lot of glue and if it oozes out; make sure to wipe off the excess with a damp paper towel and that any glue doesn’t cover up the bottom of the light. The light unscrews at the base because the batteries go in through the bottom. It would really suck to glue your light shut. You might notice some white foam that seeps out of the connection; just make sure to keep it clear of the battery seal. The white foam will harden and you can cut it off with a pocket knife once it hardens.
Step 7 – Secure the male screw adapter to the other end of the 36″ light pole and use a little bit of Gorilla Glue. Again you don’t need a ton of glue for this process. If it oozes or you get white foam stuff, just wipe it off and clean it up with a pocket knife when it hardens.
Step 8 – Secure the female screw adapter to the non rounded end of the 1/2″ – 12″ PVC pipe and use a little bit of Gorilla Glue……. read Step 7 for the what to do on excess glue.
Step 9 – Secure the 1.25″ x 12″ PVC pipe pieces to the crate. We found it easier to run the zip ties through the two holes on all three sets before securing the first zip tie to the pipe. We also raise the pipe up approximately a 1/2″ from the ground, so the holder wouldn’t be resting on the ground when done securing. To really get these zip ties tight, we used a pair of needle nose pliers and a regular pair of pliers. If you take the needle nose pliers and place against the tie ratchet but on the tag side and the regular pliers on the tag itself and roll the regular pliers against the needle nose pliers; you get leverage and a really tight zip tie. Once done, just cut off the tag end as close as possible to the ratchet.
Step 10 – Secure the 1/2″ x 12″ PVC pipe to the crate. Don’t mean to sound like Captain Obvious here but make sure the end with the female adapter end is not facing the ground. Same process as in Step 9, apply here regarding zip ties and tightening procedures.
Well in 10 steps and 30 minutes, you have yourself a custom built kayak fishing rod and box holder with a light! The only two things that we are thinking about doing now are adding some bungee cords to the sides with hook fasteners to secure to the kayak in case of a roll over and possibly bungee cords to run over the top of the crate opening to keep tackle boxes or whatever inside the crate. Hopefully this helps you out and could possibly be useful.
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