Waterproof, durable boat boxes: the pragmatics, doubts, and worldview
Here are two waterproof boat boxes to store emergency gear and regular gear. This edition is the pragmatic part: a later edition will add the doubts and worldview part Boat boxes are good for protecting crushable gear from tsunamis or your stupid feet. I love flexible waterproof bags and have several, but for the delicate expensive stuff, the box works for me. The photo shows the gear that goes in the large box, minus a flashlight, because I am between flashlights and am seeking a good bright LED one I can afford.
Boxes also can double as hasty stools. I love multifunctionality. Modification: either of these boxes could incorprate a small closed-cell foam pad, with nylon cover, to make these boxes into gear-and-tired-butt boxes.
These boxes are rather heavy (big one is pine, epoxy coatings in and out, fiberglas cloth as abrasion protection, then very sloppy paint job — why make it beautiful when it is going to be kicked around and put on rocks and wet sand? I couldn’t think of a reason why). You can build them lighter without sacrificing much strength. Actually, the small box is marine plywood on four sides epoxied to pine squares at the ends, so it is lighter. I used quarter-round pine stock inside to bolster the plywood-to-plywood corner joins.
"But why do you have two boxes?" Because….epics are fine, but every day on the water need not promise Green Giants, scylla, and other events worthy of entry to the Explorer’s Club. For those days, and those boats, an option for a small box is good. I may be wrong, but I think all the flares, radio, tool kit, etc., are a bit of overkill for kayaking a few hours in the local river-swamp.
The small box should nestle between your legs or behind your seat in a kayak — that is the best I know how to set its comfort-to-size ratio. It should carry a lunch, small binoculars, camera, cell phone, wallet, small ditties (first aid, nylon cord,etc.), perhaps a small signalling device (flare gun will fit, electric strobe — I keep a strobe on my lifejacket and that is enough for me for lazy boating), and perhaps a thermal undershirt or poncho.
I added double handles at top that double as the "roll bar" that can hold and protect exposed items such as compass, GPS, binoculars, light, etc. The holes in the handles are for elastic cords to hold in your exposed items.
The larger box has a similar protective cage (compass is permanently mounted but room for GPS behind the bar). The second watertight screw-cover thing is a small compartment for small stuff you might want handy right away (keys, ID, money, medicine). I am uncertain as to its usefulness. It is right where I tend to put my foot when sailing, or where I would sit if I put the box down on a wet beach to sit on.
Both boxes sit on "skids" that you can’t see here to keep their bottoms out of the constant wetness often found at the bottom of any boat and to take up most of the in-boat abrasions (yes, the boxes are waterproof but life is flawed and so isn’t much waterproofing). The protective side rails and the epoxied on rope around the aft edge also protect the box from the knocks that it suffers in my crowded outrigger canoe — the idea is to reduce the chance the the epoxy coating will be breached and let in moisture.
Both boxes have strong provisions for attaching to your boat (you barely see the SS eyehook on the small box, held in by interior nut with washer).
The blue elastic cord is to let you jam things under in case you are rushed and have no time to unscrew lid, or to hold stuff safely that need not go in the box (poncho, windbreaker, length of coiled rope).
The yellow bag on the safety cord is to hold daily objects such as cell phone, keys, wallet. That assumes you don’t carry both boxes and save the large one for gear you hope you need not use, and the small box for gear you will probably use. There’s a whole ritual possible here.
(Note the saw, which I made from a replacement sabre-saw blade with handle wrapped in epoxy-soaked nylon cord. Why? I could find the size that suited me, and make it cheaply since tools are known to rust and be lost. Why carry a small saw? Because you never know…. Other tools are a Leatherman and a hand drill, and in fact have needed both for repairs, once. Sheaths for saw and drill made from polytarp and ductape, loose fitting and stiff to allow aeration.)
By: Wade Tarzia
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