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Old 01-14-2010   #1
SimpleMan's Avatar
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: '05
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 394
Pros/cons of captains dry boxes

Got my first boat this year and am considering what type of dry boxes to buy. I have seen lots of boats that like the long skinny ones mounted in the first or last bay, but I like the idea of captains boxes on either side of the rower seat. What are the pros cons of both types of boxes?

Dude, I'd see you on the river but I'm hardly ever out there.
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Old 01-14-2010   #2
scooby450's Avatar
Mesa, Arizona
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 259
ammo cans

Whether U Think U Can, or Think U Can't; U R Right!
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Old 01-14-2010   #3
mountains, Colorado
Paddling Since: '92
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Originally Posted by scooby450 View Post
ammo cans
heavy but cheap
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Old 01-14-2010   #4
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 883

I know I'm in a distinct minority on this, but I like to row with my feet wide in the cockpit, rather than close together.

This preference arose the first time I got bucked out of my boat on the Gauley because I couldn't get my feet quickly positioned to high-side when I made a sloppy run through some no-name rapid. Since then, I've rowed -- at least in the rapids -- with my feet spread wide enough that I can brace myself if the boat starts to go up on its side. And I'm already halfway into position for a full-body, two-legged highside if I need to.

From what I see, none of that is possible in quite the same way if you have captain's boxes or other gear narrowing the cockpit in a significant manner.

However, I fully recognize that one person's preference is another's abomination. And I see an awful lot of folks -- including many dory drivers -- with very narrow footwells, and never hear any stories from them about not being able to highside when they need to.


Rich Phillips
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Old 01-14-2010   #5
shappattack's Avatar
Up North, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,147
I run two 20 mm ammo cans on either side of my legs in a Super Duper Puma (rigged like captains boxes using the stitchnstuff ammo can drop bags), which makes and even narrower leg compartment. I really like the narrowness coupled with a custom fairly unique foot bar set up (shaped like an inverted "T", the ends of the T are inside the space between the ammo cans, which keeps them from flopping side to side). I can actually brace the tips of my feet under the "T" and legs up against my boxes really good, locking me in which has kept me from bouncing out of the boat a couple times for sure. No problems on the high side, which has saved the bacon more than once. I like the extra storage space for sure and although 20 mm cans are heavier than the aluminum ones, the are virtually indestructable and don't leak much if at all if they have a good gasket. Also at $20 each, how can you pass them up? They also happen to be a perfect hight to use as a stool when sitting at a roll-a-table playing cards, sippinig a cocktail

BUt of course, notice the orange NRS flip lines, so this recomendation should on its face, not be trusted and I have yet to see another super duper puma rigged similar to mine (i.e. 4 bay with captains boxes)
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Old 01-14-2010   #6
Westminster, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: May 2006
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I love my captain's boxes for long trips - way easier to get in and out of than ammo cans. It's the ultimate man-purse.

That said, they're 1) expensive, 2) not as waterproof as a rocket box if you get thrashed, and 3) expensive.

For maximum versatility, drop a piece of plywood into the cockpit with holes for straps, and tie in ammo cans, water jugs, etc. while you figure out how you like to rig your boat and then spring for the captain's boxes when you know it will be worth it. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-14-2010   #7
thornton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1969
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Posts: 600
Ammo cans. 20mm cans are the rafters best friend.
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Old 01-14-2010   #8
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at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,345
I can relate to RichP's comments. When I run big stuff I sometimes end up with a leg jammed down in the drain hole pit, "combat rowing". But for multidays, I use captains boxes no matter what. The gear storage is just great, having access to a lot of stuff that is otherwise buried is awesome. I keep things I want to access during the day, and also critical things that need to stay accessible such as repair kit and first aid. I use rocket boxes too, they sure are cheap. The one thing that is a pain, is the latches front to back, they almost didn't open when sitting on the cockpit floor, but if I slide them all the way fore/aft I can get one latch undone. The side open mechanism of captains boxes seem very nice, and the weight.
I am a river, babe - I've got plenty of time, I don't know where I'm going, I'm just following the lines..... - "We are water" by Shaye
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Old 01-14-2010   #9
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 151
for what it's worth, check these out, too.
Pelican™*Products*1430*Top Loader Case

more expensive than ammo cans, for certain...but i've trusted pelican cases with my photo gear for years and i've never been disappointed.
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Old 01-15-2010   #10
Down by the River, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2004
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Good price on the 1430

Pelican 1430 Protector Case

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