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Old 10-23-2014   #11
90Duck's Avatar
Bend, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 282
I've had both Cambridge and Recretec boxes in past and current boats. Both are well built and good at keeping your stuff dry. I prefer the Recretec in my current boat because of the way they are designed to clip-in to the frame and become an integral part of the frame structure. No need to unstrap anything to access the box.

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Old 10-23-2014   #12
Avon, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 471
Recretec definitely my second choice. But i went with thickness of material Mad Cow has another 25% thickness.

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Old 10-23-2014   #13
Seattle, Washington
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 5
I went with Mad Cow Metal Works for a dry box and am very happy with the result. The box is solid and well constructed. Part of the reason I went with Mad Cow was that I had a slightly wider bay (18"), so I wanted the extra rigidity that their thicker metal provided. I also like the "cut-out" on the tabs for strapping down the box. On "big rapid days" I would still put a strap over top. However, most days, it is one less strap needed, while still providing a reasonable level of security.
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Old 10-23-2014   #14
salt lake city, Utah
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 4
Frontier play for dry box
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Old 10-23-2014   #15
Avatard's Avatar
portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 2,188
Originally Posted by jakkarl View Post
Frontier play for dry box
They still making them out of spare hardware and tv dinner tray material? There's a box you will be able to stomp on. No thanks
Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it "guaranteed", I will. I got spare time.
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Old 10-23-2014   #16
Park City, Utah
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 493
Look, trash them all you want( and you do every chance you get), but we've had a Frontier Play Kitchen box for 6 years and it been dry on the front of our cat till this season when the gasket finally wore out. Yeah, the hardware is a little low quality, but it only cost $200. I never expected them to be the quality of Recretec or some of the others 'merikin made boxes. If you're on a budget, they work fine. On the Selway this Summer, I bash a rock pretty good, hard enough to bend the steel frame tabs that hold the drybox on the frame and although the Frontier Play box dented, it wasn't as bad as one would think. A dead blow hammer straighten out the dent in the bottom in no time. Dinner tray Material? Balogney. Obviously, you've never really seen one in person.

FWIW, our US made shoe box style lid drybox has leaked a little on the front of our cat since year two. Yes, it's got better latches, but how hard are latches to replace?

We just ordered a new frame and (non-shoebox lid) drybox and kitchen box and I'm sure at some point down the road we'll need to replace the gasket on the box in the front.
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Old 10-23-2014   #17
Avatard's Avatar
portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 2,188
Ive owned one. Never again. The bolts rust. After cutting open my leg I decided the lock tab on the latches needed to be cut down an ground off to prevent further injury and afterward and the latches would occasionally just pop open without the padlock tab.. Hard to keep your contents dry when that happens. So I stored canned goods in mine and had nice rust rings form on the bottom. Not to mention the need for a dead blow hammer to the lid when my 260 lb friend jumped to the boat from shore. So if you are happy with yours thats fine but ill never own one again and certainly wont recommend them.
Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it "guaranteed", I will. I got spare time.
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Old 10-24-2014   #18
Park City, Utah
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 493
OK. Sorry, I withdraw my comment about never owning one and you're right, the lock tabs are POC. I cut ours off too. My SO is half the weight of your friend. Maybe that's the reason our lid is still straight. Or, it could be the fact that we have the 38 x 18 x 13, so if you had a wider box , that might explain the denting. Or, it could just be the fact that the guy weights 260 lb. I just looked at our box and there's no rust on the bolts. Are they dull? Yup. After 5 years, are the latches a little quirky? Yup.

I'm not claiming these are the greatest boxes ever made, but if someone is just getting their first boat or slowly acquiring equipment, these aren't a bad way to go. When we got a GC permit 6 years ago, we bought some used Leopard tubes, NRS frame parts and bought a FP kitchen box for what was a great deal. That's what the budget allowed at the time and it's served us well over the years. When we get asked on trips, we are always requested to bring our kitchen box.

Now that we've run both our cats for 5-7 years, we know exactly what we want. We have ordered some new tubes and have decided what frame and dryboxes we want that will work with both sets of tubes. All US made stuff.
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Old 10-24-2014   #19
Rainy Northwest, Washington
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 459
coolers andboxes.

Lots of threads on this. Avoid shoebox style. Beyond that, there isn't a tremendous amount of difference as far as I can tell. My recretec boxes have held up for 20 years, and they serve as seats in my cataraft. Never needed a thicker lid, and I have ranged 225 to 245. I like the welded-on tabs along the side so I can just drop it in at the right height, and use loop straps over the top to hold it in.

Woot had deals on gasketed coolers from Mammoth a while back. I got one and it seems to be a high quality product for the money. Avatard is right about getting the biggest one you can afford and that will fit in your frame. I got a 98-quart and am disappointed in myself.
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Old 10-24-2014   #20
Sam Arnold IV's Avatar
Lexington, Kentucky
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 32
Super happy with Mad Cow. Todd isn't the cheapest, but he'll make exactly what you want and uses ".100 material as opposed to everyone else's ".080. Heavier, but that might be exactly what you're looking for.

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