raft storage ideas -drybox alternatives? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 05-28-2017   #1
Bozeman, Montana
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 216
raft storage ideas -drybox alternatives?

So I opted out of the dry box for my raft set up. As a first time raft buyer, I'm curious as to what other people do for storage. I have came across this site that offers drop bags, Drop Bags

My other option is to buy a few more dry bags. Like to get my extra life vests, fly fishing gear and so forth organized on my raft.

Raft is 13'6

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Old 05-28-2017   #2
SLC, Utah
Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 148
I've been using these Vittle Vault pet foot containers for a long time - they work great; cheap, light,and 100% dry. I usually put them on the floor of my 16 ft cat and 1 on either side against a tube leave me just enough room for my feet and a nice surface to brace against and rub against the tube.
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Old 05-29-2017   #3
aman's Avatar
Vail, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 24
When I bought my first raft I didn't have money for dry boxes either and I kept everything organized in dry bags and ammo cans. I like to use a drop bag and cover it with my river table I built out of plywood. The table doubles as a seat for your passenger on the raft and holds all the loose chairs, small dry bags and anything else you throw in the drop bag while on the water. You can also strap paco pads on the table to make their seat cushy and not have to roll them up every day at camp. I've heard great things about the stitches and stuff bags but have always bought my goods from Ray at Tuff River Stuff. Both are quality hand made goods made from river running folk here in CO.

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Old 05-29-2017   #4
Aurora, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 622
My first boat I had a huge drybox. It was a black hole, especially if somebody else rooted through it.

I now prefer drop bags with hatches. Tables make a nice double, but I prefer hinged hatches since at camp I don't like leaving a big hole in the deck of the raft.

I also steer away from Rocket boxes as much as possible. They are heavy- really heavy. I now use the rectangular milk crates for most things under the hatches that can get wet (canned goods are a big one). I still do have two small dry boxes either side of my feet, for things like bread, glass (whiskey), and my guide junk.

Rubbermaid Rough Neck totes do pretty darn well for semi-dry storage. I like to put weather stripping inside the lid, and then put a strap around the box. Weighs way less than a rocket or al drybox, and costs about $25, granted they're not as dry/secure. For me, a good trade-off for a kitchen box whose contents (pots and pans) aren't a real issue if they get wet.

Other than the few food items in my side boxes, everything that MUST stay dry is in Watershed bags. Older "mostly" dry-bags hold things that I'd like to stay dry, but not critical- tent, wet/damp river clothes, etc.

Best advise I can give:
1. Don't assume that the most popular solutions (rocket boxes are pretty popular) are always the best.
2. Don't be afraid to try things out.
3. Work the size/space that you have to make the best use of the space. For example, Yeti coolers are great coolers, but the dimensions don't work for me/my boat, so I use a different brand.
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Old 05-29-2017   #5
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 487
NRS also makes 2 models of plastic dry boxes that are about a 3rd the price of an aluminum dry box but really wouldn't work for a seat to row on I don't think if that is an issue. I have the 'Boulder' and have been very happy with mine so far and fits my space needs very well.
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Old 05-30-2017   #6
laramie, wy
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 76
Vittle Vaults have always worked for me. I just saw these for sale too https://sport.woot.com/offers/outdoo..._cat_sprt_2_43 but im not sure if they would be good for rafting.
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Old 05-30-2017   #7
elkhaven's Avatar
Belgrade, Montana
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 2,177
I went a long time without a drybox... then I got a plastic NRS box. They don't make them anymore (for good reason, another story)... I liked it, but could live without it... it just wasn't that handy and had limited rigging options. Then a few years ago I made one from wood, exactly the way I wanted it. I put a sliding tractor seat mount on it and a high back seat, it sits on rails and is easy to strap in, but access is quick and easy - that thing I love. It's so easy to hop up, undo 2 latches and dig around to get rain coats, sweatshirts, etc. It keeps dry foods (on day trips; chips, bread, etc) from getting soggy in the cooler. For overnighters it becomes my kitchen box and food gets stored in buckets or boxes in drop bags. At any rate, I couldn't imagine not having a drybox, it's just too handy. I've actually gone to just bringing the dry box and a smallish soft cooler for beer and lunch cold storage on day trips. I leave the big cooler at home saving space and weight. I still spend way more days on the river day trip style than over night style and I really, really appreciate the handy access of a drybox.

BUT, I have two drop bags as well.... They are very nice to put spare pfd's, dry bags, any large items you want to get off the floor or out of the way. Drop bags with either hatches or flip up benches are also very nice... I just find that it adds another step or two to getting what I want out, and when your in a hury it makes a difference...

I tried lots of types of pseudo dry containers over the years but all had some minor quirks that dryboxes don't have. I think having both drop bag storage and a drybox is key, but that's just my opinion. They also just make almost perfect rowing seats, with a pad or with a seat added on...

I wasn't intending on trying to talk you into one, just to illustrate how handy they are, but I find myself thinking back to all my other storage experiments and realizing that the simple drybox was the one that finally hit the nail on the head. I wonder how much I spent trying to find cheaper or simpler options... way more than if I had just bought one 20 years ago! But it was a fun process along the way.
"If you dont do it this year, you will be one year older when you do"
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Old 05-30-2017   #8
Breckenridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 20
I use something similar to this for pseudo kitchen box less essential stuff in addition to my dry box. I have two. They are cheap and have kept everything clean and dry with the water seal around the lid. Mine are a bit burlier but similar.
That's just like...your opinion man
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Old 05-30-2017   #9
Redstone, CO
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 135
Originally Posted by joelduder View Post
I use something similar to this for pseudo kitchen box less essential stuff in addition to my dry box. I have two. They are cheap and have kept everything clean and dry with the water seal around the lid. Mine are a bit burlier but similar.
I have one of these https://www.amazon.com/Stanley-02800...atmax+tool+box on either side of my foot-bay. I've had good luck with them too.
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Old 05-30-2017   #10
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Evergreen, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 102
This isn't an alternative to a dry box, but before I went to a metal box I used one of these Rubbermaid cargo boxes for many years (https://www.uline.com/BL_317/Cargo-Boxes). Add some weather stripping to the lid and it is a functional and economical semi-dry box. Mine is white but they don't seem to make the marine version any more. Personally I like a box with crates inside for organizational purposes but everyone has their own system.
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