School me on kitchen boxes? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 05-07-2017   #1
JustKip's Avatar
Fresno, California
Paddling Since: 1979
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 184
School me on kitchen boxes?

Thinking about buying my very first kitchen box, and to be honest I don't know what I don't know. I had been packing backpacking gear in a small drybag in my cooler, but I'm about to retire, so I won't have the time limits I've been plagued with in the past.

First off would be size. According to the spec sheet on the NRS website, my E-136 has a center compartment width of 38". I'm assuming I want the box to clear the sides to prevent chaffing, so I'm guessing I want it to be about 36" wide?

Second, I intend to sit on the box to row. I like the security of rowing from a seat, especially in big or technical water, but a flip up seat don't look like it would be convenient for using the box on shore. Advice?

Third, partitions? Does it help to have the box divided up into compartments, or do dividers just get in the way of bigger items, and make it harder to pack all the available space?

And finally, I weigh 230lbs. Will I hurt it by sitting on it?

And I guess recommendations of manufacturers would be good too.

Thanks in advance, K

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Old 05-07-2017   #2
Dr.AndyDVM's Avatar
Nampa, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2014
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 386
First, don't use published manufacturer's specs to pick the dimensions for your box. Use a tape measure. I made that mistake and ended up with a box that was too wide.

Second, I row from the top of the box with a mini paco pad cushion on top. But, On multidays I like how you can brace with gear behind you similar to a seat back. I liked it so much I bought a flip seat to go over my box. I got the NRS one because I already owned the box. I haven't used it, but it looks pretty easy to install. I don't believe it will pose any problem to take the box out of the frame and up to the beach either. If you want the DRE seat, you will need to order a box made with half inch spacers so the seat can clear the box. The radius of the curves on the bent aluminum needs clearance. If you want the DRE chair, make sure to call DRE before ordering the box.

Third, there is a sweet thread on here about partitions. I copied one guy's designs and put some partitions in mine. They were awesome, but they're gone now. They definitely reduced the total amount of gear I could fit in my box. A big bummer. They also made it hard to fit bigger pots, 14" Dutch Ovens, etc. Another bummer. And, it seemed like every time I got a new piece of gear, I had to redo them. Adios partitions. It was one of those ideas that seems awesome at first but just ended up being a pain. If you want to try them, start with the cardboard and duct tape ones. If you like those, you can build some of those wooden ones. I would never ever have aluminum ones welded in. Way too permanent.

And finally, I weigh 190 and mine hold me and another person fine. I have Cambridge and Mad Cow. They both seem like good boxes. I'm sure there are other manufacturers out there too. They have different style lids. I think the Mad Cow might be stronger. It sure looks stronger but the Cambridge is strong enough and less expensive. If I had to park a car on it, I'd go with the MC, but I'm only parking my ass on it, so life is beautiful.

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Old 05-08-2017   #3's Avatar
lafayette or Grand Lake, CO., Colorado
Paddling Since: 1961
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 1,064
No partitions IMHO. I pack mine different most every trip based on how many are going and who's carrying what. One other suggestion I will make is if you can set up your frame so you sit over the cooler or something else and the kitchen box is in the front bay it is a lot easier to remove and to load at camp.
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