My brother found some watertight aluminum Army medical supply cases that were about 30x20x15 for around $40 that he uses as dry boxes. They've got alot of latches and can be a pain to get in and out of on the river but the price is right...
while it's not 100% waterproof by any means, a cooler can be a cheap way to store stuff like kitchen wares and other things that need extra protection but it's not the end of the world in they get a bit wet. Put a lantern in a small dry bag in the cooler,ect...
take it for what it's worth. may help or be useless advice.
I'll have to look for the army medical supple boxes. They sound about right for what I need them for. I have tried regular old plastic tubes for dishes but the lids are generally are broken into pieces by the end of the trip.
As for ammo cans and rocket boxes, I have used them for general river junk and have never had one leak. There are lots of them available with the whole Iraq debacle.
I have used the black plastic Walmart boxes (black body, gery lids with red latches) for multiple Salmon, Middle Rofk and Hells canyon trips.....with a little foam tape seal along the sunken gasket they are almost watertight. They are used as the rear seat in my Cataraft. 2 peopel can sit on them without warping (over years now).
They look lie the Tuff Boxes...but don't have metal latches and are made of slighlty more flexible plastic.
Come all kinds of sizes...i have one for personal gear and then one as big as my Kitchen Dry box...and almost as good for only $40 - $50...they are perfect.
Smith and Edwards (Holy Cow, What a Superstore!) is just about the best store in the world (except maybe CKS). It's in Ogden, Utah, I think. I've also heard there's another one somewhere but I have no recollection of where. They are the end all of Army Surplus Stores. Picture a place the size of Costco but filled with any guy's dream combination of useful camping and outdoor gear like tents, boats, and dryboxes and bizarre paraphernalia like M16 shells, machete's and tanks. They have everything ever made and many things that have not yet been conceived. If you want it, they will have it and probably at a great price, too. Definately check it out (and allow yourself a couple hours to wander, too).
I started with a plastic cooler and foam weatherstripping, strapped. Works and it's cheap.
Rigid military surplus boxes are good (if they're cheap). Aluminum's nicer than steel. Always check the gaskets and re-do if they're flaky.
Steel ammo cans are so heavy that I tried plastic ammo boxes (Cabela's, K-Mart) and found that even with the better gasket material, they can leak in a flip. In general, any container that's even slightly flexible will suck some water, going upside down through a hole. Ammo cans don't.
I love York Packs best, but had one leak after a serious Maytag session. So even inside a drybox, I tend to pack stuff that must stay absolutely dry in ziplocs or those clear plastic peanut jars with square corners.
The dry barrels in river catalogs can be found in industrial supply outlets for a bit less $$. They seem to be more popular outside the US, in NZ for instance.
Barrels are sort of a pain to rig, being round & rigid, and lacking tie-down slots. Also, they're not as convenient to pack and use in camp as a York Pack or Box (my first choice for usefulness divided by cost).
It makes sense to look at your boat & frame, and find containers that'll fit without much fuss. Or to build frames that accommodate your favorite gear.
Another thing I've seen used are the white plastic buckets with snap-on lids, often used for bulk foods, etc. Some of my IK pals also use them as campstools, which saves packing a folding chair.
A similar goody (perhaps easier to rig) are the squarish buckets in which cat litter is sold, also with snap lids. They seem splashproof– don't know about a flip.
M & M Industries makes a series of heavy duty plastic buckets (called Life Latch) with threaded & gasketed lids, that are used in the Scat Packer toilet systems. Pretty inexpensive from the factory, but they aren't used to dealing with small orders. <www.m-m-industries.com>.
Storage on a raft is always tight for me. Running a fully loaded Superpuma with an oar rig for overnighters, I am always loaded to the hilt. The boat is great, but small. I have set it up with a AAA flip seat bracket w/ a high back trailer seat for easy acces to the cooler. The boat is only 29 inches wide tube to tube. Thus, a dry box is impractical. I have a 20mm ammo can as dry storage for things that can not get wet. I also use a DRE drop bag under a marine plywood top as a seat w/ foam top. The seat doubles as a table by adding T-bolts to the corners and using conduit w/ bolts welded to it as legs ( have also seen the same using floor flanges and threaded pipe) For additional storage, I use a Rubbermaid Roughneck storage container with closed-cell weatherstrip around the top (would be ideal with an Rubbermaid ActionPacker) and the cam strap the lid down. I have also used 5 gallon buckets with Gamma Seal lids. They work, but are hard to rig .
I found these white boxes at a military surplus store in NM. They are about 37*27 inches O.D. and about 16 inches high. They are made of hard plastic and have 12 dry box latches on them. My friends have them and their's all leak a tiny bit because they are to lazy to go to Home Depot and buy gasket material and spend the hour it would take to fix it.
I got one that is absolutely watertight. It has a purge button to equalize pressure. I packed my mine one after noon in the sun and a the next morning the lid was buckled in from the change in outsie air pressure. The thing is to big from most frames, but with my NRS cat frame it can fit it in.
The only drawback is the seem a little soft to use as a seat unless you put 3/4 plywood on the top to distribute weight. I spent $60 for mine. The lable on it says "Navy Shipping Container, use to send materrial back for repair". The thing is more water tight than a metal/alum box and about $550 cheaped than something comparebly sized. I'll find a picture to post tomorrow.
A forum community dedicated to whitewater kayaking, boating, and rafting enthusiasts. Come join the discussion about safety, routes, gear, models, styles, gear swaps, reviews, accessories, classifieds, and more!