The new "waterproof" Plano Stowaway utility boxes
Total Score: 7.33
Plano updates their modular "Stowaways" with the addition of new waterproof
utility boxes. These boxes come in a variety of sizes and configurations and
work with most other standard Plano storage systems.
Enclosed, 3 mesh|
Impressions: These days it looks like there isn't a storage
solution that Plano doesn't manufacture. The brand has become popular for rugged
outdoor products, hardware storage, and even cosmetics. With such a diverse
amount of business it is great to see that Plano still places great emphasis on
updating their portfolio of tackle storage solutions.
One of Plano's biggest claims to fame is the development of
interchangeable tackle solutions. Anglers could use different boxes and bags and
swap boxes with ease depending on the type of fishing they were planning to do.
Recently Plano added new "waterproof"
boxes to their stowaway lineup. These boxes featured new hinges and a waterproof design. We take a look at their mid sized 3640 model to
see if these innovations truly add value to an already popular line of products.
The new 3640 seals up nicely
with 3 hinges
The Real World Test: We put the 3640 to the
test holding an assortment of large ripbaits on a recent striper fishing trip.
The tests were run both inside a modular storage system designed to hold
standard 3600 sized boxes and with the new waterproof 3640 alone.
Inside is the familiar modular
Addition to a configurable system:
Plano's new design works well with all of Plano's existing soft and hard bags that
do not feature rigid shelving. If you are a fan of quick draw rigid shelving
like that featured on Plano's 3341 Guide Bag your out of luck. A difference in
design on the underside of the box prevents the box from sitting or sliding
properly out of the box. Interestingly enough 3rd party manufactured bags like
the AlbackoreII use convertible soft shelving which will have no problem with
the new design.
the new hinge (left) is far
superior in durability then the old boxes (right) which can break off after
The Hinges: The main complaint Plano fans
have over the traditional stowaways was the old hinge design. Because the hinges
were made of plastic and were simply bent over to lock the box they would become
weaker and eventually break off with extended usage. The new box features the
addition of three real hinges that not only do a better of securing the box but
are also responsible for applying equal pressure to the top of the box to form
the water tight seal. While the hinges are much more durable then the traditional
jointed plastic they do require a second longer to open as now you have to reach
around 3 sides of the box to unlock the lid.
The O-ring is designed to form
a watertight seal when the box is closed
Waterproofing: The waterproof design of the
3640 features a soft O-ring that lies in a recessed groove that extends around
the entire contents of the box. When closed the hinges apply pressure on a inner
lip which presses down into the O-ring and forms the seal.
How well does this work? The best way to describe the box after numerous tests
is that it is "water-resistant," not "water-proof." Depending on the situation the box does
a far better job of keeping moisture out of the box then existing solutions but
cannot block all water from coming in. If the box is accidentally dropped over
the side of the boat the 3640 remains flat, holding out enough water to keep the
box afloat, so you have a much better chance of retrieving it than if you had
dropped any traditional box.
Dipping the 3640 in water
Durability: The durability of the new 3640 is up from the standard
boxes, mainly thanks to the new hinge construction. In addition the actual
plastic hinges that open and close the lid are 25% larger then the original
designs. The plastic is top notch, and you can basically take a hammer to this
box without doing any damage to your lures inside.
Hmmm...after tests the O-ring
didn't seem to be doing that good a job of keeping all the water out
One problem with the O-ring seal is that it actually requires an extended lip
inside the box. This means noticeably less volume inside to hold your tackle.
The 3640 features a customizable interior that allows anglers to put up small
plastic barriers between slots so you can adjust the box to hold small terminal
tackle or large lures like the rip baits we stuffed in the box.
One of the biggest pluses of
the box is the ability to hold out enough water to keep the 3640 afloat for
Applications: The 3640 Plano Stowaway is
good for existing Plano system owners without drawer systems. These boxes are
more durable and have decent water-resistant capabilities. Float tubers will
benefit most from the new design as it provides some more protection to anglers
tying tackle so close to the water. In addition the ability to float for
extended periods will help safeguard your tackle. Tournament anglers may find
opening 3 hinges on all sides of the box just takes too long.
Stowaway Ratings (?/10)
materials and good hinge design resists breaking
Ability to resist water and float is a plus, but the 3640 O-ring system
needs further development to be truly called waterproof
Decent price for a box, and at a dollar more then a standard Plano box some
anglers may want to upgrade
main feature of waterproofing falls a little short of our expectations
solid design that with some enhancements to the O-ring will prove very
useful. Would like to see the system function well in the Plano drawer
systems as well.
tackle system is good for soft bags and rigid systems without fixed
shelving. Anglers that simply carry stowaways on tubes or in packs will
benefit the most.
Pluses and Minuses:
Doesn't fit all Plano systems|
Good hinge design
Not completely waterproof|
Conclusion: Overall the new Plano Waterproof Stowaways are
decent. They help protect your tackle from the elements but not 100%. Moisture
will still enter the box and if submerged you can't count on the O-ring to
provide a perfect seal from water. What we like best about the new boxes is the
reliable hinge system that will not break as many times you open and close the
latches. If resisting the elements is a primary concern the new 3640 will help.
Now if Plano could truly waterproof this box completely and make it 100%
compatible with the standard Plano system we would have a real winner here,
until then most anglers will find their standard boxes will work just fine.
Until Next Time....Tight Lines!