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Tackle Storage Review

The new "waterproof" Plano Stowaway utility boxes

Date: 8/15/02
Tackle type: Tackle Storage
Manufacturer: Plano Molding
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 7.33

Introduction: 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.

Plano 3640 Stowaway Specifications

Size 11"x7-1/4"x1-3/4"
Materials Impact-resistant polypropylene
Storage Compartments 1 Enclosed, 3 mesh
Water Resistant Adjustable
Color Clear/Blue Hinges
Price as tested $3.99

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 adjustment system


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 extended use


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 tests


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


Capacity: 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 extended periods


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. 



Plano 3640 Stowaway Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Good materials and good hinge design resists breaking 9
Performance Ability to resist water and float is a plus, but the 3640 O-ring system needs further development to be truly called waterproof 6
Price Decent price for a box, and at a dollar more then a standard Plano box some anglers may want to upgrade 7.5
Features The main feature of waterproofing falls a little short of our expectations 7
Design (Ergonomics) A 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. 7.5
Application This 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. 7

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Durable Material L Doesn't fit all Plano systems
J Good hinge design L Not completely waterproof
J Decent price L Smaller volume

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!









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