Earlier this month Stuart posted about the Akro Mils hinged lid storage totes going on sale. While lidded crates like that are great for transportation and storage, there are unplanned situations where you may want a solid tote, but don’t have the space to leave it in your vehicle. This is where a collapsible crate can come in handy, you can stuff it under the back seat of your vehicle and forget about it until you need it.
There are several types of collapsible crates, with this type of product being around for a while now. I’m going to talk about Greenmade’s InstaCrate because I own several of them, and you can pick them up for relatively cheap at Costco.
When open and set up, the crate fits in a space measuring 21.5″ x 14″ x 11.75″ and has an internal volume of 19.25″ x 12″ x 11.25″. The empty crate weighs 3 lbs 12 oz. and folds down to 21.5″ x 14″ x 2.75″.
InstaCrates stack neatly on top of one another, when expanded and also when collapsed . They also have file rails along the longer sides so you can use them as file boxes.
To use the collapsed InstaCrate, you just lift up the top to bring the hinged sides to full height. Then you swing the ends down into place and they snap into the bottom. When you need to stow it away you just reverse the steps.
I have purchased three InstaCrates so far. I let my wife have one for the cargo area of her SUV, and I keep two under the rear seat of my truck. We’ve used them for hauling groceries inside from the store, moving Girl Scout Cookies, packing for trips, and whenever we need a solid container to carry a bunch of loose stuff.
When I’m making trips to multiple stores for a project, I’ll setup one of the crates in my front seat and throw all the loose bags and bits of hardware in it so they won’t go rolling around all over my truck. Then I can carry it all to my shop in one trip.
InstaCrates come in two colors: blue and green. You can buy them for $18 each at Amazon. But if you have a Costco membership or know someone who can take you, you’ll find them there for $8.
Greenmade InstaCrates are made in the USA.
You can also find commercial and industrial collapsible crates, often with ventilated walls. You’ll sometimes see these at your grocery store, used to hold produce. Stuart uses reusable plastic crates by Polymer Logistics, but for some reason they’ve become harder to find recently.