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.
Buy Now (via Amazon)
See Also(Similar CleverCrates via Amazon)
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.
I spotted the CleverCrate version at Sam’s Club last week. $12 and some change each. Same dimensions, holds 130lbs.
CleverCrates appear almost identical: http://www.clevermade.com/collections/clevercrates/products/collapsible-crate-62-liter?variant=1599942273
I don’t think I’d try 130lbs, though. I’d hurt myself and I think the crate would deform.
True, this is just going by what the paperwork on the crate says. 🙂 I might do 130lbs if it was nicely spread out over the whole of the bottom.
My mom has had crates like this in her trunk for what must be decades now. I think her’s were from Ikea but I can’t be certain. Her’s have more holes in them like milk crates but they fold up and flatten the same way.
Thanks for the tip, Benjamin. These look like a winner. Justify a trip to Costco this weekend. Like you, said, it will be nice to keep one in the car.
I got these at Costco last year. I love them. Pack them when you need them and then fold out of the way when you’re done.
It’s a great EDC thing for your car.
I love the way you put that! EDC for the car.
Hmmm, you got me thinking now.
If only the had a lided version too. I do like the idea of keeping 2 or so in the car.
8 dollars at costco you say.
Ace Hardware had their store brand version of this on clearance, $10 for a 2 pack. They stack both folded and open and are USA made. They don’t seem like I’d want to put a lot of weight in it but it would be a nice convenient tote to tuck under the seat.
These showed up at my Costco last week too. They looked handy, but I saw some reviews on Amazon that showed broken corners from shipping. That made me a little hesitant to buy them, but I also don’t think I’d be treating them as bad as the postal service.
Mike aka Fazzman
Just saw these at Sams Club today, $12 for a 2 pack. Roseville,CA area
Purchased a instacrate at PRICESMART in Trinidad and Tobago .very useful
D.D. Arnold, Jr.
I have purchased 8 so far, but have a MAJOR PROBLEM with the design!!! I already have broken 2 of them: one by carrying 3 gallons of milk and other items (not exceeding 40 pounds total), and the other, sliding it out of my SUV. It would be worth more money if the tops were manufactured like the bottoms are. Where the tops meet the sides, they are held by paper thin plastic connectors. Where the bottoms meet the sides, they have metal inside plastic tabs (about 1/2 inch wide, each one), all the way around. Both broken ones were at the top. Please think about a manufacturing correction Green Made… it would be worth their weight in gold! And a previous mentioned idea was also right. Lids and removable casters would rock!
Chocolate M Jones
I have 6 and the colors bary buy store I have 3 red and 3 yellow. No blue or green were available. I love them and use them for everything. 1 is just for my craft supplies 1 for car stuff in my hubbies truck 2 for groceries 1 for soap ( I make hand crafted bars) 1 for misc so that there is always one available for use. They stack great and have not broken one yet.
how about different sizes
I must admit . For personnel /domestic use these are very good containers . However not good for attic or garage long term storage . The design has flaws which can’t keep out mold causing moisture . They also aren’t meant for commercial transport use . Due to the fact that they will collapse if strapped down with transport straps and incur some jolting and bouncing around on rough highways . We use these for inside Cab transport of small hand-carry parcels . No longer used on Flatbed or Box trucks due to the rigorous beatings that have to endure . They also have a large flaw in COLD /Freezing weather . They can shatter . Otherwise These are the Ideal container for short private transport of small items . Thanks for asking .
We have a bunch of the instacrates I got from Costco. I’d love to use them for loving, just pop a lid on and that stuff is packed. The only problem is I can’t find the lids separately.