February 24, 2022
Being able to grab your camping and off-road gear quickly means getting on the road faster, which directly leads to more time enjoying the great outdoors. Having a place for everything— and keeping everything in its place—requires storage solutions. For many that means milk crates and cheap plastic totes. But there are better ways to keep gear organized and ready to grab at a moment’s notice when the Great Outdoors is calling your name. Here’s what we use to stay ready for the trail and get our gear out there and back in one piece.
Pros: Organizes and secures gear in the truck bed.
Cons: Takes up significant volume.
Truck-bed modifications come in all different shapes and sizes. Drawer systems have become increasingly popular and offer secure storage while still allowing the user to have a flat surface to load additional, larger gear on top of the system. Decked is a major player in this category. Their drawer systems are built to fit perfectly in your truck and still have plenty of room for larger items. The polyethylene exterior paired with the steel internal frame promotes impressive durability and strength. The system is weatherproof and can carry 2,000 pounds. Underneath the platform are two full-bed-length drawers that will securely hold all your essentials for any adventure. Each drawer can carry up to 200 pounds and can be locked for extra security. With the tailgate shut and locked, you would be hard-pressed to break into a Decked system.
TruckVault All-Weather Drawers
Pros: Killer customer service; limitless custom options.
Cons: Heavy; reduced storage capacity; pricey.
It’s easy to think that a truck-bed drawer system is a frivolous addition—until you put one to use. Then it’s hard to imagine how you ever lived without one. TruckVault’s All-Weather line delivers secure storage for all essentials, protecting them from the weather, damage, and theft. Each drawer is customizable and can accommodate full-length pieces of gear—think guns, fishing rods, and other long items that are otherwise tough to accommodate. Interior dividers are available, and the high-density foam can be cut to fit, creating a custom cushion that keeps high-value items from sliding and shifting even when driving over rough ground. Each drawer-front is backed by a bulb seal that presses tight via the twist-cam locks. That and the rugged MDO construction and Line-X spray coating ensure the elements stay out. Inset rollers make sliding drawers open a breeze, even under heavy loads. Great customer service and a ton of custom options ensure owners get the exact storage solution they need.
Pros: Added organization and significant carrying capacity.
Cons: Only one size option.
In addition to their drawer systems, Decked D-Boxes take organization to the next level. With different options to set dividers, you can customize these boxes to store your essentials for your next trip. The D-Boxes are 1,821 cubic inches and are designed to carry up to 50 pounds comfortably and to stand up to the repeated abuse and falls from the truck bed. For those who have a Decked drawer system, these boxes fit perfectly to ensure optimum organization. The rugged reliability of the boxes allows them to be used independently of the drawer system. D-Boxes feature recessed locking levers, two grip points, horizontal and vertical grips, and two dividers. These boxes come with an EDPM gasket to help keep your gear free from water and dust damage. The boxes are available with either a blue or a desert tan lid.
Pros: Multiple box sizes; superb durability.
Cons: Bulkier boxes take up more space.
Aluminum cargo boxes are the pinnacle of gear storage when your adventure will take you far from the comfort of civilization. High-end gear will never be protected better than in an IP54-rated Alubox. The Alubox Pro S060 is the perfect place to store essentials when heading afield. Featuring 60 liters of storage space and a 50-kilogram weight capacity per handle, this box can be loaded down with any gear you need for your adventure. The Alubox Pro S060 is waterproof and dustproof, so you can be sure that your investments will be safe when navigating trails in the most remote areas. The corners of the boxes are reinforced and have small flanges that lock into other boxes to make for easy stacking when traveling. The boxes are fully sealed and feature extra sealing in the joints. The Alubox Pro Series has many sizes to ensure you’ll find the right fit for your gear.
Front Runner Wolf Pack Boxes
Pros: Rugged and durable for extended abuse.
Cons: Water resistant, not waterproof.
These boxes feature durability and storage without a frivolous design. The Front Runner Wolf Pack Boxes are made from high-density polyethylene plastic for superb durability. And they’re lightweight—these boxes tip the scale at a mere 6.6 pounds. With durable locking clips, these boxes will keep your gear contained no matter the situation. The design features integrated stacking technology that allows the user to stack multiple boxes on top of each other in a secure fashion. The base of each box fits perfectly onto the top of another. You can take these boxes on any adventure from the desert to the ocean and know your gear is secure and protected. If you use Front Runner’s drawer systems, these boxes are designed to fit perfectly and optimize storage capacity.
Roam Rugged Cases
Pros: Bombproof (not literally).
Cons: Lid/lip design reduces usable space.
There was a popular T-shirt from back in the day that highlighted a frisky couple framed by the words “Damn Sand Gets Everywhere.” While the illustration may have been a bit crude, the sentiment still stands true today. Keeping sand, grit, fine dust, and moisture out is the biggest challenge when adventuring off the pavement, but Roam Adventure Company achieves the impossible with their Roam Rugged Cases. Made from tough, rotomolded poly—not unlike modern coolers—with a Mil-Spec seal that is fully dustproof and waterproof when the steel latches are locked down tight. Of particular note are the gas struts that hold the lid open—a feature not found on most other gear boxes, but one that’s a boon when digging for recovery gear. Side handles are nylon rope with comfortable rubber grips for painless carry, even when fully loaded. Designed to interlock with other Roam Rugged Cases for stackable security and Tetris-like packing in tight situations.
Step22 Stingray Flat Boxes
Pros: Compact when not in use.
Cons: Extra care required when stacking heavy gear on top.
One of the issues with bulky storage boxes is where to put them when they’re not storing anything. These innovative crates solve that problem by collapsing into a flat pack a quarter of their size when not needed. When it’s time to pack for the next adventure, simply fold the sidewalls into place and secure them via hook-and-loop tabs to create a large, roomy place to store essentials. Great as a mess kit, the smaller version holds a Camp Chef Stryker or other smaller stoves, plus a few bowls and utensils. And don’t think just because it collapses, it can’t carry a heavy load. The side panels are rigid, and the boxes include moveable internal dividers that enhance the structural integrity. Stash a collapsed box behind the seat and you’ll always have an empty storage box when your adventures take you to that secret morel patch.
Tuffy Underseat Security Drawer
Pros: Out of the way; hidden from view.
Cons: Limited vehicle fitment.
Sometimes you need to store stuff away from prying eyes and secure it from pry bars and other tools of thieves. Tuffy Security makes some of the best vehicle-based lock boxes and has a wide range of models for both universal-fit and vehicle-specific applications. In the past we’ve relied on their console-mounted safes and are planning to add an underseat drawer to our security system in the near future. The welded, all-steel construction ensures your wallet, CCW firearm, and other small goods are safe and secure when you can’t carry them on your person. The locking system’s 1/8-inch-thick welded steel components and a Tuffy exclusive 10-tumbler, double-bitted lock are pry-proof. All seals are weather-resistant, and the drawer has a pull lever and smooth, roller-bearing slides for easy opening and no fumbling when you need to access the contents quickly. Installation is simple, with no need to drill holes in your vehicle or reroute underseat wiring.
MTM 4-Can Ammo Crate
Pros: Stackable, secure solution for ammo-can junkies.
Cons: Tray does increase the overall footprint.
Ammo cans are the original versatile storage device. For years, they’ve been used by off-roaders and outdoor enthusiasts to stash all those smaller necessities. And they’re great for storing and transporting ammunition as well. I keep a cold-weather kit—gloves, stocking cap, candles, lighters, and a few snacks—in one just in case I get stuck in a blizzard. A second holds a bottle jack and shackles. A few camp essentials goes in yet another. The problem with conventional ammunition cans is organizing them. The metal versions don’t stack well, and poly versions can be prone to tipping. This crate system solves those problems by organizing ammo cans securely in a rugged tray. The design also allows users to stack multiple crates for optimum organization. This crate comes with four .30-caliber ammo cans, and mini and .50-caliber versions are also available. Each can features a full O-ring seal to keep out dust and moisture and is lockable via reinforced padlock hasps.