Truck and SUV Cargo Storage Solutions Buyers Guide

Mind The Store: Innovative Ways To Store Your Stuff

Tori Tellem
Oct 21, 2010
Comedian George Carlin had a great bit about stuff: "That's the whole meaning of life, isn't it, trying to find a place for your stuff? That's all your house is: a place for your stuff. If you didn't have so much stuff, you wouldn't need a house. You could just walk around all the time. That's all your house is, it's a pile of stuff with a cover on it." Ditto our trucks and SUVs. Hauling "stuff" is how life goes -- gear stuff, work stuff, tool stuff, grocery stuff, kid stuff, pet stuff, on-the-road-entertainment stuff. But there's an entire section of the aftermarket dedicated to helping us organize and store our stuff. Here are some handy, stealthy, clean, and inventive ways to do it.
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Adventure Trailers Composite Drawer System
Having a truck bed is incredibly useful; having to keep it organized can be tough. That's why we dig a product like this one, the Composite Drawer System from Adventure Trailers. (It'll work in the rear of SUVs as well.)The drawers are made of Fiberthane (urethane foam and fiberglass, with a polyurethane coating), and they're lightweight and strong. You can get them 20 inches wide and either 9 or 12 inches tall and 24 or 36 inches long. The company says it can build drawers with heavy-duty, full-extension slides up to 60 inches long for pickups. The drawers start at $425.
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Adventure Trailers

ARE Z Series
Some people hesitate to add a bed cap because they don't want to lose the sleek, good looks of their trucks. But ARE thought about that and designed its Z Series to blend with a truck's lines, plus they're painted to match your ride's OEM color. So, in addition to keeping your goods safe and secure inside the bed via the lockable cap, you'll gain even more dry carrying capacity. The cap comes standard with side windows and a compound curve rear door, and you can opt for a Yakima rack, remote keyless entry, and sliding front windows, among other offerings. It starts at $1897.
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Bestop EZ Fold
If you're not in need of some super-trick storage system, a basic soft tonneau is a good choice. The EZ Fold from Bestop is made of OE-quality fabric and has a three-panel system with strong aluminum bows that span the side rails for serious support. And convenience is also a perk here--the tonneau can fold to the back of the bed with a lower-profile hinge and rail design. And since it has buckle straps, the tonneau is secure to the cab rail, for easy storage use. The EZ Fold will fit most trucks. It's around $438.
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Here's a smart concept: a cargo carrier for the hitch mount. The Carpod has 22-inch sidewalls that will fold up to keep cargo contained while you're on the move. We're talking everything from luggage and camping supplies to even a bike. And when you're not using it, you can hang it flat on a garage wall or slide it under a bed. It can handle up to 450 pounds and 13.25 cubic feet and features a one-piece base frame, four reflectors for night visibility, and optional locking lid and cargo bag. The Carpod will work with any 2.0-inch hitch receiver, and a 1.25-inch receiver if you have an adapter. MSRP is $300.
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Craftsman Truck Box
Craftsman offers several ways to organize tools and work equipment in a truck bed, including this full-size aluminum crossover truck box. It features a three-layer, rigid structural lid, with a reversed-bevel inner liner and foam insulation. There's also weatherstripping, a gear-lock dual rotary system, and self-aligning lid latch pins for a tight seal. The lid will resist more than 1000 pounds of prying force. The box is designed to resist cargo damage and can hold 2 cubic feet more than the standard box. There are storage bins on both ends for small parts and tools. MSRP is $350.
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Dee Zee Trailer Boxes
Dee Zee's boxes will create new storage opportunities on your trailer. The triangle-shaped units are made of lightweight, blow-molded poly-ethylene and have a double-walled lid and rigid frame to help prevent warping in bad weather. There's an integrated steel hasp. Boxes are 36 inches long in back, about 18 inches in front, 18.75 inches wide, and 18 inches tall, with a volume of 6 cubic feet. You can also get boxes in Brite-Tread aluminum styles. MSRP is $126.
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Dee Zee

DiamondBack 270 tonneau
This is the DiamondBack 270 tonneau, created for fleet use and "the working man," in the company's words. It's hard to argue with that label when it comes to a tonneau that opens via three hatches, for complete access to the bed. It opens at the sides as well as the rear, and panels can be folded to deal with tall cargo. You can get the 270 in standard 2-inch profile or a 4-inch profile for extra bed volume. Bins are also available for the 270 for tools and small equipment to be suspended directly underneath the cover's doors, all the while allowing full use of the bed floor. The 270 starts at $1349. DiamondBack; 800/935-4002.
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DU-HA Storage Unit
DU-HA is the name behind (and of) this storage unit, which fits under the back seat, giving you hidden storage for items such as jumper cables, four-wheeling equipment, tools, toys, or plain ol' clutter. Bonus feature: It has removable organizer/gun rack inserts, so it's a legal gun case in most states. The heavy-duty DU-HA is easy to install and comes in matching interior colors for a factory look. Models are available for various full-size trucks. Pricing ranges from $180 to $200.
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Extang's L-Channel
Extang's toolbox tonneau line fits most standard toolbox sizes, thanks to an L-Channel adjustable-sealing system that gives it a tight fit while also providing rain drainage. You won't need to drill the bed or truck, and there are quite a few designs from which to choose, including the ExtangRT rollup, the FullTilt snap and snapless hinged tonneaus, and the Classic Platinum, which can be custom cut for non-standard-size toolboxes. Depending on the style, you're looking to spend $267 to $516.
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SnugPro XL Commercial Topper
The SnugPro XL Commercial Topper puts the "work" in "work truck." It has side and rear door openings, full-length heavy-duty stainless-steel hinges on the rear doors, door handles that can be programmed to the vehicle key, automotive-grade seals on all doors, and large T-handles. Its fiberglass construction keeps it light, yet it's sturdy and strong. It will fit current model year Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, and Ram longbeds, and the DuPont ChromaPremier paint is matched to the color and gloss of your truck at no additional charge. It starts around $4900, depending on options.
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Transfer Flow's Tanks
Here's one you probably hadn't thought of before: toolbox and refueling-tank combos. Transfer Flow's 30- and 50-gallon options are capable of carrying gasoline, diesel, gasohol, and kerosene. The combos are preassembled with a 12-volt pump inside the locking storage compartment; the fuel nozzle on the outside of the toolbox comes with an 8-foot hose. The 30-gallon unit has 5 cubic feet of storage space, while the 50-gallon has about 8 cubic feet. An optional riser kit allows you to store plywood or sheetrock under the tank. MSRP starts at $1724.
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Transfer Flow
TruckBoss Bed Cover
The TruckBoss is an aluminum truck deck/tonneau cover that can carry two ATVs or snowmobiles, a bunch of dirt bikes, or even a side-by-side. It's a bedrail-mounted add-on with a 2000-pound distributed load rating and has capture-channel technology: The head of a carriage bolt is "captured" within a channel and can be slid anywhere along that channel on the deck surface, the underside of the deck, the sides of the deck, or the cab guard. Options include extendable sides and cab guard. Depending on size and options, you're looking at between $1995 and $3995.
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Papp Plastics and Distributing Storage Boxes
From Papp Plastics and Distributing are bed storage boxes with watertight construction and keylocks codeable to most truck ignition keys for full-size, midsize, and compact trucks. The Carry Off Box has handles for portability, while the Full Width Box has twin access doors for easy retrieval of goods. The Full Length Box has a large, inverted door that you can access over the side of the truck bed. Sizes are 26x12x12, 50x19x17, and 55x17x12, respectively. Pricing starts around $299.
Photo 15/20   |   13 Papp Plastics And Dstributing Storage Boxes
Papp Plastics and Distributing

Ram M-Series Tonneau
This retractable, hard tonneau M-Series cover is for the RamBox bed style. Its mounting flange system bolts to the same holes as the Ram cargo rails (for a no-brainer installation), and there are some special features, such as the torsion spring drive mechanism inside an aluminum housing, for an integrated cargo shield and hinged lid. The cover is marine-grade vinyl laminated to heavy 0.040-gauge interlocking extruded aluminum slats, and the latch mechanism can be used to lock the cover to the tracks as well as to the tailgate for 100-percent-secure cargo. MSRP is $1303.
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Rugged Ridge Dash Organizer
For much of this story we've focused on the out-of-sight, out-of-mind areas of your truck or SUV that end up with all the cargo. But many of us manage to fill every nook and cranny in the front, too. So the Dash Organizer from Rugged Ridge is a bit of a godsend. Available for 2007-2010 Jeep Wranglers, it uses existing mounting locations to install a dual tray storage system in the dash--you know, for the cell, GPS, change, iPod, and so on. The low profile won't interfere with the airbag or your visibility. It's about $85.
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Rugged Ridge

Rocker Pod Cargo Steps
Meet the Rocker Pod Cargo Steps from Ultimate Truck Gear. As the name implies, they're steps, but an interesting alternative to running bars and nerf bars because of the storage space they offer. They're made from heavy-wall aluminum extrusion and don't affect precious ground clearance except about an inch or two more than standard side steps. Installation is a snap, and different door configurations are available, as are wheel-to-wheel applications. They start at $1560 a pair.
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Ultimate Truck Gear

UnderCover SwingCase
This storage box is the SwingCase from UnderCover, and it mounts in an area of the bed usually unused, allowing you to have the remainder of the bed for big stuff, like sheet goods. At the pull of a lever, it will swing out over the tailgate, and it is removable, so you can carry your stored goods with you. It provides 1.5 cubic feet of storage and a 75-pound capacity and is made from lightweight, high-impact ABS plastic, so it's durable and weatherproof. The box is for late-model full-size and compact trucks. It'll run you about $245.
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Unique Truck Accessories Brute Contractor TopSider
Contractors will want to eyeball this one. The Brute Contractor TopSider box from Unique Truck Accessories has upper and lower level compartments, with or without drawers. Boxes can be mounted in pairs, and you can mix and match styles and lengths. The drawer unit compartments are adjustable, and the Contractor with doors is a darn useful addition. The dual-layer design makes for tons of storage capacity. If you're dealing with little parts, such as fittings and components, you may have stumbled upon the cure for all your headaches. The Contractor will fit long- and shortbeds. It starts at around $499.
Photo 20/20   |   18 Unique Truck Accessories Brute Contractor TopSider
Unique Truck Accessories



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