Anyone unhappy with camping drawers in their vehicle? Drawers vs cargo boxes? (1 Viewer)

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Dec 22, 2016
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You can make drawers without roller bearing sliders. That way you loose less space. There is thread on someone who built drawers with a kind of synthetic slider under the drawers, which reportedly worked well.

If we end up doing drawers I have a few custom ideas to not loose any space to slides but we will see what we (my wife ;) ) decides on. I've seen Teflon plastic or uhmw plastic strips used with success, I wouldn't be scared to try that approach either.

The KISS system looks really well done, and uses a plastic slide I believe (UHMW I think?). Those components look like they come from the parts catalog for 80/20 Inc. (80/20 Inc. - T-slotted aluminum framing system). We use it at work quite a bit, and it is very versatile. The components exist inside an "ecosystem" where brackets, screws, extrusions, etc. are all designed to work together.

If I had one criticism for 80/20, it's that the extrusions can get heavy and expensive. But if you need that level of versatility, I don't know if there's anything better out there right now.
 
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Arkansas
Thanks @70 FJ40

This is the second set I've built so it has evolved to meet our needs.

Here are a few more photos.

First pic is cabinet with bolts through 3rd row seat mounts. If I ever roll the truck, the box and its contents are staying put.

The cutouts and the holes on the sides save a little weight, allow airflow, and provide places to strap equipment. Top, bottom and center divider are 3/4" plywood. Sides and drawers are 1/2" plywood.
IMG_5445.JPG


I use heavy duty locking slides for the cooler and stove extensions. Slide capacities are usually not rated at full extension so I error on the side of caution. We'll also be adding a dometic cfx50 fridge in the future so it's ready to go when we do.
IMG_5464.JPG


I threw a few items in the bottom pantry drawer so you get the idea. I have a divider that slides on runners to allow us to stack items without having to unload everything to get to the bottom.
IMG_5465.JPG


Our camp gear fits in the top right drawer. Includes a 4 person tent, ground cover, 4 air mattresses, 2 blankets, 4 towels, flashlights, and hiking poles for kids. Also space for our camp pillows not pictured.
IMG_5466.JPG


Pictured below on the left is our 7gal water can. It is strapped to the cabinet via the holes. On the right side is where our sleeping bags and extra jackets get placed.

There is room between the second row seats and cabinet for our tool roll, recovery gear and two compact camp chairs. Easily accessed by flipping either passenger seat forward.
IMG_5467.JPG


On top of the cabinet there is plenty of room for 4 personal bags to be loaded and strapped down.

The goal for us is being able to retrieve any single item without having to move something else. Plus the kids can get anything they need without having to ask for assistance to lift items in and out of the truck.

We camp quite a bit and we've found the organization to be helpful in setting up camp in the dark.

Our setup obviously will not work for everyone but meets our needs perfectly.

Good luck with outfitting your rig. I'm always interested to see what folks do. We're constantly learning new tricks and tips from ih8mud.

Drew
 
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98275
drawers have been the best upgrade that I've ever done for my vehicles, i've lived in my truck for a month or more at a time on various adventures i've been on, I'll never go back to totes or bags. it's one thing if you drive somewhere setup camp and don't move again for a bit, it's entirely something else if you've been driving 10-12 hours need to setup camp only to move again first thing in the AM, this was a nightmare with totes, doubly so when i was sleeping in the vehicle as i'd have to clear a spot to setup a bed and the rest, with the drawer system i'd already have my bed made and just fold down one of the seats and finish unrolling my bag and pad, there was a few times in big wind storms where i didn't even have to get out of the truck before i went to bed, just climbed over the seats, set everything up and went to sleep.

as for what drawer system, i just got one of the ARB drawers, it's super lightweight, only 5.51 inches tall and is held in by 4 bolts allowing the whole drawer to be removed in under 10 mins, the drawer system i had in the 4runner was a custom built job made from stuff you can buy at home depot, while still being somewhat low profile, it was heavy and a pain in the butt to remove on the odd occasion needed that extra foot of height, as my old drawers were a good deal taller....and honestly, looking back on it, i'd just rent a small trailer for $25 if i really needed that space back, luckily the ARB drawer comes out super easy and can be unloaded by a single person since they are light weight and modular.

i can't even begin to tell you the number of times that the drawer system has saved me, from being stranded in closed mountain passes during snow storms to impromptu camping trips it's been a god send having all of my tools and camping gear stored neatly in my truck 24/7 and beyond that it's a far more effective way of organizing your gear and creating space in the vehicle....
 
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NH
Everyone thank you for your inputs thus far it's been a great read. I hope to see more perspectives on the topic too.
 

hifu

Ran So Far to Find a Clear Spot......capt B
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This is ours. We are almost locked and loaded for a 5 week trip. All camping gear and such are stored and I'll put one more cooler in behind drivers seat and clothing all goes in drawers. Gives our dog lots of room in the rear.

IMG_0307.JPG
 

suprarx7nut

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The new SS1 Storage system sounds like it would fit your use case really well:

Storage System 1: Group Buy and Tech Discussion

I started using the cargo boxes when I bought my cruiser. It works ok, but it's not clean and can be a pain to secure multiple bins/boxes.

Drawers are awesome in some ways, but generally very heavy and hard to whip in and out of the car 4 minutes before a trip to Home Depot/IKEA to pick up a random item that needs some cargo space. My wife does not approve of most drawer systems for this reason alone. It turns the SUV into essentially a small hatchback worth of bulk storage volume.

That's where the SS1 came from and it's what I believe is the best cargo option. Of course I'm heavily biased, haha. It provides 90% of the benefit of drawers without the traditional drawbacks. It's light, easier to remove than any other cargo option out there, and perhaps the cheapest option available. When not in use it stores flat with the removal of 9 screws - that's it. It's also got an option to have a perfectly flat sleeper attachment that makes a roughly queen size bed with no lumps or bumps (important when used with your SO).

Hopefully that's not too "commercial" a response and provides some perspective from a fellow owner looking for cargo upgrades.

Good luck in your quest for a storage solution!

-Andy
 
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My K.I.S.S. drawers make it EASIER to load big things into the rear since the entire cargo area is the same level. It is one completely flat surface instead of half being a foot lower than the other half.

It is literally more convenient now when transporting big items.
 

VtaTom

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Im considering building drawers for the rear of my cruiser for camping / overlanding and after discussing it with my wife, she doesnt like the idea at all and feels the drawers will limit what we can do with the cargo area. I can see where the drawers will limit how large of an item we can place in the back, but the drawers will be removable for those once in a blue moon purchases or times something large needs to be moved.

I was curious if anyone who has a rear cargo drawer system, doesnt like them, or feels that they limit you / storage space / versatility of your vehicle. Since i have never had them I cant really comment one way or another but can see some downsides. Im just not sure the downsides are greater than the upsides.

I do see people, for instance the overland bound couple, travel without drawers, and they use cargo boxes instead. Is this a better methodology?

Any input is appreciated

This is pretty much where I am.

Everyone has different needs (for example I tow a pop up and don't cook off the back of my cruiser, I have two car seats in 2nd row so I'm not sleeping in the back and I rarely but sometimes need 3rd row so I would want a drawer system that comes out as easy as my cargo barrier.

BTW Overland bound frequently mentions using their 3rd row seats frequently. I haven't checked recently but he doesn't even remove them for trips so drawers aren't in the mix for them yet.

I think the biggest advantage of drawer(s) is organization and access. I've had trips where I've spent a lot of time fishing around in totes or rearranging for a grocery resupply run to get to coolers, food boxes, etc. then having to dig out tools back at camp. There are some things that are always in the back (basic tools, emergency stuff, and extra clothes for kids) and this list is growing the more frequently we camp.

I can't emphasize enough how having a place for everything would simplify life in general. Having a long drawer with dividers that can be opened regardless of what is packed in the back is sounding pretty good right now.

I agree starting with totes is a good way to dial in. It's way cheaper. I already have a cargo barrier so I can stack a base layer of totes with soft items on top, or on longer trips I can stack more totes. I recommend getting compatible totes made to nest (1:1 or 2:1) and keeping size manageable. Also pay attention to how they close or unlatch if up against another tote, if it's one handed, if the lids come off, etc.

There are some nice systems out there and I want to thank everyone who shared!

-Tom
 
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Does anyone make an adjustable height on the fly platform with out removing ? I like the idea of the flexibility a shelf that can adjust could bring. I am talking 3 1/2 inches to 24 inches in range. You would adjust it depending on how you want to pack and what you want to pack in. I see so many cool packables that either just dont fit right or you would loose space with them. Thoughts ?
 

VtaTom

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My temporary platform storage system has been in the truck now for 5 years. I'd like to get some drawers but can't justify the cost as my platform has been working too good for my needs.

View attachment 1491247
That looks super functional! How do you mount the fire extinguisher? I have one of your barriers so I have the same brackets to work with.
-Tom
 
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That looks super functional! How do you mount the fire extinguisher? I have one of your barriers so I have the same brackets to work with.
-Tom

While I don't recommend it, it's mounted to the upper barrier bracket using the mount the fire extinguisher came with. I've since moved it up to the driver's area using a Witt's End mount.

I plan to buy a larger (10lb) extinguisher to mount in the cargo area. But in a different location. Once you' e had to battle a fire you quickly realize that a small one needs to be in hands reach. And a back up is highly desirable too.
 

cruzerDave

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While I don't recommend it, it's mounted to the upper barrier bracket using the mount the fire extinguisher came with. I've since moved it up to the driver's area using a Witt's End mount.

I plan to buy a larger (10lb) extinguisher to mount in the cargo area. But in a different location. Once you' e had to battle a fire you quickly realize that a small one needs to be in hands reach. And a back up is highly desirable too.
THIS

I keep a Tundra in the center console, and a chemical in a drawer in the back. Tundra is better for electrical/underhood, and chemical great outside like a campfire or cooking problem. Each backs up the other if need be. 2 is 1 and 1 is none folks.
 
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My temporary platform storage system has been in the truck now for 5 years. I'd like to get some drawers but can't justify the cost as my platform has been working too good for my needs.

View attachment 1491247

I run a similar set up with my spare underneath to the left, and the right open where my cooler fits nicely.

If it's storage, lift, bumpers, rack, winch, or whatever, wait until you need it before you commit to it.

You can build a 100 to conquer the world, but you probably won't need it to do that.

Jim
 
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A guy I met on FB on the TLCA page makes them. He is also her on mud @scrowley

That's me! I have a couple in my shop ready for finishing. I have a thread in the for sale section as well as the 80 section. Just look for my threads. The people who purchased the units where very happy. We ship them anywhere in the USA also.
 
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Not a fan of drawers. I, like most I suspect, use their vehicle for more than "overlanding" and the semi permanent nature of drawers tying up large amounts of cargo area and precluding the use of the third row simply doesn't make sense. We've been using Sterilite containers but are switching over to Ridgid boxes. We have one for set up, one as a chuck box,etc. When were not using them they live ,fully loaded on a shelf. We decide we want to go somewhere we can load up in minutes. Also, we've gone camping on islands that require ferry rides or we go across to on our inflatable and occasionally we take the wife's 4Runner on trips.

bv.jpg


Don't remember where I came across this pic but I'm going to try something similar. Cargo boxes under and over but no need to unstack to get to one. Lightweight and quick to put in,takeout. Fit up some telescoping legs and you'll have a nice camp table.
 
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suprarx7nut

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View attachment 1494136
Not a fan of drawers. I, like most I suspect, use their vehicle for more than "overlanding" and the semi permanent nature of drawers tying up large amounts of cargo area and precluding the use of the third row simply doesn't make sense. We've been using Sterilite containers but are switching over to Ridgid boxes. We have one for set up, one as a chuck box,etc. When were not using them they live ,fully loaded on a shelf. We decide we want to go somewhere we can load up in minutes. Also, we've gone camping on islands that require ferry rides or we go across to on our inflatable and occasionally we take the wife's 4Runner on trips.

View attachment 1494137

Don't remember where I came across this pic but I'm going to try something similar. Cargo boxes under and over but no need to unstack to get to one. Lightweight and quick to put in,takeout. Fit up some telescoping legs and you'll have a nice camp table.

That's essentially what I've been doing with our platform. I agree having fully loaded, ready to go bins is the best of both worlds.

That Ridgid tool box looks perfect! I hadn't considered tool boxes before, but that makes so much sense. Good call!
 

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