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Gear Storage - thoughts, ideas, suggestions

Scott B.

Explorer Addict
Joined
February 15, 1999
Messages
2,825
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City, State
GA
Year, Model & Trim Level
'93 Ranger XLT
We all carry a lot of stuff with us on the trail. I am curious as to how people store and carry this stuff safely. This gear is heavy, bulky, and dangerous to have loose in the vehicle in the event of an accident or rollover.

That being said, I am looking for new ideas. Storage must be secure, easy to tie down, easy to get to.

If you look at the picture of the back of my truck (scroll down to post #5), you will see I use Action Packers. Great boxes, water resistant, rigid - but I always worry about strapping them in. Will the straps hold when needed?

My latest thought is an aluminum below-rail bed box. Bolted to the bed, that should make pretty secure storage. I will move my spare next to the tailgate.

I almost forgot - gas and water. I am thinking about 2 5-gallon can mounts just rearward of the bed box.

Thoughts, comments, suggestions?
 



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Right now I have a large plywood box in the back of the X. It fits tight up against the back of the back seats and is at the level of the back glass, so it makes a flat surface in the back to load stuff on top of too. It was originally built to hold my spare tire and still have the flat surface. Now that I have a tire carrier, it holds my Craftsman tool box and tool bags, winch, spare hubs, fluids, 2 10" subs, amp, power inverter, etc...

It isn't bolted down, but it should have some kind of plate in the bottom bolted through the floor, and I may get around to that one day.

If I was in your situation, or a chopped top X, I would consider the biggest job site storage box that will fit between the bed rails, and bolt it through the bed. I'm considering going this route with my truck anyway so that I can remove doors (maybe top) and still have gear locked up.
 






Good questions!

I use a large plastic type storage box, I forget the brand but it's from Home Depot, to carry all my tools. I bolt the box to the bed with 1/2" carriage bolts through the floor of the bed, and large washers and wingnuts underneath. This setup has survived a 180* rollover.
I also use a bolt/wingnut to hold my spare, which is mounted flat on the bed floor.
A 5 gal gas can is mounted with a rachet strap attached to two small U-bolts bolted to the bed.
A 10 lb CO2 tank is held by a tank bracket bolted to the bedside.
The only 'weak link' is my cooler. It's just held in with one of those expanding bed brace bars, and a strap.

I have the spare mounted over the axle, and the toolbox between that and the tailgate, with the gascan in the right side back corner,next to the toolbox, for as much proper weight distribution as I can get.
 






Bill,

Your truck is for off-road only, right? Until recently, mine was my DD, so I tried to allow for semi-utilitarian usage in the back in addition to my wheeling needs. (Really a PITA)

Not so much now, since I have a second truck - but, security from theft is also important, since I plan to drive to west for exploration. Motel parking lots and truck stops are not always the place you want valuable stuff at (someone else's) arm's reach!
 






I let RangerX carry any thing I need so I don't have to worry about it.

In reality it depends on how and where you wheel. When we are in Truckhaven Pretty much anywhere you go you can get back to camp in 2wd if you need to. Most of the hard stuff is side roads. Then I leave most of the stuff back in camp.

If I am going on longer trips that are not a base camp run like on the rubicon I try to see what others have and carry what they don't. Having 10 3/8" ratchets in your group does no good if you need a dana 44 spindle socket.

The things I try to always take are a dana 44 spindle nut socket, a few picks to get the snap rings off, allen wrenches, and 3/8" allen wrench so I can pull a caliper. I also try to carry a 12 pt 12mm wrench so I can pull a rear driveshaft if needed. I try to carry the tools needed to change the spare parts that I carry.
 






No, it's pretty much still a daily driver. The setup I described is all put in for a wheeling trip,and taken out when back home. I drive around town with an empty bed!
If you're going to be traveling while carrying all the goods, I would go with your thought of a metal bedbox, and bolt it in, maybe with carriage bolts where the head is underneath the bed, and the nut is safe in the box.

That last line of mine sounds slightly weird. :scratch:
 






... for as much proper weight distribution as I can get.

I assumed you were referring to the weight distribution on the fender....
 












One more thought -

In a bed-box, I could also mount a 2nd battery and an air compressor. I really don't want the weight of 2 batteries on the front suspension.
 












I figured that... I thought my weight distribution comment was funny. (What can I say - it was late, I was tired!)
 






Good questions!

I use a large plastic type storage box, I forget the brand but it's from Home Depot, to carry all my tools. I bolt the box to the bed with 1/2" carriage bolts through the floor of the bed, and large washers and wingnuts underneath. This setup has survived a 180* rollover.
I also use a bolt/wingnut to hold my spare, which is mounted flat on the bed floor.
A 5 gal gas can is mounted with a rachet strap attached to two small U-bolts bolted to the bed.
A 10 lb CO2 tank is held by a tank bracket bolted to the bedside.
The only 'weak link' is my cooler. It's just held in with one of those expanding bed brace bars, and a strap.

I have the spare mounted over the axle, and the toolbox between that and the tailgate, with the gascan in the right side back corner,next to the toolbox, for as much proper weight distribution as I can get.

Bill - do you have a picture of your setup? I am starting the buildup of my Ranger and your setup sounds like what I was invisioning for my trail rig, but would like to see it in a picture other than in my head.:D
 






No, but give a few days, I'll throw it all in there and take a pic. :thumbsup:
 












I use a large plastic type storage box, I forget the brand but it's from Home Depot, to carry all my tools. I bolt the box to the bed with 1/2" carriage bolts through the floor of the bed, and large washers and wingnuts underneath. This setup has survived a 180* rollover.
I also use a bolt/wingnut to hold my spare, which is mounted flat on the bed floor.
A 5 gal gas can is mounted with a rachet strap attached to two small U-bolts bolted to the bed.
A 10 lb CO2 tank is held by a tank bracket bolted to the bedside.
The only 'weak link' is my cooler. It's just held in with one of those expanding bed brace bars, and a strap.

I have the spare mounted over the axle, and the toolbox between that and the tailgate, with the gascan in the right side back corner,next to the toolbox, for as much proper weight distribution as I can get.

Here's some pics to show my setup.

1. This shows the placement of everything, as viewed from above the cab. Spare and highlift between the wheelwells, toolbox in back, and the gas can in the passengerside corner, to slightly offset me, the gastank and the battery, which are all on the driver's side. :rolleyes:

2. Side view, to show how all weight is either over or behind the axle. Pickups are even more nose-heavy than other vehicles.

3. Gas can, rachet straped down to two small popup u-bolts.
 

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One 1/2" carriage bolt holds the hilift to the spare, with a wingnut and split washer. Another 1/2" carriage bolt holds the spare to the bed, passing thru the floor, and fastened underneath with a wingnut and washers.

I forgot to throw in the cooler and co2 bottle for the pics, but they go up in the passengerside front corner.
 

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I know it's not a ranger, but I have a big storage box that I use...or atleast use to before the spear kicked it out:( But that will change soon enough:D

cargo2_cage.jpg
 






Bill - thanks for the pictures. That helps and confirms some of the ideas I have for my Ranger along with giving me some other ideas.:D

Stic-o - your setup reminds me of my former Range Rover that I use to wheel. I miss that rig some times.
 






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