We are all about being organized. It makes trips more enjoyable and it makes last-minute getaways even easier. Knowing where your stuff is and that it is easily accessible is very important. Here are some of our favorite storage solutions for gear, food, and water.
This article was updated in September 2019. Our recommendations have not changed.
1. Be flexible (the solution should make it easy to move things from your vehicle, to trailer, to roof rack)
2. Be waterproof (whenever possible we want boxes to at least be water-resistant) weather changes at a moments notice
3. Be stackable and secure (think Legos™. You want the ability to stack items securely and in a variety of configurations
4. Be lightweight (while the items you pack can greatly vary we don't like any single storage solution to be so heavy that it takes 2 people to move it.
5. Be affordable (in the Overlanding world this is not always possible but we try our best)
For gear, food, etc:
Wolf Pack by FrontRunner: $40.00
Our favorite storage solution is the Wolf Pack box by FrontRunner. ($40.00). These boxes are waterproof, stackable, and very versatile. Dimensions: 19.7" x 15.7" x 9". We also like the new extended Hi-lid. We use one with our recovery gear box.
Pros: They are rugged and don't move when stacked. The square vs tapered design means you don't lose storage space. They can easily be strapped down for extra security. Label what you have in these and you can pick and choose where to put them. We use two for tools, recovery gear and kitchen items. We used them as side tables. Weigh down the corners of our awning room. These are great versatile boxes.
Cons: Cost. $39.95 these get expensive. However, they should last a lifetime and sometimes being highly organized is worth the price. Ours have been going strong for 6 years plus.
Purchase from: FrontRunner
Others to consider:
There are dozens of choices but here are a few that won't break the bank. While they are not as rugged they still provide weatherproof seals.
Plastic Ammo Cans: Can be sourced from a variety of sources include Amazon, Harbor Freight, Bass Pro Shops, etc. Great for small storage when you want a secure lid. We use several for recovery gear, first aid kit, bungee chords/straps, you name it.
Clear Watertight Totes from the Container Store:
These are great. While not as rugged as the FrontRunner boxes they still keep water out. We now have four of these to supplement the FrontRunners we own. We are using them for food storage and misc items where it is nice to see what is in each container. Check them out here. The 30.6 and 46.6 sizes are the most similar to the FrontRunner footprint. Starting at $9.99 they are very reasonably priced. 30.6 Dimensions: 19-3/4" x 15-3/4" x 8" 46.6 Dimensions: 19-3/4" x 15-3/4" x 11-7/8" h. Also sold under the Iris and Ziplock brand names on Amazon.
IRIS 6.5 Quart WEATHERTIGHT Storage Box, Clear
by IRIS USA, Inc.
The Container Store Store-it-all totes: From $6.99
Ziploc WeatherShield Storage Boxes: Purchase from Amazon, Target or Walmart. Sold in sets these have a nice weatherproof seal. Good for food storage so you can easily see what is in each box.
Ridgid 22" Pro Organizer
Great for recovery gear, first aid kit, dry goods, or a mid-sized toolbox for you overlanding needs these affordable boxes can be stacked and secured together. $29.00 from Home Depot Dimensions: 22.2"x13.78"x6.5". A double-height box is also available for $39.00.
Pros: Rugged and come with a dustproof seal. Also claims to be watertight. The lid is designed to secure items in the small tubs. Either side can be removed to create a larger space.
Cons: The lid design is a bit thick and thus wastes a bit of space.
Recovery Gear Bag:
This is a great bag available at Home Depot. ($21.97) It holds 2 recovery straps, some shackles, and a few other miscellaneous items easily. Also fits behind my driver's seat.
Soft Storage Bags -
We have a number of the Mountainsmith Modular Hauler Bags - As of September 2019, they seem to be in limited supply. The cubes are great for food, misc last-minute items, sheets and towels, you name it. We purchased ours at the NWOR and at Sportsmans Warehouse. The 3 bag system is still available on Amazon.
Not everyone has the benefit of an onboard water tank in their vehicle or trailer. There are many options for carrying water. I like ones that are 5 gallons or less because above that they get too hard to maneuver.
Purchase from WaterBrick direct or Amazon
Pros: Reasonable weight with 3.5 gallons of water. Stackable with a tight fit. There is also a half size available and a new design specific for food storage. There is an optional ventless spigot available as well.
Cons: Some small amounts of water are hard to remove because of the curved design of the Waterbricks. The handles are not the most convenient to use.
Others to Consider:
Reliance Desert Patrol 3 Gallon - Around $15.00. Purchase from REI, Amazon, Walmart, etc
More Info: https://relianceproducts.com/products/hydration/43.html
Pros: Still lightweight and portable
Cons: Not stackable
For those that would like a 12 volt powered/pump water solution, this is a great setup from Living Overland. The site describes a DIY solution but they now sell a kit for $89.99 or a pre-assembled kit for $119.99. For more information visit:
We hope you find this article useful. If you have a great solution hit us up via our contact page.