Best Truck Bed Storage Systems
The best storage solutions to keep your truck bed organized
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BY Ryan Senensky / LAST UPDATED ON May 11, 2020
The pickup truck is one of the most versatile vehicles on the road. There is one problem with trucks, however: that massive bed isn’t the best for cargo management. Luckily, the aftermarket has thousands of truck bed storage systems on the market. We've completed a thorough inspection of truck bed storage systems and found some of the best options on the market. Take a look at what we found.
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Best Truck Bed Storage Systems Reviews & Recommendations
Best Truck Bed Storage Systems Buying Guide & FAQs
People purchase a pickup truck for a variety of reasons—one of which is to haul different types of cargo. If you want to protect and secure that cargo, it's a good idea to purchase a truck bed storage system. These systems are great for organizing and safeguarding your tools and other gear.
We include all the information you need about truck bed storage systems in our buying guide below. There are various types of storage systems and a number of features to consider before you make a purchase. We also include some tips and answer some frequently-asked questions so you can make an informed decision before you invest your hard-earned money.
Benefits of a Truck Bed Storage System
The top reason for purchasing a storage system for your truck bed is to keep it organized. It's not uncommon for clutter to accumulate in this area of your truck. It's easy to put something in the bed haphazardly and forget about it. Over time, this disorganization can make it difficult to locate the things you need.
The best storage systems prevent groceries and other items from moving around and possibly flying out of the vehicle. If you have gear and tools rolling around the truck bed, they can scratch and damage the finish. Not only is this unsightly, but it can also lead to larger issues over time, such as rust.
Some storage systems are portable and even collapsible, so they are easy to move from your truck to your home or another vehicle. Others have several compartments and pockets as well as weatherproofing capabilities, so your belongings stay dry in inclement conditions.
- Organize clutter.
- Keep loose items from scratching the paint.
- Protect objects in inclement weather.
- Easily transport items from the truck to your home or another vehicle.
Types of Truck Bed Storage Systems
Not all truck bed storage systems are the same, and they each have their advantages and disadvantages. You may prefer a flexible and expandable cargo net, or you may need a cargo bar so you can haul heavy objects such as appliances. Once you determine what you will be putting in your truck bed, you will be able to choose the right system to fit your needs.
These hard cases fit a variety of truck beds, including trucks that have bed liners and tonneau covers. Some of these cases can hold fairly heavy equipment and have the ability to swing out nearly 180 degrees, so you can access it easier from the tailgate. They then swing back into a locking position over the wheel well, which provides more space in the truck bed for storing other gear.
The benefit of this type of storage system is that it takes advantage of the unused space over the wheel well. You can lock most of them for safety, and they are often easy to install.
Soft Cargo Bag
This storage option is ideal if you want to carry tools to a worksite, prevent grocery bags from sliding around, or bring sports equipment to your kid's game. Many of these organizers can also be used in SUVs, minivans, and even passenger cars, so they're quite versatile. Many are also collapsible.
They are typically made of durable material that is abrasion-resistant for a longer lifespan. Ideally, they should also be water-resistant in case they are exposed to rain and other adverse conditions. Many of these units contain multiple pockets and compartments to organize your belongings. One downside is that these bags are not as durable as their hard bag counterparts.
A heavy-duty cargo net is also a good option when it comes to truck storage systems. Some use tie-down anchors for installation, while others also come with a cargo bar. The bar, which we expand upon below, prevents big items from sliding across the truck bed, while the cargo net is great for containing smaller objects.
The advantage of using a cargo net is that it is very adjustable. You can easily expand it to the length of your truck bed, so it will fit a variety of vehicles, including SUVs and passenger cars. Cargo nets are also easy to install and remove, as well as store when you don't need them.
If you tend to haul large items, a cargo bar can be very convenient. It helps secure bulky items such as trash cans and other objects to your truck bed. It keeps these items from sliding around and possibly scratching and denting your truck. These bars are usually adjustable, and many have rubber mounts so they provide a non-slip grip without damaging your vehicle.
However, it can take some patience to properly install a cargo bar on your truck. Some may require more than one person to set it up. You also have to make sure to install it correctly so it doesn’t shift out of place.
Features to Look for in a Truck Bed Storage System
As we already noted, truck storage systems come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Once you decide what type you need, there are several factors you should consider before making a purchase. First, you need to ensure that it's compatible with your vehicle. You should also determine whether you want one that's plastic or steel and either a permanently mounted device or a portable one.
This pertains to storage systems that are mountable. Some brands are designed to be a universal fit, so they can be installed on a wide variety of vehicles. Others are manufactured to fit specific makes and models. Before making a purchase, make sure that the unit fits your particular vehicle to avoid wasting your time and money.
One way to ensure a proper fit is to measure your truck bed and match the information to the product's dimensions. Or you can check if there is a product that is made specifically for your truck. Another option is to choose a portable toolbox, which doesn't need to be mounted and is designed to fit nearly all types of truck beds.
Cargo nets aside, truck bed storage organizers are usually made of plastic, steel, or aluminum. Plastic is the lightest in weight, so it makes the box or case more portable. Aluminum is a little heavier, while steel is the heaviest. Consider how much weight you want your truck bed to support before choosing the material.
The type of material also dictates how rigid it is. Some are less likely to dent or break than others and are able to contain heavier objects. Try to avoid storage cases that are made of thin plastic or alloy because they are more likely to bend or break if they are put under too much stress.
Mountable vs. Portable
Some storage systems are portable, while others can be mounted semi-permanently to your truck. The advantage of a mountable system is that it will secure your tools, and it will stay in place when your truck is moving. However, it can take some finesse to install.
Portable tool boxes don't require installation, and you can transport them from one vehicle to another. The downside is that they can move around when you're driving. This can cause the items inside to travel, which can potentially damage them. Ultimately, it's a personal choice because each type has its advantages and disadvantages.
Tips for Using the Truck Bed Storage Systems
There are several things to be on the lookout for when purchasing a storage system. While nets are a great option when the skies are clear, if you know you may encounter inclement weather, choose a product that has a lid and is weatherproof. That way, your items won't be exposed to the elements.
If you're worried about security, consider a box that has a locking mechanism. While some will latch closed, not all can accommodate padlocks or combination locks. This is an important feature if you live or travel in areas that may not be safe.
Also, check the interior dimensions. It should be deep, long, and spacious enough to accommodate all sorts of tools and equipment, such as baseball bats, jacks, drills, or emergency roadside kits.
- Choose an organizer that has enough interior space to adequately accommodate your belongings.
- Weatherproof boxes will protect your items in inclement weather.
- Lockable boxes provide more security.
Best Truck Bed Storage Systems FAQs
Choosing the right truck bed storage system requires a little bit of research. By now you know the pros and cons of the various types of systems, but you may still have some questions about their purpose and installation. We answer some commonly-asked questions about them in the section below.
Q. How do I install a truck bed storage system?
That depends on the type of storage system you choose. Some boxes require tools for proper installation, while others are portable cases. Make sure to read the directions carefully and ask a friend for assistance if necessary.
Q. How do I replace a truck bed storage system?
Check the truck’s dimensions before making a purchase, and choose a system that will fit properly. Remove the old storage unit, and follow the installation instructions on the new one to set it up properly. Portable boxes and nets are the easiest to set up in your truck bed.
Q. What is the purpose of a truck bed storage system?
The best truck bed storage systems will safely contain objects so they don’t move around and scratch your vehicle or fly out of the bed when you’re driving.
Our Top Pick
We chose the Keeper 05060 Ratcheting Cargo Bar with Storage Net as our overall pick because it keeps big items from sliding and damaging the truck bed. It also comes with an attached cargo net to protect smaller objects and is adjustable, so it can fit a wide range of trucks.
We like the Keeper 05060 Ratcheting Cargo Bar with Storage Net because of its versatility, but the Zento Deals Black Mesh Three Pocket Trunk Cargo Organizer Storage Net is also a great option. The net is easy to install, and it’s extremely affordable, which makes it a hard deal to pass up.