Building Storage For Overlanding

After spending a lot of time searching online for storage methods for the bed of my truck, I decided it was time to just go for it. I went for simple storage compartments over the wheel arches and a tray that could be be pulled out to make loading easier, it could also double as a table when camping. It ended up being a very cheap project! So far.

First things first, I worked out what materials i would need.

  • A couple boards of plywood
  • Batons for the frame
  • Wood screws
  • Self tapping screws to secure the frame to truck bed
  • Bed liner paint for a tough finish
  • Wood filler
  • Silicon sealant to make the bed watertight.
With everything gathered it was time to start figuring things out…

First I went around the bed and used the silicon sealant to fill any places in the bed where water could get in.

Once this was done I grabbed a piece of cardboard and started to draw out a design that would fit my bed. I decided that two storage compartments over each wheel arch would be sufficient, with the side rails of the bed still accessible. And then a sliding tray in the center.

Time to measure and draw a basic design.

Once I was vaguely happy with the design I decided to jump straight into building it. The first thing I did was to measure out 6 identical lengths of baton that would become the main frame. I secured two to the floor of the truck bed using two large self tapping screws for each, to ensure a sturdy base. I then decided to secure a baton to the bed liner on the side of the bed with screws. I figured by building the base of the frame in this way it should be sturdy enough for daily abuse.

The framework in process.

Once I had the base batons secured to the bed, I measured and built a simple framework. Then measured, measured again, and cut the plywood to cover the frame. I cut two large holes cut in the top board for doors to the storage compartments, I then cut two slightly larger rectangular boards to become the lids, once the compartments were finished.

Covering the frame in plywood.

And now on to the sliding tray.

This turned out to be a lot easier than I imagined. I had plastic inserts in the bed floor C-channels, so I cut one of the inserts into two foot-long sections. These were screwed to the ends of two batons the same length as the storage compartments. They then slid into the C-channels easily. Once they were fully pushed into the bed I measured and cut a large piece of plywood and simply screwed it into the batons. I then capped both ends of he tray with sections of baton. This also meant that the tray could only be pulled out a certain distance before the plastic inserts, screwed onto the batons, hit the tailgate. So there we have it. A sliding tray. Simple.

The simple sliding tray.

Once everything was in place I was pretty proud of it, but the gaps between the plywood sections were very visible. Wood filler time! I filled in all the gaps and even covered the screws where I had secured the plywood to the frame, waited for it to dry and gave it a good sanding. Once I was finally happy with it, it was time for paint.

Time for paint!

I decided to go with a cheap bed liner paint that was about £10 per spray can. It was pretty durable and the same paint I used for my sidesteps. Unfortunately Halfords have now stopped selling it, bummer, I’ll have to find something else next time. Luckily I had enough to cover the whole bed. The plywood also gave it a kind of camouflage pattern so it looked pretty cool.

So there we are finished! It turned out to be a fairly cheap addition to the truck, it will keep all spares and tools nicely organised when we are on the road now.

Finished! With the slide out.
And with the slide in.
I’ve even started putting accessories on already. Look at that fire extinguisher placement!

There’s still a few things to do. I need to paint the lids and attach them once I’ve found the correct hardware., like hinges, handles, support for the table, etc.

I’ll do another post when I have added more things, like the lids!