Building a custom truck bed drawer system is a great do-it-yourself summertime project. (Adam Tangsrud photo)
I have been an avid upland bird hunter for the last 10 years and over that time, I have found myself going through phases with hunting rigs and perfecting my organization strategy. My truck is my mobile command center that carries literally everything. I load it up with not only all of my gear, but also equipment for my hunting buddies as well as our dogs.
After trial and error with an SUV, and then a truck with a topper that made it hard to get to my gear behind my dog kennels, I decided to put together the perfect setup for my upland adventures. I got two Gunner Kennels and had them sitting on top of a stock truck bed drawer system. I could easily access the kennel doors from the side of the truck, and I had secure storage within the drawer system for guns or whatever else I needed out of sight. I ran this system for two seasons before I realized I needed a little more room for cross country trips. Simply put, there was unutilized space below the deck, and I needed it!
Growing up in a manufacturing shop I was not opposed to a D-I-Y build. I decided to work with metal since that is the material I know best and I linked up with a friend who had a metal shop. I began by building the system around the dog kennels while considering that I wanted to also have the ability to carry a four-wheeler on top of the drawers.
I took my experience with my previous drawer system and while I had to make some compromises, I figure that ultimately, I added 20 percent more storage capability by adding 5-inches of width to each drawer as well as extending the drawers 3- to 5-inches in length.
To allow for the smooth opening of the drawers, I used skateboard wheels that slide along an angle iron track. On the top I also wanted to clean up the straps and keep them simple and clean. I ordered an “L-Track” system from Amazon for securely attaching straps from the kennels or bolting down attachments like my YETI jug container.
I couldn’t be happier with the functionality of this setup and highly encourage anyone to give a shot at building their own drawer system. I had conversations with many individuals before building mine and I didn’t talk to a person who was disappointed with what they built. A simple system for anyone to build could be made out of Oriented Strand Board (OSB) or Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF) and then line the drawers with plastic for slides. Along the way you will likely have many ideas and personally I don’t think there is a wrong answer as these are for your organization.
Decked Storage System
If you don’t have the time for a DIY drawer build, the DECKED Drawer System is a solid alternative. This system comes fit exactly for your truck bed and provides two weatherproof drawers that can each hold up to 200 pounds of hunting and camping gear.
The drawers open and roll easily thanks to urethane, sealed bearing drawer wheels, and lock to keep your gear safe and secure. The system comes standard with a few organizational boxes and dividers, while more accessories can be purchased separately to keep your gear orderly and easy to find. Made with galvanized steel and high- density polyethylene, this system is strong and allows you to stack up to 2,000 pounds on top—which means you don’t lose storage space in your truck bed.