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How To Build Your Own Truck Storage System

Hauling around your tools and equipment just got easier. These field-tested tips from a fellow pro will help turn your truck into a customized, tool-toting, smart-working ride.

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a homemade truck storage system
CONSTRUCTION PRO TIPS

Maximize Your Truck’s Storage Potential

A pro’s truck is their castle. And as king of the castle, everyone rigs up their truck to fit their unique needs. I’ll show you how I keep my everyday tools handy and secure while still being able to haul around lumber and sheet goods. It’s good to be king!

About the author:

David Radtke is a trim carpenter, custom cabinetmaker, woodworker, freelance editor, and design consultant living in Minneapolis, MN. In the off hours you can find him enjoying archery, bow making, guitar playing and canoeing.

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a diagram showing how to build a truck storage system
CONSTRUCTION PRO TIPS

How I Built It

I modified my truck bed to keep tools secure. The cover is made from 2×4’s skinned with 1/2-inch plywood. I bolted angle iron to the sides of the cover and secured the whole thing with eyebolts located in the stake pockets. That way I can take it off easily, if need be. The whole platform is sealed against the truck bed with a rubber gasket to help divert rain.

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a homemade tailgate lock
CONSTRUCTION PRO TIPS

Homemade Tailgate Lock

A piece of hinged plywood covered with aluminum diamond plate acts as a security flap. It extends down and prevents the tailgate from opening unless unlocked. An eye screw is fastened to the 2×4 frame, and a slot in the security flap allows a padlock to slip into the eye screw. The underside of the security flap has plastic furniture glides near the bottom to protect the painted surface of the tailgate.

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Home made tie-down struts
CONSTRUCTION PRO TIPS

Super-Strut Tie-Downs

Instead of installing just a couple individual tie-down anchors, I installed super-struts. They’re secured with strut clamps that are lagged through the plywood into the 2×4 frame. Now I can attach bungees or straps in any number of locations.

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hauling with a truck load extender
CONSTRUCTION PRO TIPS

Help Hauling Extra-Long Items

I secure longer loads with a load extender that fits into the truck’s receiver hitch. The product I use is called the Tricam EZ Load Extender. The extender by itself is designed to haul long loads that are level with the bottom of the bed, but I bought an 18-inch hitch extender to bring it level with the top of the bed. It comes apart for easy transport. 

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snagging tools with a homemade tool grabber
CONSTRUCTION PRO TIPS

Easy Access

I keep my hand tools and fasteners near the tailgate for easy access. The big stuff and tools I don’t use as often, I keep up towards the cab. I grab hold of them with a homemade hook I made from rebar scraps fitted with a wooden handle.

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Tool organization
CONSTRUCTION PRO TIPS

Fast and Easy Workshop

At the jobsite, my portable workshop sets up in minutes, even if I need to pull out every tool in my arsenal.

For more on how to upgrade your truck into a fully-functioning office, click here.