Build your own truck storage system and tie-down rack
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.
A guy's truck is his castle. And as king, every guy rigs up his truck to fit his 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!
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.
How I Built It
I modified my truck bed to keep tools secure. The cover is made from 2x4s skinned with 1/2-in. 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.
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 2x4 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.
Instead of installing just a couple individual tie-down anchors, I installed super-struts. They’re sold in the electrical aisle of your home center. They’re secured with strut clamps that are lagged through the plywood into the 2x4 frame. Now I can attach bungees or straps in any number of locations.
Help Hauling Long Stuff
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-in. hitch extender to bring it level with the top of the bed. It comes apart for easy transport. Both items are available at amazon.com.
I keep my hand tools and fasteners near the tailgate for easy access (top photo). The big stuff and tools I don't use as often (bottom photo), 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.
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.