Thursday, May 4, 2017

TruckVault Vehicle Storage System

A few years ago my wife and I were planning a business/pleasure trip to Yellowstone Park in our new Toyota 4Runner. The plan was to loop through Montana and visit some of my suppliers in Bozeman and Twin Bridges before heading south into the park. Being a fly shop owner and former professional photographer there is a lot of expensive gear that normally follows me on any adventure so I was concerned about keeping all that stuff safe during the trip. 

I had been introduced to the TruckVault brand of secure vehicle storage at the local gun club where I shot sporting clays. Many of the shooters there had TruckVaults for their expensive firearms and since many of those guns surpassed the value of my first home, I figured that was a solid recommendation of the brand. I should note that this particular gun club was probably the safest place to leave your vehicle unlocked in the entire state of Oregon, except during zucchini season. Unless of course you love zucchini.

In any case, after deciding on the configuration of the TruckVault I wished to install by using their on-line design feature, I contacted the home office in Sedro Woolley, Washington and was put in touch with a local representative. Since this was a new model year of the 4Runner the gentleman actually came by my place of business and double checked the measurements and placed the order. In a few weeks a freight truck rolled up to the house and delivered the first upgrade build item for our new fly fishing adventure vehicle, the TruckVault.



With just a few days before our trip I set about figuring out the best way to organize my camera and fishing gear in the two drawers. I had chosen the two drawer offset configuration with the plan to switch the fishing gear and camera gear between the two based on the emphasis of the adventure. Fishing trips might require more fishing gear and photo safaris may need more camera storage space. In the end, I settled on each drawer being dedicated to its specific activity.

To simplify the organization of the camera drawer I took the foam insert out of my Pelican 1600 series case and plopped it in the drawer. This left room for a single TruckVault divider to keep my tripod from rolling around. There was even space in the very back of the drawer for an ARB tire repair kit and a few misc. infrequently used items.




Overall, I’ve been very happy with the build quality of the TruckVault and the added security of the optional combination locks. The unit is very solidly made, a fact that is reflected in the weight. While I haven’t placed the unit on a scale, installation was done with one extra body and would have been tough alone. TruckVault lists the weight between 130 and 265 LBS depending on configuration. I’m guessing mine tips the scales around 150 pounds. The location of mounting hardware matched up nicely with the Toyotas factory tie down points and turnbuckles secured it in place so it doesn’t bounce around while motoring off road.

On one occasion I found myself in the neighborhood of the manufacturer and stopped in to see how the unit was made. A brief tour verified the quality of the build and the attention to detail in the finished product. While a relatively small operation, they function at high efficiency making turn-a-round times reasonable. Since all orders are custom with options ranging from drawer faces, carpeting, locks and basic configuration, production efficiency is a consideration when making a purchase. With years of experience and thousands of satisfied customers in law enforcement and the private sector, TruckVault is a proven leader in vehicle storage systems. 




The last few years have been spent searching for the perfect combination of foam and dividers to store my ever changing collection of gear. Nothing was perfect until I discovered the TrekPak system. While reading forum posts on center console organization I came across a mention of the product and tracked down their website. Soon I saw the possibilities for organizing my Pelican cases and my TruckVault. Another search and I learned that TruckVault now offers TrekPak kits for their drawers. I had to try it.

The kit arrived and was relatively complete. It included the required panels, joining clips, a custom cutting tool and a sticker proclaiming to the world that you’ve finally had a storage drawer epiphany. The only thing missing was any design ideas for the ultimate storage system, but that is the beauty of this system, it’s totally custom.

While every user will have their own requirements, the combination of the TruckVault and TrekPak make safe storage of your valuable equipment easy and adjustable. I started by deciding what items I wanted fast access to and place them near the front of the drawer. By prioritizing each piece of gear or placing it together with like items I soon had a layout to work with. I also thought about future additions of equipment and how they could be added in with simple adjustments to the layout. Then I started cutting the panels.



I would caution everyone to take the time to really think about how you will use your equipment when you decide where to place it. I would also repeat the old adage, measure twice, cut once. If you spend time with the initial layout you will avoid frustration down the road. Fortunately for me, I had over two years of using my TruckVault drawers and could easily see how I wanted things laid out. The install took less than an hour and I love the finished product. Not only does it safely transport my expensive gear and keep it safe, it’s increased the storage capacity of the drawers and ease of access to each piece of equipment. It even looks like I now have space for another lens or two.

After over two solid years of use I have no regrets with my original purchase of the TruckVault. It has provided a sense of security when traveling with expensive equipment and kept it from damage. While nothing is ever totally safe from theft, having a secure lockable out of sight location is a good place to start. The unit has held up well to constant use and shows no signs of wear. With the newly added TrekPak system the organizational possibilities are endless, which adds to my overall satisfaction with this storage solution. It’s like falling in love with the TruckVault all over again.

Pros
Secure, safe storage for a wide variety of equipment.
Easily customized with TrekPak or provided dividers.
Well made in Sedro Woolley, Washington.
Competitively priced.


Cons
Possibly heavier than other systems out here, but not by much.
Some rattling of drawers in wash board driving situations. (I solved that issue with felt strips on the leading edge of the drawers.) 

Shipping costs are a bit expensive, but that’s to be expected. I have seen shipping discounts offered on occasion from TruckVault.



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