How to Build a Versatile and Adjustable Truck Bed Organizer
Gotta truck? Who doesn't need a truck bed organizer or a storage system that keeps smaller items from rolling around in the bed of the truck and out of reach?
I know there are numerous iterations of this build but none, that I have seen, meet my needs for everyday truck bed organization. I am not in the construction trades and so purchasing a locking box or building a sliding drawer system was not what I was looking for. I needed something that would allow me to secure small parcels, groceries, a few tools, propane tanks and camping gear yet be flexible enough that I could reconfigure it and quickly make it larger or remove it to have access to the whole truck bed.
First of all, compliments to the posts that have inspired me. Your solutions are in many ways far simpler than mine and much better than the commercially available systems. So here I am offering another solution to creating a flexible and practical truck bed organizer. Although I built this specifically for my Tacoma I am certain it would easily adapt to other truck beds. This is not a heavy duty, rough use build, but it is still solid enough to use daily and stand up to regular use. It is light and easy to remove, making use of a ratcheting tension bar. It is built from 1" pine and 5/8" ply and you would be well advised to use 2" lumber or 3/4" plywood if it was intended for heavier use. Feel free to comment and make your suggestions for the next revision as I am certain it would benefit from some minor changes.
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Step 1: Materials and Tools
I used available lumber from the local Home Depot. No planer, so no planing required.
8 feet 1 X 10 clear or knotty pine
4 feet 1 X 4 clear or knotty pine
8 feet 1" aluminum channel
2 feet 1" aluminum flatstock
5/8" aluminum or SS screws
24" x 48" of 5/8" plywood
some misc hardware for attaching tie-downs or bungee cords
Drill and bits
Screw drivers, Carpenters square, measuring tape and hack saw
Step 2: Plan, Cut and Layout the Materials
Plan, cut and layout the materials
The organizer consists of a floor board, a back board and a couple of dividers. See the drawing for the basic idea. I wanted the unit to be securely held and available at the truck tailgate (back of the box) most of the time, yet capable of being pushed back over the wheel well or up against the front of the box with or without the dividers in place. The design is an 'L shaped ' divider fastened to and held in place by a ratcheting rod.
The basic wooden box is the width of the truck box inside the wheel well ( 42.5" ) by 24". The dividers are 18" and are able to be removed or placed 17.5" apart thus accommodating the most common sizes of plastic storage bins.
Step 3: Wood Assembly
The back board consist of a length of 1X4 and a length of 1X10 glued up with the corners of the 1X4 board rounded over on the band saw. After gluing, the assembled piece was edge routed using a 1/4" round over router bit.to remove the sharp profile and prevent splintering.
The 24" X 48"plywood floor was trimmed to 42.5 " and attached to the backboard with glue and screws. Two angle brackets were added to reinforce the connection. See the next step for a picture.
Step 4: Aluminum Channel Assembly
The aluminum channel was cut to length (13") using a hack saw, filed to remove the sharp cut edges and attached to the base and back wall using 5/8" screws. The channels will hold the dividers in place. I positioned them to accommodate standard size bins ( 16" X 24").
Step 5: Dividers and Hardware
Dividers and Hardware
The dividers were cut 18" in length, rounded over and cut from from 1X10 pine stock. I decided to reinforce the one end of the divider by adding a short length of flat stock aluminum. This required a small amount of wood to be removed, using the table saw, so that the aluminum would sit flush with the pine divider. The hole at the top end of the aluminum bar was drilled to take the cotter pin which holds the divider in place.
Step 6: Finishing
Two coats of spar varnish with a light sanding between coats. I have a tonneau cover so most of the time the divider will be protected from the elements.
Step 7: Securing to the Truck
The ratcheting cargo bar was purchased from the local CTC and will accommodate full size pickups. It is held in place by a ratcheting tension system and allows for it to be positioned anywhere along the length of the truck bed including over the wheel wells. The back wall of the organizer is secured to the cargo bar using two c-clamps. I replaced the nuts with two wing nuts. Releasing the tension lever on the cargo bar allows the organizer to be re-positioned any where along the length of the truck bed including reversing the whole assembly so that it can be placed at the front of the bed.
Step 8: Good to Go
Good to Go
The unit is set in the truck and good to go for camping or any other chore that requires a bit of secure organization. Feel free to comment.