In a recent article on the excellent Overland Tech & Travel blog, Jonathan Hanson touts his favorite overland storage solution as the Front Runner Wolf Pack, a $40 black storage bin based on a former South African military ammo case. It got me thinking about the solutions I’ve used and seen, so I thought I’d share them with you from least expensive to most expensive.
Plastic Distribution Bins
We use plastic distribution bins for general storage. They have the advantage of being inexpensive but also have the downside of not being water or dustproof. Some of them have notched lids to accept tie-down straps. It’s also easy to see what’s inside since they’re clear.
For low-impact, fair-weather trips, I think they’re a good solution. They’re cheap as chips, good for everything, and store in a nested stack when not in use. They used to be available at Costco. If you can’t find them there, you can find them here, $34.50 for a three-pack.
They measure 21.5″ x 15″ x 12.5″ and have a 75-lb. capacity.
Our friend Greg has a couple of these. He reports that they do their job of carrying and storing gear pretty well. They’re big enough to use as tables, strong enough to stand on, and dry enough to withstand a moderate rain. He also reports that with some DIY work you can make ratchet-strap holders that allow you to open the lid while the bin is strapped down. Very handy.
Greg thinks they probably won’t keep your gear dry on the roof, in downpour, at freeway speeds, or survive a drop from up there. I think at $39.99 they’re not a bad deal. Or you could grab a couple of these for $49.90 for a pack of two.
They measure 32″ x 17″ x 12.5″.
Jonathan Hanson pronounces these travel cases “completely rainproof and reasonably dustproof.” They’re the same price as the footlocker mentioned above but a little smaller. It sounds like what they lack in size, they make up for in toughness. They can be stacked, stood upon, and, I imagine, handle a fair amount of abuse given their former role as ammo cases.
The only downside, according to Mr. Hanson, is that the stock latches aren’t well designed. Front Runner, the U.S. distributor carries steel replacements.
The cases cost $40 and measure 19.7″ x 15.7″ x 9″.
You’re probably already familiar with these high-performance cases. They’re totally waterproof, dust-proof, and crush-proof. They even come with a pressure release valve in case the lid is sucked onto the case because of altitude-induced changes in atmospheric pressure. We carry one of these too for cameras, electronics, and other stuff we don’t wet or dirty. You can find the case below (model 1560) for $164.81 on Amazon.
It measures 22.1″ x 10.4″ x 17.9″.