Cheap Overland Drawer System
Organization is something I am always trying to get better with and for a LONG time I have seen the need for some sort of drawer system for the back of the Jeep. HOWEVER, I cannot afford the price that comes with ALL these systems. Why can’t someone make a budget option like they do for everything else?
I still needed a solution and here is what I came up with:
My old setup was one that relied heavily on putting like items in weatherproof cases. The idea was to be able to take the whole setup out when I wasn’t on a trip, but the cases have become a pretty big hassle.
The issue here is that to get to anything, I would have to unstack the whole pile and then have the room to unlatch the cases and open the lid. Not ideal. I NEED DRAWERS!
I started the search for some budget drawers and they just don’t exist. If you don’t do it yourself, you’re looking at $1,000 for a good setup. I can’t do that.
I started looking at the DIY option (even though I didn’t want to do that) and I came across a post on expedition portal from ArmyofMike that showed this:
This got the wheels turning and I started hunting ebay for something that I could afford. After looking at a lot of pictures online, I decided that I was going to give this military field desk a shot. A word of caution here, there are a lot of different field desks out there and there is a wide variety of conditions they could be in.
There is a new plastic field desk that looks VERY rugged, but I think the ruggedness would take away from the usable drawer space the desk offers. I went with the same one that was in ArmyofMike’s picture and I have to say I think it will work really well for me. Mine looks a little more used than his but I can get used to its quirks for the cost saving.
The box comes with a lid that mounts to the side of the box and prevents the drawers from moving at all. I may plan on working a strap system to eliminate the need for the top altogether, but I think I will give it a few trips to see how much it becomes a hinderance.
Once you get the lid off, you have access to the drawers and mine all had dividers in them that rattled like loose change in a tin can. I decided to remove most of the dividers and the ones I kept are packed with items that eliminate the rattle (like paper towels).
I was able to fit everything in the drawers that I wanted plus a lot more things that I always wanted to have. Unlike before, I now have space to keep spare gear/engine oil should I ever need it on the trail. I even have a shallow drawer that is completely empty and ready for some smaller items. I may move jumper cables in there or maybe all of my tie downs. TBD.
Once I got it loaded into the back of the Jeep, I noticed that it would be easiest for me to tie it down in the very middle of the cargo area which allows me space on each side for soft items and space behind it, where I normally keep my stove. I guess if I needed to pack another large item in the back, I could smash the desk to one side and something like a cooler on the other side. For now, I’m happy with it in the middle.
I even staged a scenario where I needed to work on something, so I put the tailgate table down, opened the tool drawer, and retrieved the tools I needed. Everything works great and I can’t wait to take it out on my next trip. I’ll keep you all updated on how it goes!