TruckVault Overland Drawer System Review – Should You Run a Drawer System?
TruckVault Drawer System For the 5th Gen 4Runner & Everything You Need To Know About Running a Drawer System
We recently wrapped up the step-by-step install for this drawer system. In that post, we talked about who TruckVault is along with the install process and our initial thoughts on the drawers and company as a whole.
Since then, we have been able to get this drawer out on the trail a few times. We have also experienced a few months of daily driving with the drawers: trips to the hardware store, nursery and running your typical family errands.
We wanted to give you guys an overview of what it’s like to drive both on the trail and off the trail with a full-time drawer system in a daily driven rig.
Additionally, this is our final review of TruckVault as a company. Spoiler, they freaking rock!
Common Drawer System Questions
Do we really use it?
Yes. We use both the slide-out table and the actual drawers that store our gear/tools. Because we wheel often and constantly work on our truck, we are always using our gear. Whether it’s grabbing a set of jumper cables or airing down for a quick trail run, we definitely use our gear.
The drawers are more useful, efficient and organized than bags and boxes. I used to carry two fully-packed boxes with me everywhere I went: one for daily driving gear and one for off-road recovery. I never know when I am up and gone for the weekend so I like to be hyper-prepared. The drawers took this preparedness to another level and make it really easy to grab something without digging and then reorganizing.
For photography, hunting, wheeling, overlanding and camping, the drawers are a game-changer. It keeps our gear super organized, easily accessible and very secure when out traveling. If I head out wheeling or camping, I know where everything is and the same is true if someone needs help/something comes up around the house, office or on the road, I know I’m prepared.
How does it work with a fridge?
It works with just about any fridge, just check the height. The drawers measure 14″ in total height and from the top of the drawers to the headliner, you have 21.5″ of usable space. This does not mean you can bolt your fridge straight to the drawer because you still need to open the lid to access your stuff. You will need a slide tray to mount your fridge in order to slide it out. This coming spring/summer, we will bolt our new Dometic CFX3 45 to our fridge slide tray on the TruckVault. For now, I wanted to give you guys an idea of what a full-size CFX3 45 looks like on the drawers.
You also have the option of strapping a refrigerator down to the provided L track system. That’s going to be less intrusive on your drawer system and allow you to easily remove your refrigerator if needed, but you would physically need to pull the fridge out and off the ledge of the drawer to access fridge contents (not really recommended).
What’s the weight and height?
The weight depends on the height you choose but expect anywhere from 100-200lbs. With TruckVault, you have three options for height:
- Standard Height = low (pictured here – about 100lbs)
- Total drawer height = 14″ (including table)
- Top of the drawers to the headliner = 21.5″
- Utility Height = medium
- Magnum Height = high
Is a drawer travel-friendly?
We take road trips quite often and traveling with the drawer system was my biggest concern. We are a 3-person, 2-dog (small) family. When fully packed, our cargo area contains a dog crate, large suitcases and other miscellaneous items. We have learned how to re-organize our current setup to work well, but it’s not perfect. Everything now sits up higher in the cargo area which does prevent us from using the rearview mirror and fitting our normal cargo load.
It was packed before but with the drawers, it’s REALLY packed. You can fit an oversized suitcase but packing with smaller suite cases and duffle bags works much more efficiently.
Is a drawer user-friendly?
I was impressed at how much more organized my gear is in the rear cargo area. The system is incredibly user-friendly and keeps the trunk very clean.
It hides stuff like paper towels, toilet paper and other misc. items under the wings (pictured above). Lots of gear can be stored/hidden here and it’s also easy to quickly access by un-snapping the magnetized side wing covers.
The actual drawers go without saying; you can organize them however you see fit and make these as user-friendly as you want – especially with the provided dividers.
If you work with a tool roll, recovery gear or anything else, the optional slide-out table makes it really simple. Slide-out the table, set your gear out, get your work done and close it back up. It really is that simple.
Table or No Table?
It depends on how you travel. If you are looking to maximize the usable space you have in the back, drop the table. I think a table is easily replaced with a real table – if needed. Adding the table takes up precious space in the trunk of the 4Runner. If however, you are planning on camping or wheeling many weekends throughout the year or for weeks at a time, the built-in table would be amazing! For the everyday family, I say no on the table. For the hardcore hunter, wheeler, camper, or overlander – get the table.
Home Depot? The Nursery?
Two places I go to a lot are Home Depot and the nursery (Green Acres). The drawer system will hinder your ability to stack oversized items in the cargo area, as you will lose height. Although it hasn’t affected us yet, I can see problems in the future with stacking bags of soil, plants, small trees, etc. For the most part, we are buying everything online and it all gets delivered anyway but I do make lots of Home Depot and nursery runs, so we’ll see what happens.
Daily Driving with a Drawer System
Pictured: Large entryway coat shelf and a fryer return from Christmas
Drawer systems are big and they are definitely not for everyone. But for many of us who wheel or camp often, they are a true game-changer and can make your life incredibly organized and secure both on and off the trail. Let’s face it, they take up a lot more room than a duffel bag and a storage box and you can’t move them if you need to.
You will need to make some adjustments to your daily driving habits. You will lose a good portion of your vertical and even diagonal storage potential. Drawer systems are not built for a daily driver. They are not built for Home Depot runs and large DIY projects. They are not built for 4 kids and sports game gear. Just know that before going into it.
A drawer system is about functionality and organization on the highest level for the gear you use when out exploring, not your daughters’ soccer game.
We wanted a drawer system that was as low profile as possible in order to make our lives as practical as possible on a daily basis. Looking back, if I were to make any changes to my daily driving habits, I would drop the table. That would give us the most usable height in the trunk from the top of the drawer to the headliner.
I love the table but I like using the 4Runner trunk area on a daily basis more.
Off-Roading or Overlanding with a Drawer System
Keeping your tools, recovery gear, first aid kits, camp kitchen equipment and general off-road accessories organized is paramount for having a good time out on the trail.
I can’t speak for everyone but for the most part, it’s in our nature to want to be as organized as possible when we go camping or off-roading. It makes life incredibly simple when you know where everything is and when it’s easily accessible.
This is where a drawer system truly shines. Having an organized system already pre-packed and prepared just before you head out makes exploring relaxing. Instead of worrying about what to pack or maybe what you forgot to pack, you already know exactly what you need and exactly where it is.
With a drawer system, you don’t have to worry about preparing and pre-packing all your gear the night before for a trip. For the most part, all of your tools, recovery gear, and camping gear should be ready to go – depending on your setup.
I can’t tell you how much more relaxed I’ve been before heading out on a trail knowing that every single piece of gear and equipment is right where I need it.
TruckVault Drawer Features
TruckVault is probably the most advanced drawer system on the market. It features the most configurable options of any drawer systems out there along with some bulletproof security features. If you are looking for the most custom, tailored to your style of travel, highest quality, longest-standing, and most secure brand drawer system on the market, look at TruckVault.
It’s not cheap but it’s likely the most customizable option you will find.
You can order a TruckVault Drawer System with a lot of different options and it’s totally up to you on how you configure it.
You can adjust the height, locks, slide table, L-Track system, interior drawer configuration, AC/DC power configuration, fridge mounts, layout, drivers and much more. That’s probably one of the most impressive attributes about the TruckVault drawer system… you can really make it your own.
If you head over to their website you can literally build your own system through their configurator. This lets you add and remove whatever feature you want. Your specific system may look completely different than what’s pictured here.
Where some companies have two or three options for you to choose from, TruckVault lets you build your dream drawer system. There is nothing you can’t ask for with TruckVault. I am serious. Just call them and they will build you whatever you want. You’re going to pay for it but at the end of the day, it’s going to be exactly what you want, even if their online build configurator doesn’t offer it.
So what can you option?
I wanted to run through a few of the most important aspects of the system below. These are some of the most important areas you want to consider when building your TruckVault.
We decided to go with their low profile drawer height, which they refer to as standard. You can also choose utility or magnum which are there other two larger height options.
From the bottom of the rear cargo area kick panel to the top of the drawer system, the height measures 14″. From the top of the drawer system to the first part of the headliner, the height measures 21.5″.
I have absolutely zero regrets about going with the standard height. In fact, I almost wish that I had gone with the non-table option in order to gain more clearance from the top of the drawer system to the headliner in the 4Runner.
This height option has worked perfectly for my needs, but depending on the gear you carry on a daily basis, this will determine the height you should go with.
Dual Drawers (Offset)
Dual drawers make gear organization super simple. Being able to separate gear is really nice. You have the option of going with a single drawer or their dual drawer option. With both drawer configurations, you can also add drawer dividers in both vertical and horizontal options.
Dual drawers are cool because it gives you the option of permanently locking one drawer while leaving the other unlocked. Because the TruckVault provides the Kaba Simplex lock along with the key lock means that you have the option of a combination lock or a key.
If you want to leave one drawer unlocked, just leave the key inserted in the slot that way I can be opened at any time. If you want the other drawer to be locked, then remove the key and rely solely on the combination.
The heavy-duty slide-out table comes in handy in just about every area of life, but I could live without it.
We had the factory cargo slide tray before this drawer system but never used it because we had the Zarges Case and an EDC bag resting on the tray. This prevented us from sliding the tray out because every time we did, something would fall behind it causing us to shuffle everything around in order to close the tray.
The TruckVault table finally gives us a user-friendly table back. We have used this table for eating, work, photography gear, general everyday carry gear, recovery gear, sitting on it and much more.
The high-quality latches and slide motion on this table really add to the overall build quality in this drawer system.
Built-In Power (1 Drawer 12v/110v TTP)
I added the built-in power option for a handful of reasons but the main reason was due to the fact that I didn’t want to lose access to our factory outlets in the back. Well, the TruckVault does not cover the factory cargo area outlets from being used. There is a cover (side wing) that sits directly over the factory 4Runner inverter, but the side wing is secured in place by magnets. All you have to do to access the factory inverter is lift up this magnetized cover or run your wires around or along the side of the TruckVault.
If you opt for a built-in power center like I did, you have the option of adding your own inverter or using a TruckVault supplied option. I optioned out of their unit and instead will build my own power system. I plan on an entire post for this section later.
It’s important to note that if you choose the integrated power option, you lose 10%-15% of storage in one drawer. Looking back, I probably would have opted for no power option to free up as much space as possible.
Exterior & Interior Color Options
We all love to customize our trucks and TruckVault gives us even more customization. They offer a wide variety of drawer face and custom carpet colors.
From the standard black and grey colors to woodgrain finishes and even two camouflage options, TruckVault gives you plenty of choices. We decided to keep our drawer system clean and simple with the black drawer face and gray carpet.
This is really what TruckVault is known for. Security.
There may not be another drawer system on the market that’s as secure as a TruckVault. We went with their Kaba Simplex 9100 locks. The locks feature a combination lock along with key entry access as well.
TruckVault definitely makes a secure option for storing gear, however, if someone wants your stuff bad enough, they will get it.
What’s cool about the TruckVault is that they make it that much more challenging for someone to break into it or literally lift your drawer out of the 4Runner. It’s not bomb-proof but they do provide great locks on the drawers themselves and even locks on the drawer to the backside of the 4Runner’s seats.
If I broke into someone’s truck and saw this thing, I better have a really good reason to go all the way because it looks like a PITA to get into.
With TruckVault, you have the option of running vertical dividers or horizontal dividers. These are great for organizing long guns and even sectioning off individual everyday carry gear items.
If you want to add additional in-drawer lighting, you can. TruckVault gives you the option to add on their branded in-drawer AAA battery-powered lighting.
Tie-Down Rails (L-Tack System)
The tie-down side rails provided on the TruckVault are essentially the same thing you will find within an L-Track system from US Cargo Control. The only difference is that these have a radius edge which makes sliding gear up and over the L-Track much easier. US Cargo Control should take some notes on this design, these TruckVault L-Tracks are much more user friendly.
So what’s the takeaway?
No pun intended, they really just take away space. They take away space for everything you do on a daily basis.
Full-time drawer systems are not for the daily driver who camps, wheels or does photography a couple of times a year. I would recommend a full-time drawer system in the 4Runner for any photographer, hunter, off-roader, overlander, adventurist and/or camper who is really dedicated to their hobby. Drawer systems are for the Type-A personality who needs constant and consistent organization – who also travels at a moment’s notice with little to no time to pack.
I personally have two 5th Gen 4Runners and a 2nd Gen Tacoma so the white rig pictured here is now somewhat of my dedicated trail rig. If it was my only vehicle, I would be hesitant to run a drawer system just because I use the trunk and cargo area for so much of my daily life.
On the other hand, the TruckVault puts my Type-A driven personality at ease with its simplicity and absolutely stunning organization configuration possibilities.
It’s a big purchase so do your homework before you buy something.
If you are in the market for a drawer system, the TruckVault definitely gets a firm stamp of approval. This unit is well-made, backed by a great team of people, is incredibly customizable and very featured-packed.
Questions or Comments? Leave them below!