On The Fence About A Drawer System For Your 5th Gen 4Runner? Here Are Some Of The Pros & Cons To Consider Before Buying
Getting tired of using those large storage totes to carry all of your gear around? How about wishing you could carry a bunch of gear while keeping it out of sight? A full-drawer system may be the solution for you.
There are several rear drawer system options for the 5th Gen 4Runner on the market today. From DIY to several thousand dollar setups, we found that the Dobinsons drawer system is a great-priced option that checks all the boxes.
Drawers provide a sleek way to organize all of your gear, as well as keep it safe. Having a lot of gear laying around your cargo area increases your chances of a possible break-in. Simply keeping gear out of view inside the drawers may be the difference between a broken window and not. If your drawer system includes locking drawers, while not entirely bulletproof, can further deter thieves.
Another major benefit is always having your gear with you. Sometimes things happen, and you may find yourself in a situation where you may need recovery gear or emergency supplies. Rather than putting them in your car only when you may need them, always being prepared for unexpected moments is a really nice assurance. Whether it’s spare tools, recovery gear, or emergency preparedness, being prepared for anything can make or break your day!
One of the biggest drawbacks to having a drawer system, however, is also having all of your gear loaded full-time. For example, If you have a second vehicle and decided not to take your 4Runner, you would have to transfer everything.
On top of that, a fully loaded drawer system will add an extra 200+ lbs of additional weight. That means you’ll likely need upgraded rear coils to accommodate that weight. Also, rear drawer systems cut into your overall cargo area storage. While the overall system is usually under a foot tall, it has definitely made it tougher to fit some larger items in the cargo area.
Find It Online:
- Dobinsons Rear Drawer System: Check Price
Why Not DIY?
At first, the idea of building a drawer system seemed like the way to go. However, after really breaking it down, it was hard to beat the Dobinsons rear drawer system.
While the DIY route would save a little bit of money, it would still require several hundred dollar investments in materials alone. Man, those things are pricey! Then, you have to look at some features that you might not get with the DIY route. For example, having a seamless built-in sliding fridge tray, or opting for locking handles.
While we all love projects, unless your woodworking and craftsmanship skills are above average, a pre-built setup is the way to go.
Build Quality & Features
Dobinsons features a steel body with heavy-duty plywood panels and is wrapped with marine-grade carpet. On the driver side of the system is a built-in fridge slide, which doubles as a top access panel to the drawer below. The drawer slides are a ball-bearing system that supports more weight than any other system we found; 330LBs!
On top, there are eight heavy-duty, spring-loaded tie-down points; perfect for securing loads. The front locking latches are heavy-duty and give a promising click when they are locked in. The system weighs in at around 125 lbs empty and requires freight delivery.
The Dobinsons rear drawer system by itself is great, but their optional wing kit really sets it apart from others. The overall size of the system was just right; not taking up too much space while providing plenty of storage. With drawers measuring roughly 33”x17”x7.6” (Interior), this left enough space for everything inside to be well organized and easy to find.
The side wing pieces are removable, allowing for even more storage inside as well as access to your 4Runner’s rear power outlets. If you have the means to add the wing kit, I highly recommended it as it feels like a much more seamless fit compared to a standard squared-off box.
There are a few factors that will determine how much work the rear drawer system is to install. If you already have or are planning on adding a base plate to the cargo area, it will make your installation much smoother.
Note: This system is not compatible with 3rd-row seating according to Dobinsons, and additional steps would be required to get them to fit.
Those with the factory rear sliding tray will have to remove that prior to installing the drawer system. Drilling will also be required in most cases, so be prepared to tackle that. Dobinsons suggests drilling through the floor of your cargo area and using nutserts to hold the system in place.
Having an extra set of hands is highly recommended as the drawer system is both heavy and bulky. The instructions provided are not very clear and even the vehicle-specific pages skim over a lot of useful points. Like many others who have installed their Dobinsons system, there is going to be leftover hardware that will leave you wondering if you did something wrong. Due to it being a universal kit, they at least give you plenty of extra hardware rather than not enough.
After roughly a year of use, there are some features we have found that the drawer system is lacking.
First, it would make a world of difference for the sliding fridge tray to also be able to tilt downward. With the drawers added, the height of the fridge is fairly tall and hard to access. A tilting function would make it much easier to reach inside, especially with larger fridges.
Another small change we would like to see in the future is locking drawer slides when extended. Sometimes, on uneven surfaces, the drawers do not stay open and will close on their own if you are not holding them.
Once installed, all of the gripes disappear and you begin to truly appreciate having them. The ability to stay so much more organized, and quickly being able to find exactly what you need makes a world of difference.
Now comes the fun part of filling them with all the essentials! There are so many options of items to store inside such as camping gear, cooking equipment, recovery gear/tools, first aid kits, spare parts, food, camera equipment, etc. The possibilities are endless!
We opted to split our drawers into two categories, kitchen/camping on one side, and tools/recovery gear on the other! This has helped us stay organized and find whatever we need easily, without much thought.
The size of the drawers seems to be just right, with enough space to fit everything from pots and pans to recovery gear. It does not cut into as much cargo space as some of the taller systems available. Overall, Dobinsons has a great solution in their rear drawer system. For those looking at drawer systems without breaking the bank, they’re definitely a top contender.