Finding high-quality overlanding storage boxes can be as much of an adventure as roughing it, but the right off-road storage box is an essential tool when you hit the trail or go camping.
High-quality overland containers allow you to stow your gear and supplies safely and neatly. They’ll secure everything when you’re out on the road and be helpful in camp as well.
While you can learn some skills by trial and error, overlanding is one area where you don’t take chances.
This guide will cut your preparation time, sharing more about choosing an off-road storage box, the pros and cons of the top five models on the market, and why they’re unique.
Top 5 Choices for a Reliable Off-Road Storage Box
When you’re on the backroads with your expensive gear, hoping the off-road storage boxes will line up is a big risk. It is helpful to research upfront and protect your equipment adequately under any conditions.
Our Top Five list below covers budget and premium options in random order.
Pelican is one of the top brands on the outdoor goods market. They have a well-deserved reputation for high-quality products and outstanding service. Their cargo cases are available in eight sizes, and these sturdy containers are bombproof, the closest you’ll come to indestructible.
If you try hard, you might be able to break off a latch. However, the top-notch company will replace it without any quibbling. Even if you just use the Pelican off-road storage box to carry camping equipment, they’re a worthwhile investment.
The padded inserts provide complete protection for any sensitive equipment, like cameras. There is also a watertight seal so that you never have to worry about drenching the equipment during a downpour. You can use these containers with the specially-designed carry rack, and setup is a breeze.
You’ll have to dig deep to buy a Pelican Cargo Case, but with a lifetime guarantee and performance to match, you will find these products worth any added expense. The boxes certainly benefit the avid camper and outdoor enthusiast who likes to explore the road less traveled.
- Durable (almost indestructible)
- Lifetime warranty
- Outstanding service
- Various sizes and the option of a vehicle rack
- Metal attachment points built into the container
- Expensive to set up initially
Rubbermaid ActionPackers are excellent for the occasional camper. Those who prefer to travel on a lower budget will appreciate that they are affordable and stackable, nesting together to save storage space. The off-road storage box options also come in four convenient sizes.
Rubbermaid’s boxes are water-resistant rather than waterproof but keep the contents dry in a storm. It is easy enough to add a rubber gasket if you need waterproofing, and they hold up to 100 pounds. The choice is sturdy enough to endure moderate abuse and will look good for several years.
If you’re sharing your camping space with bears and other critters, keep the off-road storage box inside the vehicle. You can lock it, but animals can chew through the plastic. Aside from that, it is reliable.
- Durable, double walls
- Affordable to buy and replace
- Easy to stack and nest together
- Four convenient sizes
- Not bear-proof and unlikely to keep out a determined raccoon
- Little shock-absorption protection
If you need to keep the budget low, the Plano Sportsman’s Trunks are a great choice at slightly more expensive than Rubbermaid ActionPackers. It is a good option on a fishing boat or a hunting trip, but the downside is the weight and dimensions that make it difficult for one person to carry. The wheels help, but not in rough terrain.
Plano has a solid reputation in the outdoor industry, and the cases last exceptionally well, despite the price point. The boxes are water-resistant but prone to leaking without modification. If you plan to leave them outside in stormy weather, apply weatherproofing products or invest in a cheap rubber gasket.
- Dimensions work for airline travel
- Easy to wheel on smooth surfaces
- Outstanding value
- Lock holes do not fit all standard locks
- Heavy for one person
Money is a factor for some off-road storage box choices, but functionality and strength are what you need out on the road—skip to number five on our list for Adventures on the Rocks’ best overall pick.
A Front Runner Wolf Pack is a highly functional off-road storage box. It’s not too attractive, but the features are amazing. For example, you’ll love the flat construction and grooves that are easy to secure to a roof rack.
The boxes pair with the company’s Monsoon bags for complete water- and dust-proofing. You can also run rope or cables through several holes in the corners to secure the boxes well. Each unit fits snugly into the next, making it possible to build a custom modular storage unit and stack them to fit your vehicle for a camping vacation.
The holes in the bottom allow condensation to drain away effectively. However, these holes could allow water to seep back into the boxes if the area floods, so it is best to keep them on dry ground. The high-grade plastic lasts, but it is not lockable.
- Reasonably priced
- Great for new overlanders
- Easy to stack and secure to the vehicle
- Durable, thick HDPE plastic that is UV-resistant
- Compatible with the Front Runner roof rack system and accessories
- Not lockable
- Drainage holes could admit water or dust
Zarges is our final contender for the Best Overall Off-Road Storage Box. These premium models are almost indestructible, which is why they are as costly as Pelican’s cases. The company gave one of their cases to a bear to play with, and it got bored and left—the case didn’t break, warp, or unlatch.
The cases are water-resistant instead of waterproof but far lighter than their Pelican counterparts. There is also an extensive range of sizes and stacking corners to securely stack boxes together. They also incorporate a lock hole in the latch, making the durable products easy to seal.
Zarges’ off-road storage box is rated as fire-resistant, withstanding temperatures of up to 1800°F. You may ask the company to add lining to make it virtually fire-proof or choose a customized storage solution.
- Extremely strong
- Dust, heat, and water-resistant
- Welded frames with riveted joints for extra stability
- Best range of case sizes and custom options
- No rubber feet on the ends to prevent scratching
Here are some common questions we get about storage boxes:
How Will You Carry Them?
How you carry the storage system is an extremely important consideration, especially if you’re not with a team of heavy lifters. There are three typical options:
- Stack the off-road storage box on the roof,
- Place it inside the vehicle, or
- Use a trailer.
It saves space to pack everything on top, but it could easily unbalance a vehicle. It would increase the risk of a truck or SUV tipping over while driving, especially on uneven terrain. Sometimes, it’s better to sacrifice storage space inside or rent a durable trailer for the terrain over which you’ll be traveling.
Look at how the containers stack together before deciding on an option. Stacking boxes are more stable and have features that allow you to tie them down easily. For example, grooves in the lid and well-placed holes will help you secure the load more effectively.
Finally, think about how to safeguard the contents. Are the boxes lockable? Can you secure them against theft or animals?
Are They Waterproof / Weather-Resistant?
If you transport or store the containers outside, a waterproof model is the only solution. If you’re traveling to an area with a wet climate with expensive gear, waterproofing is probably the safest option if you want to return home with it all intact. You might have to pay a premium for the containers, but you’ll recoup that “loss” protecting sensitive electronics.
If you’re storing the containers inside the vehicle, a water-resistant option should be acceptable to keep the goods dry and safe. They’ll shrug off the odd rainstorm with minor seepage. If you’re leaving them on the ground while camping, think about waterproofing features or custom adjustments.
Are They Durable?
Durability is the main consideration for any off-road storage box. You can find cheaper, bigger boxes at a mainstream retailer, but these containers are not designed for overlanding. It may not hold up to the rigors of traveling or handle any amount of weight to safeguard your possessions.
The right off-road storage box is strong, long-lasting, water-resistant, and able to handle quite a bit of abuse over rough terrain. It’s better to spend more on the quality that you won’t need to replace or repair. The design of these lockable containers includes shock-absorbent qualities for just that purpose.
A Word On The Materials
A crucial consideration is what your container is made from, and the strongest options are aluminum, hard-plastic, steel, or wood. Steel and wood are not ideal due to weight and expense, and wood isn’t naturally waterproof. Do not choose an off-road storage box that requires ongoing maintenance if you want it to serve your purposes outdoors.
High-grade aluminum ticks all the boxes:
High-density, thick plastic also works well because it’s durable and waterproof. The downside is that plastic may scuff more easily than aluminum.
The correct equipment makes overlanding even more enjoyable, including a reliable off-road storage box that fits your needs and budget.
Overlanding storage bins need to protect your essential supplies and gear. All five models above do an excellent job of organizing and protecting your items, but there’s a wide range of options for price and durability.
The Pelican and Zarges products are pricier initially, but they last and keep your items in ship shape. If you have a fish-finder or camera equipment, both these choices are well worth the money. The boxes are also bear-proof and could literally last a lifetime.
If you only need storage for the odd camping trip, cheaper options on the list provide alternatives. They’re not as sturdy, but they’ll do an adequate job of protecting your supplies. They’re also easy to stack and store when not in use.
That is all you need to look for in a reliable off-road storage box, and you should have no problem finding the best option. Want more? Check out our list of Must-Have Overlanding Gear (And Fun Toys).