Loading Up The Truck: Tools & Recover Gear

  I spent a little time yesterday loading the truck with the various tools and recovery gear that I like to keep in the vehicle. Transitioning from the large F250 down to this mid-sized Gladiator has been a challenge, so the first thing I had to do was pare down my carry-list to the so-called MVP, or minimum viable payload. One of the big goals was to *not* adversely affect the ability to carry passengers in the rear seats. I.e., I want as much tucked away permanently as possible. I don't like carrying bins or tool boxes loose in the truck's cab. Anyway, here's a brief look at where I ended up.

First up is the big Craftsman saddle toolbox (which, btw, already has a glitch with the driver's side lock that I have to fix. argh):

A view into the toolbox from the passenger side. In the foreground on the right is my red tool bag with a set of standard hand tools, such as hammers, screwdrivers, pliers, etc.  Below it (not visible) is a large SAE and metric socket set and wrenches. In front of the tool bag is my fire extinguisher (which I may end up moving into the cab of the truck). To the left of the tool bag is my Noco battery-operated jump starter kit. You'll also note right behind it is a more traditional set of jumper cables that I also like to carry.

A view from the driver's side. The big brown bag is where I keep gloves, rags, baling wire, duct tape, twine, para-cord, etc.  In front of the bag are all the larger tools I use frequently when on a trip to our cabin. These include saws, limb cutters, an axe, a machete, a small folding shovel, etc. Also visible here is the big red baseplate for my high-lift jack. I still haven't yet mounted the jack itself in the truck's bed; I'm waiting on a mounting kit to show up in the mail. I also need to figure out a way to carry my big traction mats.

Under the rear seat on the driver's side is where I keep my tow hitch. You'll note that it's a combo ball-pintle hitch unit; my trailer has a pintle hoop that I've learned to love over a traditional ball unit.

Behind the rear passenger seat on the drivers side is where I keep all the tie-down straps and ratchets. I'm trying this arrangement, where I keep the ratchets attached to carabiners for quick access, and the straps themselves in the canvas bag on the right. I use straps a lot, so I wanted quick access.

Under the rear seat on the passenger side of the vehicle is where I keep more of the high-lift jack hardware, my ARB tire repair kit, and the big ice scraper that gets occasional use in the winter.

Behind the rear seat on the passenger side of the vehicle is a small foot-operated air pump. Eventually, I want to get a proper ARB air compressor for airing up and down on the trail. For now, this weeny pump is all I have that's portable.

Finally, underneath the tool box in the rear is a small step stool I like to carry. I find this is really useful and I use it in all kinds of situations. Eventually, I'll build an underslung carry that hangs off the bottom of the toolbox that it can slot into and stay up off the bed floor.


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