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Get Organized With Locked Truck Bed Storage: The DECKED Truck Drawer System [Review]

Sturdy, Secure, & Weatherproof Storage For Tools, Toys, & More

DECKED truck drawer system

We could all use additional storage and better organization in our vehicles. I drive a Ford F350 Super Cab which, despite its size, doesn’t have a lot of easy-access storage. I can fit jumper cables and other small, relatively flat things behind the back seats. My truck has a spacious bed, but when I store gear in the back, it slides around. Inevitably, whether I am hauling toolboxes and tie-down straps or a tent and camp stove, my gear ends up somewhere I can’t reach it. And I end up crawling into the bed to retrieve it.

Turns out, there is an easier solution. I found by adding the DECKED truck drawer system to the bed of my truck, I was able to keep my gear organized in the system’s two massive drawers. I didn’t lose much payload either — the DECKED drawer system is rated to support up to 2,000 pounds. And once loaded into the drawers, my gear and tools were safe and organized where I could quickly and easily grab them.

DECKED Truck Drawer System

DECKED truck drawer system

At the heart of DECKED’s Drawer System are two molded, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic drawers that slide open on rolling tracks. The drawers are rated to 200 pounds each. They’re installed under a 2-piece, recycled HDPE deck in-molded to a galvanized recycled steel subframe, which is what gives the deck above the drawers a 10:1 weight ratio. HDPE is impervious to acids, lubricants, and solvents, as well as water so it will hold up well to the elements as well as daily wear and tear. The aluminum handles and other metal in the drawer system are also made from recycled materials.

DECKED manufactures its products in America, at its Defiance, Ohio factory. To make the drawer system, they use a low-pressure injection molding process in a million-dollar, 60,000-pound aluminum mold with nitrogen-filled gas channels for cooling. The mold is modular so DECKED can make its drawer system frame longer or shorter as needed. The drawer system comes in multiple sizes that fit all full-size trucks since 1999 and midsize trucks since 2001 with multiple bed length options. The system also fits some vans.

Arrival & Installation

My DECKED system arrived in a bathtub-sized box with many parts and pieces. Also included: 8 to 12 bags of parts and hardware depending on the size and model truck you’re working with. All the parts were clearly labeled. The installation instructions were easy to follow and had a dash of humor. DECKED’s YouTube channel also had excellent videos on every detail of installing the system.

DECKED recommends using hand tools to assemble the system. If you don’t run a cap on your truck, you may want to use a drill to make drain holes in the “cans” in the corners of the system. That’s the only power tool step in the build. Otherwise, the tool list includes a mix of metric and imperial open wrenches, a 3/8″ socket, a couple of Torx drivers, a hex or two, Phillip’s head screwdriver, and an adjustable wrench.

DECKED truck drawer system

To install the drawers, I cut through my spray-on bed liner with a box knife to remove the angled factory tie-downs at the front of the bed, replacing them with DECKED’s included tie-downs, which have a less aggressive angle. Then I built the system from the bottom of the bed up, starting with the stick-on protective strips placed in three channels in the bed to keep the system from rattling. DECKED’s sticky tape didn’t hold, so I used Gorilla tape instead.

Though DECKED’s tape was junk, the rest of their hardware proved to be high-quality. Following the installation instructions and heeding their warning not to over-torque, a few hours later, I had high-quality, lockable, waterproof drawers in the back of my truck.

DECKED truck drawer system - toolboxes

Pro tip: It’s helpful to have an empty garage bay or space in your driveway next to your truck when installing the system. I did not, which slowed the process. It took me several hours to install my DECKED truck drawer system. Now that I know how to do it, if I ever build another drawer system from scratch it’ll be much faster. So, grab a buddy, a pizza, and some drinks, and enjoy the process.

While most of the build was straightforward, I had to watch the video on how to get the second drawer handle installed, and the video on how to lock in the part that holds the drawers in the frame.

The last few steps were the most fun — installing the bottle opener in the brand badge, adding in the measuring stick, which also has handy conversions and a chart to match screw and bolt diameters, and deciding where to tighten in separators for each drawer.

The system came with two of DECKED’s weather-resistant toolboxes that fit perfectly inside the drawers. I was surprised that I also had to assemble those. The lids had to be threaded with the gasket and attached to the box.

Field Tested: DECKED Truck Drawer System

DECKED truck drawer system

I used these drawers for 5 months before removing them so that I could put my truck camper into my bed. If you have a truck camper that doesn’t hang off the back and cover your tailgate, you can load it right on top of your drawers. Sadly, mine does hang over the tailgate, so I removed the DECKED system for the summer, but I plan to reinstall it next fall.

Over the last 5 months, I loaded the drawers with all the gear for a week of camping and bike riding, with tow straps and tools for UTV adventures, and with anything else that I didn’t want to jam behind the back seats or have scratching around in my bed. I locked the DECKED drawers and left my cap unlocked and never had any issues with theft. The system has 2 covered bucket-style “ammo can” compartments on the tailgate side that house the turnbuckles. I also used them as auxiliary storage for a jacket I discarded at the last moment before a ride, trash I picked up off the trail, and more.

Pros:

The system kept my gear secure, dry, and organized, which are all major pros in my book. The drawers open easily and shut solidly. There’s nothing finicky or fickle about them. They’re rugged, and the storage is flexible. The dividers allowed me to organize certain gear, like tow straps, tent and sleeping pads, and cooking gear, into a specific space. And I could easily move the dividers around using a screwdriver.

The system is tough. I loaded bikes and skis on top of the drawers, and even after months of both sliding around on the deck, there was no visible damage. The drawers feel strong and solid, and they close with a confidence-inspiring thunk. There’s nothing fragile or chintzy about the DECKED system. It’s a tank.

I also really liked the little extras DECKED added, like the bottle opener, the yardstick, and the steel brand badge.

DECKED truck drawer system

Cons:

Some assembly is required, and picky details, like installing the second drawer handle, felt like they took more time than the rest of the install. DECKED ships the drawers with one handle installed, but it saves them money to let the customer tear their hair out trying to get the second handle in.

I had high hopes my alpine skis would fit in the drawers, but they did not. The biggest downside was that the drawers don’t span the full width and length of the bed. Sure, “it’s physics,” as DECKED points out — drawers require a frame. My skis still fit on top of the DECKED system, but not inside. It’s also hard to access the back of the drawers unless you’re inserting something long, like a fishing pole, ax, or other trail tools.

DECKED Removal: Quick And Easy

As I mentioned, because the DECKED truck drawer system isn’t compatible with my camper, to use the camper I had to remove it. Luckily, that was about a 15-minute process that involved unscrewing the measuring stick, unscrewing a metal piece from the bottom of the drawer system, unscrewing the wheels on one side (best done with the drawers propped on a 2×4), and undoing turnbuckles, which was the most time-consuming part. Once again, thanks to DECKED’s extremely informative YouTube videos, removing the drawers was efficient and easy. Kudos to DECKED for also providing videos on how to remove their system, as well as how to install it. That’s an extra step a lot of brands don’t take.

DECKED Truck Drawer System: Specifications

DECKED truck drawer system

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Dimensions:

  • 67” x 39” x 23” mid-size trucks
  • 78” x 39” x 23” full-size trucks

For full specs click here.

System Dimensions:

  • Total Weight: ~230 lbs
  • Length: 75.25″
  • Width: 63″-71″
  • Height: 12″
  • Shipping Dims: 270 lbs, 78″x 39″ x 23″

Drawer Dimensions:

  • Length (top of drawer): 72.1”
  • Length (bottom of a drawer): 66.1”
  • Width (top of drawer): 18”
  • Width (bottom of drawer): 16.75”
  • Height: 8.5”
  • Volume (each): 6 FT3
  • Extension (each): 42″

More detailed technical specs can be found here.

DECKED Truck Drawer System: Additional Considerations

  • Not Compatible: Will not work with any in-bed towing packages including 5th Wheel and Gooseneck packages.
  • Liner: Works with spray-in bed liner, but NOT a drop-in plastic bed liner.
  • Bedrug: Works with BedRug mat, but NOT with a BedRug full liner.

Note:

If your Ford pickup has a tailgate assist handle mounted on the tailgate, this MAY interfere with the DECKED unit, depending on your model year. You can easily remove the handle and the tailgate step will not impact the installation or use of your DECKED unit.

Does Not Fit:

The system doesn’t fit ANY stepside or flairside beds. They are too narrow. Does not fit the F-150 short bed (5′ 6″) SuperCrew Heritage made from 2001 through 2003 (2004 badged as the SuperCrew Heritage) with the Stepside / Flareside tailgate, or the 2004-2009 version.







Berne Broudy
About Berne Broudy

Berne Broudy, a Vermont-based writer, photographer, and adventurer, has been reporting on hiking, biking, skiing, overlanding, travel, climbing, kayaking, dirt biking, UTV driving, and anything else you can do outdoors plus the gear you need to do it for category-leading publications in the U.S., UK, Spain, Germany and beyond. Broudy rigorously tests the gear she reviews. In the field, she’s been asked to deliver a herd of llamas to a Bolivian mountaintop corral, she’s had first fat biking descents in Alaska, she helped establish the first sport climbing in East Greenland, she biked the length of Jordan, she worked to help brands clean up their materials and manufacturing, and she had guns pulled on her in at least three continents.