4X4 ICON 2000 - 2008 The DVD!
Note: Amazon describes the box as 17" but the part number is for the 25 1/2" x 4 5/8" x 8 1/2" box - This is the box that most closely matches the boxes I used in this article
|30" x 5 1/4" x 8 1/2"||17" c 3 3/4" x 5 3/4"||Also mislabeled on Amazon, the part number indicates this box is 22 x 4 1/8" x 7 1/4"|
Update 10/31/05 - Painting
Note: The Contico boxes I first used in this application were discontinued. After several years of searching, I have found a compatible replacement that has the added benefit of rubber gasket seals. A link to purchase the replacement boxes is located on this page.
After installing the Garvin Wilderness Expedition rack, and adding the 4XLOC mounts for the Hi-Lift Jack, I had a lot of room left to fool around with. I had purchased some large containers and use them for long road trips, with four fitting nicely and held down with the cargo netting.
But for short trips, like going off-road, I needed a place to keep all the little bits that can be handy in a pinch. I didn't want to have them inside the Jeep (where would they fit anyway?) and I didn't want to have to use the large containers because they pose a headroom issue, not to mention looking like I am posing for a part in "Out of Africa" or something...
So I started looking for something about 4 to 6 inches high and as long as 50 inches wide. I was disappointed to find that while there were a few options (too few in my opinion), the prices for these were outrageous.
|This led me on a search of
the large chain, discount department stores (Wal*Mart, Target, Ames, K-Mart, etc.) and the
local off-road stores. Nothing but under-the-bed clothing containers, tackle boxes,
and so on. So then I started looking in hardware stores. As much as I hate to
admit it (never mind why...), I found the solution at Home Depot. The Contico 7126BK - 26" x 9.75" x
4.625" - 26" TRUCK TOOL BOX (Home Depot SKU# 487743). It's a relatively sturdy, plastic
container that is 26" X 4 5/8" x 9 3/4". There are two clasps to hold
it closed, a place for a padlock, and a two wide piano-style hinges across the back.
The top interlocks to the bottom when closed so it stays nice and dry inside.
|I didn't want to lash them to the rack so I bought sets of four small, stainless steel u-bolts for each. After experimenting with the location of the boxes to be sure I could get to them, and that I could unlock and open them, I measured and drilled holes in the bottom corners of the boxes, then attached them to the rack using the u-bolts. The nuts are placed inside the boxes so all that is exposed is the curve of the stainless-steel U-bolt.|
|I bought a set of four very small, matched-key, outdoor padlocks and lock the boxes (with one lock left over for another box). I have no illusions of security. While the boxes are thick and the hinges are sturdy, one smashing whack with a large hammer would crack the case; one clip with a bolt cutter would remove the lock, or a couple seconds with a lighter would melt the plastic where the lock is located. Let's just say that there isn't anything worth much inside and the locks are there to stop a casual intruder.|
|I sprayed the metal parts with a clear acrylic paint to prevent rusting. These have been on several outings and through every car wash without a spec of water getting inside. They have not warped, cracked, discolored, or rattled loose. I keep lots of handy stuff inside, grouped by type, some inside smaller compartment-boxes. I don't have to "dig" to find anything.|
|Just open up the proper case with the one key and grab what I need. I can stand on my rear bumper or side tire to make it easy to see what I want.|
|I added tool box drawer liner pads to help keep the stuff from sliding around and rattling. They can be seen here as the textured black material in the bottom of the drawer. It is sold in rolls, made by Stack-On, and I still have some left for other projects.|
|Cost? $12 each not counting the stainless steel hardware ($2.50 per u-bolt set and lock washer)|
Update: 10/31/05 - Painting
Home Depot Online Store> Tools> Tool Storage> Portable
Plastic Tool Boxes
4X4 ICON 2000 - 2003 The CD!
|At Christmas time we made
plans to visit my parents and siblings back home in Massachusetts. This opened up a
discussion about which vehicle we'd drive to get there. Anyone with any brains would
choose the Volvo V90 wagon. But of
course, as my wife pointed out, I have no brains, so we had to discuss options.
This was the point that I decided that the roof rack was necessary. If we were to make it to Massachusetts with everything we wanted to bring, there was no other way to do it (if we took the Jeep) but to get something to carry our stuff on.
Anyway, the decision to drive the Jeep was not easily reached. But once that was settled and the rack arrived in time to be installed (days to spare - thanks, James at 4x4 Connection), the problem remained of how to stow the junk, knowing that we'd probably see some weather on the road.
Being the Wal*Mart junkie that I am, I ran across the Contico 1318 - 32" x 17" x 12.25" 23.5 GALLON LOCKER in the Automotive section. At the staggering price of $17 each, they fit the bill perfectly. Now these will not win any prizes at the country club, but in terms of basic functionality, they have it all. The construction is robust, they seal reasonably well for a "cheap" locker, and the plastic construction is thick enough to provide the strength needed to endure highway speeds.
My wife likes to travel with everything you can imagine. And that's exactly what we did. Inside, there was everything she needed from the bathroom (women know what this means), three changes of clothing for each day we'd be gone (10 days), presents for about 20 people (some quite large), toys and books for the kids, and two medium cases full of camera stuff, and a tripod for me.) Outside the cases, the rack held my 60" Hi-Lift jack, the porta-crib, and a plastic booster seat. The rack and cases sucked it up. My back is another story...
The Jeep rode like a brick but was not too unwieldy, brushing the bump stops only on the biggest bumps. We had lots of room inside the Jeep. When we reached our destination I had only four pieces of luggage to carry inside. The good news was that even though I put everything inside plastic bags inside the trunks so they would not get wet, nothing got wet and there was no water inside the trunks. This was in spite of traveling in a heavy wet snow storm for five hours on the first day, and again later in the week. I would still pack everything that mattered inside plastic bags, just in case.
|I have since used these
large cases to carry gear on off-road trips as well. On one trip, I put a chainsaw
and gas inside one, and overnight gear inside another. This worked out very well,
even though it generated a few laughs when people saw me pull up for the ride.
On subsequent trips to Massachusetts and other off-road camping trips, I have used these trunks to great advantage
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