Matt Hardinge, diehard upland hunter, fish slayer and all around good guy has been using a DECKED system in his tacoma for quite some time. After a season of long days and a stack of birds he was kind enough to give a write up of his experience with the DECKED system. Original review can be found on his blog uplndr.com HERE.
Original Article Published: uplndr.com
Written By Matt Hardinge | Jan. 20th, 2020
Is the DECKED drawer system the best solution to a disorganized truck bed?
I picked up a 2019 Toyota Tacoma in the summer and while it's a fully capable truck right off the lot, my immediate concern was how to set it up for all of my hunting and fishing adventures. Having a truck means that you get to enjoy the utility of the truck bed, and after researching the many options to create storage and stay organized I was no closer to deciding on a solution.
Initially I was planning on a DIY build for bed storage like many people do. With a home-made solution I would be able to customize it to any specification, choose my own materials, and have it fall into whatever budget I could afford - All great selling points. With that said, I lack the time, patience and the craftsmanship to build one with all the options and the finish I would be happy with, which sent me straight back to the drawing board.
After considering all of the systems on offer, I opted for the DECKED Drawer System due to the added security and the amazing strength of the unit. In the Toyota Tacoma version, the DECKED system comes with two drawers. There's a large and a small drawer and they both have the ability to be locked with a key which was a important consideration for me. The locked drawers combined with a locked tailgate meant I could relax knowing that the contents were safe.
The whole reason I opted to trade my Jeep Wrangler Rubicon for a Tacoma was to gain the extra utility that comes with having a truck bed. Many DIY solutions may look great and may be easier on the wallet, but probably not strong enough for the heavy loads that I may need to carry. The DECKED system can support a whopping 2000 lbs on the deck, more than adequate for the occasional heavy landscaping materials I'd load onto it. The drawers themselves have a 200 lb capacity and even when fully loaded, they slide in and out on their rollers with ease.
Another consideration that lead me to the DECKED system was its weatherproofing. I don't currently have a topper on my bed and making something that was DIY and also weather resistant would be an engineering challenge. The DECKED system has gone through every type of weather imaginable, from 110 degrees in the Nevada desert, to having a foot of snow sitting on the bed. The contents of my drawers and the 'ammo cans' on the side remained dry. I also regularly run it through the drive thru car washes and not a drop of water has gotten inside. Given the amount of driving I do through the desert, I'd have expected the drawers to get a ton of dust inside. I'm happy to say that there's a minimal amount of dust inside the drawers and would consider them 98% dust proof. There's actually more dust inside the cab of the truck over a weekend than the drawers have gotten during a full hunting season. I'll consider that weatherproof!
While the DECKED system offers little in the way of customization, you do get drop in tool boxes that fit like a glove as well as drawer dividers to help keep things organized. The 'ammo cans' on the side are also great for things that you need quick access to. I use one side for ratchet straps and bungee cords while the other side is reserved for dog supplies like a check cord, Dokken dummy, water bowls etc. The ammo cans don't lock, so use these for low value items if you live in an area where theft could be an issue.
These are all great features, but at what cost? The entire DECKED system comes in at a little over $1,200 for the Tacoma variant. It's not cheap but it's built to last and a great tool for anyone looking to organize their hunting/fishing rig, yet still maintain the ability to put heavy loads on top. With a 3-year warranty you have some peace of mind that you don't have to baby it. I am hard on all my gear and the DECKED system is no different, it has stood up to 6+ months of abuse in the desert and mountains and has proven to be a reliable tool for all of my adventures.
I did the installation on my own which was relatively painless. It required a few standard tools and it took me about 2 hours in total. With that said, an extra set of hands would definitely be helpful.
While I realize this system and/or the price may not be for everyone, I am a happy customer and can't recommend this system enough.
Conclusion: The best aftermarket solution for in-bed truck storage. Strong, secure and weatherproof.
More info on DECKED for Hunting HERE