Staying practiced in a spectrum of outdoor pursuits requires two things: time and the gear to get it done. As urban dwellers with finite storage space, keeping track of all our
crap gear investments can be quite a task. We stuff backpacks and tote bags with our climbing shoes, hiking boots, camp lanterns, and so on. It can be a real challenge to remember where that one piece of gear is hiding without a very dialed system.
More organized outdoor people have long relied on bulky, plastic, clear storage bins to haul their gear from the basement or closet to the trailhead and campsite. Now, brands from the outdoor industry have worked up storage options designed explicitly for storing gear at home, hauling equipment in your car camping vehicle of choice, AND to the campsite or crag. Whether you live in the exurbs, the city, or a van, these camping storage boxes, bins, and containers will help make your life easier in more ways than you might imagine.
Below we'll breakdown the ins and outs of what makes our top picks special. Read on, take some notes, then embrace a more organized like (perhaps give your gear closet a proper KonMari while you're at it).
What to Look for in a Gear Storage Container?
It might seem like an obvious overstatement, but the size is probably the first thing to consider. For example, a huge 100+ liter bin might sound nice but think about lugging that thing up and down from a second-story walkup. Instead, two individual 50-liter containers would allow for easier backseat Tetris-ing, with the added benefit of keeping your camp kitchen and cookware separate from dirtier outdoor gear.
Construction & Material
Some of these gear storage containers use flexible materials (Cordura, nylon) mated to a frame, which is collapsible when empty to save space. The more bombproof gear containers mold themselves in hard plastic, tested to handle significant, repeated drops through a lifetime of service.
This trait tends to follow closely with the material selection. Heavy-duty, rigid containers for outdoor gear will keep the weather out as long as their closures are well-considered, but don’t overlook the soft-sided bins that use welded seams and fully-waterproof materials to keep your sleeping bag bone dry.
10 Best Camping & Outdoor Gear Storage Containers
This BC-based newcomer champions its namesake storage container to offer outdoorsy people of all types a better way to transport their equipment. The Rux 70L pairs a strong, flexible TPU-coated nylon with a composite nylon frame, making it both lightweight, waterproof, and capable of being packed flat when empty. Once loaded, a set of adjustable handles allows for carrying over a shoulder or as a backpack. Campers can easily access items from inside with the lid removed or by flipping up one of the foldable portions; a transparent panel on one side allows for a quick peek of the container’s contents. An ecosystem of components makes this container one of the most modular systems we’ve seen yet.
Volume: 70 liters
Weight: 5.3 pounds
The overland accessory brand ROAM Adventure Co offers several sizes of their Rugged Cases, starting at 52 liters and up to a ginormous 160-liter gear trunk. Each of the six volumes of LDPE (low-density polyethylene) containers comes in four colors to choose from, with interlocking contours that inhibit stackability between all sizes. With the higher price tag also comes a complete list of features: rope and rubber handles, dustproof and weathertight gaskets, and locking steel latches. For further organization, add a MOLLE panel ($94) or a Lid Organizer ($89) to the inside of the case’s lid.
Volume: 80 liters
Weight: 18.5 pounds
Travel refrigeration turned general camp equipment brand Dometic now makes camping gear storage bins that give serious toaster vibes (in a good way) with clean, brushed aluminum sides. The midsize locker sports a hinged lid that accesses the dustproof and waterproof interior, capable of nesting smaller 10-liter and 20liter Soft Storage bins ($109-149). High-impact-resistant polymer tops and bottoms protect your stuff with interlocking stackability should you end up with a few of these in your trunk or pick up bed with some tie down straps.
Volume: 50 liters
Weight: 13 pounds
This high-impact plastic storage trunk takes the cake on the biggest bang for your buck, offering the highest volume-to-dollar ratio out of our entire list. Given the low weight of the high-volume trunk, it’s probably safe to assume it lacks the long-term durability that other options provide. If throw-it-off-a-cliff ruggedness isn’t your top concern, then this budget bin still offers several attractive features: a pair of integrated rolling wheels, molded grooves for stacking, port for a padlock, and a removable lid.
Volume: 102 liters
Weight: 7.7 pounds
It makes all too much sense that Yeti would offer an uninsulated version of their popular hard cooler to use as a camping storage box. And while many brands choose to sell a host of accessories separately, Yeti kindly includes an inner lid organizer, drop-in trunk organizer, and vertical divider. The GoBox lacks the bear-proof honor of its coolers but happily keeps out dust and weather. Just don’t get it mixed up with your actual cooler, or you’ll be sipping warm beer all weekend.
Volume: 30 liters
Weight: 11.8 pounds
Trusted by photographers, videograpers, and travelers of all sorts with very expensive gear; Pelican cases are the very definition of bomber. The storage experts’ lineup now includes a full suite of cargo cases and boxes explicitly designed for rugged terrain and harsh weather while fastened to the roof racks and truck beds of macho overland vehicles. From steel latches to the mounting hardware, every inch of the roto-molded case has been designed to go far without restraint.
_Volume: _55 liters
Weight: 19.3 pounds
It’s not your regular Rubbermaid bin; it’s the Rubbermaid bin you grab when you need to pack for action: car camping trips, kayak outings, and all that good stuff we’re all about. The durable plastic storage bin features a removable, lockable lid for easy gear access. For dry food storage or organizing groups, camp essentials like camp lanterns, its smaller 8-gallon ($40) storage organizer counterpart.
Volume: 90.8 liters
Weight: 11.5 pounds
The OG outdoor recreation outfitters storage solution takes the concept of a packing cube and ups the scale to 100-liter ($109) and 140-liter ($139) storage bins for camping gear. The featherlight bins use strong 300 and 1,680-denier polyester (super heavy duty) with a water-resistant DWR treatment and foam panels to give it some structure. When unloaded, the large-format bins fold for easy storage in the back of your closet.
Volume: 140 L
Weight: 3.7 pounds
Milk crates are the storage bins of the people, and storage brand Sidio took on the task of reinventing them from the ground up as a hyper-modular storage system for anyone and everyone. Available in Full ($32) and Half ($22) sizes, the made-in-USA crates fit an entire array of add ons: handles, lids, dividers, and even casters to push around a neat, colorful stack of the camping storage containers. Instead of using virgin polypropylene, Sidio uses 100% recycled post-consumer plastic to mold its crates and add-ons.
Volume: 33.3 liters
Weight: 5.5 pounds
Outdoor furniture brand DOD Outdoors made its American-market debut just this year, but they’ve existed since 1997 in Japan, where it offers an extensive range of outdoor and camping gear. Their steel-framed, nylon body Bonny Guy sits between a storage bag and a large-format packing cube with many pockets for organizing small goods and an easily stowable design. Unfortunately, not much protection is offered in the way of weather protection, but it’s perfectly suitable for organizing gear for car camping trips.
Volume: 50 liters
Weight: 3.9 pounds