Choosing the Right Cargo Drawer System for your Ute

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Aussies love their Utes for one very basic reason – you can fit a heck of a lot of gear in the back! Fridges, timber, furniture, tools, camping gear, tents, generators, mattresses, whatever you can imagine can be hauled away in your trusty Ute. Finding some of this stuff again, however, can often require a map and a compass! So if you need to bring some order to the back of your Ute, you need a quality cargo drawer system.

It’s no fun when you can’t find your gear and have to upend everything else to locate what you need. Just imagine being stuck in sand or mud and having to crawl around the back of your Ute to find your recovery gear. It’s just as bad if you want to stop overnight in a free camping area and you have to climb over everything to find your camping gear and open the fridge.

How do you manage without a cargo drawer system?

Some people clearly don’t manage very well, but others take the time to pack everything away nicely in the back of their Ute, expecting to have easy access whenever they need to unpack. The problem is that someone always needs something from the back of the Ute during the trip, even if you’ve tried to think of everything before setting off. It’s all fair and good to have the esky or fridge within reaching distance but getting anything out of it’s another thing altogether. 

Sometimes, if you’re heading straight to your campsite, then organising everything might see you through the trip, but if you’re heading off for a long road trip, not being able to reach what you need when you need it can become very frustrating. Even with the best of intentions, there’s always some piece of gear that you want, and either can’t find or need to unpack half the Ute to reach it. The solution is pretty simple really, because all you need to do is install a cargo drawer system in the back of your Ute. You will be amazed at the difference a drawer system makes to life on the road!

Benefits of installing a cargo drawer system in your Ute

There are two main benefits of a drawer system. The first is easy access to all your gear and the second is safety. How simple is it to slide out a nice deep draw and know exactly what you’ll find? If you want your recovery gear, you know where it is. If you want your gas stove, you know where it is. If you want a cold beer, just pull out the fridge and crack a cold one!

Since these drawer systems are designed to fit together easily, you can install them in one side of your Ute and leave the other side free for storing larger items that won’t fit in the drawers. You can also fit them side by side, leaving the space above the drawers free for storing your fridge or other larger items. Whatever option you choose, a drawer system will make life so much easier on the road. It will also make life safer, because you won’t have items bouncing around in the back of the Ute, which can be extremely dangerous if you have an accident. Drawers also keep your gear safe and secure, so it doesn’t get damaged during the trip. You can even get drawers with locks to keep your valuables secure. In fact, there’s no downsides to installing a cargo drawer system, because they’re a great way to maximise the storage space in the back of your Ute – it’s a wonder that you don’t already have one in your Ute!

At Trailer Parts Direct, we manufacture a range of standard size drawer systems for Utes. These include single or double drawer systems, with or without a slide out bench for extra workspace. All our drawer systems are designed to easily clear the 50mm lip at the edge of the Ute’s floor, so they open and close smoothly. Operating on our 125kg locking drawer slides, you don’t need to worry about them sliding out when you park on a slope.

What about the weight of these drawer systems?

That’s a good question because weight is a serious issue with 4WDs and Utes. If you pack too much weight onto your vehicle and it ends up above its GVM, then you can be in serious trouble. Every vehicle has a legal weight capacity, which is calculated for safe driving. Above this level and you increase the risk to your passengers due to poor handling. This means that you need to know your Ute’s payload (the weight it can carry above its base weight). The difference between this base weight and its GVM is the weight you can safely carry in your vehicle.

This weight includes the bullbar, dual battery system, auxiliary fuel tanks, tow bars, compressor, recovery gear, water, camping gear, passengers, canopy, drawer systems and everything else packed onto your Ute. If you’re driving a one-tonne Ute then you should be good, but it pays to know these numbers. In the case of a cargo drawer system, they can be made from steel, marine ply or aluminium, and as you can imagine, steel is the weightiest material, so you need to be careful if you decide on a steel drawer system.

Given that steel drawer systems often weigh more than 100kg, aluminium is a much better option. At Trailer Parts Direct, we manufacture lightweight drawer systems made from laser cut 3mm aluminium plate that’s cut and assembled in Brisbane. They can be installed along the back or sides or your Ute, depending on its configuration.

Custom made vs standard drawer systems

At Trailer Parts Direct, we make all our drawer systems in Australia, so we offer both standard sizes and custom options. Our standard sizes include 900mm W x 600mm D x 450mm H (or 600mm H) and 670mm W x 600mm D x 450mm H (or 260mm H). You also have the option of a slide out bench underneath these drawer systems. All of our drawer systems come with locking drawer slides, even the drawers with a pull-out bench. This means that not only does the draw lock fully open and closed, the bench does as well. So if you are parked on a slope and the drawer and bench are closed, they won’t suddenly open and slam into someone causing an injury. They also won’t slam shut and trap your hand. You can also use the bench when the drawer is fully closed (this is a popular option for campers).

We also offer custom made options. These are ideal if you think that the standard sizes won’t take advantage of all the available space in the back of your Ute, leaving gaps between the drawers or between along the walls of the canopy. Custom options are ideal if you want a flush finish or if one of our standard sizes is simply not suitable for your needs. They do cost slightly more than a standard cargo drawer system, but it’s a very popular option with our customers.

Another feature of our drawer systems (whether standard sizes or custom made) is that they can be stacked side by side or on top of one another. This gives you plenty of options for storing everything you need for your camping trip or a day’s work. Designing your own system using our standard sizes is often just as good as a custom made option. For example, you can install two 900mm drawers stacked one on top of the other with a drop down slide and fridge on the other side. You can also install a single 900mm wide drawer on one side with the fridge on top or two single drawers side by side to give you space above to store your fishing rods and camping gear. 

There’s lots of options for deciding on the right set-up for your Ute. Start by thinking about what you need to carry in the back of your Ute, how it can be stored in the drawers and whether you need free space to store bulky items. 

One final point about a custom made cargo drawer system is that it might not easily transfer to another vehicle. So if you sell your current Ute and purchase another, unless it’s the same model, the drawer system might not fit as well in your new Ute. Of course, it all depends on the dimensions of the Ute, but you should factor it into your decision. You could always sell the drawer system with your Ute and then install a new system in your updated vehicle! In this case, you might be better off with a standard size system, which may transfer more easily between different vehicles. This really only applies if you want to install two drawers side by side, because if you only want one drawer for your Ute or a stacked system, then there’s no problem. 

Trailer Parts Direct – Quality cargo drawer systems

When selecting your cargo drawer system, you want to go for quality every time. You want the best drawer runners on the market, ones that glide smoothly, lock easily and have the weight capacity you need. Our lockable drawer slides have a weight capacity of 125kg, which is a stack of weight and should easily cope with anything you need to throw into the drawers. 

Our drawers also don’t have any handles on the front because these could easily break. Instead when you unlock each draw it pops open an inch and you can just hook your finger inside and pull it open smoothly. Once you close the drawer and lock it in place, it stays shut until you unlock it again. The top surface of the drawer system is completely smooth, so there’s nothing that can snap off or get in the way of stacking a second drawer on top, even a fridge or any of your other gear. There are also no sharp edges that can catch on your gear or cause injury to anyone.

If you want to stack a fridge slide on top of your drawer system or install the fridge by the side of a drawer, it’s a good idea to also use a fridge cage. This is because when you pull the fridge out for easy access, you don’t want anything falling down behind the fridge and preventing you from pushing it back into place along the sliders. A fridge cage will also protect your fridge from knocks if you haven’t secured everything correctly in the back of your Ute. Cages also allow air to ventilate around the fridge, which is essential for it to work properly (you don’t want your belongings packed around the fridge as this will reduce its performance).

If you put some serious thought into what needs to be stored in the back of your Ute, you can come up with a system that perfectly suits your needs. Think about how you will store and access heavy and bulky items, such as dual batteries, water tanks, generators, fridges, invertors and compressors. If a standard size cargo drawer system doesn’t suit your needs, then give us the specs and we can design a system that does!   

No matter what type of drawer configuration you select, you’ll notice a big difference on your next road trip. Just being able to easily access whatever you need can hugely improve your day. All of a sudden you have no qualms about pulling over on the side of the road, grabbing the sandwiches and a drink from the fridge, then carrying on to your destination. You can also grab hold of your recovery gear when in a tight spot without unpacking the back of your Ute and setting up your campsite is a breeze when you know where everything is stored. Our cargo drawer systems are awesome!
If you want help selecting a cargo drawer system for your Ute, why not give us a call on 1300 210 549 or shoot us an email enquiry?