2022 RAM Power Wagon Build: Part 3: Storage

   11.24.22

2022 RAM Power Wagon Build: Part 3: Storage

With any rig built for Overlanding, you need to have some kind of way to organize your stuff in an efficient manner. Having a gypsy camp of supplies makes life hell at camp. I’ve gone through a number of different solutions over the years and have settled on a system that works well for me.

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First, I separate things into a “clean side” and a “dirty side.” This helps with overall maintenance as well as comfort over extended trips. Basically, the dirty side is all external to the vehicle-or if stowed inside, will be inside some kind of container.

In the case of the new truck, the dirty area will be the over-cab rack and some of the drawer space in the bed. I may keep some components in a Frontrunner Wolf Pack for portability.

The clean side will be inside the cab of the truck and inside the cap over the bed.

5.11 Vehicle Ready HEXGRID Seat and Headrest

I previously wrote about the 5.11 HEXGRID components, and I have simply moved them over to the new truck with the same organization setup I had before.

Rhino Rack Pioneer Rack

I have been running Rhino Rack components for over a year. I was running the Pioneer rack on the cab of the Tacoma and went with the same solution on the Power Wagon. I am extremely happy with how low profile the rack is and with the accessories that make it easy to mount and secure gear.

Building the Pioneer rack is a tedious but straightforward process. Rhino Rack helpfully includes all of the tools you need for installation.

Pretty much any of the components in the Rhino Rack ecosystem will work across all of their platform systems.

The Stow-Its are a universal mounting system for shovels, poles, tools, etc. I will use them to mount a shovel and an axe.

The Backbone requires drilling into your roof on the RAM Power Wagon. It is a little bit of a pucker factor, but you just need to go slow, follow the directions and measure several times.

One new component I will be adding to my Pioneer rack is a 175-watt solar panel from Renogy (I’ve decided to start with Renogy components for my power management system).

The 175-watt solar panel will take up a ton of real estate on the rack. The trade-off is surplus power stored in 200 amp hours of lithium phosphate batteries–I will never run out of power unless we are in a nuclear winter. This means the fridge is effectively on forever, LED lights will always provide light, and I can run the SnoMaster Ice Maker and be the coolest kid in camp.  The racks on the right are for mounting my traction boards.

RSI SmartCap

The RSI SmartCap EVOa Adventure is a pretty complete cap system for the RAM Power Wagon. It is all stainless steel construction and is easy to put on and take off if needed. I ordered the optional side Half-Bins.

It is much easier to assemble the SmartCap when you have lots of room. The assembly is pretty simple and straightforward.  Note the MOLLE panel on the inside of the side hatch.

The Half-Bins are mounted to the rear of the cap, so you can still access things at the forward bulkhead. My SnoMaster LP65 fridge fits perfectly in this space. The Half-Bins also come with integrated MOLLE Panels. I will use the passenger side as my galley storage and the driver side as my working/tool area.

There is plenty of access to the bed of the truck through the giant gullwing doors.

The integrated rail system of the SmartCap allows me to easily mount my rooftop tent using whatever crossbar system I want. RSI makes a set, as does Frontrunner (which I will start with while waiting for my Rhino Rack Reconn Deck to come in).

Cross bars are easily installed in the track system on top of the RSI.

One of the benefits of the RSI is that it is steel. Which means I can attach things with magnets. At camp, one of the things I like to do is hang dish towels and wash basins. I used Command Hooks on the Tacoma, which worked fine until the heat released the adhesives. Magnets will be a lot easier to relocate and will not suffer in the heat.

Features:

  • Integrated Roof Rails
  • Positive Pressure Air Vent
  • Front Flush-Bonded Slider Window
  • Double-Walled Solid Gullwing Side Doors w/Integrated MOLLE Panels
  • Rear Half-Door w/Flush-Bonded Fixed Window

DECKED

For “in bed” storage, I’m going with the DECKED drawer system. It was not in at the time of the rest of the build, but it is fairly easy to install. I have one on the Tacoma, and it is great. While you do lose a bit of bed depth, the ability to have organized and locked storage is a benefit.

I will set up the Power Wagon similar to the Tacoma–the right side will be primarily Safe-Xtract recovery gear (and other components to support recovery efforts). The left side will be the “working” side, where I load out with whatever gear I need for the current task I am involved with. If I go to the range, it will have shooting-related stuff. If am on an extended trip, I will probably put kitchen and camp gear there.

The DECKED system on my Tacoma as an example. The Power Wagon will be set up nearly identically.

DECKED has a ton of accessories that work with their drawer system. I will add several dividers to the recovery side to help keep that organized. On the operational side, I will use a mixture of the D-BOXs and D-BAGs to organize sets of gear for whatever I’m currently doing.

Final thoughts…

Adding storage options is a mixed bag. On the one hand, it adds security and organization to your build. On the other hand, it adds constant weight to your build, and that translates to changes in vehicle dynamics–specifically handling, braking, and gas mileage/range.

Personally, the trade-off is worth it. Setting up camp or performing a task efficiently is worth the negatives. I can buy more gas and drive more conservatively. I can’t get wasted time back.

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Avatar Author ID 94 - 742666587

Tom is a former Navy Corpsman that spent some time bumbling around the deserts of Iraq with a Marine Recon unit, kicking in tent flaps and harassing sheep. Before that, he was a paramedic somewhere in DFW, also doing some Executive Protection work between shifts. Now that those exciting days are behind him, he has embraced his inner “Warrior Hippie,” and assaults 14er in his sandals, and engages in rucking adventure challenges while consuming copious water. To fund these adventures, he writes all manner of content (having also held editor positions at several publications) and teaches wilderness medicine and off-road skills. He hopes that his posts will help you find the gear that will survive whatever you can throw at it (and the training to use it). Learn from his mistakes--he is known (in certain circles) for his curse...ahem, ability...to find the breaking point of anything. You can follow him at https://linktr.ee/docrader.

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