I recently got rid of the camper top on my Tacoma. I replaced it with a Tonneau roll up cover. Having the cap off opened a lot of possibilities. One of them being able to add an accessible Tacoma toolbox. Sticker shock cured me of that notion quickly! Truck bed tool boxes are fairly expensive to start with. Once you go to one that fits under a cover, the price goes up even higher! So the search was on for a Tacoma toolbox alternative!
I didn’t really need a full toolbox so started exploring other solutions. Truxedo makes a shallow bin that slides over the edge of the bed. They run about $50 so I would be looking at a minimum of $100 to add very little storage.
Cargo Rails for a Tacoma Toolbox Alternative
There’s one thing about the Tacomas and Tundras that lend themselves to a DIY storage solution, They both have cargo rails that run along the inside sides and front of the bed. I did a bit of research and found that you could buy T-nuts that would slide in these rails. The T-nuts let you attach various things to them.
The next thing I need to figure out is what would I use for actual storage. In other words, what would I attach to the bed rail with these two nuts for additional storage area. The possible solutions included plastic tubs and metal containers. What I finally found that I thought would be a good Tacoma toolbox alternative would be wire mesh baskets.
Getting the Parts for the Tacoma Toolbox Alternative
So of course the next step was, go to Amazon! I spent about a half an hour there when I found these baskets. They are a little bit expensive. There are two variations of these baskets. There are bronze ones and silver ones. I ended up ordering the bronze bins. These were a bit more expensive but they would blend right in. As long as I was already on Amazon, I went ahead and ordered the t-nuts as well, The total was about 65 bucks.
I was going to order the nuts and washers to go along with this but decided to go to the hardware store and got them there instead. The bolts that you’ll need for this are 3/8 x 16 – 3/4. I purchased enough bolts and washers to handle all of the t-nuts that I ordered which was a total of 10. There would be two spare ones. I plan on just leaving them attached to the cargo rail for future use.
Getting All The Parts Ready
Now comes the fun part. I’ve got four baskets, as well as ten t-nuts and bolts with washers to attach the baskets.The first thing I did was take the washers and put a slight bend in them. The idea behind this is that when I attach the basket, the washer will hold the top lip of the basket. It is a truck after all and will encounter some bouncing so I wanted to make sure the baskets are secure.
Installing the Tacoma Toolbox Alternative
The next steps are fairly easy, you have to take one of the end caps off of the rail on the truck bed. After that, slide the t-nuts in, two for each basket. Use a washer on a bolt in each T-nut and simply hang the basket so that the top lip of the basket is between the washer (bent side) and the Rail. I put four of these on the cargo rails. Two along the front of the bed and one on each side. The baskets on the side are installed toward the front of the bed.
Tool Storage for My Tacoma!
After that, it was simply a matter of taking the overfull tool bag from behind the back seat of the truck and putting the tools in my new Tacoma toolbox alternative. I was a little concerned that the tools would bounce around some. That concern proved to be needless. I’ve had the truck out several times over less than ideal roads and the tools haven’t budged!
I also have the full video on my YouTube channel here: