The 7 Best Camping Storage Boxes, Tested | Family Handyman

We put camping storage boxes from the best brands to the test to find out which ones are worth your dime.

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The 7 Best Camping Storage Boxes, Tested | Family Handyman


I’ve been a camper of many kinds: a tent camper, a backpacker, and a sleep-in-the-car camper. As I write this, I’m whittling away at my life’s belongings and squeezing the most important things into a camper van for full-time living. It’s an exciting time, but also a stressful time, because I must become organized in a way that my life has never previously required. And what’s good for organizing? Boxes!

It’s simplistic, sure, but well-designed boxes can help you save a lot of space—and time, by making it easier to find and retrieve things. The best camping storage boxes are designed with purpose; they’re intentionally built to meet the needs of outdoors people and hobbyists.

The right camping storage box keeps your gear dry, clean, and well-organized; some camping boxes even keep your belongings safe from bears and other wildlife. Ahead, learn about seven of the top options on the market.

Amanda Capritto for Family handyman

After testing several camping storage boxes, the Dometic GO Hard Storage Box ultimately earned the top spot thanks to its versatility, durability, light weight and reasonable price. For about $150, the Dometic GO Hard Storage Box provides a roomy and waterproof place to store your favorite camp gear.

Currently, I’m using this box as a tiny galley to store all of my camp kitchen items, but I experimented with it and found it to be suitable for many things: It worked well as a “toy box” with miscellaneous and high-touch items I use daily, like my fanny pack, running hat and bike helmet.

What makes this box fantastic is its hardwalled construction, which is also supremely easy to transport. Dometic achieved this by using aluminum, which is durable but naturally light in weight, so you get the benefit of protection without the heft of a heavier metal.

In addition to being lightweight, this box features easy-grip side handles that make it easy to carry even when loaded with heavy items.

One of my favorite features about this box is its shape. It’s wider than it is tall, and the broad rectangular shape makes it easy to see and find anything in the box, even if the items are layered. You won’t have to remove the entire contents of the box to find something at the bottom.

Don’t worry about your gear getting wet or dirty with this Dometic box, either. It’s waterproof and dustproof thanks to the hardwalled construction and gasketed seal. Finally, these Dometic GO Hard Storage Boxes are designed to stack on top of one another, but with the broad top, you can stack just about anything on them.

This is actually the gear box that turned me into a gear box fanatic. Before experiencing The North Face Base Camp Gear Box, I thought any ol’ plastic box with a lid would do. It wasn’t until I experienced the magic of this collapsible (yet somehow incredibly sturdy) box that I became a convert.

The Base Camp Box is constructed of a durable, water-proof Denier nylon that is easy to clean and resistant to abrasion. I have the medium size, which boasts a maximum capacity of 58 liters and stores all sorts of bulky, odd-shaped items.

In Florida, I used this box to tote fins, snorkels and masks, along with multiple towels, large water bottles and other necessities for a day on the water. It can also hold dozens of books, which is not super relevant to camping but feels worth calling out because books are heavy and this box handled them with ease when I used it to move said books elsewhere. This box is also available in a larger size with a 90-liter capacity, which can be used for even bulkier equipment, like ski boots.

One of my favorite things about the Base Camp Box is the thoughtful storage outside of the main box compartment. The box features mesh drop-in pockets on the interior, as well as an exterior drop-in pocket with a flap closure. There’s also a woven nylon daisy chain along the exterior that allows you to clip small items to it with a carabiner.

In my full North Face Base Camp Box review, you can learn more details about this camping storage box and why I recommend it for almost any activity.

Amanda Capritto for Family handyman

If there were ever a twofer in the world of camping storage boxes, the Dometic GO Soft Storage Box would be it. This soft-sided, zipper-closure storage box moonlights as a camping cooler if you also purchase the separate insulated insert.

At first, I thought this was a bit of a funny feature—just insulate the box, I thought—but I quickly realized how nice it is to have the extra space when you don’t need the insulation. I have three of these Dometic GO Soft Storage Boxes: A 20-liter version and two 10-liter versions.

The 10-liter boxes are about the size of a personal cooler or large lunch box, and they could not be more perfect for paddleboarding or kayaking. They’re water-resistant (not waterproof, so don’t submerge them) thanks to the 840-Denier textile with a TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) coating. These 10-liter boxes are the perfect size to strap into the bungee storage on a small water vessel, and they can withstand splashing all day.

The 20-liter size is great for toting camp items or a day at the beach. My 20-liter box currently houses all of my triathlon gear: Bike shoes, transition mat, hydration pack, water bottles, running belt, running hat, bike glasses, goggles, swim caps, you name it. I was surprised at how much I was able to fit in a 20-liter box. The soft-sided design helps, because it’s flexible and can accommodate more than rigid walls.

Regardless of the size you choose, you’ll enjoy the features of the Dometic Go Soft Storage Box, including the durable zippers, collapsible construction, stackable design, and multiple carrying handles. If I had to suggest one thing to Dometic’s product design team, I’d love to see at least one smaller drop-in pocket on the interior, such as for a cell phone. But overall, I’m more than happy with these boxes.

Amanda Capritto for Family handyman

The REI Co-op Pack-Away Bin quickly became a favorite of mine out of all of the camping boxes I tested. This soft-sided fabric box is available in two large sizes, 100 liters, and 140 liters, and costs just $100 or $140, respectively.

I have the 100-liter version and it. is. massive. Not only does this box neatly fit more than I could have imagined, but it’s also flexible thanks to its soft-sided construction and deep lid, meaning it can store awkwardly shaped or bulky items.

Though the REI Co-op Pack-Away Bin isn’t fully waterproof or weatherproof like some of the others on this list, it’s still quite durable. The shell is made of 300-denier recycled polyester, while the bottom of the box is constructed of an even more heavy-duty 1,680-denier recycled nylon. Tough and upcycled? We like it.

The entire box—exterior and interior—features a water-repellent finish to keep your gear dry.

Additionally, the Pack-Away Bin is compatible with REI Co-op Pack-Away Cubes for enhanced organization. The 100-liter bin fits eight 10-liter cubes or six 15-liter cubes; the 140-liter bin fits eight 15-liter cubes or six 25-liter cubes. Or, you can mix and match 10-, 15-, 25-liter cubes to suit your needs.

So far, the zipper has proven durable, and the eight total handles have really come in handy. My one complaint about the Pack-Away Bin is that there’s no frame (such as on The North Face Base Camp Box), so it can feel somewhat flimsy while you’re packing or if it’s not packed to capacity. Still, it’s a great camping storage box overall, and I think it’s a great value for the price.

The RUX 70L camping storage box is the box for you if you need something massive and completely weatherproof. This box is rugged and built from 840-denier nylon coated with TPU for waterproofness. It’s collapsible but features a composite nylon frame, so it still has plenty of structure when assembled.

One of the very best features of the RUX 70L is the lid. For one, the lid tri-folds, so you can sort of compartmentalize your gear (although there aren’t any built-in dividers). The lid also detaches from the box and can be used as a seat pad or a changing mat to stand on. This is a feature I have not come across on any other camping storage box, and it’s really handy when you’re in a pinch for a clean place to sit or stand in the wilderness.

“The concept of the lid on the RUX 70L is genius,” says Shopping Editor Mary Henn. “I love that it’s foldable and doubles as a seat pad. The lid also has lip around the edge that provides a good seal when the lid is latched into place. My only qualm with the lid is that it can take some time and effort to attach and detach, which isn’t great if you’re in a hurry.”

“Additionally, the RUX 70L looks great. It’s one of the best looking gear boxes I’ve seen,” Henn says. “Plus, it comes with backpack-like carrying straps, compression straps, grab handles and corner stays to keep the box popped up during packing. It also collapses almost completely flat for storage when the corner stays are removed.”

The load limit of the RUX is 50 pounds, which can feel really heavy when it’s in a bulky, boxy shape. Thankfully, the RUX 70L box can be carried in five different ways, thanks to its multi-handle design. It can even be carried as a backpack, which should make carrying full 50-pound loads much easier.

Amanda Capritto for Family handyman

The YETI Loadout GoBox is submersible in water and completely dustproof, with YETI claiming that it’s “virtually indestructible” (terminology the brand uses because, as stated on the website, they can’t legally advertise the box as unbreakable).

It certainly feels unbreakable, though, I’ll say. I have the 15-liter YETI Loadout GoBox, and this thing is sturdy. Empty, it weighs 7 1/2 pounds, a tribute to the thick, durable plastic used in its construction.

This box meets the international ratings for IP65 (dust-tight and protected against water jets) and IP67 (dust-tight and protected from the effects of water immersion up to 1 meter deep for up to 30 minutes). We’re definitely not suggesting that you should intentionally submerge your GoBox, but we are saying that you can certainly take this out on the water and not worry about the contents getting saturated, even on white-water rafting trips.

Similar to a tackle box, the GoBox 15 comes with one organizational caddy that works well for storing loose items. I’ve packed and unpacked my GoBox multiple times to see what it best stores for my purposes, and I’m leaning toward dedicating it as an extra camp pantry. There’s not much cabinet space in my camper van, and the GoBox offers plenty of space for camp snacks. (It’s not a cooler, so don’t put ice in it.)

That said, the 15-liter size would also make for a great first-aid box, a dedicated space for camp and RV cleaning supplies, a tackle box for anglers, or even a watertight, dustproof camera case.

The GoBox is available in a 30-liter size and a 60-liter size, too, both of which can be used to store and organize everything from a full camp kitchen to a hobby gear set.

Amanda Capritto for Family handyman

If you’re looking for a simple, inexpensive storage box for camping, I recommend the Ozark Trail Marine Storage Box. Ozark Trail may be known as “the Walmart brand,” but honestly, there’s nothing wrong with that. Not only do I like the Ozark Trail Marine Storage Box for keeping small items safe and dry, but I also have an Ozark Trail hiking backpack that I’ve been using for more than six years and prefer over my packs from higher-end brands.

The Marine Storage Box is a great pick for anyone who needs reliable, dry storage but isn’t worried about ultra-durability or complete waterproofness. Not that it isn’t durable or water-resistant—it is—but it’s not built like the YETI GoBox or RUX 70L. However, it also costs less than $20, so I say that’s a mighty fine trade.

This box features dual clasps with stainless steel hardware to prevent rust and corrosion, and it comes with a caddy to organize small items, making it a perfect choice for a tackle box. That’s far from the only use, though. I use mine to store safety and first aid items, as well as a variety of tools. From Band-Aids to allen keys to fire starters and extra headlamps, this box is perfect for miscellaneous camp essentials.

One of my favorite features is the molded caddy, which helps organize loose, small items such as safety pins, clothespins, rolls of tape and microfiber clothes. The box itself is lightweight, weighing just 3 pounds when empty, and it has a flip-up handle on the top for transporting it. When the handle is down, the lid is designed so that you can stack another Ozark Trail box on top.

While it may not be as robust as some of the other best camping storage options, you can’t beat the Ozark Trail Marine Storage Box for less than $20.

Here’s a look at a few other products we considered for this guide.

While we’re sure you won’t be disappointed by any of our top picks for the best camping storage boxes, we encourage you to determine your individual needs before purchasing one. Here’s what to keep in mind:

The first thing to determine before buying a camping storage box is how much space you need. Box ratings are typically presented in liters or quarts; obviously, the higher the number, the more items it can fit.

10 to 20 liters: Personal-sized, easy to carry, lightweight; great for first-aid or emergency boxes, fishing equipment, small miscellaneous items, snacks, or bringing on a small water vessel such as a kayak.

25 to 50 liters: Medium-sized, still easy for one person to carry; ideal for some camp kitchen items,

More than 50 liters: Large, likely heavy when full; ideal for storing an entire camp kitchen including a stove, as well as bulky or oddly shaped gear.

Decide if you want a hard-sided or soft-sided box. Hard-sided boxes are ideal if durability is your main concern, but soft-sided boxes are great for saving space when not in use, since they can collapse or fold.

Additionally, look for these features:

Depending on your needs, some or all of the above features will come in handy.

IP ratings tell you how protective a box is against solid objects, like dust, and water. The first number in an IP rating refers to the protection against solid objects; the second number refers to the level of protection against water.

If you are concerned about either, you’ll want a box with an IP rating of at least IP54, which indicates that the product is dust-resistant and protected from splashing water at any angle.

The highest rating is IP69, which indicates that the product is completely dustproof and waterproof against severe jets of water at high temperatures from any angle. The IP68 rating indicates that the product can be submersed at a depth of up to 1 meter for more than 30 minutes (as specified by the manufacturer) without damage.

Smaller boxes typically only come with one flip-up handle or a pair of side handles, but larger boxes should be equipped with more than one way to carry it. Depending on your preferences, you may want a storage box with tote handles, long handles you can sling over your shoulder, or backpack-style straps (or all of the above, as on the RUX 70L).

Not only am I an outdoors enthusiast with years of camping experience (who is moving into a camper van full-time and getting very good use out of these camping storage boxes), but I am also an experienced commerce writer who knows how to pick out the great, good, bad, and ugly of a product. I’ve been testing, reviewing, and writing about products for the better part of a decade, and it has always been my goal to lead buyers to the products that are right for them and within their budget.

This guide to the best camping storage boxes began with research—lots and lots of research. Our team of expert shoppers and editors combed through webpages to find the best boxes with the best specs for the best prices. We also read customer reviews on manufacturer sites and on Amazon to understand customer sentiment around these products and see if certain products lived up to their reputation.

Our team then created a shortlist of products, ordered them, and sent them out for testing. I personally tested the Dometic GO Hard Storage Box (50L), Dometic GO Soft Storage Box (20L and 10L), YETI Loadout GoBox (15L), North Face Base Camp Box (58L), and Ozark Trail Marine Storage Box (large). Family Handyman Shopping Editor Mary Henn tested the RUX 70L box.

After testing, each box was assigned a superlative based on its best features and the special uses we think it brings to the table. For instance, the RUX 70L has proved to be the most durable soft-side box based on its construction and performance, so it earned that title in this guide. Ultimately, this guide to the best camping storage is the culmination of our experiences with the products, customer sentiment, and our expertise as shopping editors.

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The 7 Best Camping Storage Boxes, Tested | Family Handyman

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