Jeep TJ Storage Box

I finished my storage box for my TJ this weekend and I wanted to share. The box means I can leave my tools and camping gear in the back, even when the soft top is down, without any fear of it being stolen.
The basic idea was a piece of plywood sitting on the wheel wells and butting up to the tailgate when it was closed and locked. Behind the seats would be a vertical piece of plywood to finish off the “box”. I thought about raising the box up off the wheel wells to get more height, but that would interfere with the soft top bows when folded down and make it weaker because it wouldn’t have as much to rest on.
Below is the completed box, the plans are at the end of this post.

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The Completed Storage Box

I originally wanted to use MDF, but a lot of people said plywood would stand up to water better and my local store had it in 3/4 inch (19mm), so I went with plywood. I was hoping it would be strong enough to hold my weight without any kind of support in the middle which it turned out to be. It does flex a little when I bounce my weight right on the leading edge, but I don’t think there is any danger of it cracking.

Mike and I cut out the top piece first, only needing the small cutouts for the roll bar on each side before it would fit nicely. Once it was in place, we made a template for the tailgate cutout and a quick pass with the jigsaw had the tailgate closing nicely.

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Mike showing off his construction skills

Next was the vertical back wall. It was tricky to get just right, so I spent about an hour making cardboard cut outs for each side where it needed to tightly fit the wheel wells – each side was a little different. I also chose to mount the back wall just behind the “dip” in the floor for the rear footwells – I played around with this for a while and decided it was as big as I could get the box while still being able to recline the two front seats a usable amount. I really wanted the box to be secured from the inside to make it harder to remove or get into so I used the original mount points from the backseat to bolt that piece in place.Cutting off the extra length in the bolts meant I lost only the nut width in storage depth.

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Rear wall secured from the inside

After we screwed the top piece down to the back wall using glue and about 15 wood screws, we thought for a while about how to really secure it down. We found a hole and mounting bolt left over from the seat belts in the perfect spot on each side. Another right angled bracket on each side gave it a lot of strength so it couldn’t be lifted up and off. The brackets slid in behind the carpet, so it’s a little hard to see in the photos. Again I cut off the extra length in the bolts to minimize the amount of storage space lost.

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Inside the box

I covered the box in carpet in the hope it will be a little stealth – hopefully most people won’t even know what’s going on with the floor in my Jeep. I also mounted my three extra 12v outlets behind the passenger seat and threw some big hooks on top for a cargo net. I had to be careful where I put the hooks so they would not interfere with the soft top bows or the canvas of the top when it was folded down.

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Mounting the extra 12v outlets

I’m very happy with the result and already have it full of gear.


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The completed box from the passenger seat

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TJ Storage Box Plans

23 Responses

  1. Todd says:

    Some other nice ideas would be to use marine carpet to help with the elements, and to first remove your jeep carpet and seal that wood to the tub with some silicone caulk for waterproofness. Nice box though! Looks strong, big, and pretty lightweight!

  2. Erik says:

    Nice thing about those 12V plugs. BUT, you may want to mount them so they are upside down. Will help ensure water stays out of them.
    So your box top runs across the wheel openings to the edge of the tub?
    That is a perfect place to put your upper windows when you remove them while wheeling. :)

  3. Tim says:

    I am curious if you can fold your top down with the box installed? I was curious due to the side brackets on the jeep soft top. Wouldn’t they get in the way or do they just fold down nicely? Thanks and nice box. It is the closest design of one I am going to build for my Jeep. Dogs on top, gear underneath.

    • Dan says:

      Hey Tim,
      The soft top folds down perfectly, with the “bows” or “brackets” resting on the top of the storage box.
      I didn’t get around to measuring it exactly, but I think if the top of the box had been any higher, it might have been a problem.
      I drove the Jeep all the way to Argentina and the box was absolutely perfect.
      For about $75 it is the best mod I can think of for a Soft-top TJ owner that doesn’t need a back seat.

    • Nick says:

      I am looking at doing exactly that. Dogs on top, gear underneath. Did you ever get around to completing this?

  4. RevCo says:

    Just wanted to say thank you for putting out your plan online, it helps with the construction part big time. May improvise on your design in the spring when me and my dad tackle away as a project.

    PS, still in Alberta, noticed your plates, im from northern ontario!

  5. Thomas Raven says:

    Hey, thanks for posting your build. It really helps as I’m looking to do something similar with my TJ. I’ve really enjoyed reading about your adventure too! Have a great summer!

  6. Nick says:

    I’m thinking about building this for my jeep. I couldn’t really tell by the pictures, but did you just cut a 5″ x 5″ notch on either side of the top to fit the roll bars? And after cutting, did you go over the top of the roll bars or through the side when putting the top on? Just trying to get it pictured in my head before I start cutting.

    • Dan says:

      Hi Nick,
      Yep, it’s a 5 ” x 5 ” notch on either side for the rollbar. After it was all cut to size, I think we moved it in there from the back (over the tailgate essentially) a little sideways, then just flattended it out and the notches fit. It was not hard to move in / out – the fit is not that tight. Good luck, have fun!

  7. Mike says:

    Dan what was your route to Argentina. did you container your jeep past Mexico or drive right through it? Thinking of Costa Rica but worried about bandits of course.

    • Dan says:

      Hey Mike,

      I drove the entire way down, just shipped from Panama to Colombia as there is no road.

      I highly recommend Mexico, Guatemala and Nicaragua on your way to Costa Rica, they’re all awesome.
      Don’t worry about bandits, they’re extremely uncommon and I’ve never heard of a single person driving have problems.


  8. Jayson Henkel says:

    Dan, Wow…the coincidences are amazing, I’m in Edmonton, own a jeep, currently doing some sketchup work on a storage box….and seriously looking at driving to Buenos Aires in my TJ. Would love to hear if you had any advice on the matter. I’m looking at doing a full box/drawer system but the complexities are starting to grate on me…I might resolve to doing it your way yet.

    Thanks for the inspiration, how did the Jeep fair on that long a drive? Did you mod your jeep other way to deal with the journey?

    Would love to hear more.


    • Dan says:

      Hi Jayson,

      Awesome man, stoked to hear you’re planning an epic drive in your TJ!
      My storage box worked perfectly – the Jeep got “broken into” twice (I didn’t lock the doors) so they just opened the soft top. And everything in the storage box was safe as houses (camera, laptop, passport, credit cards, etc.) I highly recommend a lock box like mine or something similar.

      I did no other modifications to the Jeep of any kind and it was absolutely flawless. Not a single mechanical issue in the 65,000kms, which is perfect. I loved the little TJ, I highly recommend it.

      As for the journey, you’ll want to checkout WikiOverland which has all the logistical information for each country you’ll need to know, and will give you a good idea on costs, etc. for the drive.

      Let me know if you have any other questions.,

      PS I’ll be down your way soon (Calgary) building my “new” Jeep – we should catch up for a beer.

      • Jayson Henkel says:


        Geeze sorry man, I didn’t get this until now. I’m in Vancouver now, you around here at all? If you can shoot me an email that’d be best. Let me know if you have my address from the form submission!
        Got my box finished and its’ added so much utility to my jeep.

  9. Stretch says:

    Dan, if you’re still there….Awesome! I’m on it!

  10. PABLO TRUJILLO says:

    Same as other I want to tank you to share the idea online, and thank to other to improve the original one, same as many of you I was thinking to buy a commercial cover, but I do love to make my own, now I have the basics to start.

  11. NT says:

    There is no road from Panama to Columbia the Darien Gap. One group did drive a Jeep through the Jungle cutting their own road through the gap There is an independant film about their Trek. Great Film and amazing story.
    Search the Art of Travel.

  12. Zeke says:

    This looks amazing. I am also thinking something similar but will likely be making a removable version. Wish I was going for an epic trip but probably nothing too crazy. I actually am thinking of building the front into a narrow sub box and the rest as storage and bags. Yeah I know the sub is unnecessary but I am building mine as a daily driver / weekend getaway. I also am looking to figure out an easy remove and secure method perhaps with the back seat harness. I want to be able to switch out if I need to.

    • Dan Grec says:

      Hey Zeke,

      That’s awesome. I bet you can come up with a way to use the clips the rear seat latches into.. so you can either clip in the rear seat, or clip in the storage box. I’d love to see photos of what you come up with!


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