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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Overlanding Storage Ideas for SUVs

This article was last updated on May 1, 2024.

When it comes time to outfit your SUV as an overlanding rig, one of the first things you should think about is overlanding storage ideas. After all, no matter if you’re heading out for a couple of days, a few months, or longer, storage and organization will be one of the keys to your success.

Now, there are all sorts of products that you can invest in to help you utilize every square inch of your vehicle.

But in this feature on overlanding storage ideas, I want to focus on a foundational item that’s key for customizing the interior of your vehicle. That item is a gear plate for the back end of your SUV. Let’s dive into exactly what that is!

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What is a Gear Plate?


A gear plate like the one shown above and below from Aiden James Customs is the linchpin for your overlanding organization.

That’s because a gear plate gives you multiple mounting options for items like slide-out drawers, kitchens, and refrigerators. What’s more, gear plates have multiple tie-down points for securing loads in the back of your rig.


Plates like these can mount in your SUV in a stationary position or they can install on a slide to give you greater ease of access to your gear. Being able to tailor how you implement a gear plate like this allows you to make the best use of precious cargo space in your rig.

In other words, a gear plate is the foundation of your overlanding storage. Just like your home needs a solid foundation to stand, your overlanding gear needs a solid foundation to remain organized and easily accessible.

Overlanding Storage Ideas: Why Do I Need a Gear Plate?


Aside from the obvious organizational benefits, the primary reason to get a gear plate for your overlanding rig is to enhance your ability to secure loads.

As we all know, overlanding requires a ton of gear. You don’t want all of that stuff just laying around in the back of your SUV. Doing so not only makes organization impossible, but it’s also dangerous to have all that stuff loose and free. In the event of an accident, your gear could become projectiles that can cause serious injury.

So, for example, you can get a gear plate from Aiden James Customs that has mounting points for a Pro-Eagle 1.5-ton jack. By securing this big, heavy jack to the floor of your rig, you eliminate the threat of it becoming a danger in the event of an accident.

And as I noted earlier, gear plates have tie-down points that allow you to use ratchet straps, bungee cords, and other devices to help keep your gear in place as you drive down the road.

From that point of view, a gear plate isn’t just necessary for helping you bring your overlanding storage ideas to life. Instead, they are also a great way to improve the safety of your rig’s interior space.

Why I Recommend Aiden James Customs Gear Plates


I’ve had several opportunities to visit Aiden James Customs (they’re based near me in Santa Ana, California), so I’ve met their team, watched their manufacturing process, and had my hands on their gear plates. To say that I’m impressed is an understatement!

For starters, unlike other gear plates on the market, Aiden James Customs’ gear plates can be used with whatever accessories you like – you aren’t tied down to using proprietary components.

So, for example, if you have a particular slide that you want to use with an Aiden James Customs gear plate, just let them know what it is and they’ll add the specific mounting points to the plate to accommodate your preferred slide. Nice, right?!


Secondly, every mounting point in the gear plate comes with T-nuts already inserted. This setup allows for easy installation of your gear and quick installation of any hardware that you need to add.

This means that no matter what overlanding storage ideas you might have, the Aiden James Customs gear plate can accommodate them. You can be as creative as you like, add whatever accessories you want, and really develop a custom storage space that meets your specific needs.


I should also mention that these gear plates don’t require an overhaul of your SUV’s rear storage area. There’s no extensive teardown and no drilling. In fact, these plates install in less than five minutes!

But don’t think that because these are easy to install that they aren’t built to be a tough and durable addition to your SUV. Each plate is made with high-quality Baltic Birch and has a 3mm-thick Rhino lining for added durability. All hardware for installation comes with the plate as well.



Of course, I’ve written about how important it is to me to recommend products that are made in the U.S.A., and Aiden James Customs does just that. Their products are designed and hand-crafted here in California, and as a result, this is a company that creates jobs here at home.

This is a family-owned and operated business as well. Scott and Shawnna Fisher started the company and named it after their son, Aiden James. Scott is a former Toyota ASE Certified Technician and has built show cars and adventure vehicles for many clients over the years.

I’ve met these folks, watched them work, and inspected their product first-hand. I can tell you with the utmost confidence that they are the real deal – hard workers who take pride in their products and put the customer first.

Other Overlanding Storage Ideas


As I discussed earlier, using a gear plate enables you to easily implement other overlanding storage ideas like adding gear slides.

But there are many other components you can add to your rig to improve the storage situation…

Get a roof rack so you can carry accessories like a roof box or Pelican cases. Alternatively, you can add a rooftop tent to eliminate the need for interior space to store a tent.

Add a mounting bracket to your SUV to carry items like gas cans, water containers, or a jack. You can also get a gear rack that mounts to the trailer hitch if you need additional storage space.


Inside, you can make easy additions that go a long way in improving the organization of your gear. Hang organization units on the backs of the seats to keep small items easily in reach. Add Molle panels to the roof so you can attach small items and keep them accessible yet out of the way. You can also add a mounting bar on the dash to give you a place to mount your phone, GPS, camera, and other technology.

The point is that there are loads of overlanding storage ideas that will make your rig more functional and more comfortable no matter how long your trip might be. Storage might not be the sexiest part of overlanding, but it’s certainly one of the most important!

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