By Mike Willis
It is no secret; ATV accessories are some of the most overpriced things on the market. Outfitting one’s ATV or UTV is enough to make just about anyone cringe, regardless of their budget!
During past hunting seasons, I found myself needing substantial storage that was not only dry but also lockable. There are too many ill-intentioned people out there to gamble with leaving your gear at the ATV unsecured. Rather than taking out a second mortgage to fund the addition of some lockable storage, I made my own!
Picking the Right Box
Home Depot, Lowes, and even Walmart are good resources for finding a suitable storage box. When shopping for your box, know the dimensions that are needed for your ATV. Cargo racks will often limit the overall dimensions of the box, so make sure that you know these measurements.
The idea is to maximize storage without impeding your maneuverability or comfort. Make sure that you leave enough room to shift body weight when going downhill. Leaning backward is extremely important during steep descents. Not allowing yourself to shift your weight could make the box dangerous or could simply prevent you from going to places you want to go.
Make sure that the box is well-made. Flimsy sides on the box are to be avoided. They will not hold up to the violent conditions that they will be subjected to. The bottom also has to be substantial enough for the mounting hardware to hold the box during transport.
Check the hinges to make sure that they will operate in freezing weather. Snow and ice will shatter cheap hinges.
Ensure that the top creates a watertight seal. When riding, water flies in every direction, including up!
Make sure that the box has a location to install a padlock. Otherwise, you will have to install a hasp.
In order to install your new box, you will need the following:
1. U-Bolts with backing plate. Get a couple of sizes to make sure that your installation goes smoothly.
2. Washers, lock washers, and nuts for the U-Bolts.
3. Drill bits sized properly for your U-Bolts.
4. Gasket material to make the penetration through your box watertight.
5. 1 roll of foam tape for the lid.
6. Cushion for backrest (optional)
Once you have the perfect box picked out, set it on the back of your ATV. Look for the ideal locations to install your U-Bolts when mounting the box to your rear cargo rack. From underneath your box, mark the locations for your U-Bolts. Ensure that all of your holes will line up with the cargo rack tubing. Install one U-Bolt at a time if necessary.
When installing the U-Bolts, make sure that the nuts are threaded on INSIDE of the box; failure to do this could result in the theft of your box and its contents. With the U-Bolt threads inside of the box, install the gasket material first. Make a hole barely large enough for the threads to squeeze through the gasket. Next, install the backing plate. Lastly, thread on the nuts using lock washers.
After securing the box to the ATV, you will want to install foam tape around the lid’s resting surface. Installing some foam tape here prevents the rattling of the lid during your ride. It also helps with the water-proofing qualities of the box.
To enhance your comfort while riding, you can install a seat cushion on the sidewall of the box. I like being able to lean back on mine when glassing from my ATV. Passengers also appreciate the gesture.
When selecting your padlock, look for something that won’t flop around too much when riding. A loose padlock will drive you crazy and spook surrounding wildlife.
Now Hit the Trail!