How do you safely store an emergency kit in a pickup truck?

I, like a lot of folks, drive a pickup truck. Specifically a Nissan Frontier. I don’t have a trunk, and there isn’t a ton of extra room in the cab for a locking cabinet. I’m not planning to keep any firearms in my car kit, but I worry that an obviously full backpack will be an extra tempting target.

How do folks store their car kit to prevent theft? I have a wire rope bag and I guess I could padlock that to one of the seats, but I can see potential disadvantages to doing that. I didn’t find any articles that talked about it. Maybe everyone just brings their kit inside when they aren’t driving?


  • Comments (29)

    • 8

      Hi Thomas,

      I took a look at photo of a Nissan Frontier so I had an idea of what your truck looks like. You have the jump seat in the back? If so, you might be able to do this:

      Do you know what a tool roll looks like? It’s heavy duty fabric in a rectangle shape with pockets stitched vertically across the wide side of it and fabric ties sewn accross the back of it.

      It is possible to put items or tools into the pockets and then roll it up and tie it up into a roll shape. 

      If you’re with me so far on what I’m talking about then, you could modify that idea and create a holder for your gear roughly as described above, that would not be rolled up. It would be a flat version of the rolled up holder that could be placed in behind your jump seat on top of your compressed/folded up back pack. 

      If it was done right, someone could look into your truck and see nothing – only the seats.

      Hope I described it well enough. I drove trucks for years and it was tough to hide stuff.

      • 8


        Thanks for the reply. I have a couple of tool rolls, so I’m following you. Unfortunately, there isn’t any room behind the jump seats in my particular model, they bolt right to the rear wall of the cab. But, I might be able to come up with some flat packs that could slide neatly under the seats.

        I was thinking that I needed to store the kit in the form it would take if I needed to leave my truck for some reason, but It could be a few smaller diddy bags or something that all fit neatly into an empty backpack.

        I appreciate you taking the time to help me brainstorm.


    • 6

      Thomas, I, too, drive a pickup truck.  There’s been a little discussion on this question but don’t recall articles.

      My car/pickup truck kit would not be deemed a kit. Over the driver’s seat and pax seat is drapped a field jacket(for illustration only: https://www.forestry-suppliers.com/product_pages/products.php?mi=73601&itemnum=20040) that’s zipped up with pockets facing to back of vehicle.  The pocket’s contain light tools and related stuff.

      There are commercial products such as overlandgear.com having a universal seat organizer.  There are many types, styles, sizes. I’ve seen D–I-Y made from plastic and vinyl shoe storage closet bags with hanger hook (removed for vehicle seat mounting).

      There are “after market” door consoles that can replace original equipment (expensive, but mentioning their availability).  My front seat console is a mini-dish washing plastic container w/ fire extinguisher, and other stuff.  My vehicle’s back seat is fitted, firmly “tucked in”, with 2 beach towels and 2 wool blankets.

      Temperature extremes and season govern when permanently loading some items in field jackets (both have 2 cargo vests each already on jackets) such as battery charger … small size; not the big attache case sizes used by tow truck companies.  Side doors do have de-icer spray bottles.

      The winshield sun visors allow for attaching  holders for small, min weight items such as sun glasses.

      Under seats I keep a couple of the standard black lettering, black symbol, red plastic bags, bold print labeled MEDICAL WASTE for case by case use such as at highway rest area stops. Again, my truck’s kit would not be deemed a “kit”. So far, it’s worked.

      • 6

        Really good ideas, Bob, for maximizing space and the after market consoles. Medical waste bags are genius!

        I was wondering if it was possible to engineer a “lift up” top to a compartment under the back seat without compromising seat safety or comfort. The seat would become the lid to the compartment.

        It would take upholstery skills to re-design the springs and do it so that it wasn’t detectable.  The area could provide a substantial amount of space. 

        Sorry Tom, we are customizing your truck.

      • 5

        Ubique, with a shop and the skills I’m sure a compartment can be developed. It would cost $ to maintain the original comfort and safety.

        I lack the skills and the machine shop to do this.  I can guess – eliminating the comfort component – that a pickup or car can be re-outfitted with nylon fabric seats like in utility aircraft used eg by firefighter jumpers, military and oil industry. Extra space would then be available.

      • 6

        It sure would keep preps close at hand, but hidden and minimize being seen digging around for items. A good feature in certain scenarios.

        The nylon fabric seats could work too, provided one could pass auto safety standards with that kind of modification, but if it was properly done, it could work.

        To compensate for seat comfort with either method, a couple of foam drivers seat cushions (they are wedge shaped). I have one in the van and it works well. The cushion can also act as a thin pillow if need be.

      • 6

        This thread gave me a great idea – thank you Bob! Many years ago I bought a “SCOTTeVEST” jacket for travel – it’s a jacket with a zillion pockets so you can sneak more stuff onto the plane when you’re limited to one carryon. But I never really liked it – it was bulky and awkward – and rarely used it (I preferred just bringing less stuff) It would be perfect for building an “invisible” and easy to carry GHB that I can leave on my back seat – just grab the jacket and go. 

    • 9

      I have a few ideas, but we are going to have to get creative as secure storage space on a truck isn’t easy to come by. 

      First and easiest is to get a locking toolbox for the bed of your truck. It will take up precious bed space, but is a great way to lock up things.


      Could also get an aftermarket tailgate with built in storage. (This should be standard)


      Or get a locking toolbox that clips on the back of your tailgate. The problem with this though is that it makes it harder for you to put things in your bed because of the extra lip of toolbox you need to raise things up and over.

      Screenshot from 2021-02-24 11-48-15

      Another idea is to do something like this:


      And yet another idea, is if you have a spare tire that is stored under the vehicle, you can lower it, fill the inside of the hub with a small durable and waterproof bag and then raise it back up. Will take a bit of time to get to, but is a possibility of unused storage space.


      And my last idea (don’t really do this…) is to have one of those bucket toilets in the bed of your truck. Maybe have a bit of melted Hersey’s chocolate on the lid. And store your preps in there. Ain’t no one stealin that!


      • 6

        These pictures present some real good ideas, Brad.

        They provoke thought.

      • 6

        Bradical – Great ideas and thanks for the pics. That after market tailgate should be standard. It’s a good way to use space and it’s accessible. I can see where the other one would be a bit more of a hoist up and over, but still very good.

        Those pull out trays are also nice – is that a Tona cover over top or is it solid?

        That last one – I almost washed the screen with coffee! Too funny!

      • 4

        First and easiest is to get a locking toolbox for the bed of your truck. It will take up precious bed space, but is a great way to lock up things.

        Generally a good place to start. I have been using a cross bed toolbox, with what i call a Redneck tonneau cover ™, a piece of outdoor fabric/vinyl just big enough to go from front to back and side to side, with eight grommets along three edges (3 ea along the sides, 2 on the rear). The grommet locations correspond with my tie down points, secured with 10 lengths of adjustable bungee cords.

        This set up has been my favorite. My gear in the back is out of sight, and  semi protected from weather. Because of the bungee cords, I can cover/secure almost any load.

        I have a nice tri-fold tonneau cover, came with the truck, tried real hard to like it. It looked sharp, protected my gear, but i didn’t like when I needed something out of the back, I had to either get it from the back end of the truck or open up the whole cover. Which also required me to go to the rear of the truck first.

        My Redneck tonneau cover doesn’t have those issues,  if what I want is between the wheel wells, I can just unhook the midpoint cord, reach in, remove the required item(s).

        If I had the money, I might like one of the slide out/drawer units.

        I had one of the bolt on tailgate toolboxes. Maybe, if I had a full size truck it would have worked out better. 

        I found with my Ranger the space I gained wasn’t as useful as I would have liked. Also I had the extra height/thicknesses of the tailgate, another negative, was the extra weight. Tried real hard to like it. Just couldn’t do it.

        Currently, I am trying real hard to like a color matched cap, that was given to me. A real big up side is better weather protection than with my Redneck tonneau cover. However, I am required to go the rear of the truck to get anything out of the bed. I also feel that I am losing versatility as far as hauling things goes, because of space constraints with the cap vs. open bed/Redneck tonneau cover. I also give up access to my tie down points.

        I really llike the 5 gallon bucket idea.

      • 2

        Glad to hear from someone who has tried various ways, your input is valuable. I would prefer your Redneck tonneau cover as well. The hard shell ones would be too difficult to get into regularly unless you want to crawl under it to get to something.

    • 7

      I drive a Toyota Tacoma, and I keep a smallish get home bag behind my driver’s seat, on the floor.  Not a problem for me, in that I almost never have people in the back anymore.  But when I do, I just put it on the seat between the passengers.



      • 4


        Nice vehicle loadout, Redneck.

        Was unsuccessfully looking through above link for a cyber moral patch for kit or a bumper sticker for vehicle.

        The Minuteman Missile NPS park in South Dakota has me shivering already.

      • 4

        What is your connection to Minuteman?

      • 3

        No direct connection to ’em.

      • 6

        I launched one.

      • 5

        Wow! I am in awe – that is a lot of gear in that bag. You really know how to pack well. Seriously that is a real skill. Where did you learn to do that? Is there a particular methodology or is it from experience. It’s definitely something I need to learn.

      • 4

        Necessity is the mother of invention.  🙂  No methodology… just stick things where they fit.  The solo pot stove is taken apart, so those two pieces fit together and go in the bag.  The tea bags fit inside the stove too.  Ran out of room for my food bars, so I added that black MOLLE bag on the side.  I like the idea of a smaller bag with MOLLE bags attached.   That way, as the items are used, food in my case, I can fold up the MOLLE bag and my carry bag gets smaller.

        I really like the UTG Messenger bag.  I like having lots of separate compartments so that I can organize my gear.  For example, one pouch holds all the Sawyer Mini components.  Makes it easy to get to, without unpacking the whole bag.  Same reason the food is kept in its own bag.

      • 3

        That is a very smart idea to be able to ditch or collapse a molle bag if you use up the contents inside. You’re making me want to change my setup now!

      • 4

        IMO, it is a really good way to pack consumables, such as the food bars I use.

      • 5

        I have something to aspire to – and intend to practice. Good idea about the molle bag for food items.

        Thank you for sharing that info.

    • 2

      False floor in loadbed suitably covered in ( cleaned) trash. Some folks in utah fit lockers made to look like secondary fuel tanks.

    • 2

      I have had 3 gear bag thefts in the past 30 years. The first time some crackhead stole my Toyota 4Runner while I stoped to grab a few things for the wifey at the store. I was in the store 7 min. Got the 4Runner back but none of the gear even though they caught the scumbag. The 2nd was I had a druggy break my Excursion door latch and steal a Level 1 BOB in my churches parking lot on a rainy day. A Sheriff buddy called me 6 mo later when I was at a trade show. He was on a drug bust & found my bag with one of my Glock 19’s in it and I eventually got most of the contents and the bag back after it was held in evidence fir about a year…the 3rd time was in Maun Botswana just before we were heading into the bush. A villager snatched my bag out of my buddies land cruiser right under our noses as we grabbed local currency for barter with the outer villages. Never saw the 8k worth of gear again. My insurance covered most of it but that’s a whole other story. Back to the the 2nd time.

      After that incident I had Jimmy Jammers installed in my door latches & installed (bolted in) a 25 cu ft – 48” wide by 30” deep by 2’ wide into the back of my Excursion where the 3 row seat sat.

      It’s loaded with everything but the kitchen sink & locked up. That was my theft solution but with a car or smaller vehicle you’ll need to get a bit more creative. However they make smaller versions that could be installed in a trunk or back cargo area…hope it gives you some ideas. Cheers!


      • 2

        Another thing I did on a road trip was clean out and dry a bunch of steer manure bags I bought for the garden & used double sided tape to adhere them to a brown tarp. I covered all the loaded gear with it thinking no one would be temped to steal a load of cow poop! It worked out well nobody busted in…😂😂😂

      • 1

        Good afternoon Kakuli 470,

        I use black logo on red medical waste bags.

    • 2

      I’m back at it again with another creative way to store things in your truck. 242627895_4087328658045873_5536843993456220180_n

      • 1

        Very interesting looking gadget radical! Is it currently a available? I’m not seeing it on their website.

      • 2

        It looks like they do custom work in Switzerland from what I could gather using Google Translate on their website. If guns aren’t your style, they have a pull out kitchen as well.