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An Overview of Silverado Exterior Storage: Everything You Need to Know

Written By: Zach Wright

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Odds are you use your truck for work, and if not you're bound to end up hauling something in the bed eventually. Having a set of exterior storage solutions handy will ensure you're prepared for any situation. Such prep is key to avoiding frustration and damaging your cargo.

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No matter what kind of enthusiast you are, you can always use more storage space in your Silverado. From hauling camping gear or luggage to packing up your work tools or beers for after the game, there is always a need for additional storage space in your Chevy pickup. If you feel like you are running low on space or desire a more specialized storage option, there are a wide variety of aftermarket Silverado exterior storage options available. This guide will go over your different options for exterior storage and what you need to know before buying.

What is Silverado Exterior Storage?

Exterior storage refers to netting, bed dividers, storage compartments, and roof racks that go on the outside of your truck and hold equipment or tools. Exterior storage devices first became popular amongst farmers and construction workers, but have gained more widespread appeal over the years.

Benefits of Adding Exterior Storage to Your Silverado

There are several benefits to outfitting your Silverado 1500 with exterior storage compartments such as:

  • Secure your cargo
  • Keep your items more organized
  • Keep your cargo protected from the sun and elements
  • Increase storage space/volume

If you find yourself carrying an assortment of items in or on your Silverado, then you could greatly benefit from added storage space. Storage compartments add peace of mind knowing your items are secured and safe from any nefarious parties. 

Silverado exterior storage compartments provide organization to what you’re carrying, allowing you to quickly find something without having to dig thru everything under the sun. Speaking of sun, storage compartments keep your cargo protected from the harmful UV rays. Storage containers also keep your cargo protected from rain, sleet, snow, and hail, making sure your items don’t get damaged. 

One of the greatest benefits of additional exterior Silverado storage compartments is you can increase your overall storage capacity. Having extra space to throw whatever—tools, luggage, coolers—is a highly underrated benefit for any type of Silverado owner.

2012 Silverado Hauling a Kayak on the Roof

Silverado Exterior Storage Options & Styles

When it comes to Silverado exterior storage options, you have several different options and styles of storage to choose from, such as:

  • Utility/Toolbox
  • Swing case
  • Truck Bag/Cargo Bag
  • Decked Bed 
  • Storage containers
  • Contractor rack
  • Roof Rack
  • Over Cab

Silverado Utility/Toolboxes Explained

Utility boxes are one of the most popular exterior storage containers on the market and have been for some time. Stretching from side-to-side of your Silverado’s bed, toolboxes house all of your essentials from saws and hammers to drills and levels. 

Typically these units contain internal compartments and dividers to keep all your items organized. The outside of these toolboxes usually have a locking mechanism that allows them to be secured. Some models will allow you to also have a tonneau cover, but not all. Be sure to research what you’re considering before buying if you already have or intend on adding a tonneau cover.



How to Choose A Bed Cover For Your Chevy Silverado

Silverado Swing Cases Explained

Swing cases tuck into the side of your bed, in between the rear wheel well and the tail gate out of the way. These containers are usually no larger than a hefty backpack, but can store a decent bit of tools or cargo. 

Swing cases do not all lock, but some do; it varies model to model. Swing cases get their name from how they swing out from a parallel position with the side of the truck to a perpendicular position that is much easier to access.

Silverado Truck and Cargo Bags Explained

Truck bags are typically waterproof, non-rigid containers that are secured in the middle of your truck bed via latches and ropes. The main purpose of truck bags is to keep your bed’s cargo protected from rain and the elements. 

In the same vein of storage containers are cargo bags (sometimes called saddle bags when hooked to the side of the truck). Cargo bags are a soft material bag that ​go in the bed of your truck. Often, these types of bags are unsecured and won’t keep anybody out. Cargo bags are best used for when going on trips or keeping luggage organized.

Silverado Decked Bed Storage Explained

Decked bed storage containers are like a drawer system for your truck. A plate goes about midway up your truck’s bed height, extending from the cab to the tailgate, and underneath that are elongated storage containers. What’s great about this setup is that you can keep things secured and stowed away beneath the cover, while still being able to store small/light things on top. 

2005 Silverado Fitted with a BedSlide Storage System

Silverado Storage Containers Explained

Storage containers are fairly similar to utility boxes as they are just a box that goes in the bed of your Silverado; the main difference between the two is storage containers usually do not come with a securing or mounting system for your truck. Storage containers are just a place for you to store your belongings

Although most Silverado storage containers do allow you to lock your belongings up, most—if not all—do not allow you to secure that container to your pickup’s bed. These containers can be stacked and neatly organized, but they do have the potential to be lifted out of your bed.

Silverado Contractor Rack Explained

Contractor racks are a worker’s best friend as they allow you to store your ladder, tools, and materials with ease. Contractor racks are composed of a set of framing/tubes that form a sort of open cage on the bed of your Silverado, sometimes reaching up to the top of the cab. 

Contractor racks offer a more manageable way to store and transport bulky or awkward items like the aforementioned ladder. These racks will not keep your items/tools secured or protected, but that shouldn’t matter when you are rolling straight up to the job site.



2007-2018 Silverado Leitner Designs Active Cargo System Bed Rack 1500 Review & Install

Silverado Roof Rack Explained

Roof racks are a common form of exterior storage all throughout the car world and the Silverado is no different. Using a bit of low profile framing, Silverado roof racks allow you to maximize your potential storage space by opening up the roof of your truck to hold more items. Best suited for luggage, roof racks attach right to the top of the cab and require you to use straps, rope, or chain to keep your items secured.

Silverado Over Cab Storage Explained

Over cab storage containers are different than roof racks because they start in the bed and make their way up and over the top of the cab. Over cab storage racks are designed with off-road trucks in mind and work great to carry extra gear like water or gas cans, as well as a spare tire. Over cab storage racks are a common site on pre-runner and desert trucks because of the added storage they provide and how multipurpose they can be in their function.

Fitment includes: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, LT, Z71, LTZ, WT, XFE, Hybrid, Custom, HighCountry, LS