Cheap Or Expensive Storage Boxes – What Should You Buy? Roam Adventure Co. Rugged Case Vs. Kobalt Heavy Duty Tote
Having a dry place to store and organize your adventure gear is almost as important as the gear itself. Whether it’s camping equipment, recovery gear, or high-end electronics, you want your stuff protected from the elements. That’s especially true while in the bed of your truck or around the campsite. This is a crucial role that weatherproof storage totes/boxes play.
However, when the storage can cost as much as the gear you’re trying to keep dry, it can be hard to step up and pay the price. Luckily, there are a few budget options that won’t break the bank.
Today we will take a look at two specific options; the Roam 105L (27.7 gals) Rugged Case and the Kobalt X-large 24 Gallon (90L) Weatherproof Heavy Duty Tote. We’ll compare the pros and cons of each to determine if the extra money spent protects your gear any better.
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Storage Box Comparison
Table of Contents
The build of a waterproof/weatherproof tote is pretty simple and really comes down to a few features:
- A solid body or bucket
- A lid that latches or locks
- A waterproof gasket is built into the lid that seals against the body of the tote.
Other features like handles, latches, hinges, drain plugs, and build quality are really what differentiate these totes. At the end of the day, as long as the tote works as designed and keeps the weather out, that’s all you need. From there, the features and price will guide your decision.
Roam Adventure Co. Rugged Case Overview
The Roam Rugged Cases are arguably the Humvee of off-roading storage totes. They are without a doubt a tough and durable weatherproof case. Made of a durable LDPE shell (low-density polyethylene) or fancy wording for very strong plastic, the Roam case can take a beating and shrug off most of what you can throw at it.
However, all that strength comes at a cost. The Roam case weighs in at a hefty 21 lbs. The lid has a dust and waterproof gasket built in to keep the elements out along with two steel lockable latches to keep the lid secured in place. The lid also features an interlocking design making stacking multiple cases possible. The case also features gas struts that lift and hold the lid out of the way while you dig through your gear, one of my personal favorite creature comforts for this tote.
The rope handles are also a nice touch and make handling the heavy tote much easier, especially once it is loaded with gear in the bed of my truck. Being able to reach out and pull the tote by the rope handles makes this specific tote great for truck beds. If you own a large Yeti or RTIC cooler you know how useful those handles are.
Lastly the footprint and interior storage space. The exterior of the case measures 33.07″ W x 19.29″ L x 15.87″ H and the interior measures 28.74″ W x 14.96″ L x 13.54″ H. The edge of the case hangs over the interior slightly, which makes the opening of the case about 26.5″ long and 13″ wide.
Depending on what you’re planning on keeping in the case the opening may affect how well you can utilize the space inside.
Pros & Cons (Roam)
Roam Cases are popular, and for good reason. The cases are military tough and will handle anything an average overland/off-road enthusiast will throw at them. Locking latches and gas struts make getting to your gear easy and give you more time to enjoy your trip rather than fighting with your storage.
Various styles, sizes, and four color options (Green, Tan, Grey, and Black) give the buyer the ability to get exactly what works best for your situation. An add-on lid storage also helps with customizing your storage needs. Last but not least, they look cool – which is probably the most important factor.
Although the Roam case is feature-rich, the cost of it may scare most away. At $360 for the 105L, the price is steep and may be worth more than the gear you plan to keep in it.
The weight at 21 lbs. is another factor you may need to take into consideration if you move your cases around a lot. You’ll also need to consider what you’ll be storing inside this case. That includes if certain items will fit and also fully utilize the storage space. You’re paying a lot for the space and if you can’t use it, is it really worth it?
Kobalt 24 Gallon Heavy-Duty Tote Overview
If the Roam case is the Humvee of storage cases, the Kobalt tote is the Suzuki Samurai. Inexpensive, lightweight, and while not great looking, gets the job done.
The Kobalt tote also features a rubber gasket in the lid that is rated to keep out dust and water. The tote utilizes six, yes six, latches to keep the tote sealed tight. These latches are very tight, at times making it difficult to even open the tote. The lid is contoured for easy stacking. At only $35, getting multiple totes won’t break the bank.
The tote is built to be both lightweight and tough. I wouldn’t throw it on a pile of rocks full of gear, but I trust it bouncing around the bed of my truck. The tote also features holes to secure the tote with padlocks or zip ties. In the past, I’ve used zip ties on one side to act as a poor man’s hinge.
The storage capacity is where this tote shines, with 24 gallons of unobstructed space to play with, I’ve been able to use the Kobalt tote as my one-and-done camping tote. Being able to fit odd-sized items and really utilize all the space is worth the lack of additional features.
Pros & Cons (Kobalt)
We’re all familiar with those black totes with yellow lids. This tote is the off-road version built for keeping the elements out and cash in your pocket.
The low price means that even if you do manage to crack or damage your tote, you’re not out much and can easily replace it. When this tote is loaded up, it doesn’t add extra weight to your rig compared to the Roam. It’s also much easier to lift when loading and unloading. The latches and strong and keep the lid tight, I have no fears that anything will get in through the weather sealing.
Despite this tote being packed full of value, there are a few shortcomings. First, the lack of additional handles can be annoying when trying to pull the tote out from the back of a truck bed. Also, while the latches being tight is a pro, they can be too tight and not allow you to pop them off with one hand. I normally have to use both hands on every latch. That isn’t a huge issue, but it’s worth mentioning.
There are many options in the way of weatherproof storage totes and it can be a little overwhelming. In my personal opinion, the examples above are the extreme ends of the category. The Roam cases will handle anything you throw at them but will cost you. The Kobalt tote will keep your gear dry and dust free, but may not hold up to a hard drop.
At the end of the day, the Kobalt totes are great for the majority of us weekend warriors. If you’re looking to protect anything more valuable or want a more customizable option, invest in a Roam case.