How noisy are aluminum storage cases?

Mucker

New member
I am on the fence on what to use for storage going forward. I've used a huge Pelican 1650 case + Action Packers for years. The pelican case is heavy at 24lbs (empty), and the Action packers waste space. None of this storage needs to go on the roof, so I don't need the robustness that comes with the Pelican case.

As such, I am leaning towards Zarges or Alubox aluminum cases, as they seem to use the space very efficiently.

However, since the cases will be inside the SUV, I am concerned with how noisy they will be.

Hoping those of you already using aluminum cases can help a brother out.

How noise are the aluminum boxes when they are stacked, and strapped down ?
 

Herbie

Rendezvous Conspirator
They only make noise if something rubs/strikes them.
The more full they are, the duller the "thunk".

If you have a seatbelt buckle bouncing off an empty Zarges case, you'll go insane after 40 miles.
If you have a full case strapped down and nothing touching it intermittently, I doubt you'll know it's there.
 

Herbie

Rendezvous Conspirator
Yes, they're generally raw aluminum so the "black dust", or at least a light oxide film, has been reported. When I was using aluminum cases, they were MilSurp Medical chests, so they had the NATO OD green paint both outside and inside - no issues with dust in this case. Aluminum is tricky to paint (acid-etching primer or pre-etch w/ acid usually required), but once painted, this will cease to be an issue.

FWIW, I've since taken the "hit" to absolute volume efficiency and switched to thin-walled molded ABS bins. They're only about 77% efficient for usable vs consumed volume, but they are MUCH lighter than even the lightest aluminum cases. This was a necessary tradeoff in my case - I put my whole rig on a diet last year.
 

krick3tt

Adventurer
I use the medical surplus boxes. Waterproof but a bit heavy so I put them on the roof rack empty then fill them. They come in three sizes so the smallest goes on the roof and only holds clothes which does make it rather light weight.
Never noticed 'dust' on the inside probably as clothes don't abrade the surface.
Only once had an issue, as I loaded them at altitude and when got to sea level it would not open from the pressure. There is a small screw on the side to relieve the pressure and that saved me.
No noise on the roof.
 

mep1811

Gentleman Adventurer
I have lined my boxes with spray adhesive and tool box liner from , Harbor Freight ,to eliminate the aluminum "dust" . Works great. I also sprayed one box with bed liner in a can and that worked well also.

Swiss link makes good boxes at a lower price than Alu Box. Just be sure to silicone the inside corners of the box to seal the box.

 

pluton

Adventurer
I often had a small, hard item, like a plastic drinking cup or maybe a small food can, rattling inside the one Zarges case I used for a few years. Switched to plastic (Wolf Packs and Storm) and it's quieter inside the 4Runner.
 

pluton

Adventurer
FWIW, I've since taken the "hit" to absolute volume efficiency and switched to thin-walled molded ABS bins. They're only about 77% efficient for usable vs consumed volume, but they are MUCH lighter than even the lightest aluminum cases. This was a necessary tradeoff in my case - I put my whole rig on a diet last year.
Just out of curiosity, which thin-walled ABS bins would these be?
 

Mucker

New member
Yes, they're generally raw aluminum so the "black dust", or at least a light oxide film, has been reported. When I was using aluminum cases, they were MilSurp Medical chests, so they had the NATO OD green paint both outside and inside - no issues with dust in this case. Aluminum is tricky to paint (acid-etching primer or pre-etch w/ acid usually required), but once painted, this will cease to be an issue.

FWIW, I've since taken the "hit" to absolute volume efficiency and switched to thin-walled molded ABS bins. They're only about 77% efficient for usable vs consumed volume, but they are MUCH lighter than even the lightest aluminum cases. This was a necessary tradeoff in my case - I put my whole rig on a diet last year.
What ABS bins did you go with?

Most thin-walled plastic bins I have looked at have angled sides and overlapping lids which make them way less efficient space-wise.
 

Herbie

Rendezvous Conspirator
Just out of curiosity, which thin-walled ABS bins would these be?
What ABS bins did you go with?

Most thin-walled plastic bins I have looked at have angled sides and overlapping lids which make them way less efficient space-wise.
I'm currently using the Sterilite "15 gallon snap-lid" totes, #1464. They're not overland-sexy, but they're inexpensive and one weighs about 4.8lbs, versus 11+ lbs for a similarly-sized Zarges case. (Or a whopping 26lbs for the empty MilSurp Medical chest I used to use!!!!)

chuckbox2.jpg

As I noted above, they're only ~77% efficient (volume of usable space inside divided by max volume consumed on the outside). As Mucker notes, the sloped-sides are the cause here. That said, organization has been helped by making movable dividers from coroplast. (Blog post here.)

The aluminum boxes definitely have several advantages, and they're a great bit of kit if you can justify the extra strength or weather-sealing. (The folks who use them as seats/stepstools or strap them to their roof, for example.) It's just that for me they're not 17x better than the plastic totes, even if they cost 17x as much.
 

Mucker

New member
I often had a small, hard item, like a plastic drinking cup or maybe a small food can, rattling inside the one Zarges case I used for a few years. Switched to plastic (Wolf Packs and Storm) and it's quieter inside the 4Runner.
Trying to decide between the Zarges and Wolf Packs. It sounds like you prefer the Wolf Pack over the Zarges.

Who makes the Storm cases?
 

Mucker

New member
I have lined my boxes with spray adhesive and tool box liner from , Harbor Freight ,to eliminate the aluminum "dust" . Works great. I also sprayed one box with bed liner in a can and that worked well also.
how was the noise level after you lined the container with the tool box liner ?
 

blacklbzbeauty

Active member
We use Alu Boxes and the Wolf Packs with extended lids. Love them both.
Carry the Alu Boxes strapped down in the cab lined with thin packing foam. No noise at all.
 

pluton

Adventurer
Trying to decide between the Zarges and Wolf Packs. It sounds like you prefer the Wolf Pack over the Zarges.

Who makes the Storm cases?
Storm cases are just like Pelican cases (and, in fact, are now sold by Pelican) except with nicer, less-brutal latches.
The Wolf Packs are a cheap alternative. They are not perfect. The pull-off, non-hinged lids are sometimes annoying and constitute a mixed blessing.
I had a large, tallish Zarges and replaced it w/ 2 Wolf Packs that occupy the same space.
Maybe something like the Wolf Packs but with hinged lids would be nice.
 
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