by Patrick Rall in
As the owner of a Ram 1500 without RamBox or the in-bed cargo management system, I was eager to try out the 2016 Ram 1500 Limited with both features. I’d read both criticism and praise for the system on various forums, and was ready to give them a full trial. Would it be an answer to my needs — or would it take up valuable bed space?
Before getting into all of the upsides of the RamBox Cargo Management system, I should address the one key downside to the RamBox package. It is only available with the 5’7” or 6’4” cargo box, so you cannot get it with the eight foot bed.
People who do not like the RamBox will likely complain that you cannot carry a standard piece of plywood flat in the smaller beds with the tailgate up, as though everyone in the world hauls loads of plywood. I run a horse stable and I have only hauled plywood a few times in five years; and I did so with my 6 foot bed.
The vast majority of new trucks sold in America from every automaker are sold with 6.5 foot beds or something small, so in offering the RamBox Cargo Management system with the 5’7” and 6’4” bed – Ram is hitting most buyers.
The next bit of negativity with the RamBox Cargo Management system is the narrower bed, and that seemed like a valid enough complaint for me to conduct some tests. I found an oddly shaped piece of wood in my workshop that measured 48 inches at its widest point. I laid that piece of wood in the bed of my own Ram without the RamBox system with a tape measure to show the width of the bed. I then put that same piece of wood in the bed of the 2016 Ram 1500 with the RamBox system and, as you can see in the images below, it fit just as well. In fact, the bed with the Cargo Management System is about an inch wider than the area between the wheel humps in my bed.
The big difference with the RamBox system is that the areas around the wheel humps are filled in, and that is where you technically lose space in the bed. When you are hauling large boxes or plywood, that space doesn’t make any difference, since those spots are typically empty when hauling large boxes, large pieces of wood, etc. However, I run a horse stable and I regularly haul hay in the back of my trucks.
In my own Ram without the RamBox, I can fit eleven 60-pound bales of hay on end – four across the back, three between the wheel humps and four against the back of the cab. Not surprisingly, with the entire bed of the 2016 Ram with the RamBox system being roughly the distance of the area between the humps in my RamBox-free bed, I can only fit three bales of hay in each of the three rows in the newer bed. So, if you haul lots of hay or a great deal of loose material, you do sacrifice some cargo space.
The upsides far exceed the loss of two bales of hay, and the Cargo Management System is helpful in all sorts of situations.
I love the RamBox system. It locks and unlocks with the key fob, the deep front and rear well help to keep things in place while you are driving and even when I drove the truck through thick mud, the contents of the RamBox remained clean and dry. Ram advertises the RamBox as being ideal for fishing rods or firearms, but I found that the RamBox is great for groceries – and we all buy groceries. I put the milk and taller items in the deeper portions, with the more delicate things in the raised center section. Once filled in, nothing shifted around during driving and if anything falls out of the bags, the front and rear lighting is very helpful in the dark.
When driving the new Ram, much of the random stuff that I would normally put in the back seat of my own truck went into the RamBox, and I love anything that cuts down on interior clutter.
Next up, we have the Cargo Management System in the bed of the 2016 Ram 1500. This setup includes the “ribs” in the walls of the bed and the unique locking barrier that operates with the simple twist of the central handle.
While driving the new Ram, I hauled a few different items that generally have to be tied down or they will slide around the bed while in transit. The first was my 3 ton floor jack, followed by three bales of hay, 400 pounds of bagged horse grain and a pair of 5 gallon diesel cans.
Anyone who has thrown a floor jack into the bed of their truck knows how it will roll around, banging against the sides of your bed and anything else that you might have back there. I moved the RamBox Cargo Management System barrier to the very back of the bed and locked it into place, which effectively pinned the jack between the barrier and the tailgate. With the three bales of hay, I packed them against the back of the cab on end and used the barrier to keep them in place and when I hauled the 8 bags (400 lbs) of horse feed, the barrier allowed me to keep them all at the back of the bed, whereas they will slide around in a bed without a barrier.
Finally, whenever I go to get diesel fuel for our tractor, I have to bungee cord the cans to the side of my bed and drive carefully so that they don’t fall over. With the RamBox Cargo Management System, I was able to pin both cans between the barrier and the tailgate, along with sticking my recycling bin in the middle so that they wouldn’t slide towards the middle. I was able to drive to the gas station with just those two cans and the recycling bin, and they didn’t move around at all.
In short, the Cargo Management System adjustable barrier makes the bed of the Ram 1500 far more functional and far more convenient. The video below shows how easily the barrier moves with a twist of the center handle.
When you consider that the RamBox Cargo Management System costs just $1,295, I would call this a must-have for any new Ram buyer. The slight loss of cargo space is more than offset by the functionality of the cargo barrier system and the RamBox, while eliminating the need for aftermarket bed boxes and the other items used to keep things from sliding around the bed.
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