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Updated December 2021
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Buying guide for best trunk organizers

Whether you’re picnicking, tailgating, or simply making a trip to the grocery store, a trunk organizer is a handy item to have in your vehicle. You can use this inexpensive piece to keep items upright, to protect your groceries, and in some cases, to keep your perishable items cold.

If you’re ready to get organized, you’ve come to the right place. Our shopping guide will help you sift through the options to find the perfect trunk organizer for your needs. Don’t forget to check out our top picks if you want to see what the best trunk organizers look like.

Before you shop

As you prepare to shop for a trunk organizer, take a good look at what you want to organize and haul. Groceries probably don’t need the sturdiness that tools or sports equipment require. At the same time, tools don’t necessitate an insulated compartment like perishable food items do. Of course, you could buy yourself the best of both worlds: a trunk organizer with insulation and extra reinforcement features to hold your heavy-duty items.

Before you buy a trunk organizer, measure the trunk of your car, including its height. Once you think you’ve found an organizer with the features you want, measure your trunk again. It won’t do you any good to have an organizer that’s too big, too tall, or even too small for your needs.

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Some trunk organizers have two or three compartments; others have four that can be divided into even smaller sections.

Trunk organizer features

Adjustable interior organization

You can carry everything from food and drinks to backpacks and bags of dog food in your trunk. A trunk organizer with adjustable interior organization features, such as movable compartment walls and detachable pockets and compartments, provides greater flexibility and security. If you’re a serious hauler, you’ll need an organizer that’s as versatile as you are.

Security features

Trunk organizers that come with straps, tie-downs, buckles, and carabiners can be easily secured to prevent sliding and spilling while you drive. Even models that don’t include these extras might have grommets or D-rings that can be used to secure the organizer with straps (purchased separately). A trunk organizer without any of these features has a higher risk of sliding, which could damage your belongings or throw them into disarray.


High-quality material can mean the difference between a trunk organizer that lasts for years and a trunk organizer that breaks down within a month. Thick polyester fabric with heavy stitching is ideal; look for something that is reinforced at the weak points, like the corners and seams. If you want the ultimate in longevity, consider a trunk organizer with reinforced baseplates, too. The baseplates will take on the weight of anything you’re packing, so make sure they’re of good quality. Flimsy cardboard won’t last long under a gallon of milk!

Storage and organization options

We’ve already talked about adjustable compartments, but there are other organizational options you may want to look for. Exterior pockets with flaps or zippers that hold tools, flashlights, and other emergency equipment might be on your list. Interior compartments with lids that zip or fasten are other options that may be important to you. If you’re not sure what kind of pockets you want, consider a trunk organizer with a variety of pocket styles.

Insulated compartments

Do you want to keep a six-pack cold while you’re at the beach? If so, an insulated compartment is what you need in your trunk organizer. Conveniently, you could also use this compartment to transport perishable groceries after a shopping trip. Some trunk organizers are insulated on the bottom and all sides; others have only a single insulated compartment with a lid. There are also models that come with detachable insulated compartments.

Organizer storage

You may not always need a trunk organizer. If that’s the case, look for one that folds down for easy storage. More often than not, these organizers fold down small enough to stay in the trunk when not in use. Of course, a large model that doesn’t fold down could always be taken out and left in the garage when you need your full trunk space.

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Did you know?
A trunk organizer with a lid may be stackable. For example, after you’ve loaded the trunk organizer and closed the lid, you may be able to use the flat top to store another item, such as a case of water or a bag of flour.

Trunk organizer prices


Trunk organizers start around $25. At this price, you can find collapsible organizers with open or closed pockets made of mesh or fabric. Tie-downs and buckles may be included, but you usually won’t get any insulated pockets or a lid at this lower price. These organizers are also smaller than some other choices.


Between $25 and $40, you’ll find slightly larger and/or longer trunk organizers that are meant for minivans and SUVs. These organizers have more compartments with more adjustability options. Some are collapsible, and many have lids or an insulated compartment.


For over $40, there are trunk organizers that come with separate insulated coolers or detachable insulated compartments with lids. Tie-downs, hooks, multiple dividers, and varied compartment options are also common at this price range.

"Some organizers have bungee cord pulls on the exterior pockets for extra security. The tighter the fit, the less likely the items are to shift while you’re driving. However, you may not want to leave them pulled tight all the time, as it could stretch and weaken the elastic in the cord."


  • Spills happen, especially when you’re dealing with groceries. That’s where a polyester trunk organizer is convenient. Polyester can be wiped clean with a damp cloth, so you’re not in for a huge cleaning chore if there’s a spill. Before you’re done, check the corners and crevices for spillage: you don’t want a sticky mess the next time you load your organizer.

  • A trunk organizer with a variety of pockets is highly convenient. For example, you can use an exterior pocket for an emergency kit while the interior remains reserved for items you need to transport. The pockets in a trunk organizer may be open or closed. They may be made of mesh or regular fabric.

  • Ready to take your groceries in? Some trunk organizers have carrying handles so you can pick the entire load up at once. Keep in mind that if the organizer is used this way, there will be a maximum weight limit. Sure, your organizer may be strong … but it might not be strong enough to carry five gallons of milk from the car to the kitchen. Even a trunk organizer with a reinforced baseplate may buckle under too much weight.

Other products we considered

There are simply too many trunk organizers on the market to include all of them on our favorites list. In addition to our top picks, we also like the TrunkCratePro Trunk Organizer. It is collapsible with expandable pockets and adjustable interior compartments. It also comes with tie-down straps and buckles to hold everything in place. The Absolute Ultimate Car Trunk Organizer is another great choice. It’s longer and thinner than other trunk organizers, which makes it perfect for a larger vehicle like an SUV. We particularly like the zippered/insulated compartment for cold storage.

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There are times when a trunk organizer with low sides could be beneficial. For example, at a ball game, you may appreciate the easier access to drinks, food, and sports gear afforded by the low sides.


Q. Can a trunk organizer work in any vehicle size?

A. Not all trunk organizers will work in every vehicle. A subcompact or compact car may not have the space for a tall or long organizer. Other vehicles have trunks large enough for two organizers side by side. The key is to measure carefully to be sure the organizer would fit your trunk.

Q. Do trunk organizers have padding to protect my groceries?

A. Some do and some don’t. In general, trunk organizers with padded sides are more expensive, though the padding may add insulation. Padding also makes the organizer less compact once it’s folded for storage. To be safe, secure your groceries as though the organizer does nothing more than organize. That way, you’ll be sure your items are safely tucked away.

Q. Can I place ice directly in the insulated compartment of a trunk organizer?

A. Some insulated compartments are watertight while others aren’t. To play it safe, we suggest using a cold pack or a sealed plastic bag for ice to prevent any unexpected leaks.

Our Top Picks