Using ice as truck bed ballast

A couple of days ago, a friend and I were talking about putting extra weight in our pickup truck beds for added traction for winter driving. I’ve usually put a few hundred pounds of concrete blocks back there, but the problem is storing those blocks when not in use. I have to carry them out to the shed, which isn’t fun.

We came up with the idea of using ice, since it packs a fair amount of weight into a small space, it’s easy to load (use a hose), requires no room to store, and is even easier to unload (it just melts when it warms up).

One way that would probably work would be a use a tarp or piece of plastic sheet to trap some water in the bed and let it freeze in place. I didn’t have any handy, nor could I think of an easy way to keep it in a small space, so I used another approach.

Ice blocks in truck bed

I had a stack of 5 gallon buckets that kitty litter came in, so I filled them with water and let them sit for a couple of days. In about two days (around 10 degrees Fahrenheit outside) they were frozen solid. I turned them over and without too much trouble the ice slid out of the buckets. The picture above shows 7 buckets worth, which is around 300 pounds. Over the axle would be most effective, but the front of the bed works too, and leaves me more useful room in the bed.

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