Are you building your ultimate 4x4 rig? Part 1 of our "Build Your Ultimate 4x4 Rig" series focused on power systems. Now we turn our attention to the internal vehicle fit of fridges, slides and storage.
Fridges, slides and storage are a must-have when you're kitting out your rig. Our advice? Don't scrimp on your internal vehicle fit - this is where you need the best quality gear to ensure your 4x4 rig doesn't fail you in the middle of the outback.
If you're doing a ute canopy build, a DC upright fridge brings the luxury features of a bar fridge to the un-sealed road. Who can argue with that?
When we talk about an upright fridge, we're talking about a fridge that looks like your fridge at home - but small enough to fit in your ute canopy. This style of fridge makes it super easy to access your food without having to dig to the bottom of a basket, so you can keep tabs on what you've got.
Upright models tend to be lighter than portable models which means there's no need to install a fridge slide. They're also a less expensive option.
On the flipside, upright 4x4 fridges need more ventilation. If you make the mistake of parking in the sun, your fridge will be working hard to stay cool in the hot canopy.
Weigh up the pros and cons in our blog on portable vs upright fridges for your ute canopy here.
Both lightweight and efficient, the CRX Range from Dometic is our most popular choice. With sizes from 35 to 135L, these upright compressor fridges have something for everyone. Check your dimensions and pick the best size for your rig. These fridges come standard with 12/24/240V input, are super efficient, and look great.
Drawer fridges are a great option for canopy builds, troopy's, wagons and under the seat of a truck. Why? Because they are the ultimate space savers.
These fridges are literally designed as a drawer - not a portable fridge on a fridge slide. So you can turn unused spaces into a practical cold store.
That said, they are smaller than upright fridges - the biggest on the market is about 40 litres - which is why you'll usually see them used as a secondary backup fridge.
The Evakool drawer fridge is our personal favourite. It's the largest of any 4WD drawers on the market at 40 litres and it can be dialed down to -16C as a full freezer. The best thing about this fridge/freezer is that the power consumption is tiny - it will run for days and days. Set on 2ºC, it consumes 1.2 Amp per hour and set on -16ºC it only consumes 2.4 Amp per hour. Other highlights include the LED display, removable drawer tub and 2-year warranty.
For a smaller option, check out the newly released in 2022 Vitrifrigo D30A 30 Litre 12/24V Drawer Fridge/Freezer. Available in black and white this 30 litre drawer fridge is perfect for those with limited space in their caravan, camper or 4WD.
Portable fridges are not fixed to your vehicle permanently, and can be moved around like an esky. So you can take your food and drinks with you. When you mount the fridge on a slide, you get the added convenience of a fridge drawer too.
Portable dual zone fridges can be as big or small as you need, ranging from 43 litres up to a humongous 96 litres. The dual zone feature means you have the freedom to choose between a fridge or freezer. Most have wi-fi capability so you can keep tabs on the temperature remotely, and dial it up and down as needed.
Here's the thing: don't fall for the dirt-cheap portable fridges on the market. You get what you pay for in terms of efficiency and reliability, and you really don't want to get stuck in the top end without icy cold drinks!
Dometic CFX3 Portable Fridges:
Dometic CFX3 range covers sizes from 25L to 95L, including single and dual zone models. These fridges are hte top of the range with features including bluetooth connectivity, efficient WAECO compressor, ExoFrame construction, soft touch buttons and 3-stage battery protection.
The Dometic CFX3 Portable Fridge Covers are also head and shoulders above the competition!
Evakool Down Under 75 Litre Dual Zone Fridge / Freezer:
Evakool has gone back to its roots and is now manufacturing a range of rugged portable fridges designed for Australian conditions. This 75 litre dual zone fridge freezer features the famous SECOP compressor and boasts eco and max compressor speed modes plus 3 level battery protection. It's also available in 47 litre or 95 litre models.
The Down Under portable fridge series is uniquely Australian - it's manufactured on the Sunshine Coast. And in our humble opinion, that alone makes it worthy of inclusion in our ultimate 4x4 rig.
Go on, find us another portable fridge that is "Made in Australia".....we'll wait.
Other Models/Brands We Recommend:
Any Evakool fridge! Okay, if you want specifics, look at an Evakool Fibreglass if you're going fishing and boating. The Evakool Infinity Fibreglass Fridge Freezer Series features a fully insulated, premium, high gloss fibreglass cabinet and a Secop compressor. When it comes to superior airflow and cooling performance, the Infinity cannot be beaten. Choose from six sizes from 47-litres to 100-litres - plenty of room for your fishing haul!
We also love the Dometic CFX3 55IM Portable Fridge/Freezer 53 Litre with Icemaker.
This fridge freezer offers something a bit special - an ice maker! How, you ask? Well, it comes with an independently controlled Rapid Freeze Plate with two custom silicone ice trays. The compressor super cools the plate to make ice while still keeping the temperature just right in the rest of the cooler. Whisky on the rocks, anyone?
Fridge slides just make sense. If you've invested in an amazing power system upgrade and chosen a quality portable fridge, you want to be able to access it as easily as possible.
A fridge slide will provide clearance around the vital ventilation areas of your compressor and ensure your 4x4 is packed as neatly as possible. If the kids are screaming for food or you need to quench a thirst, you want to seamlessly slide the fridge out and grab the cold stuff quickly.
The Evakool Large Heavy Duty Fridge Slide is ideal for the Down Under 75L model. This fridge side also accommodates a large range of Evakool fridges. Evakool builds its slides to be super sturdy and feature a sleek black powder coated steel finish to withstand that harsh Aussie climate.
RV Storage Solutions also stocks fridge slides for heaps of different fridge brands on the market. They offer a range of tilt slides that come in varying sizes to fit a 35 litre fridge up to a 80 litre fridge. These slides work by gently and safely tilting your fridge at an angle and locking into place. There are three locking mechanism positions so you can set the tilt angle to suit your vehicle.
Lastly, let's look at your floor storage. Your goal here should be to get the most out of your space for maximum storage. That's where storage drawers are a brilliant investment.
The trick is to look for a smooth slide-out drawer on heavy runners. That way you don't have to worry about sagging or diminished load capacity over time. Regardless of the drawers, it's important to keep the overall payload weight down if you can.
It's got to be Front Runner Drawer Kits. As the name suggests, Front Runner is the leader in internal and external storage. With sliding drawers specifically tailored to each vehicle, a clean and strong fit is guaranteed.
When you're looking to buy a Front Runner storage drawers, you can choose according to vehicle model, or buy a universal system in various sizes. Each individual drawer has a 113KG carrying capacity.
They come with high-strength bearing slides meaning each drawer can extend nearly 100% from the anchored base. And they are easy to install in just minutes - simply attach the supplied carabiners and turnbuckles to the vehicle's existing mounting points and the drawer mounting brackets. Depending on the model, the deck above the drawers can also be used to mount Front Runner Cargo or Fridge Slides. Genius!
The Dometic Go range is a fully modular, versatile suite of storage products for any outdoor adventure. Pack, stack and strap!
The Dometic 50 Litre GO hard storage box, gives you the option to "grab and go". Perfect for a beach picnic with the family. Dometic have designed the GO range in such a way that a vast amount of combinations of other "GO" products can be packed inside the hard storage box.
- 2x Jug
- 1x Jug + 1x 20L
- 1x Jug + 2x 10L
- 1x 20L + 2x 10L
Now you know the very best power systems, fridges, slides and storage options for your Ultimate 4×4 Rig. Remember, the #1 rule is you should never compromise on quality when you're fitting out your 4x4. Not sure which model is best for you? Ask our product experts for advice on the best-fit systems for your 4x4, or give us a call on 1300 400 122.
Did you miss Part 1? Read all about our recommended power systems for your Ultimate 4x4 rig!
DISCLAIMER* Please note, this advice is general in nature and we strongly recommend consulting the product manual and where relevant, a professional installer.