A fridge is one of those must-have overland items. Even if you don’t plan on purchasing any other 4×4 items, a fridge is worth investing in. And unless you want to frustrate yourself endlessly, you need a fridge slide, says Gary Swemmer.
A fridge is a bulky and heavy item (especially once it has been filled to the brim with meat and beer), so a fridge slide is a great way to make your food and drink more accessible. However, there are a couple of things to keep in mind when getting a fridge slide installed.
Generally speaking, fridge slides come in two sizes. There are smaller slides that can accommodate 40 – 52 litre fridges, and large slides designed for 60 – 95 litre fridges.
This obviously suggests that your fridge won’t always fit your slide perfectly. If you have a 60-litre fridge, and you fit it into a slide that can accommodate a 95-litre fridge, there will be quite a bit of empty space.
What I usually do in a situation such as this is to fill that empty space with a wooden block wrapped in carpeting. Not only does this improve the overall look of the installation, but it also prevents the fridge from shifting around in the slide. Without filling the empty space, your fridge will shift in the slide, even if it has been strapped down very well (ratchet straps are best), so this sort of solution is essential. If you don’t do it, your fridge will be scratched and damaged as it moves around in the slide when you drive over rough terrain.
Choosing a spot to fit your slide also requires some careful thought. If you choose a poor spot, it can be difficult to access the items in your fridge. If, for example, you install the slide atop a drawer system inside the canopy of a bakkie, you can easily find yourself in a situation where the top of the canopy prevents you from opening the fridge properly and taking out large items such as 2-litre bottles.
So what should you do if you have a drawer system in the back of your vehicle? Well, luckily tilting fridge slides are now available from companies such as ALu-Cab that not only allow you to slide your fridge towards you, but also tilt the fridge down in the process, making it easy to peer into your fridge and select the right items for the braai.
Isn’t it a bad idea to tilt your fridge and allow all the items inside to fall to one side, you ask? Well, I’ve never found it to be problem, but if you’re worried about this sort of thing, you can ill empty space inside your fridge with towels or newspaper.
You must also consider which way your fridge opens, and where your fridge’s power point is in order to ensure that it is easy to plug in and easy to open.
When mounting the fridge slide to the floor of your SUV, ask your fitment centre to use the holes for your vehicle’s third-row jump seats (if it had jump seats) so that they don’t need to drill extra holes into your vehicle. Otherwise you can ask them to put a piece of carpeted wood down first and mount the fridge slide onto that.
The last thing I would like to recommend is to get a fridge slide that runs on a full roller bearing. Dust doesn’t seem to gather as much in that sort of system. It does, however, stick inside a slide that runs on balls, which can cause it to jam.