Our Engel MT 45 fridge is built like a battleship. Like most good portable fridges, it weighs as much as one too, especially when loaded. Hoisting it atop the Decked drawer system in the bed of our Tacoma GS overlanding rig can be inconvenient, and in some cases, impossible; especially in light of the overhead clearance beneath the tent. Although the fridge could be stashed there, it can’t be opened without removing it from the truck altogether—a deal breaker when all you want is a cold drink or a snack.
We tackled the issue by installing Eezi-Awn’s new Drop-down Fridge Buddy, a gas-operated fridge elevator/slider. Nitrogen-charged struts assist in both raising and lowering the 15.5x 27.75-inch (inside dimensions) shelf. Outside dimensions are 27×31 inches, and the slide adds 1 inch of height to the fridge. The Fridge Buddy weighs in at 40 pounds and is rated at a 500-pound capacity.
The twist of a handle and a throw of a latch releases the bail and slide to fully extend and lower the fridge 11.5 inches. The same bail is used to assist in raising it back into place, and a featherlight touch is all that’s required for operation.
Mounting was simple except for having to shut my wife in one of the Decked drawers to tighten two of the bolts. This process, although noisy, saved pulling a drawer, which would have taken a few extra minutes.
Operation is smooth and straightforward. The mechanism has a robust design and is made from powder-coated steel.
Two sizes are available, Standard for 40 liters and smaller, and Jumbo for 50-liter-plus fridges.
In effect, the Fridge Buddy has rendered our Engel MT 45 almost weightless and has made it significantly more user-friendly.
- Secure latching mechanism prevents unwanted fridge extension.
- Sturdy construction, typical of all Eezi-Awn products.
- Tie-down straps are provided to secure fridge.
- Operation is so easy it feels like cheating.
- Still thinking—none so far.