Eezi-Awn Drop-down Fridge Buddy

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.

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

  • Still thinking—none so far.

Retail Price $875 USD

10 Comments

  • Z Carr

    August 9th, 2018 at 1:18 pm

    The $875 price tag for an accessory to lower your $1k fridge isn’t a con? 😂 Also curious how the connection points of the struts hold up over time.

    Reply
    • Bill Dragoo

      August 11th, 2018 at 12:43 pm

      Z Carr
      Agreed to a degree. Quality of design and engineering costs and I’m not sure it’s fair to consider initial cost as a negative when evaluating what appears to be a good product. While it is true that like most of the top shelf accessories and components we see in the Overlanding realm, it is a lot of money, the Fridge Buddy is up there with the best of them. I hesitate to consider the price a con. On the con-trary…pun intended, I’ve spent hours, days and even weeks at times designing and fabricating my own similar bits and pieces for my rig. Some work well and some are an exercise in burning up welding rod and mild steel origami. After doing this a few times, the Eezi Awn system seems a bargain. Half the fun of building a rig is figuring out what to buy and what to fabricate on our own. This one, in my book, is better left to the experts.

      Reply
      • Eric

        August 11th, 2018 at 1:55 pm

        If you want to discuss cons, 40k+ for a base Jeep Wrangler would be a good start in my opinion. But when you find a piece of kit that makes overlanding more enjoyable and serves a very good purpose this item hits the nail on the head. I absolutely dread having to climb up into my rig to access the fridge. An item like this is worth the expense if you spend significant time in remote areas. Nice review Bill.

        Reply
    • Waagman

      August 14th, 2018 at 7:15 am

      Z Carr – couldn’t agree more. I just bought my awesome SnowMaster 42 qt fridge at the Overland Expo in Flagstaff with insulated bag for $750. So now I’d have to pay MORE for the Fridge slide out/drop down? Yes, I’m sure it is very well engineered, built to last, etc., but that price is just ridiculous. I bought my Fridge slide out (doesn’t drop down like this one) for $350 from Tembo Tusk.

      Reply
      • Bill Dragoo

        August 14th, 2018 at 9:39 am

        ZCarr, Tembo Tusk makes a great slide. They stopped making their drop down slide however because it was incredibly expensive to produce. Adding the complexity of the drop feature adds significant expense. That’s what we pay for. It’s not for everybody but thankfully we have folks who support the Overlanding community who are willing to risk the investment in R&D to produce awesome products like the Fridge Buddy.

        Reply
  • Bill G

    August 11th, 2018 at 2:24 pm

    Looks alike a nice piece of gear for those of us not of NBA height!

    Bill, what rack system do you now have installed on your Tacoma? Don’t think I’ve seen that rack.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  • Bill Dragoo

    August 12th, 2018 at 6:01 am

    Guys, the bed rack/tent support structure, is Leitner. My complete review is pending but suffice it to say, this is the most amazing system I’ve yet to experience. At a scant 65 lbs, it supports 500 lbs rolling and 1000 lbs static. Our Eezi Awn tent weighs 135 lbs, leaving plenty of capacity for the multitude of accessories adaptable to this incredibly versatile system. Tacomas are subject to cracking at the aft bed corners. Leitner even provides a fix for this with their steel bed stiffener brackets as an inexpensive accessory to the rack. Because of the aluminum structure and thoughtful engineering, less is more…strategic bracing and show quality welds produce a modular, adaptable rack that can be used for anything from an overlanding support system to a commercial vehicle load rack. And with the twist of a couple of knobs, it morphs into a setup that will facilitate carrying a motorcycle in the bed.
    https://www.leitnerdesigns.com/

    Reply
    • Bill Dragoo

      August 13th, 2018 at 8:54 am

      Jeff, mine sat directly on the bed floor until I got tired of dragging it in and out of the truck. I don’t advocate spending any more than we should to achieve the ease of use we need for overlanding. But with my rig, the added advantage of the Decked system posed a challenge when accessing the fridge. Susan couldn’t see inside if we pulled it straight back and the door wouldn’t open with it under the tent. The Fridge Buddy simply cured the issue in one fell swoop while opening up a host of possibilities for others in similar situations. Like overlanding in general…some gear isn’t for everyone, but I appreciate the innovators who invest their talent and resources in making life easier. All that said, don’t get me wrong. We have an old FJ 40 and there is a big part of me that still enjoys tossing a simple tent in back, building a fire and roasting hot dogs for dinner. Each method has its intrigue.

      Reply

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