How Annoying is a Backseat Fridge?

dstefan

Active member
So, I have an Ovrlnd pop-up camper shell on order. My big dilemma is keep my Tacoma that is built just right for us, or put it on a Tundra. I’d really rather keep the Tacoma, at least that’s what I think today :unsure:, but it’s a DCSB, which really limits the room in the bed. Currently with a hard shell tonneau cover that lifts on struts, I have my ARB fridge attached to tiedowns in the back. Works great

I am wondering about ripping out all the backseat and putting the fridge back there along with some storage as I am planning to build anyway. I know about the sound and heat generation of the fridge from experience, but I really can’t decide how annoying it would be to try to cook off the tailgate and constantly run back-and-forth to the back seat. Part of having the camper is a place to hang out in bad conditions. Although the Tacoma has a rear window slider, I don’t think the Ovrlndcampers come with an openable window to the cab of the truck. Maybe that’s changeable, but otherwise that’s an issue in rotten conditions.

I know I could work with a smaller auxiliary cooler/ice chest in the rear, but I’m wondering if anybody has put a fridge in the backseat has found it to be a problem? Has anyone done that and then decided to switch back?
 

kwill

Observer
Works for me. My fridge is only 27 quarts but is plenty big for my wife and me. I built a little platform for the 40% side of my Tacoma's rear seat and electrical socket on the back of the center console. I also have a platform for the 60% side when I feel like taking the whole seat out.


I used the existing seat hinges so I can flip up the platform to get to the storage underneath if need be.
 

dstefan

Active member
Love the platform attached to the hinges idea! Haven’t seen that one before.

Certainly agree on the compromises part. Good weather and outdoor cooking is no big deal either way. It’s just that we’re retired now and wanting to be out in a lot more shoulder season/ rainy/winter times and hence the pop-up, cabover camper.

if we keep the Tacoma, I’m pretty sure we'll back seat the fridge, just thinking about what works. As a long time woodworker, I have a strong belief in planning the project and “measure twice, cut once”! That’s also what happens when you have a six month lead time for the camper during COVID. :cool:

Good feedback. Anybody out there dislike the back seat location?
 

AbleGuy

A Son of the Purple Sage
Love the platform attached to the hinges idea! Haven’t seen that one before.

Good feedback. Anybody out there dislike the back seat location?
Rear seat mate cooler sounds like a good plan, especially assuming that you’ll likely be traveling in hot weather.

Keeping the fridge in the back seat probably would make it run less/better if you’re driving with your cab A/C on. The inside of your cab is going to be a lot cooler than the back of your pop up shell on those hot sunny days when you’re on the road, right?

But, conversely, the solar gain from all the cab window glass might increase interior temps on hot sunny days when you’re parked in camp, versus you maintaining somewhat cooler temps in the bed of the truck with the pop up top up and the venting windows opened, so...

FWIW, a batwing awning would do the trick of protecting you in inclement weather when you’re cooking and running back and forth from tailgate to cab, don’t you think?
 

llamalander

Active member
I've pulled out the back seats from my Frontier to fit my fridge and other gear, and its a fairly good arrangement.
Being a large fridge/freezer, I often dig into it from the front seats, because I can't reach the bottom from either back door. Also, the lid needs to open 90º to remove the baskets, but the freezer lid hits the roof before that happens, so I detach it if I need to--but I often just skip the top basket. On hot days in camp, I'll either leave all the windows cracked and sometimes power up a fan to keep the cab cooler and the fridge running happily. With a big solar panel, this is never a problem. Putting your sunshade on the outside of the windshield also makes a big difference, less heat makes it in at all.Walking from your tailgate to the backseat is probably less far than between your sink and fridge at home, so probably not a real worry.
Unless you have big side hatches on your shell and are mighty tall, you will likely need a fridge slide to access it in the bed, which is not cheap or always the best use of space by the tailgate.
There is a good chance you can get a sliding or fully removable window for your new Ovrlndcamper, or send one to them to install as they build it. If you can access the fridge from inside and outside the shell, you may have the best of both worlds.
 

kerry

Expedition Leader
Our camper fridge is in the camper. Our canal boat fridge is 3 feet from the counter. When trailer sailing we keep a fridge in the back seat of the truck when traveling. Compared to the other two options it's a PIA. Nice to use while driving but a lot of walking back and forth when cooking in a campground.
 

Climberclimb

Observer
I have a 45 liter fridge in the back seat of my Tacoma. It sits on a platform that covers both folded up seats. Both are easily removed. An added benefit to the platform is storage beside the fridge. I cook in my camper and accessing the fridge is no big deal. Cheers
 

dstefan

Active member
Thanks for all the feedback! Very helpful. Think we’ll certainly back seat the fridge IF we keep the Tacoma, but leaning pretty heavily to a Tundra at this point. After thinking on this, seems the biggest issue for my set up (dual, under-hood batteries with the ARB 10ga wire-loom to the truck bed) may be having to split the electrics between the back seat and the camper, but it’s doable.

On solar gain in the cab, FWIW, being from Phoenix, we’ve cut Reflectix pieces to tightly fit each window. When parked with these in the sunny-side front-seat and rear windows as well as the windshield the vehicle doesn’t get nearly as hot. Works well even in my wife’s DD 4Runner with black interior. Easy to do and worth it. Just trace the window interior edges on brown paper and make a template or three.
 

jjohnson1892

Adventurer
I've got an AluCab canopy camper and elected to put my fridge in the backseat (driver side on the folded down seat). If its outdoor cooking weather (which is extended by an awning), I tend to cook near the driver bedside, so really not a lot of moving back and forth. In the event I need to cook/prep in the camper, I usually just grab a bag or basket and load up whatever ingredients I need and carry it back in one or two trips.
 

Expedition Essentials

Approved Vendor : Expedition Essentials
Looks like metal to me. That whole truck is a showpiece but way above my pay grade.
you'd be surprised actually, most of this thing has been built on a budget; i'm just handy with a metal brake and kind of get carried away sometimes when I have an idea. but this thing gets used, that wrap came about not to look pretty: that damn paint is so scratched now there is no saving it :)
 

dstefan

Active member
Thanks, its aluminum plate and then powder coated with a hammered black finish
Sweet! Is the plate attached to internal angle aluminum frame?

Got any pics of the work in progress? I’m planning something similar for an upcoming Tundra. Probably with VHB tape and some rivets.

Have worked some with aluminum, bit not bending on a brake. Are you using a commercial brake, or a DIY bender (which is what I’d have to do)?
 
Top