UPDATE (Dec. ’23): We upgraded to a larger, dual-zone fridge for longer adventures.
After deciding to undertake this adventure we set about thinking what we’d need and how to set it up. One of the most important things we need is to store refrigerated food for long periods of time. After the Tacoma was acquired, the ARB Fridge/Freezer and the infrastructure to keep it running reliably was the 2nd thing on our list.
Having and keeping food and drinks cold and protected is a huge plus when you’re playing away from snivilization. In the past I have used coolers. Coolers are a good thing. I have a couple of great ones: A 35 quart Pelican ProGear Elite and a 20 quart Yeti Roadie. They are now both sitting in my garage at home unused. As good as both of those coolers are they still can only go for, maybe, if you’re lucky, ten days before the ice is melted. Then everything is sloshy and soggy and you need to go back into syphilization to get more ice. That’s a drag. Plus, with all their thick-walled insulation they are larger than a comparable ARB, Engel or the like. One plus is that they are more portable and will obviously keep things colder, for longer when electricity is not available.
To that end I installed a Painless dual battery system and the ARB DC Wiring Kit. Now, when I am driving, my secondary AGM battery is always being charged and it is from there that I have our ARB permanently wired. ARB says it draws .87 amps per hour when it is being used as a freezer and keeping its internal temp at 0 degrees. Since I use it only as a refrigerator and set it to around 2-4 degrees Celsius I am expecting that it uses less than half an amp per hour. The secondary battery is a 92Ah DieHard Gold AGM which should be able to, all by itself, keep the ARB running for a week. For those times when we are stationary for more than a few days I hook up our Renogy 100W Solar Suitcase to the secondary battery and, so far, we’ve never run out of juice.
The ARB itself sits strapped down with the official ARB Tie Down System behind the passenger seat in the access part of the cab.
From the driver’s seat I can glance over my shoulder and see that it is on as well as pop it open and access its contents. It also sits close enough to the slider windows that I can reach through from inside the shell and get into it easily.
After the truck itself and comfortable sleeping arrangements the ARB fridge is the next most important system to keep our adventures on track.