ARB 50 Quart Fridge Freezer Review For the 5th Gen 4Runner: The Perfect Overland & Off-Road Companion
Over my many years of camping and traveling, the one bane of every trip was the cooler.
Digging through cold ice and water to find items, food becoming water-logged or floating on melted ice. Then there was the issue of having to head out just to find and purchase ice, taking away from time that could be spent quietly enjoying the outdoors.
While it was a large capital outlay, the purchase of a fridge freezer completely changed my camping experience.
All the negatives were gone and food and drink could now be enjoyed just like pulling the items out of my home fridge and freezer. I love milk but warm milk, not so much.
Now I can set the temperature on the fridge freezer and have a glass of nice, ice-cold milk anytime! Heaven.
Lots of Room for Food and Drinks
My first fridge freezer was an Engel MT45.
It worked great but when the company I was involved with added the ARB product line, I had to make the switch.
For a number of years now, my ARB 50qt unit has been a staple of all my off-road adventures.
Installing a dual battery system with solar back-up in my 4Runner has made sure the fridge freezer works as it should and I’ve never had to worry about the starting battery.
ARB is an Australian company, well-known for its quality products for off-road use and all its products are extensively tested before being offered for sale.
The fridge freezer is no exception.
It is solidly built and offers variable cooling capacity, from 50F to 0F, so users can have frozen products at the bottom of the fridge and items like fruits and vegetables closer to the top. In fact, each ARB fridge freezer has fruit and a dairy compartment that sits above the compressor area; on the 50qt model, this section is 8.1” (H) x 11.2” (W) x 6” (D).
To get an idea of the inside capacity, depending on the fridge freezer size, an ARB unit can hold between 50 and 120 12oz pop cans with the 50qt model capable of holding 72 12 oz cans.
The main compartment in the 50qt, not including the fruit and dairy section is 15.5” (H) x 11.2” (W) x 13.3” (D).
Even with me being a steak and burger guy and my wife a vegan, we can fit enough food, along with beer, into the fridge freezer to last us a week away from civilization.
12v DC and 110v AV Power Connection
The ARB fridge freezer offers both 12/24V DC and 100-240 AC power and the control panel features a battery monitor mode where users can choose between Low, Medium and High cutoff settings.
This allows individuals to select just how low the battery will draw down before the fridge stops operating. The control panel also allows the setting of the interior temperature and selecting between Celsius and Fahrenheit.
The unit draws 0.86 amps/hour on average so typically it could be run off a starting battery if the vehicle was moving on a daily basis.
ARB Classic Series Fridge/Freezer Options
The Classic series (available in blue or black) is what I currently have, but the models listed above now come with Bluetooth connectivity. The fridge freezer connect app allows for full control of the fridge from a smartphone with either IOS or Google apps.
The Elements fridge is a more expensive option but is designed to be mounted in a pick-up bed and stay outside 365 days a year.
Wire Basket to Hold Fridge Freezer Contents
The fridge is shipped with a reversible wire basket that is designed to protect the internal walls of the unit.
One side of the basket is higher offering the option of containing the fruit and dairy compartment or by turning it, allow longer items to laid across the top of the fridge.
An additional wire divider is included to help further contain the contents. At the bottom of the fridge freezer, a drain plug is fitted to help remove any liquids that spill inside the unit.
All fridge freezers come with a three-year warranty, have an interior LED light and on the Classic series, a removable lid.
Once you’ve made the investment in the fridge, there are a number of accessories worth considering.
ARB Fridge Freezer in Transit Bag
Protecting your investment means a transit bag is another good idea.
Made from tough, durable canvas, the bag offers not only extra protection but additional insulation in extreme temperatures.
The bag has a side pocket that can hold the power cord and openings for the fridge’s rubber feet, power cables and drain plug hole.
Strong Tie-down Brackets for Secure Travel
The tie-downs are a must as they keep the fridge firmly secured at all times.
On an off-road trip, we came across a drop where the ATV folks thought it would be good to build a bridge designed for them only!
This meant to continue on the trail, we had to drop down a six-foot, 85-degree rock face. Yup, we scrapped and bent some rear bumpers but the fellow with the navigation laptop had a cooler in the back of his truck.
As he dropped, the cooler full of ice and water fell forward, all over the laptop. It was ruined and it was a good thing we were near the end of the trail.
A Styrofoam cooler is light, an ARB fridge at 50+ pounds is not.
Fridge slide for Easy Access
Depending on where you mount the fridge, a fridge slide might also be a useful addition.
ARB offers its classic fridge slide which allows the fridge to be firmly anchored but slide forward for access and the Full Extension Slide which offers extra storage behind the 37qt and 50qt units.
These units, while nice, are not inexpensive. I’ve been using a homemade wood unit for many years that I originally designed into a drawer system in the back of my Range Rover.
When I sold the truck, I cut the slide-out and it runs very nicely on Accuride slides for substantially less money.
ARB also has a selection of 12 and 24-volt wiring accessories which offer flexible placement options or the ability to hard-wire the fridge into your vehicle.
These accessories also help reduce any possible voltage drop as they use 6mm double insulated auto cable. The company also has a selection of specialty threaded sockets and surface mount housings.
I have to say I love having the ARB fridge freezer.
I use it for more than just camping and off-road trips as well.
Living at least 40 minutes from the nearest grocery store, the fridge lives in my truck from spring to fall and allows me to purchase frozen food and ice cream during the hot summer months and get it home without melting!