When it comes to using a portable fridge inside your vehicle, a slide is almost a necessity. The problem is the normal straight slides present a few problems, especially for regular travellers. The Tilt Slide Combo fridge slide from RV Storage Solutions is a unique and practical solution that is well-engineered and an absolute delight to use. Find out why in our product review.
It’s amazing what you learn when you hit the road full time. For instance, if you have a product that does what you want but not perfectly, you can live with it on short trips but, having to live with it every day and suddenly it’s a massive issue. A case in point is our fridge slide. Six years ago, as part of our trip preparations, we went to RV Storage Solutions and installed a set of their rear drawers in our 200 series Landcruiser. We included a standard fridge slide as part of the build. These drawers have proved to be extremely durable and have survived thousands of kilometres of rough dirt roads without so much as a squeaky runner. To say we’ve been impressed with the setup would be an understatement.
When we were discussing our requirements, we were offered a choice of fridge slides. A standard slide or a drop slide. At the time, we weren’t too keen on a drop slide. For a start, they were more expensive than the standard straight slide and our budget couldn’t quite stretch that far. The drop slides also looked way more complicated and seemed to take up more room. We just figured we could live with the standard slide.
In practice, the standard fridge slide was less than ideal. For a start, the cruiser is a very high vehicle and when you add a set of drawers in the cargo area, they raise the ‘floor’ higher again. Then, with the fridge on the slide, it is difficult for a person of average height to see inside the fridge and retrieve any contents without climbing up onto the tailgate. The next problem is that, depending on the fridge, the lid may not fully open as it hits the tailgate. We had enough room to retrieve individual items but if we wanted to lift out the whole basket for say cleaning out the fridge, well that just wasn’t possible. After 3 years of living with this setup, a drop slide was looking like a much more practical solution.
That said, our dislike for drop slides had not changed. We really wanted an alternative. A quick search on the internet and we found a tilt slide and it was made by the same guys who made our drawers, RV Storage Solutions. We were really keen to check this unit out.
RV Storage Solutions were formally known as Black Widow and their reputation in the RV storage market was, and remains, legendary. Their factory and sales outlet is located in Gisborne, Victoria and they have a large network of resellers across the country. We don’t live too far from Gisborne, so we went there to check them out.
From initial appearances, the tilt slide looks like a far more elegant and compact solution than a drop slide. The unit includes a full-frame made from powder-coated aluminium so the mechanism is mostly hidden from view. This enclosure stops any other items in the vehicle from getting in the way of the fridge sliding in and out and it ensures there is some ventilation space around the compressor vents. There’s even a shelf on the top of the unit allowing you can reclaim some storage space over the fridge, albeit limited by the height of the vehicle’s roof.
The fridge is secured to the drawer with four 2-piece straps. We have used the same style of straps with our standard slide and they have proved to be up to the task of securing the fridge during extended off-road travel. One thing we did add was a piece of marine carpet just to protect the slide and provide some additional resistance to secure the fridge.
In use, the tilt slide is a revelation. To access the fridge, you unlock the drawer and pull the fridge out as far as it will go. Then, you push the fridge down to tilt the slide until the mechanism locks into place. It is important to note the fridge will not tilt down on its own. It requires slight effort from the operator. This is an important safety feature that prevents the fridge from dropping uncontrolled. The fridge will then hold in that position making access easy. The effort to tilt the fridge down decreases when the fridge is full.
When you’re finished, you unlock the tilt using a small lever on the side and the whole slide gently glides up to the horizontal position and you push the fridge back into place and engage the slide lock. It is very easy and effortless thanks to gas struts that ‘counterbalance’ the fridge perfectly. I couldn’t imagine anyone having any difficulty operating this tilt slide.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind when deciding on whether or not the tilt slide is right for you. For a start, you need to ensure you have enough height and depth inside your vehicle as this may affect which tilt slide combo will fit and that, in turn, may limit the size fridge you can use. There is also a bit of weight in these units. The largest tilt slide, which will fit 60-70 litre fridges weights around 33kg. A similar-sized regular fridge slide weights around 20kg.
The additional weight of a tilt slide is well worth the added convenience it provides. Out on the road, we use our car fridge several times a day. Our cruiser is also generally packed to the rafters so it is important to ensure the fridge in unimpeded and the ventilation is clear. The additional shelf on the top means we gain some extra storage space in the cargo area. Let’s face it, every little bit of storage helps.
For us, the Tilt Fridge Slide Combo from RV Storage Solutions is a brilliant piece of kit that solves many problems we had with the regular straight slide. With prices starting from $749, as far as we are concerned, it is a good investment.
For more information visit www.rvss.com.au/slides-tilt-combo/