Anyone running Snomaster fridge in your JKU or JLU?

SBSYNCRO

Member
I'm trying to decide on which size to get. I may remove my back seats since I don't need them, and then install a plywood "plate" system (DIY because the price of a Goose Gear system gave me a minor stroke). I love the idea of either the Classic 60 or the 56D (dual zone) but when I mocked up the size I was a bit shocked at how much space they take up in the back of the Jeep:



I usually spend 2-4 days out, totally off-grid, and about 2x per year I'll do a 10-12 day trip to Baja. I like to cook and eat fresh food, so I tend to bring produce with me and plenty of beer. Its usually just me or me and one other person. I also hunt & fish out of the Jeep, so when successful, it will also do duty to keep game meats fresh for the trip home.

I'm wondering if this size is total overkill, but I also worry about "future-proofing" my decision (regretting not getting a bigger fridge If I decide to get a trailer..).

Any fridge size recommendations people have based on their experience would be welcome.

FWIW, I plan to add a secondary battery (probably a LiFe "generator" type in the 500wh to 1000 wh range) along with the fridge, and eventually 100w or so of solar panel(s).
 
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TheDriver

Observer
I have (and love) the dual zone Engel MT45 (https://www.engelcoolers.com/engel-mt45f-combi-fridge-freezer.html). I chose it over the Snomaster 42 because at the time it was the only dual zone in this size. The size fits perfectly behind the left rear seat and it has plenty of space if you pack it well. If Snomaster offers a dual zone in the 42L size (which they might now) I'd consider that one too. If you end up wanting a slide the So Cal Teardrops one fits this size fridge perfectly with almost no wasted space and fits behind the seat with the tailgate shut. I tried a couple of other slides before I ended up with it. I removed the passenger side rear seat section and am building a drawer / sleeping platform there while leaving the smaller rear seat section and fridge on the drivers side.

I'm running a Battle Born 100AH LiFePo4 with 2 100W solar panels - for just the fridge you could get away with 100W of solar I think.
 
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jadmt

Well-known member
totally not what you ask but I pull my rear seats out and made a plywood platform. I figure the seats weigh north of 80lbs so less weight helps.
 

SBSYNCRO

Member
I have (and love) the dual zone Engel MT45 (https://www.engelcoolers.com/engel-mt45f-combi-fridge-freezer.html). I chose it over the Snomaster 42 because at the time it was the only dual zone in this size. The size fits perfectly behind the left rear seat and it has plenty of space if you pack it well. If Snomaster offers a dual zone in the 42L size (which they might now) I'd consider that one too. If you end up wanting a slide the So Cal Teardrops one fits this size fridge perfectly with almost no wasted space and fits behind the seat with the tailgate shut. I tried a couple of other slides before I ended up with it. I removed the passenger side rear seat section and am building a drawer / sleeping platform there while leaving the smaller rear seat section and fridge on the drivers side.

I'm running a Battle Born 100AH LiFePo4 with 2 100W solar panels - for just the fridge you could get away with 100W of solar I think.
Thank you! One of my dilemmas is that the only time I really need/want a freezer is if I take some game and want to vacuum seal and freeze it, in which case the tiny freezer compartments on these would be too small, I think. Also from what I understand, operating them as a freezer DRAMATICALLY increases the power consumption.

Thanks also for the info on the slide.

totally not what you ask but I pull my rear seats out and made a plywood platform. I figure the seats weigh north of 80lbs so less weight helps.
That looks perfect and pretty much exactly what I'm planning - You're running the 50 qt ARB? Do you ever wish you had more fridge space? Do you run an aux battery?

It appears that you trimmed the plywood with aluminum channel and some slit pipe insulation on the sides? My plan is to completely remove the rear carpeting and both seat belt retractors along with the plastic panels, then coat everything in "Herculiner". I was then thinking of some 5/8" ply, routing the edges to soften them, then coated in Herculiner & through-bolted to the attachment points in the body tub of the Jeep. Still debating whether to install some aircraft flight deck style tracks for flexible cargo attachment points.

I don't know if you get into any situations where you could roll off road, but you might want to consider through-bolting those tie-downs for the fridge instead of relying on sheet metal screws (at least thats what they look like).
 

TheDriver

Observer
The Engel dual zone makes it easy to switch from 70/30 (freezer or fridge) to 100% either. Simply remove the divider (and, if you want, the baskets) and adjust the temp. In my experience with mine using it for freezing, once it gets to temp there is very little difference in power use. Based on the tests I've seen the more powerful 2 speed Snomaster compressor cools a lot faster but the Engel still has the lowest power draw when running.
 

jadmt

Well-known member
Thank you! One of my dilemmas is that the only time I really need/want a freezer is if I take some game and want to vacuum seal and freeze it, in which case the tiny freezer compartments on these would be too small, I think. Also from what I understand, operating them as a freezer DRAMATICALLY increases the power consumption.

Thanks also for the info on the slide.



That looks perfect and pretty much exactly what I'm planning - You're running the 50 qt ARB? Do you ever wish you had more fridge space? Do you run an aux battery?

It appears that you trimmed the plywood with aluminum channel and some slit pipe insulation on the sides? My plan is to completely remove the rear carpeting and both seat belt retractors along with the plastic panels, then coat everything in "Herculiner". I was then thinking of some 5/8" ply, routing the edges to soften them, then coated in Herculiner & through-bolted to the attachment points in the body tub of the Jeep. Still debating whether to install some aircraft flight deck style tracks for flexible cargo attachment points.

I don't know if you get into any situations where you could roll off road, but you might want to consider through-bolting those tie-downs for the fridge instead of relying on sheet metal screws (at least thats what they look like).
No on the bigger and yes on 50 ARB. We camp a lot of a week or so and it is plenty big and almost too big. I have run it steady on oem battery which I know everyone says won't work but can park for 2 solid days without moving and never had a problem and I have actually parked for 3 days without even a slow start or having the fridge kick off. I have it set on the low mode. I keep it at 32F and it does not run very much. earlier this month we camped in Moab and I slept in the jeep and it never kicked on but the temps were cooler too.

I wheel fairly hard, moab couple times a year, rubicon trail, dusy ershim etc. It won't go anywhere. this is how keep it fastened down when I am jeeping. If I am just throwing it in to run to the store I just use the what was posted to keep from sliding. the foam insulation is just there when I slide it in place so it does not scratch the plastic.





 

SBSYNCRO

Member
Brilliant - thats great info - thank you! I'm probably going to try to contour it to avoid nooks and crannies (where little things like small parts, tools, wallets, and shotgun shells always seem to end up!). I'm working on some plans to cut flush-mount cabinet doors to the forward portion to allow access to the rear seat footwell area (plan to keep things like bottle jacks, tools, and heavier recovery gear there down low and in the center of the Jeep). Might even see if some sort of water tank might fit in that space...
 

jadmt

Well-known member
I use the underneath space up front for tools and what not. I have tie downs under where the seat bolts were. made legs with pvc pipes and an electric junction box. you end up with a lot of underneath storage that has not where to go if you roll. I have it hinged and then cinched down with cinch straps. If I had some woodworking skills I would for sure want it contoured to fit all the curves. I cut with a hammer so square works best for me :)

 

nwoods

Expedition Leader
I also have an ARB 50qt, and built a platform in my LJ (link: https://nwoods.smugmug.com/Vehicles/Jeep/Modifications/Rear-Tie-Down-Platform/ )

I never needed more space, but i never kept a fresh catch in there. Not sure i’d want to frankly. I’d want a seperate cooler for any kind of catch.

Your normal trips of 3 to 4 days, you’re not going to see a huge benefit in a fridge, although never having water in the bottom of the cooler is VERY nice. And then your longer trips, power will be an issue unless you rig up a solar solution or move your truck to a new site (or drive into town) every other day or so.

One hidden benefit to a fridge that most don't talk about is that the camping fridge makes an AWESOME drink cooler in the house/garage. We use ours 24/7 in the house, and occasionally on camping trips :)
 

SBSYNCRO

Member
If I had some woodworking skills I would for sure want it contoured to fit all the curves. I cut with a hammer so square works best for me :)
Haha! I just got one of these that is itching for some real use...


I also have an ARB 50qt, and built a platform in my LJ (link: https://nwoods.smugmug.com/Vehicles/Jeep/Modifications/Rear-Tie-Down-Platform/ )

I never needed more space, but i never kept a fresh catch in there. Not sure i’d want to frankly. I’d want a seperate cooler for any kind of catch.

Your normal trips of 3 to 4 days, you’re not going to see a huge benefit in a fridge, although never having water in the bottom of the cooler is VERY nice. And then your longer trips, power will be an issue unless you rig up a solar solution or move your truck to a new site (or drive into town) every other day or so.

One hidden benefit to a fridge that most don't talk about is that the camping fridge makes an AWESOME drink cooler in the house/garage. We use ours 24/7 in the house, and occasionally on camping trips :)
Just looked at all your photos - that looks almost exactly like what I'm looking to do. It appears you made different sections for when the rear seat is installed vs. when it is not installed? Love the modular approach.

Good points about the fridge. I HATE having water sloshing around in my fridge, so I usually bring frozen gallon jugs of RO water from my chest freezer that I keep at around -15º F. The problem is that on a 5 day trip, they take up 1/3 the space of my RTIC 65 Qt (which won't even fit in the Jeep) or 1/2 the space of my Yeti 45. Yes, I have them as backup water once they thaw, but I'd say I use them maybe 20% of the time.

The main advantages I see of a 12v setup are (1) no meltwater (2) add warm beer in the morning, have cold beer at night (2) More cold storage for the physical space/weight of the total assembly. For example a 45 Qt Yeti cooler actually yields me about 30 qts of usable space. With 3 gallons of frozen water, it weighs about 48 lbs and takes up roughly the same amount of space as a 42 Qt Snomaster, which actually has 42 qts of storage available (40% more) and weighs just 5 lbs more...

But back to my original question - it sounds like everyone so far feels that 50Qt is totally sufficient. I'm pretty dead set on the Snomaster models based on all my research, but of course they don't offer a size between 42 and 60 qts!
 

jadmt

Well-known member
I have a Yeti 50 tundra and it pretty much just collects dust . I bring a small cooler with ice cubes for whisky cokes and mixed drinks. the small cooler actually will hold ice for 3 days and all that is in it is ice and frozen water bottles. We were in Moab the end of June this year and temps over 100F and believe it or not I would let the cooler sit under my camper in the shade all day and I only had to get ice bags every 3rd day. I will never use a big cooler with ice again simply because the ARB works so well. no soggy mess and 2X the volume compared to the Yeti. As was said above when not in the jeep it is keeping beer and pop cold in the house.

 

MattJ

Adventurer
 

Ghetto Fab.

New member
I have just this past summer upgraded from coolers to a Whynter 45qt fridge. Its not on the same level as the engels or snomasters, but it works well for what I need so far. The capacity is just enough. Its actually too big for just myself and a few days on the trail. I really bought it thinking that I would need to bring two coolers with me if I bring my family camping. The coolers just need so much ice to keep them cold for 3-4 days and my family can't seem to eat anything that doesn't need to be cooled for some reason. This helps a ton when trying to pack for 4 days on the the trail and 4 people and all there gear in a 4runner.

So not having any ice taking up space is really nice. Also, since you can cool drinks as you go, you don't need to pack all the sodas and beer in the cooler before you head out. Just put a few in everyday as you go. So your saving space there too.

One other benefit is that you no longer have to deal with the logistics of getting ice. It removes one more hassle/worry when packing up for a trip, I can litterally get it going a day in advance if I want and no need to rush around at the last minute buying ice for it. Then while on a roadtrip you no longer have to think about getting some ice everyday.

The only downside so far has been needing to drive the truck for a bit everyday. If you sit for any length of time it draws the battery down enough and doesn't want to cool anymore. Obviously a better fridge will do better here.

Kevin
 

SBSYNCRO

Member
I think I’m pretty well settled on getting a smaller 50L sized fridge. The 60 just seems too big for the Jeep.

The problem now is that Snomaster doesn’t HAVE a 50L unit! Nothing between the 42 and 60 size.

I talked to Todd at Snomaster (awesome guy, by the way) and he said they are working on one but no details yet.

Hmm... maybe I’ll just spend the money on a synergy steering system while I wait.... :)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

ThePartyWagon

New member
Check out National Luna as well, they make a 50L Dual Zone fridge or a 52L single zone that can refrigerate or freeze depending on your settings.

I just picked up a 50L dual for my XJ, plenty of room for myself and one other. I'll freeze meals that we plan on eating a few days out, everything else goes in the fridge side. Had a Dometic 50L, the NL fridge seems to take up less space. Haven't compared the dimensions though. The Dometic was a bit wider for sure.
 
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