Designing Drawer System for our Off Road Overlanding Vehicle
Since we started our 2016 Toyota 4Runner build, we realized right away that we needed a solid drawer system for the back that would help us stay organized and fulfill all our functions and needs.
What we wanted in our perfect drawer system:
- House our 47L ARB fridge
- Large organized drawer for storing food, kitchen supplies, loose accessories, and quick to access items.
- Drawer doubles as a table for cooking and other table needs.
- Securely mount our Goal Zero Yeti 400
- Securely house two additional 33AH batteries to extend our Goal Zero Yeti 400
- Water Pump for pressurized water for filling water bottles, cleaning dishes, showering, etc.
Take a look at what we came up with!
Self Contained Workable Table
One of the biggest things we hate about our current setup is working off a small camping table for everything.
Need to cook? Camping table.
Clean dishes? Camping table.
Play a game? Camping table.
You get the picture, it’s a chore juggling all of our table top needs from a single small camping table.
One of the neat things we came across when doing research for our perfect drawer system was adding a liftable surface on top of the drawer that can double as a working space when the drawer is fully extended.
Using cabinet hinges for simple lifting access to the drawers, and a pneumatic lift will allow for smooth and easy access. Also using secured clip-in latches so the top does not rattle when driving.
Simple Power and Secure Drawer
The way our 4Runner is setup (when looking at the rear seats through the back hatch) we have a 60/40 split when it comes to fold down rear seats.
That means if we wanted to keep any of our seats in the truck, we most likely would keep the smaller side. So the fridge would need to be located on the left-hand side of the rear cargo area.
The challenge with locating the fridge on the left-hand side means the battery, it’s electronics, and everything else would need to sit behind it. (most convenient and efficient use of space)
But our rear cargo area 12v socket (the one connected to the trucks alternator/electrical system) is located on the right-hand side.
So, we would install a 12v socket on the right side of the drawer system, and run wires to the rear electronics area (pictured a bit below) to another 12v socket.
Our Goal Zero 400 Yeti would plug into it’s closest 12v socket, and the box would plug into the rear cargo area socket. (Think of this as a convenient internally wired 12v extender)
Electrical Management and Water Hose
We like our toys, especially our electronics.
One of the things we really enjoy is being able to recharge our electronics like cell phones, cameras, etc.
We found that the easiest and most efficient system was the Goal Zero Yeti 400, it has multiple outlets for varying plugs like USB, 120v, and even 12v.
The only downside to the Yeti 400 was the 400-watt capacity, which we managed to increase through additional batteries.
Our Goal Zero Yeti 400 is the system center, everything goes in or out of the Yeti 400 including the ARB Fridge which keeps our food and drinks cold.
For simple battery and electrical management, we would install a 4 socket panel which would house 2 voltage meters for the additional 33AH batteries to monitor their health, a 12v socket so we could connect the Yeti 400 to the vehicle for charging (which we mentioned about extending above), and a switch to turn on/off the water pump.
Additionally, the left side of the box would have an external hose for the water pump that would have a quick disconnect on the front of the box (rear of the vehicle) to plug in extension hoses.
Where the external hose goes into the box to connect to the water pump, we’d plum a quick disconnect for the inlet to the pump. This allows for when we stop and set up our campsite to connect the inlet hose and drop it into our 7-gallon portable water tank.
We found that a portable tank that we kept in one of the rear seat footwells was the most efficient use of space. It allows for us to quickly remove the tank for refilling, and keeps it low to improve the center of gravity of the truck when driving.
Additional Batteries and Water Pump
As we mentioned above, we figured out a way to extend out Goal Zero Yeti 400 from 400 watts to 1200 watts by adding two daisy chained 33AH batteries which mirror the internal battery inside the Goal Zero Yeti 400.
Underneath the Yeti 400 would be a removable panel to allow access to the additional batteries and the pump.
Using quick disconnects for both power and hoses would allow for efficient servicing, limiting access to this cubby.
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So, that’s what we have planned!
Will this be the final version? I doubt it.
I’ll probably keep tweaking things until it’s warm enough to be outside and actually build it.
Let me know your thoughts on our drawer system, any constructive improvements we could make or experiences you’ve had with building something similar.
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