Hilux setup for touring

Submitted: Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 08:53
ThreadID: 106152 Views:9764 Replies:9 FollowUps:1
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Hi all,

I have just purchased a dual cab Hilux and had a canopy fitted. The sole purpose of the vehicle is for touring over the next 10-12 years (when I can get time off from work). Most of the trips will be part motel/cabin and the rest will be using a touring tent. There will only be two of us so there will be heaps of space in the rear canopy.

I'm trying to decide what draw system to have fitted and would welcome any comments from other "Ute" owners.

The standard systems appear to be the dual slide systems with a fridge mounted on to of the draws and the fridge is mounted on a drop down fridge slide.

The other system I have seen is where the fridge is mounted in one of the draws (Fridge in draw unit), so it is at a height that is easy to access without having to have a drop down slide. It would also allow me to have a little bit more visibility through the rear window (assuming I don't fill the ute up to the top of the canopy).


Just wondering if the loss of 3/4's of the second draw outweighs the benefit of having the fridge mounted at the floor height of the ute.

BTW the fridge is an Engel Eclipse and the battery system is mounted in the engine bay.

Phil P

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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 09:21

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 09:21
Hi Phil,

You will get a myriad of replies as different people have different ideas on the best configuration that works for them.

As you say you intend to tour "occasionally" (i.e. when you can get time off of work)

Have a think about how you will use the tub area when you are not out touring, or have the fridge in use.
I preferred a flat top on the drawer system to better accommodate storage and carrying flexibility.
With the fridge at a lower level, that flat space is compromised, unless the design also includes a cover for the well. This would also require a two drawer system with the drawers stacked on top of each other, resulting in a higher than normal configuration.

I chose a two drawer system with the drawers side by side and with an inbuilt fridge slide that is level with the top.
Black Widow Twin Drawer System

This configuration works for me, although to be perfectly honest, my wife has a little trouble "looking in". She overcomes this by stepping up on the rear step, but on most occasions, at camp I remove the fridge and place it at ground level anyway.

Without attempting to start a brand war, The Black Widow System provided me with the flexibility of moving it to a new vehicle, simply by purchasing another "side wing set" to suit the new vehicle, thus protecting my initial investment.
I have already relocated it from a Jackaroo into the Colorado I currently drive.

Good luck with whatever System you choose. Just think about all the circumstances in which the drawer system and overall storage/carrying space will be used.

I'm diagonally parked in a parallel Universe!

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AnswerID: 526023

Reply By: AlbyNSW - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 09:47

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 09:47
I don't know where you are located but there is a set of Dept of Interiors drawers from a dual cab Hilux for sale in Sydney on the Newhilux.net forum
AnswerID: 526028

Reply By: Member - John G - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 10:20

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 10:20
G'day Phil

I think Sandman is on the money. We had a Hilux with a Black Widow drawer system ; two drawers and fridge slide on top, but not drop down - they weren't available in 2004. Even with the horizontal slide we managed (as seniors) to remove the fridge as required. I'm assuming you have a dual battery system, if not, it's worth thinking about.

AnswerID: 526031

Reply By: DIGGER 12 - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 12:45

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 12:45
Hi Phil, I have the black widow travel mate With twin draws in my rig and a 60 ltr ARB fridge on a drop down slid, for me and the co pilot it was money well spent as for rear view I can still see over top of the fridge . Digger
AnswerID: 526037

Reply By: tshilux - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 13:05

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 13:05
Hi Phil,

18 months ago I did the same thing, thinking just 2 of us - plenty of space! Boy was I wrong when I started to pack for 9 weeks to the Kimberly from Lake Macquarie NSW. Fridge, extra spare wheel, touring tent, swags and so on. We used plastic tubs and am now looking at drawers - put the fridge on top - you will need the space in the drawers for other necessities of life.

AnswerID: 526038

Reply By: The Bantam - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 14:49

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 14:49
The big problem with almost all draw systems is the weight AND lots of it....and the space lost.

One thing you may consider is ditching the style side tub and spending up on a flat tray and canopy .

The big thing with the flat tray is you can access from the sides.

Another big thing with a flat tray is you can mount all the unsociiable things like extra batteries, gass cylinders and extra fuel under the tray where they can be properly ventilated.

Because you have a dual cab you are stuck with a tray or tub that is too long to reach all the way into with ya feet on the ground, but is too short to put a long handled shovel in, unless it is diagonal.

Another problem with style side trays, is that most of the canopies you find fitted to them are flimsy and incapable of supporting much weight on the roof racks..unless there is some sort of frame supporting the rack independent of the canopy.
If that rack is interiour you have lost again, a lot of space.

Beeing a dual cab you also have to be very concious of where you carry your weight.
if you are loading from the rear there is a tendancy to carry the heavy things right at the back.
Every day I see dual cabs dragging their backsides arround because of too much weight too far back.

loading from the side allows heavy things like the fridge, tool boxes and water drums to be carried right up front.
Maximum reach drops from 5 or 6 feet ( pluss tail gate) down 2 /12 to 3 feet max.

This can if you like remove the need for a draw system at all.

I run a single cab hilux with a flat tray and a canopy...i have fitted a load restraint system and rubber mat. This allows me to tie down anything in any location on the tray.
I carry my stuff in light weight timber boxes designed to be tied down.
The boxes in the fridge side of the vehicle are all the same size as the fridges.
I can have everything out in about an hour.....and all of it remains boxed to be stacked up in the garrage....or can be pulled out to set up a long term camp.
It takes me about 2 hours to reload everything and have it restrained to code.

Another option for all vehicles is instead of one of these expensive, space hungry and heavy elevating fridge slides...carry a folding step and leave the fridge where it lies.

a flat tray with a canopy loading from the side also opens up other spare wheel options.

I carry my second spare flat on the rear of the tray, I know others that carry it right up front standing up behind the driver.
If there is no rear opening to the canopy rear mounting the spares becomes an option...but beware to keep the tray short...remember about heeping weight forward.

A couple of heavy steel wheels mounted on the back of a long tray will have ya hilux bumping its ass like a drunken frogg off road.

Remember one thing with hiluxes is to keep them light.
They are light that is their conspicuous advantage, keep them light, well balanced and don't try to make it something it is not, and you will be very happy with it.

OH of course if you are traveling two up, you have the option of mounting your fridge and water in the rear seat space........this will bring quite a bit of weight forward, and improve the efficiency of the fridge no end if you run the air comnditioning........but make damn sure it is very well restrained.......you want this stuff to remain firmly in place in a rollover or a head on.

AnswerID: 526051

Follow Up By: Tony F8 - Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 19:20

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 19:20
Second what bantam said, plus they are not waterproof (creek crossings if you happen to get stuck). We use nally bins with a small rubber seal, bad enough soaking the internal of your vehicle, without soaking clothes etc. Also draws are ridiculously overpriced.
Tony F8
FollowupID: 808324

Reply By: gbc - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 18:04

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 18:04
I'm a fan of the two draws and fridge on top. It keeps a lot of stuff better organised, and side wings allow you to pack all the must haves but don't use often type things away where you don't have to fight with them every other day. Once the draws are in you can get good access through the side windows to the deck so you don't have to leave your feet to get to anything much at all.
My long handled shovel now rides (straight) inside the ranger tray because it is now too bloody short to reach between the factory canopy racks and my rhino shovel holder - such is the growth twin cabs have experienced....
Personally, you'll get better use of space with the fridge on top of the drawers - once you start with them you want more and more drawer space. Get a solid fridge surround made up so you can pack gear around and on the fridge for zero space loss, and not have things fall into the slide area when the fridge is down.
Ute trays are very subjective, but I am happy with a tub and glass canopy over a tub these days. They give a deeper footprint (I will bet money the fridge inside the drawer setup was invented for a tray back because you cant have a fridge on drawers in them).
AnswerID: 526067

Reply By: Slow one - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 19:08

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 19:08
I fitted some best off road draws. I fitted a drop down fridge slide on top, which makes access to the fridge very easy.

It does cost for the d/down slide, but you do gain a lot of extra useable space in the second drawer. I hope your canopy has side access, that makes a big difference as well.
AnswerID: 526076

Reply By: Phil P - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 21:18

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 21:18
Thanks everyone for providing me with info on what has worked for yourselves.

Looks like I will go shopping for some twin draws & drop down fridge slide. Hopefully there will be some on display at Wandin on Sunday. The Geelong Caravan and Camping show had nothing 2 weeks ago.

I like the look of Drifta, Best Off Road and Blackwidow Travelmate draw systems.

The canopy I had fitted is an SMM Steel canopy with very large windows on the side, so that should make it relatively easily to access stuff on the top of the draw system.

I think my next 4wd in 10-12 years will be a flat tray & 2 door (kids should be well out of the house).

The ute is almost ready for it's first trip!

AnswerID: 526091

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