PRODUCT REVIEW DRIFTA DRAWERS
After 12 months in the camper trailer, have my Drifta storage drawers and kitchen lasted the distance?
Building a custom camper trailer on a budget is not easy, and trying to find a suitable kitchen was even harder. After trawling the ’net like a single bloke on Tinder, I stumbled across Drifta Camping & 4WD and found the ideal solution that suited all my needs.
I wasn’t after complicated, just something simple and strong; and the Drifta fridge box DPOR package deal ticked all the boxes. At a cost just shy of $1,800 plus freight, I was hoping that I wouldn’t be throwing my money away. Over the last year I have hit some Outback tracks and here is my answer…
The pull-out kitchen with fridge box is simple but caters to everything I needed. Drifta was even able to customise the space to fit my Waeco CF40 fridge and my existing LPG stove (for a minor fee). This was appreciated as the cost of the package was already more than I had budgeted for, and I didn’t want to have to replace my fridge or stove.
I enjoy the amazing bench space that the DPOR style offers once set up fully, and the set-up time is minimal. There’s space to store my pots and pans and drawers to hold all my cooking tools, dishwashing gear and other knick-knacks. The other thing I like is that I don’t have to set up the return if I don’t want to – making lunch stops easy.
The skids that protrude from the base of both units provide a simple slide system made from Teflon. This means the units sit directly on the base of the camper trailer – and I was surprised at how easily they slide.
At six feet in length, the storage drawer is almost too long as it provides so much storage space. The front of the drawer is made up of two slide-out drawers that take care of my crockery and cutlery, herbs and spices and so forth. The rest of the drawer is taken up with a plastic tub (that is my pantry) as well as my camp ovens, BBQ gear and odds and sods.
With their plywood construction, when filled with all my gear the kitchen and storage drawer are heavy. Whilst the Teflon runners allow the system to move easily, on the DPOR kitchen it’s a real struggle to get the legs up and down by oneself.
When the fridge is more than half empty I’m often worried about my back as I contort to press the button to unlock the legs while balancing the heavy drawers with my other hand. The rope handles are painful too… as the knots sometimes untie, making it near impossible to open the drawers. However, a benefit of the weight is that it assists in preventing the drawers from bouncing when travelling over rough terrain.
DON’T HOLD BACK
Pulling the kitchen or storage drawer out of the camper: There was nothing preventing me from pulling either the storage drawer or the kitchen out too far so that they fell out of the camper; and in fact I did do that once with the kitchen unit – but thankfully the fridge wasn’t installed or I would not have been able to get the drawer back in by myself. The solution is to attach some paracord to the ends of the units and secure it at the other end, leaving 150mm of the units sitting on the camper. You can buy this solution from Drifta for $32 per drawer, or go to Bunnings and buy what is needed to do it yourself and save about $15 per drawer.
UNLOCKED AND LOADED
Forward movement: A few times I was unable to open the rear of the camper because the drawer and kitchen had slid up hard against the door and jammed the mechanism. I had to accelerate the Prado and brake suddenly to move the drawers back into place.
I discovered a better solution from the Drifta website that the manufacturers use on their van conversions. For $50, Drifta provided me with a couple of spring bolts that screwed onto the Teflon bases. I then drilled a couple of holes into the side of the camper and movement was halted. This was a simple DIY job that took me less than an hour to complete.
The Drifta Kitchen Box DPOR and storage drawer survived everything that I threw at them along the Anne Beadell and Connie Sue Highways. Corrugations, sand dunes, washouts and other rough-as-guts situations.
There were solutions to my concerns with the drawers being pulled out too far and preventing forward movement of the drawers – so Drifta is proactive in reacting to what their customers are saying.
I would have liked to see rear legs attached to both the drawer and DPOR kitchen so that you could remove them fully and use them as free-standing units (perhaps an extra $50). I also think the paracord kit and spring bolts could have been included as standard items.
So, did I waste my hard-earned money on a set of Drifta drawers? Definitely not. They are bloody tough, and a great bit of kit. I would recommend them to anyone looking for an off-the-shelf solution.
For more information: drifta.com.au