Portable power in an open bed

I’ve been bouncing around the idea of how to power a bed mounted fridge with a portable power source, if the bed is not enclosed in a cab or shell. I’m hoping to get feedback here from those who know better as this is all new to me.

For my setup I’m installing a Leitner rack in the bed of my Gladiator so anything in the bed will be exposed to the elements. I also have the 400W AC power port from the factory option. The fridge will be on a slide. It’s an ARB 47QT so too big for in-cab unless I start removing seats which I don’t want to do here.

My objectives with power options in the bed are:
  1. Must be able to power the fridge for 24 hours (more if on solar)
  2. Must be removable (by me, not thieves) when not needed for daily driving
  3. Able to deal with a moderate amount of exposure to elements
  4. Does not connect to factory wiring. I’m looking for a system independent of the starter battery and alternator

Here are some options I’ve scraped together from forum research

  1. National Luna Battery Box, mounted to a fixed platform that attaches to the rail system up front. Should this also be in an enclosure to protect from elements? Can this charge via something like a NOCO Genius and the existing bed AC port while driving? I figure I can set up a solar panel in camp, or even mount a fixed panel above on the rack. Can use for other house battery power needs.
  2. Leitner uses a Pod system for storage. I have a single pod that I can turn into a “battery box/power distribution with a smaller Lithium battery and proper connections. Advantage here is the enclosure provides protection from the elements. Can use for other power needs in bed. Disadvantage is the space would limit the size battery I can use, and this option requires more detailed electrical skills/fabrication of the panel, etc. And I give up storage space of the Pod.
  3. Power the fridge directly from the in-bed AC port while driving and switch to a Power Pack (Goal Zero-type) and Solar in camp. Advantage is that I already have this. But is the AC port suitable for this? I think it shuts off when the engine is off. Also this doesn’t provide a house battery for other electrical needs like camp/bed lighting.

Appreciate any advice here and I’m starting with limited experience so wont be offended if anyone feels the need to thrash these ideas. Thanks!
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This is something that I spent a good deal of time wondering how to do in my Gladiator build. The wall I kept hitting was that there didn’t appear to be any good solution to keeping the fridge in an open bed, exposed to the elements.

So the two options I came up with was to put it in the space behind the front seats, like Dave did, or put a canopy on the back which is what I’ve done. As I’ve mentioned in my build thread I’m modeling my build after the overland 79 Series we rented in Africa and which worked really well for us. My wife is about 5‘-4” and raising the fridge any higher than the bed of the truck would be a pita for her so this is the way we are going. I am in the process of building a rear seat platform like Goose Gear sells for $1K but can be built for less than $100 and hope to post the build in a couple of days. We will be stacking our Front Runner boxes on it which should allow us to have a modular approach to take what we want for any given trip.

Given your options #3 seems like a good place to start and yes the fridge can be run from the auxiliary plug in the back of the bed. You are still facing the issue of the elements though.

Good luck in your search.
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