Off-grid electric camper box modernizes Jeep Wrangler camping
The days of all-electric Jeep Wranglers leaving behind only agitated dust while roaming the vast Western wilderness may still be a long ways off, but Phoenix startup DirtBox Gear has a new way of electrifying the other half of the overlanding experience. Unique from the typical camper-in-a-box kit, DirtBox's Juice Box wires lithium battery power inside the Wrangler tailgate. Use it to run an induction cooktop and 12-V fridge/freezer, and you can power your base camp without a single LPG tank or canister.
Throughout two decades of off-roading and camping through the deserts and mountains of the American Southwest, DirtBox Gear cofounder Greg Whitworth repeatedly battled two problems he couldn't shake: the near-impossible task of organizing all the necessary off-road and camping gear, accessories, and odds and ends and the chore of trying to keep operational the fast-draining electronics that have become so much more prevalent over that 20-year timespan.
Whitworth turned to friend and cabinetmaker Rod McGalliard, cofounder #2 of DirtBox, and got to work creating a solution that neatly combines storage and electricity. The Juice Box looks like a fairly simple RV drawer stack, but in place of a top drawer it includes a full Renogy power system complete with 170-Ah 12-V lithium-iron-phosphate battery, 2,000-W pure sine wave inverter, DC-DC charger, battery and inverter monitors, and BT-2 Bluetooth module. Also included are a solar input for plug-and-play solar charging and a series of 110-V, 12-V and USB outlets spread around the front and back for access from both outside and from the rear seats. The two drawers below offer a combined 83.5 liters of storage space.
Off-roaders can use the Juice Box independently to power their own equipment and electronics, and DirtBox also offers an accompanying fridge/stove module to mount right next to it. Included is a dual-slide system built to hold 45- to 50-quart (43- to 47-L) fridge/ freezers behind a stove platform up front.
While campers could use the stove platform for a basic dual-burner gas camping stove, DirtBox has designed it with an induction cooktop in mind. Plug it into the Juice Box and enjoy a stable, flameless cooking solution without the hassles of carrying LPG. The Juice Box includes a dedicated 12-V outlet at the lower rear corner for the fridge/freezer.
Campers can also plug into the Juice Box to power kitchen appliances, such as a blender, automatic drip coffeemaker, coffee grinder or crockpot. Attach a drop-down Wrangler tailgate table like this one from Front Runner, and the Wrangler transforms into a pretty solid little food-prep and cooking station.
Both the Juice Box and the fridge/stove module are made to mount to an accompanying polyurethane enamel-coated plywood base plate. DirtBox currently offers plates that fit Jeep Wrangler JK and JL Unlimiteds and old Cherokee XJ models. It is working to add options for popular off-roaders like the Toyota 4Runner.
Unsurprisingly, the Juice Box is the wallet-diving piece of the DirtBox puzzle at $3,929. The base plate tacks on $293, and the dual-slide fridge/stove box costs $1,297 (fridge and stove not included).
Source: DirtBox Gear