Industry spotlight: taming a load for chocolate

Tired of hauling your fridge out, or kneeling awkwardly on your tailgate, just to get a Coke? So was Jerry L'Ecuyer. Below, he shares how chocolate led to his innovative, made-in-the-U.S. LoadSpotter slide:

"My son and I have been going on off-road and expedition trips since he was four years old. We started with an FJ-40, hauling an old tent and an ice chest. Over the years we graduated to an FJ-60.  That was luxury on long trips compared to the 40! While in South Africa one year visiting family, we had an opportunity to purchase a rooftop tent and rack for the Land Cruiser.  Now that was luxury deluxe!  

"We were no longer fighting with tent poles and sleeping on the ground. It was at this time we decided a proper 12-volt fridge would be nice. I built a storage system in the back of the wagon and strapped the fridge on top. Because we now had a refrigerator, we could bring chocolate. I was amazed at how often one needs to get into the fridge during the course of the day!

"Of course, that meant pulling the fridge down off of the storage system every time I needed to get something out. I was dismayed at how heavy and awkward a loaded fridge could be. I even considered cutting down my storage system to lower the fridge. I hated the idea of losing any of my valuable storage space.

Jerry L'Ecuyer with the LoadSpotter levitating slide."Around 2007 I heard about a Chinese slide that allowed the movement of a load from one level to another. I thought I had found my answer. But, it was not to be. This special slide was only marketed in Australia. It took a year of thinking about it and another full year of designing, testing, redesigning and testing again, to develop the LoadSpotter slide.

"In 2010 we were able to launch our new product at the Overland Expo. The slide solved both my storage problem and the back-breaking issue of removing the fridge from the vehicle every time I needed to access the contents. The LoadSpotter slide would allow the fridge to be stored high up on the drawer system and when the fridge was needed, it could easily be pulled out and lowered almost 12 inches.

"Now I have my chocolate and can eat it too! The LoadSpotter is “made in America” and available to the overland community and I’m hoping they find it as indispensable a piece of kit as I do."