A portable camping fridge is a battery-powered mobile refrigeration device that uses your car’s 12-volt electrical system to keep your food and drinks cold (or frozen) for an extended period. It costs more than a cooler or an esky, but you’ll never have to worry about running out of ice again.
Caravanning needs a greater capacity and more features than shorter camping trips when compactness and maneuverability are more crucial. How many persons will your best portable refrigerator have to accommodate? Will it be kept in a car, utilized as an extra fridge at home 24 hours a day, or just used a few times a year?
What size portable fridge do you need?
Large refrigerators have more capacity but demand more electricity, and they take up more room in your automobile. When selecting a refrigerator, make sure it will fit inside your car, taking into account the additional height of every mounting hardware or slide. Make sure there’s an adequate area for any vents and that you’ll be able to open the lid.
Large refrigerators are also heavy, and with a complete family and their belongings already aboard, a fully-loaded fridge might push your automobile over its gross vehicle mass limit (GVM). The sizes are listed in liters, but because this can be difficult to visualize, we’ve included a more universal unit of measure: cans of soda.
- 25L & under (27 cans)
- 35L (47 cans)
- 40L (60 cans)
- 50L (72 cans)
- 60–65L (106 cans)
- 80L+ (120 cans)
What types of camping fridges are there?
Two-way refrigerators use 12-volt or mains power, but three-way refrigerators use both electricity and gas. So, which is the best option?
Two-way (compressor) portable fridges
Two-way refrigerators employ the same compressor technology as standard refrigerators, but they’re intended to function on your vehicle or truck’s 12- or 24-volt battery as well as mains power. They’re ideal for most uses since they’re intended to run off your car’s electrical system without consuming too much electricity, but they can also be converted to 240 volts in electrified campgrounds or at home.
Compressor types, unlike gas fridges, require regular battery charging, so they may not be the greatest choice for a month in the field, but they’ll work OK with a small solar panel arrangement.
Three-way (absorption) or gas portable fridges
Three-way refrigerators employ gas flow heat exchangers rather than compressors and may work on LPG, 12, 24, or 240 volts. They’re quiet, but they don’t function as well as compressor refrigerators, and they need to be maintained at level to work.
If you’re staying a long period in a remote place, three-ways come in handy since one LPG cylinder can keep your fridge cold for weeks, well beyond the capacity of a battery system.
How much do portable fridges cost?
Portable camping fridges aren’t cheap; a 40–55L two-way fridge will set you back $800–2000, while a three-way fridge would set you back $350–1300.
To get the most out of your fridge, remember to include in the cost of extras like covers, mounting hardware, multiple battery systems, and other vehicle modifications.