Are you looking for a portable fridge to experience the exciting and challenging van life? Choosing a suitable fridge for your van is an important decision that you should consider carefully and early in the phase of the van building. Among so many fridges available on the market, this article recommends 5 portable fridges that best fit your van life.
Why do people like living in a van?
Vanlife is exciting, fun and rewarding that’s why some people fully commit to living in a van, a kind of nomadic lifestyle. The following reasons may explain more in details.
- Experience the unknown: Living in a van means that you are leading an adventurous life. Every single day can be both terrifying and exciting as something unexpected may happen.
- Enjoy traveling with freedom and flexibility: Going anywhere on the open road is wonderful. The days are full of freedom and adventure, not with daily activities of house or apartment, so you feel the flexibility as you can control your time.
- Appreciate the simple life and simple things: Living in a van, people familiarize with giving up needless things as well as knowing how to evaluate and reduce belongings.
- Opportunity for personal development: Actually, it is not easy to maintain van life. Facing the challenges and difficulties will help you more mature and lead to personal growth.
- New people, new community and new me: As constantly on the go, meeting new people in different community make you full of energy, fresh and like become a new person.
The challenges of van life
- Face the changes of weather and temperature: Living in a van, you easily expose to bad weather like sudden rains, strong winds or the hot and cold temperature outside.
- Be familiar with outdoor life: The van is not as big as your house, at the same time, you travel every day, so you should get used to spending time outside.
- Encounter uncomfortable situations: The unexpected things may happen anytime without notice and you may face many unpleasant cases, especially you are a new vanlifer.
- More work to maintain the lifestyle: Van life or nomadic lifestyle is totally different from normal lifestyle in a house. Simple works like cooking or washing can take you more time.
The qualities of best fridges for van life
The following characteristics are important:
- Compact design for small space in the van
- Capable of storing enough chilled essentials
- Energy efficiency
- Other special functions like Dual zone, WiFi connection, …(if you want)
Further reading: Which is the Best Campervan Fridge?
The 5 best portable fridges for van life
1. Most efficient: Dometic CFX75DZW
Dimensions: 34.92 x 19.49 x 18.58 inches
Capacity: 2.4 Cubic Feet (70 liters)
Weight: 69.3 pounds
The Dometic portable CFX75DZW can be considered the best fridge for van life. It is not only energy efficient but also reasonable price, durable, and loaded with features such as digital control panel, LED interior light, USB port, a drain plug, and removable wire baskets.
- Independent zones for freezer and fridge
- Wi-Fi app
- Built-in lighting
- Removable trays
Depending on Dometic model, different additional features are found. The following product lines are best for campervans:
CFXW: As the W means WiFi, the fridge has WiFi connectivity that enable you to adjust the fridge temperature by a mobile phone.
CFXDZ: The DZ means dual zone, so the fridge has separated freezer and fridge sections. This model consumes more power and more expensive than the W model.
CFXDZW: The DZW is the combination of these above 2 models. It both has WiFi connection and removable divider for fridge and freezer compartments. However, only the large Dometic’s fridges own this option.
2. Most high-end: ARB 73 Qts Dual Zone
Dimensions: 33 x 21 x 25 inches
Capacity: 2.44 Cubic Feet
Configuration: Internal Freezer
With the cooling capacity of 108 x 375ml cans and highly efficient, the ARB Zero Dual-zone fridge freezer is a perfect solution for keeping your food and drinks.
Special features like tough and durable steel outer casing, removable divider and lid, recessed carry handles, and quick-release lids, interior LED light that are convenient for users.
It also has WiFi app, USB five-volt and 3,000mA outlet that can charge phones or other devices.
- Highly efficient
- Rapid cooling function
- Anti-condensation technology
- High price
3. Most budget friendly: Alpicool CF55
Dimensions: 27.17 x 13.58 x 20.63 inches
Weight: 37 pounds
Capacity: 1.94 Cubic Feet (55 liter)
Temperature range: Up to -20 ºC
Noise level: Less than 40dB
Alpicool is a good choice with low cost, but it still offers a high-capacity refrigerator which can fit 60 x 12ozs cans of Cola. It has LCD display, internal LED light and digital temperature adjustment. The thick insulation will keep your food and drinks cool and fresh.
- High capacity
- Low cost
- Energy saving
- Freezing zone is larger than the refrigeration zone, it may cause disadvantage for those who prefer the opposite.
- Not exact temperature outside and the actual temperature inside.
4. Best quiet: Engel MR040
Dimensions: 25 x 15.5 x 18.5 inches
Weight: 48 Pounds
Capacity: 40 Liters
Power: 12/24V DC – 110V/120V AC
Engle MR040 is a portable, durable and highly efficient chest fridge. It is considered the most vibration resistant compressor when compared to other fridges. With plastic case, it run quietly on a 12v dc or 110v electrical system.
- Heavy-duty removable handles
- Adjustable door hinge
- Extremely efficient
- Cannot set exact temperature
5. Best overall: ICECO VL60 Dual Zone
Dimensions: 31.2 x 19.4 x 18.8 inches
Weight: 65.7 pounds
Noise: 45 dB
ICECO VL60 has sturdy platinum paint shell and shockproof design that enable the long-lasting usage. It not only gets cool fast but also has SECOP compressor that helps the fridge run well even when it is under 40° tilt.
With large capacity, it can contain 89 can/255ml and the cooling capacity ranges from 0°F to 50°F (-18℃~10℃) to meet all freezing or refrigeration needs.
For the compressor, you will have 5-year warranty and 1 year warranty for other parts. Especially, it has global insurance.
- Advanced technology
- Long warranty for compressor
- Energy- saving
You may also like: Top 8 Mini Fridges for Campervans
ICECO VL series are great portable fridges for van life. With reasonable price compared to other higher-end brands, ICECO VL60 is one of the fridges you should consider. It is highly efficient, performs well, and has all the necessary features you would expect in a modern 12V mini fridge.
If you have more budget and prefer an advanced technology and energy efficient fridge, DOMETIC models are recommended. The DOMETIC portable CFX75DZW is one of the options.
However, you can choose another fridge that best fits your needs for an exciting and adventurous lifestyle.