Portable Fridges for Camping – The Buying Guide

Portable Fridges for Camping - Buying Guide

A portable camping fridge comes in very handy. It has lots of benefits, such as keeping your food and drink cool and fresh, saving you constant trips to stores, while not consuming much power. But there are so many types and models of portable camping fridges to choose from. Following is the buying guide that you should consider before buying portable fridges camping?

What to look for when buying portable fridges for camping?

Size

This factor can affect the amount of food that you may want to bring along. Therefore, the size of the fridge plays an important role.

You should opt for a decent-sized mini fridge with a 50-liter capacity if you go with many people or you want to take a long camping trip. Other than that, a 30-liter mini fridge should be enough for most short trips.

Power consumption

You should take a look at how much power the portable fridge consumes, as well as the feature that comes along with it.

Some power-saving features can be double-edge blades. For example, auto cut-off may help prevent your car battery from draining out. But if you don’t pay attention, the food may be ruined quickly.

With that being said, try to find fridges that come with some sort of eco-mode. Alternatively, read the power specification to see how long you can run the fridge safely with your car or van battery.

Space

It depends on the types of food and drinks you want to store. But it is better to have a fridge with both normal space and freezer space for versatility with the temperature and the food n drink, and this option is most suitable for most people.

If you don’t really need freezer space, you can simply set both spaces to the same temperature with the dual-spaces mini fridges. But, a normal portable fridge can also work just fine for your need.

Insulation

Try to look for portable fridges that are well-insulated. This is very important since it helps you keep the food cool for a long time after your fridge’s power is turned off.

If you want to make your own insulation system for the mini fridge, don’t do it.

It’s not a great idea to insulate the fridge on your own since the fridge needs roughly 5 inches to exhaust heat. So covering this area can set things on fire and potentially damage the fridges as well as your insulating system.

But, you can add your own insulating cover to a non-electric coolboxes just fine.

If you really want to get an insulating system on your own, try to buy those that are specifically designed for the fridges which you want to get. Those usually are fire resistant and let the heat from the fridge escapes.

Compressor vs. Absorption

Compressor fridges are usually powered by electricity, while absorption (three-way) fridge can be powered by gas and electricity as well.

These fridges are good on the go since you just need power from your vehicle’s battery. They can also be used in small space. But, these fridges can get quite loud, which can be irritating.

Gas-powered absorption portable fridges require connecting and disconnecting the gas source. They also can’t be used in small space since you need well-ventilated area in case the gas leaks.

Gas-powered absorption portable fridges do have advantages, such as they are rather quiet and better for long-term camping since they don’t drain your vehicle’s battery.

Temperature

Check the minimum and maximum temperature that the small fridge can reach since it differs between models.

In hot weather, you shouldn’t get electric coolboxes since they don’t have the power to keep the temperature above ambient temperature efficiently, but it can be ideal for milder weather.

Reviews and warranty

Just like every other item, try to check the reviews online before buying the mini fridge. The reviews will give you a rough idea on the experience of using the mini fridge as well as its quality.

Also, check for the fridge’s warranty. You should pick ones that have at least 1 to 2 years.

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Recommended portable fridges for camping

1. Dometic CF110 Fridge Freezer

Dimensions:                   31.1 x 19.9 x 21.9 inches

Weight:                           70 pounds

Capacity:                        112 quarts (106 litres)

Key features:

  • Fridge and freezer
  • Quick-chill function
  • Portable compressor fridge
  • Soft-touch control panel
  • Removable carrying handles
  • Digital temperature display
  • Memory feature if power is off
  • WLAN and USB connection
  • Can utilize multiple power sources
  • Power using 12V, 24V, and 110 – 240V
  • Temperature ranges from 0 to 50-degree F

Dometic is a well-known brand in producing high-quality and convenient portable fridges for users.

Dometic CF 110 functions as both fridge and freezer with digital control panel and soft touch button. The unit is large enough for storing 144 12-oz cans (112qts). The fast-cooling system and other convenient features like interior light, removable carrying handle and coated wire rack will ensure your stuff safe and fresh for the outdoor trips.

Pros:

  • Exceptional performance
  • 3 level of battery protection
  • Low power consumption when using AC or DC

Cons:

  • High price

As a perfect fridge freezer for camper vans and road trips, Dometic CF110 fridge series will keep your favorite food and drinks cold while on the go without the need for ice.

Further reading:  How to Properly Dispose of a Mini Fridge

2. Whynter FM-45G 45 Quart Portable

Dimensions:                   16.5 x 23.5 x 20.5 inches

Weight:                           45 pounds

Capacity:                        45 Quarts or 60 Cans

Key features:

  • Portable
  • ETL approved
  • Durable design
  • Thick, efficient insulation
  • Insulated lid and walls
  • “Fast-freeze” function
  • LED temperature display
  • Two removable wire baskets
  • Adjustable temperature ranges from -8°F to 50°F
  • Attached with AC power cord (8-feet) and DC power cord (10-feet)

Even though it is a 45-quart fridge/freezer, it offers plenty of space for storing your food and drinks for camping or road trips.

Equipped with many useful features, hardy and durable all-metal construction, but it has a surprisingly low price. Its cost is much cheaper than other portable fridges with comparable capacity.

Pros:

  • Silent operation
  • Affordable price
  • Excellent energy-saving mode
  • Good temperature range and control

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • Small capacity

The Whynter FM-45G portable freezer fridge is a cost effective and mobile solution for your outdoor requirements or camping trips.

3. ARB 73 Quart Dual Zone

Dimensions:                   33 x 21 x 25 inches

Capacity:                        73 Quart (68 litres)

Key features:

  • Highly efficient
  • LED display
  • Dual cooling sections
  • Wireless monitoring
  • Recessed carry handles
  • Tough and durable with steel outer casing
  • Removable compartment divider and internal lid
  • Rapid cool-down and anti-condensation technology
  • USB 5V, 3000mA outlet for charging electronic devices
  • Control via Bluetooth-enabled devices (LINX, Android, and iOS)

It is possible to convert the dual zone into a single zone by removing the compartment divider. With large storage capacity, this fridge freezer can store enough food and drinks for your family on a camping trip.

As the outer part is made with robust steel, so it is a very durable construction. Besides, the fridge stands stably with the corner moldings.

The ARB Zero offer the option to cool as low as -7.6ºF which is the deepest freezing temperature available.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Spacious
  • Anti-condensation
  • Internal LED light
  • Independently controlled compartments
  • Wireless controls available through app

Cons

  • Display is sometimes off

This fridge is perfect for large groups and family and if you’re out on the road and need something that will meet your demands for a camping trip, this is the fridge to choose.

ARB ZERO 73 Qt Fridge with Bluetooth is an awesome fridge.

4. SetPower AJ50 53 Quartz

Dimensions:                   27.5 x 13.6 x 20.7 inches

Weight:                           37.7 pounds

Capacity:                        53 Quarts (50 L)

Key features:

  • Dual zone design
  • ECO mode for energy-saving
  • Freezing section can reach 0℉
  • Smart battery protection function
  • Running well in slopes under 30 degrees
  • Power with 120/240V AC and 12/24V DC
  • Powerful compressor for fast cooling function
  • Low energy consumption with only 45W on average
  • 3 year warranty for the compressor and 1 year for other parts

The Setpower AJ50 camping fridge has a 53 Quart capacity that can hold enough food and drinks for a family in short camping trip. It works on both 12 volt and house sockets, you should pre-cool it at home before the departure.

It has sturdy built with good handles, so you can keep it safe off-road. With fully adjustable temperature and digital display you can set it exactly as you wish.

Pros

  • Max mode for quick cooling
  • Tough and durable design
  • Eco mode for low power consumption
  • Temperature is adjustable between 0℉-50℉
  • Powered by both your car’s 12V and a home socket

Cons

  • Difficult to fully open in narrow or small spaces

Overall, the Setpower AJ50 is an excellent camping fridge freezer for your family to enjoy camping days and the outdoors.

5. Aspenora 54-Quart Portable Fridge Freezer

Dimensions:                   26.5 x 24 x 17 inches

Weight:                           43 pounds

Capacity:                        54 Quarts

Key features:

  • Energy-saving
  • Battery protection
  • Drain plug
  • Super low noise
  • Durable and shockproof
  • Efficient cooling
  • Smart battery protection
  • Detachable handle
  • Withstand harsh environments

The Aspenora 54-quart is a well-made sturdy and portable fridge that you can feel happy for long trips or your family short camping day.

With aluminum core design, it runs more efficiently. Besides, the thick insulation keeps the fridge cool in 10 hours after the power is turned off.

To save energy, it automatically stops working when it reaches the desired temperature settings.

Pros

  • Anti-pinching design
  • Bright aluminum case
  • LED touch control is upgraded
  • With the same size but 20% increase in capacity

Cons

  • Sometimes temperature gauges off

The Aspenora 54-quart works best during camping days or any outdoor journey. With multiple uses, it can be suitable for camping, road trip or fishing.

Bottom line

Overall, what you need to look for are: size, power, space, insulation, type, temperature, and reviews. These are the guides that you need to consider when buying small fridges for camping.

The above recommended portable fridges are perfect for camping, you should consider and look for the one that best fits your specific needs.

Reference

Portable fridges for traveling by car or campervan, Veronica Y Fer,

Jenny Brown
Hi, I’m Jenny. In the hustle and bustle of daily life, a compact fridge or freezer becomes one of the essential items in many homes. On my blog, you will find helpful advice about using and organizing these kitchen appliances. You will also receive the recommendations on choosing a compact refrigerator or freezer that best fits your demands. Besides, frozen meals from the freezer bring many incredible benefits because they ensure freshness, deliciousness, and full nutrients. Many helpful tips from experts on frozen meals will also be found.