A fridge is one of the most important pieces of gear you can bring on an overland trip, or any camping excursion. A cooler that doesn’t get properly packed will turn into a pool of foul-smelling, soggy food and drinks in a matter of hours. A proper fridge allows you to keep the contents cold for longer periods of time, which means you can go further out on trails and enjoy more of your adventures without worrying about supplies running out.
There are a lot of refrigerators on the market, from small portable options to built-in models in camper vans. Regardless of the size or type of fridge you’re considering, it’s important to read reviews and choose a trusted brand. There are a lot of bad ones out there, and you don’t want to spend your hard-earned money on something that will break down or just not work as intended.
Most fridges are powered by electricity, but some can also be run off propane gas. You’ll need to make sure you have the right type of power source for your needs, and know how much power your fridge will consume on average per hour (often listed in the specifications). This information can help you decide if your vehicle’s battery is the best option for powering your fridge, or if you’d prefer to use a generator or solar panels.
The best fridges for camping will have a high-quality compressor that can maintain an ideal temperature. They will also have good insulation to help keep the inside of the fridge cool and dry. Some of the fridges will have an energy-saving “eco mode” that will cycle the compressor on and off periodically, which can save you some power while still keeping your foods cool.
It’s also helpful to separate the drinks from the food, so they don’t start to condense and spoil things faster than necessary. Lastly, be smart about how you pack the fridge: putting meat near the bottom will allow the frozen air to move upward and cool other foods as it moves.
If you are looking for the best camping fridge, consider the adventure-focused brands that focus on rugged equipment. ARB’s fridge freezers are a great example of this, with an advanced compressor and tamper-proof features to prevent theft. They also offer a wide range of sizes, from compact portable units that are perfect for an overland truck’s back hatch to large options that can be used in a camper van or tent.
If you’re on a tight budget, look for a fridge that can be powered by 12-volt DC power sources. These are the same outlets that are found in most cars and can be plugged into your car or RV’s DC system. Some fridges, such as Dometic’s portable fridges, can even be run off of a standard household power bank. These fridges can be an excellent choice for overlanders who want to conserve their vehicle’s batteries for other uses like charging devices or powering lights and appliances in the tent. camping refrigerator