Camping is one of the best activities to relax both, your body and mind while enjoying many of the gorgeous nature spots in our land, indeed. But imagine being able to enjoy an ice-cold can of beer under the open sky, conveniently carry drinking water and eat freshly made meals even in the wilderness? Well, with the array of portable car fridges on the market, this actually became possible.
So, if you got tempted to find a suitable car refrigerator for your next camping adventure, we put together a couple of tips that may come in handy on your buying journey.
Types of Camping Refrigerators
If you found yourself on the market, exploring the huge range of car refrigerator models for camping, it’s essential to know that there are a couple of different types packed with different features. Therefore, we can split car camping fridges into three general categories: thermoelectric, absorption and compressor camping fridges.
Thermoelectric Camping Fridges
If you’re looking for something affordable, yet suitable for most camping trips, don’t hesitate to pick a thermoelectric fridge. Not only are you getting the most compact and portable fridge for cars of all types, but these fridges are also suitable to keep your food both, cool and warm.
However, keep in mind that thermoelectric camping fridges aren’t as efficient as some other types, and this is why they’re mostly recommended for short camping trips.
Absorption Camping Fridges
Absorption camping fridges are considered one of the most versatile types, as they can be run using three power sources – 12v DC, 110v AC and even Propane gas. However, have in mind that running your absorption fridge on your vehicle’s 12v DC isn’t a good idea at all since it’ll drain your battery in no time if you aren’t running the engine. On the other hand, Propane is considered the most efficient option as you’re only going to need a small tank to run the fridge for over a month.
Except for this, absorption camping fridges tend to be bulky and require regular venting to avoid carbon monoxide buildup, especially when operating on propane. This is why they’re mostly suitable for RVs or large camping vans you can park in most of the campgrounds.
Compressor Camping Fridges
According to many experienced campers and experts, compressor camping fridges are the best option for every type of camping trip. These fridges feature convenient temperature adjustment controls, meaning you can even freeze your food without worrying about the high temperature outside of your camper. On top of that, some models come with dual-zone temperature controls that let you use one compartment as a freezer and the other one as a fridge.
The best thing about compressor camping fridges is that they can be carried on every type of camping trip – from car camping to overlanding with a large truck, as they’re very energy efficient and aren’t affected by the shaking and jostling of travelling off-road.
Pick a Solid Construction
Another important thing to remember is that your 4×4 fridge should be able to withstand all the bumps and knocks of your wild off-road adventures. For this purpose, make sure you go for a durable and sturdy construction that features strong hinges and is able to take your weight while standing on it.
Also, don’t forget to consider the environment where you’re about to camp, as it should be the main determinant for the fridge’s casing material. For instance, if you’re about to go on an off-road camping tour, a high-grade plastic casing might be a good choice to absorb the shock of bumpy trails. Metal also makes for a good, sturdy and long-lasting material, but these fridges tend to be heavy and not so convenient for smaller vehicles.
On the other hand, if you’re about to camp in a humid environment and damp areas, there’s nothing that can beat fibreglass casings. Such fridges are mostly used for boating and marine environments, as they’re very strong and won’t corrode under the influence of damp and salty air.
Get the Right Size
Whether you’re going on a weekend camping trip with your family or you’re overlanding for months, we’re sure that you wouldn’t want to run out of food earlier than you expected. This is why car refrigerators come in a bunch of different sizes to accommodate different people’s needs – from the smaller 40 litres ones to the bulky 100+ litres models.
This is why it’s always recommended to consider your own needs – the number of people camping, how long you’re on the road and the size of your vehicle. Remember, bigger isn’t always better, as it’ll take an unnecessary room in your car and drain more power to keep your food cool.
Consider the Power Rating
Talking about fridges’ power consumption to keep the content inside cool, different models have different power ratings. As a guide, know that most decent camping fridges use around 1-2 amps per hour. And as much as these power ratings don’t apply to all the camping fridges, it’s essential to keep your power consumption as lower as possible. This way, you’ll extend your batteries’ life span which can be very useful when being parked up for several days.
However, there’re a couple of things you can do to increase the efficiency of your camping fridge. First of all, know that many camping fridges come with removable covers that are very useful for keeping the fridge cool and protecting it from getting damaged from bumpy rides. Also, as fridges will use less power when they’re full, you can use freezer blocks to fill up the empty space and reduce the power consumption. Finally, if you experience a temperature drop while camping, feel free to turn off your fridge overnight. Just make sure you stock yourself with freezer blocks that will keep the temperature inside low.
Now that you know about all the factors to consider, don’t hesitate to hit the market and get the best car fridge for your upcoming camping trips.