Esky-tasting sandwiches and soggy fruit are all in the past because camping food has received a much-needed upgrade in recent years, thanks to the increased popularity of camping fridges. Carrying fridge freezer on your trips is wise as you can keep your food and drinks cool while camping, use it on the back porch as a beer fridge or extra storage on special occasions, and safely transport your groceries.
Since one can become easily overwhelmed with so many different options on the market, consider the following important factors before going shopping!
Fridge Freezer’s Power Consumption
When camping in one area for several days you may run out of power to keep your fridge operating unless you have lots of suns to power your solar panels or a generator to recharge your batteries. In such cases it’s crucial to keep the power consumption as low as possible to reduce the drain of your batteries.
Whenever possible, keep the freezer in a cool, shady spot away from the sun-park in the shade if you’re mounting in the back of your car or 4WD. Another option is to buy a camping fridge freezer with an optional thermal cover that protects the fridge while also lowering the amount of power required to keep it cool.
Since a full fridge freezer consumes less energy than an empty one, use freezer blocks or water bottles to keep your fridge stocked when there is not enough food. Turn off your fridge overnight if you’re camping somewhere with a cool temperature. Keep in mind that some foods need a few degrees below zero, so you don’t have to keep your freezer running to -18 °C just because it’s capable of it!
The Toughness of the Fridge’s Body
Most refrigerators are made of metal, plastic, or a combination of both. The fridge’s body is unlikely to break, but UV rays can degrade plastic and cause it to become brittle. On the other hand, some high-quality refrigerators feature gleaming stainless steel or polished aluminium cases that seem fantastic now, but think about how they’ll look after a year of rigorous use!
Make sure the case includes sturdy handles for lifting and transporting the camping fridge freezer, as well as tie-down points in the rear of your vehicle. If you need to fit the fridge into a tight space, the handles should be removable so they may be replaced or removed entirely.
The Weight and Ventilation
If you’re trying to maintain your vehicle’s weight under its GVM, don’t forget to examine the weight of the refrigerator you want to buy. Larger fridges can weigh over 30kg before they’re filled with food or drinks, and a heavy-duty fridge slide might weigh anywhere from 10 to 20kg.
When deciding where to put your refrigerator, make sure there’s enough airflow around it to allow for proper heat dissipation. As a result, your camping fridge will function more effectively and consume less energy.
A Fridge Slide
If you’re going to place your fridge in the back of your 4WD, on the Ute tray, or in your camper trailer, you’ll need a fridge slide to make it roll in and out. Keep in mind that refrigerator slides are normally attached to the floor when planning your installation.
Make sure to account for the size and weight of the fridge slide to ensure that it will fit your intended refrigerator. Keep in mind that they will increase the height of the fridge and the clearance for the lid by a few millimetres.
Freezer’s Wi-Fi or Bluetooth Remote Control
Some fridges for camping offer Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity, as well as smartphone apps that allow you to monitor and regulate the temperature of your camping fridge freezer from afar — extremely cool! We recommend you check the ‘More Information’ section of the fridge you plan to buy.
The Power Sources
By default, your refrigerator will work on 12 or 24 volts, but it may also include a built-in 100 to 240-volt transformer so you can plug it into mains power when you have it. If your fridge doesn’t have a built-in 100 to 240-volt transformer, you’ll need to purchase one separately. This will most likely come with your refrigerator or be available as an add-on.
Type of Power Plug Connector
Most portable 12V fridges come with a cigarette lighter plug for easy plugging and unplugging from the vehicle’s accessory socket. This style of connector is practical, but it isn’t optimal for the amount of current the refrigerator will take. Experts strongly advise purchasing a freezer with an Anderson style plug, and for good reason. The Anderson-type plug can easily manage the high current draws and will not unplug if you encounter a snag. This type of socket, however, must be placed in your vehicle for it to work.
Since fridge freezers are camping kitchen essentials it’s important to choose a good brand especially if you are planning a trip around Australia’s remote areas. Although having a reliable camping freezer is crucial, having access to spare parts and a service network is also critical if your fridge needs servicing or repairs.
Opt for well-established manufacturers instead of some lesser-known ‘eBay’ brands which may be cheaper and function OK for a weekend camping trip, but are unlikely to last months or years of constant use over thousands of kilometres of tough roads.
‘Dedicated Freezer Only ‘ Option
If your fridge freezer isn’t a DUAL-ZONE with separate fridge and freezer compartments, consider setting it to ‘freezer only’ and keeping food chilled in a separate icebox with ice bricks or frozen bottles of water. Each morning, replace the defrosted ice bricks/water bottles with frozen ones and place the frozen meat or meals you intend to consume that night in the icebox to slowly defrost. It also helps to keep perishable ‘non-frozen’ foods like milk, cheese, fruit, and vegetables cool throughout the day. This system will allow you to eat and travel safely to long rural destinations.