Camper Refrigerator: Portable Refrigerator Saves Camping Trip

It is important to keep perishable items like foods cool to preserve their usefulness. It is no wonder that many people are realizing that a portable camper refrigerator is an essential piece of equipment to have on any camping trip. This becomes vital when temperatures rise putting food items like milk, raw meat and eggs at risk of spoiling and ruining your camping trip. Sometimes you can’t even tell that food is spoiled and you risk illness from bacteria.  The last thing you want to do is get very sick on a camping trip.  A portable camper refrigerator can keep this from happening.  They are perfect for all kinds of camping trips including RV trips.  Some of the best brands of portable camping refrigerators include Whynter, Engel, and Dometic.  You are certain to find your camper refrigerator among the ones on our list.

 

Camper Refrigerator Dometic Portable Refrigerator Outdoors View

 

Looking for a great portable refrigerator?  Take a look at our articles about some of the best models available:


Camper Refrigerator: Portable Refrigerator Saves Camping Trip

Keeping Food Fresh

Camper Refrigerator Whynter Portable Fridge Freezer Canted ViewOf course, you don’t have to take an electric camper refrigerator or cooler on your next camping trip.  There are plenty of other ways to keep food cold.  The problem is, the solution can be short-lived, and will definitely require replenishment for trip longer than a day or so.  Some techniques you can use to keep food fresh include:

  • Make ice packs before you leave. Pour water into a container so that it becomes two-thirds full and then freeze it. Use half gallon quantity of milk jugs and gallon volumes of sealable freezer bags. Your aim is to make solid blocks of ice. They melt much more slowly than the ice cubes.
  • Cool your food before you leave your home. Put sodas and food items you will take in your home refrigerator the day before you leave. Keep them overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Freeze the items which is possible to freeze at home before leaving. These includes hamburger patties, hot dogs, juice boxes and individual chicken breasts. Let them thaw slowly in your cooler.
  • Keep the loose ice in another container, like freezer bag. The ice can be contaminated if it remains loose in cooler. Any loose ice which is stored in the container will remain clean and also can be utilized in drinks.
  • Prepare by evenly distributing frozen food items and ice packs as much as you can when packing the cooler. Put heavy items on bottom. Put the poultry products and uncooked meat in separate plastic freezer bags. This will stop any cross contamination.

Whatever you decide, keeping your food from spoiling is an important priority even ignoring the health risk.  When your food spoils at home, you can just go out and buy more at a nearby grocery store or quick mart.  On a camping trip, you may be miles from a store of any kind making it much more difficult to replace the food.  The extra time trying to replace it could be the difference between a fun and successful camping trip and a real nightmare.

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TitleColeman 6201A748 100 Quart Xtreme 5 Wheeled CoolerRubbermaid FG2C0902MODBL Extreme 5-Day Wheeled Ice Chest/Cooler, 75-Quart, BlueColeman Steel Cooler, Matte Black, 54-QuartColeman 50 Quart Xtreme® 5 Wheeled CoolerYeti Tundra Coolers - White - 65 QuartRubbermaid DuraChill 5-Day Wheeled Ice Chest / Cooler, Platinum, 50-quart (FG2A9200PMTL)Yeti 10065010000 Tundra 65 Cooler - TanIgloo 70 Quart Maxcold Extended Performance Cooler
FeatureHolds 160 cans - more than six cases of soda
Xtreme® 5 Technology keeps ice up to 5 days in temperatures up to 90° F (32.22° C)
ThermOZONE(TM) Insulation contains no CFCs, HFCs or HCFCs, which deplete the ozone
Hinged lid with four cup holders keeps drinks close
Two-way handles for easy carrying
Rustproof, leak-resistant channel for no-tilt draining
Lid accommodates 24-in. (61 cm) elastic cords (not included)
Exterior Dimensions: 36.5 in. x 16.75 in. x 18.25 in. (92.7 cm x 42.55 cm x 46.36 cm)
Interior Dimensions: 23.75 in. x 11.75 in. x 13 in. (60.33 cm x 29.85 cm x 33 cm)
Empty weight: 18 lbs. (8.16 kg)
This cooler's extra thick insulation keeps ice frozen up to 5 days even in temperatures up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit
Large size accommodates up to 130 cans plus ice; The rugged wheels make maneuvering over multiple surfaces easy
Great for camping, picnics, tailgating, or any party
Durable metal and plastic extended tow handle, drain for easy draining of liquids; Side swing handles with comfort grip for easy carrying
Built-In cup holders fit both 12-ounce cans and 20-ounce bottles
Steel construction
Rust resistant
85 can capacity
Stylish lid and case designed for durability and protection
Solid steel latch securely seals contents for up to 10 lbs of force
Holds 84 cans - more than three cases of soda fit inside a 50-quart cooler
New, stylish outer casing
Long, telescoping handle and all-terrain wheeled cooler handles loads with ease
Side handles for controlled carrying
Four molded cup holders keep drinks close
Have-A-Seat(TM) Lid supports up to 250 lbs. for a place to sit and rest
Retextured EZ-Clean top for quick, easy washing
Xtreme® 5 Technology keeps ice up to 5 days in temperatures up to 90 °F
ThermOZONE(TM) Insulation contains no CFCs, HFCs or HCFCs, which deplete the ozone
Color: White
Dimensions: 30.5 x 17 x 16.25
This cooler's extra thick insulation keeps ice frozen up to 5 days even in temperatures up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Large size accommodates up to 130 cans plus ice. The rugged wheels make maneuvering over multiple surfaces easy.
Great for camping, picnics, tailgating, or any party.
Durable metal and plastic extended tow handle, drain for easy draining of liquids. Side swing handles with comfort grip for easy carrying.
Built-in cup holders fit both 12-ounce cans and 20-ounce bottles.
Outside Dimensions - 30-1/2 L x 17-1/2 W x 16 H in., 29 lbs.
Heavy-duty, high performance cooler
Super tough, 1-piece construction
Superior insulation
Freezer style sealing gasket
70 Qt.Ice chest cooler
Wide reinforced handles for added durability
Insulated lid, keeps contents cold for 5 days
Holds 114 cans plus ice
Molded in lid drink holders
Model6201A748FG2C0902MODBL300000185765WFG2A9200PMTLYT65T44366
Warranty
Price$74.00$61.87$114.64$39.20$$60.32$398.99$69.99
Height17.9 inch19.39 inch17.25 inch18 inch19 inch17 inch15.8 inch
Weight4.25 pound14.88 pound20 pound15 pounds35.15 pound4.96 pound35.15 pound
Width36.4 inch33.31 inch17.13 inch18 inch23.38 inch18 inch30 inch
Length17 inch16.9 inch25.25 inch23 inch15.25 inch31 inch16 inch
Rating4.3 out of 5 stars4.4 out of 5 stars4.5 out of 5 stars4.1 out of 5 stars4.8 out of 5 stars3.8 out of 5 stars4.8 out of 5 stars4.2 out of 5 stars
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Product prices and availability are accurate as of Dec 19 17:51:52 UTC but are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the merchant site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

 

 
 

Portable Camper Refrigerator

You don’t always have ready access to a 12V power source when camping, but if you do, then a 12V portable refrigerator could save the day.  They can be expensive, especially if youCamper Refrigerator Koolatron Portable Thermoelectric Cooler Canted View get a true refrigerator, but their convenience and ease-of-use make them a must-have for many who love to take longer trips and enjoy taking a variety of foods along.  For RVs, they are considered one of the most important RV accessories.

There are basically two types of portable appliances that you can use to keep food fresh while camping.  One is the true refrigerator based on compressor technology that operates much the same as your refrigerator at home.

True Refrigerator

True refrigerators can be counted upon to keep foods as cold as your home refrigerator and to reduce the risk of food spoilage.  One drawback of a true refrigerator is that is more expensive than an ice chest or thermoelectric cooler and another is that it uses more energy that may be difficult to come by on a camping trip.

 

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TitleWhynter FM-45G 45-Quart Portable Refrigerator/Freezer, PlatinumWhynter FM-62DZ Dual Zone Portable Refrigerator/Freezer, 62-QuartDometic CDF-11 Smallest Portable Freezer/RefrigeratorARB 10800472 Fridge Freezer- 50 QuartEdgestar 80 QT Portable Fridge/freezer - GreyEngel MR040 Portable AC/DC 12 Volt fridge-freezer (40qt)Engel MT45F-U1 Dual Voltage AC/DC Portable Fridge/Freezer 43 Qt.Dometic WAECO CF-035AC110 Coolmatic 33 QT AC/DC with Touch Control Refrigerator and Freezer
FeatureCapacity: 45 Quarts or 60 Cans (12FL oz)
Operates as a refrigerator or freezer
8-feet AC power cord and 5-feet DC power cord and two removable wire baskets are included
"Fast Freeze" mode rapidly cools to -8°F
LED temperature display
Premium quality and innovative design to meet your frozen and refrigerated needs
Two separately controlled temperature zones, you can set either zone as a freezer and the other as a refrigerator
Works with either a standard household 110 Volt outlet or a 12 Volt power source, like an automotive battery
Internal LED lights also allow for easier, more convenient access in low-light conditions
Cools to between -8°F to 50°F
Three stage battery monitor
Temperature read out
High impact weather-resistant polypropylene cabinet
LED indicators and soft-touch operating panel
Can maintain an interior temperature of 0 degrees for true in-vehicle refrigeration and freezing
Holds up to 72 12-ounce cans, and can also accommodate a two-liter bottle of cola
Continues to actively cool contents while the vehicle is off, and features an adjustable automatic battery protection system that prevents vehicle battery run-down
Includes two power cables: the DC power cable connects to your vehicle's 12/24-volt DC power outlet, and the AC power cable plugs into a standard household AC power outlet
Exterior Footprint: 27.75"L x 14.96"W x 20"H -- Main Compartment: 13.27"D x 11.22"W x 15.79"H -- Dairy Compartment: 5.95"D x 11.22"W x 8.11"H
Storage for both fridge and freezer foods for added convenience
Temperature range: -8 F to 50 F, Fast freeze mode
Storage capacity: 83 qts, Dimensions: 23 6/16" H x 28 3/16" W x 18 12/16" D.
Power: 115 V/60 Hz/1 A/80 W
Small & large basket, Latched lid, Side handles
Power consumption: 0.7 - 2.5 Amps
Volume: 40 qt. - Equivalent 58 cans (12 Fl.oz)
Weight: 48 lbs.
Freezing Ability: From 40°F to below 0°F
Warranty: 2 years
Portable 12/24V DC - 110V/120V AC fridge-freezer - With Both AC and DC Cords Included.
Vibration Resistant for Extreme Conditions - Incline Operation up to 30° off level.
Solar Compatible - Highly Efficient Engel Swing Motor - Low Amp Draws (even at start-up) - Variable from 0.7 Amps (110V AC) - 2.5 Amps (12V DC).
UL Approved - 100% CFC-Free Compressor.
Variable Temperature Control - Will Operate Up To 90 Degrees From Ambient Temp. - Capable of 0 Degree Farenheit Operation.
12/24 volt DC and 110 volts AC
Detachable lid
ModelFM-45GFM-62DZCDF-1110800472FP861MR040F-U1MT45F-U1CF-035AC110
WarrantyOne Year Limited Manufacturer WarrantyOne year limited manufacturer warrantyN2-Year Manufacturer's Warranty.
Price$431.10$640.00$333.34$835.98$699.00$849.00$910.00$555.01
Height20.8 inch21 inch9.45 inch21 inch18.5 inch20 inch
Weight49 pound62 pound19.84 pound70 pound35.3 pound48.5 pound52.91 pound
Width28 inch28 inch14.17 inch23 inch24.8 inch14.3 inch
Length18 inch18.5 inch21.26 inch23 inch15.51 inch25.5 inch
Rating0 out of 5 stars4.2 out of 5 stars4.1 out of 5 stars0 out of 5 stars0 out of 5 stars0 out of 5 stars4.6 out of 5 stars5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product prices and availability are accurate as of Jan 2 19:37:51 UTC but are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the merchant site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

 

Thermoelectric Cooler

Second is the thermoelectric cooler, which operates by leveraging ambient air to perform the cooling.  The problem is that a cooler typically can only cool down to a temperature approximately 40 degrees F below ambient temperature.  That’s fine if it’s cool outside, but in hot temperatures, a cooler may not keep your food cold enough to prevent spoilage.

 

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TitleKoolatron P95 Travel Saver Cooler 45-Quart, Light GreyKoolatron P75 36-Quart Kool Kaddy Electric Cooler/Warmer, Light GreyBlack & Decker TC212B Travel Cooler & WarmerColeman PowerChill Thermoelectric Cooler with Power Supply (40-Quart)Dometic TC-35US Portable Thermo Electric Cooler/Warmer 37 Quart, Gray/GreenIgloo Cool Chill Thermoelectric Cooler (Mercury/White, 40-Quart)
FeatureDomed lid design
Cools to 40° F below the ambient temperature
Can be used to cool or warm food or drinks
Easy-to-clean and maintain
45-quart capacity
No more ice
Electric travel cooler/warmer with cigarette-lighter adapter
Sits horizontally or vertically for use as chest or upright fridge
Includes shelf for optimal storage and easy access to foods and beverages
Cools to 40 degrees F below ambient temperature; heats to 135 degrees F
Measures 15.8 by 21 by 15.5 inches (height by width by depth); weighs19 pounds; holds 57 12-ounce cans
Thermo-Electric System cools down to 40°F below ambient temperature and heats up to approximately 120°F
Plugs directly into vehicle's or boat's 12 volt DC outlet or any other 12 volt power supply
Rests on vehicle seat, tailgate, hatch or floor for easy access during travel
Zippered side storage and accessory pouch
Dual can/cup holder
Portable thermoelectric cooler ideal for camping, dorm rooms, and more
40-quart interior holds up to 44 beverage cans in addition to snacks
Plugs into any vehicle's cigarette lighter .
Redesigned motor cools contents down to 40 degrees F below outside temperature
Adjustable door opens to left or right; measures 15 x 21.75 x 17.125 inches (W x H x D)
Seven-stage temperature regulation for cooling and heating
Power-Save circuitry switches on when desired temperature is reached
Easy to read LED temperature display, wear-free fan
Detachable lid with magnetic lock
Sturdy, fold-away handle
Powered by 12V DC auto plug adapter
Convection cooling with a fan circulates cold air and allows plastic bottles to cool as much and as quickly as cans
Can be used upright like a refrigerator or horizontal like an ice chest
Adjustable food shelf or divider
21 3/4 inches by 15 1/3 inches by 16 2/3 inches
ModelP95P75TC212B5644-760TC-35US00040346
Warranty2 year1 year
Price$152.47$130.99$139.99$109.00$168.75$180.00
Height17.5 inch15.5 inch14 inch15.5 inch18.7 inch
Weight16 pound16 pounds9.6 pound18 pound22.51 pound25 pounds
Width20.6 inch21 inch10 inch17 inch15.16 inch
Length15.8 inch15.75 inch18 inch23 inch22.05 inch
Rating0 out of 5 stars0 out of 5 stars4.2 out of 5 stars0 out of 5 stars4.2 out of 5 stars3.0 out of 5 stars
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Product prices and availability are accurate as of Dec 18 15:51:49 UTC but are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the merchant site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

 

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TitleKoolatron 26-Quart Soft-Sided Electric Travel Cooler, BlackKoolatron 52-Quart Krusader CoolerBlack & Decker TC212B Travel Cooler & WarmerPorta Gaz 61211 Silver 3-Way Portable Gas RefrigeratorARB 10800472 Fridge Freezer- 50 Quart
FeatureSoft-sided electric travel cooler with 12 volt, cigarette-lighter car adapter
Adjustable shoulder strap; external zippered pocket for storage, mesh interior pocket; 2 exterior beverage holders, cell phone pocket
Cools to 16.5°C (30°F) below ambient temperature;
Holds 26 quarts or up to 34 12-ounce cans
Measures 9 by 17.5 by 15 inches; weighs 7 pounds
Cools to 40°F below the outside temperature
State-of-the-art thermoelectric cooling technology
Reverse the power cord to turn the cooler into a warmer
Fits up to 80 12 oz soda cans
Thermo-Electric System cools down to 40°F below ambient temperature and heats up to approximately 120°F
Plugs directly into vehicle's or boat's 12 volt DC outlet or any other 12 volt power supply
Rests on vehicle seat, tailgate, hatch or floor for easy access during travel
Zippered side storage and accessory pouch
Dual can/cup holder
Select from 3 modes of operation: 12 Volt DC vehicle's auxiliary socket, 120 Volt AC main power and LP gas; ideal for camping, day trips, barbecues, RV'ing or home use
Durable construction with 37 quarts capacity; you can easily store 355-milliliter cans; enjoy refreshingly cold drinks and chilled food; rotary piezo gas ignition and bubble level indicator
Indicators to show the method of operation; comes complete with AC cord and plug, DC cord and accessory adaptor
Magnetic seal and tie down rings; thermostat controlled when operating on 120 Volt AC power; silent operation with absorption cooling system
1 year limited warranty; no warranty on commercial use
Can maintain an interior temperature of 0 degrees for true in-vehicle refrigeration and freezing
Holds up to 72 12-ounce cans, and can also accommodate a two-liter bottle of cola
Continues to actively cool contents while the vehicle is off, and features an adjustable automatic battery protection system that prevents vehicle battery run-down
Includes two power cables: the DC power cable connects to your vehicle's 12/24-volt DC power outlet, and the AC power cable plugs into a standard household AC power outlet
Exterior Footprint: 27.75"L x 14.96"W x 20"H -- Main Compartment: 13.27"D x 11.22"W x 15.79"H -- Dairy Compartment: 5.95"D x 11.22"W x 8.11"H
ModelD25P85TC212B6121110800472
Warranty2 year
Price$95.08$$139.99$354.83$835.98
Height15 inch20 inch14 inch21.6 inch
Weight4.88 pound18 pound9.6 pound38.5 pound70 pound
Width17.5 inch15.5 inch10 inch19.3 inch
Length9 inch20.05 inch18 inch19.7 inch
Rating3.6 out of 5 stars3.7 out of 5 stars4.2 out of 5 stars0 out of 5 stars0 out of 5 stars
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Product prices and availability are accurate as of Mar 5 4:12:54 UTC but are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the merchant site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Power

12V coolers and refrigerators can be powered by a vehicle battery, but can drain it fairly quickly.  Depending on your situation and how many vehicles you have, it might be more effective to bring batteries specifically for the purpose and alternate them to keep a charged battery available at all times.

Gas generators can power a portable fridge or cooler, but the tradeoff is that you will use a lot of fuel, a lot of energy, and it’s not very green.

Solar power is also a possibility, but it will mostly be for supplementing other power sources or charging backup 12V batteries while other batteries are being used.  Portable solar power systems just don’t generate enough power to be the primary source for a refrigerator or cooler.

Some fridges have the flexibility to run on propane in addition to 120V AC and 12V DC.  This is particularly useful for campers that take propane with them for gas stoves or other appliance.

Camper Refrigerator Engel Portable Refrigerator Canted ViewCamper Refrigerator Features

Some handy features to look for in true refrigerators are:

  • Dual zones that allows you to both freeze and refrigerate foods effectively in the same unit.
  • LED temperature displays to keep you informed about the fridge’s temperature at all times
  • Vehicle battery run-down protection
  • Efficient and powerful compressors like the Danfoss compressors in ARB fridge/freezers
  • Digital temperature controls
  • Heavy-duty insulation to maintain cold temperatures longer
  • Efficient power usage
  • Heavy-duty construction for years of useful camping support

Whatever your camping refrigeration needs, there are several models that are sure to meet your requirements.  The most useful models are true refrigerators that can cool or freeze just like your home refrigerator.  Thermoelectric coolers also have their place for short trips in the car or where ambient temperatures remain cool.  Ice coolers are also used by many campers where it’s possible to replenish the ice when needed.

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