The Basics of a Camping Refrigerator

A compressor fridge is the best choice for truck camping, car camping, and overlanding. But with so many sizes, manufacturers, and models to choose from it can be overwhelming.

This article will walk you through the basics of a camping refrigerator so you can decide which size and brand is right for you. We’ll cover the minimum wattage requirements, insulation thickness, and other features to help you find the perfect fridge for your adventure vehicle.

Generally speaking, the more insulation in a fridge the better it is. This keeps the interior temperatures stable over long periods of time and minimizes electrical draw. However, it also adds weight which may be an issue with some overlanders who are looking to keep the weight of their build down.

Most of the fridges on this list, including our top pick Dometic CFX3 and the cheaper BougeRV Portable Fridge, use a compressor to maintain a set temperature. These fridges typically have a max power draw of 45 W for smaller options and 50 W for larger choices. They also cycle on and off as needed, similar to a regular refrigerator, which helps reduce the total energy consumption.

A few of the fridges on this list, including this 50-quart option from SetPower and the more expensive Dometic CF50, can be run off either AC or DC power. This means you can keep it plugged in at home or work, then take it out on the road with you to keep your food cold while you explore. This fridge has a few unique features we like, such as the telescoping handle and durable six-inch wheels that make it easy to move around even when full. It also has a gas strut to hold the lid open, which is useful for those times when your hands are full and you don’t want to lift the lid manually.






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